New York’s Passive Houses

Jan 02, 17 New York’s Passive Houses

Posted by in Business, Real Estate

The passive house standard was established less than a decade ago in Germany by the Passivhaus Institut.  Given the advantages to the environment and energy bills it provides, it soon spread to other parts of the world including the New York area.  As such, it gave various professionals in the industry (including Rocco Basile of Avo Construction, and Stephen Lynch of Caliper Studio among others) a greener way to build, while maintaining top quality standards. Having such a positive impact on so many aspects involved in building construction, the “sweeping green-building initiative” is also being greatly lauded by Mayor Bill de Blasio.  He is seeking to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by the year 2050 and using this type of construction is a huge step in the right direction. Avo Construction –launched in 2011 by Rocco Basile – built Brooklyn’s 210 Pacific Street using this method.  In Cobble Hill, this unit was designed and developed by NAVA Companies (offering both half-floor and full-floor units containing three and four bedrooms).  It features induction cooktops, solar thermal hot water systems, and various other green elements. The way the passive house works is through the use of a system exchanging interior and exterior air (such as an energy recovery ventilator) along with an airtight building envelope.  With the units in New York, there is the need for both heating and cooling systems but these are much smaller than standard ones, generating far less greenhouse gas emissions and keeping energy bills down. According to the Passivhaus Institut, units using this method require around a quarter of the energy using in a home that is powered with regular energy.  Other benefits with the model are much quieter interiors due to very thick, insulated walls as well as cleaner and fresher air because of the filters used in energy recovery ventilators.  Furthermore, these filters can actually help eradicate asthmatic systems and other related-allergies. Basile and Avo Construction have always sought to employ the most qualified experts to build...

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Montauk Colony – Living the Dream

Dec 14, 16 Montauk Colony – Living the Dream

Posted by in Business, Real Estate

If you want to own a piece of property in Montauk or you’re hoping to find a rental, you have many options. There are many real estate agents who can help you to find the right property for your needs. After all, if you’re investing your time and money in a property, you want it to be the right property for you. Here are a few suggestions to get you started. Speak to friends who already own property in the Montauk Colony area. Which realtor did they use? Were they happy with the experience that they had? Why have they chosen to live in the area where they live? The Montauk Colony collection is a unique location at the very tip of Long Island. As you think about a property it’s important to consider the climate and location. Do you want a property that is closer to town so you can walk and feel like you are part of the area? Or would you prefer one that is on a cliff and that offers a far-away feel of isolation? As you look at properties, make sure to ask questions about the insulation, heating costs, leaks and other winter related questions. Consider your purpose as you look at properties. Are you looking for a place that will be a summer home and an occasional location for family get-togethers? Or are you hoping to settle in the Montauk Colony area? Do you want a property that includes grounds and are you willing to do the upkeep on those grounds? Or would you prefer something smaller that will provide you with a place to get away, but with less headaches to do so? There are many real estate agencies that are ready to help you with your search. A few of the names in the area include classically large companies like Century 21 LLC. There are a number of real estate agencies, as well, that are unique to the area and specialize in this lovely location. These...

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BookCourt Closing After 35 Years in Brooklyn

Dec 12, 16 BookCourt Closing After 35 Years in Brooklyn

Posted by in All, Business

To the dismay of many a Cobble Hill denizen, BookCourt, a key literary presence in the gentrifying neighborhood, is closing on December 31st, 2016. The store has been through a lot over the years since it opened on Court Street in 1981 by then-married couple Henry M. Zook and Mary B. Gannett. Despite setbacks like the opening of a Barnes & Noble down the street in 1999; the rise of Amazon as an on-line purveyor of books; the slowdown in booksales in general; the store continued to flourish, becoming one of the country’s premier booksellers. The store even survived the owner’s own marriage. So what went wrong? Really nothing but the march of time, say Zook and Gannett. Now that they are in their 60s, the feel the time has come for them to retire. “We know the store will be missed, and we are very proud of what we accomplished,” they said in a statement. They explained the lasting power of the store because they had “invested in the neighborhood and the real estate which housed the bookstore.” The store was a magnet for the literary minded. It hosted many famous authors for readings, lectures and talks of all kinds. Some of the more well-known among the visitors were Junot Díaz, Megan Abbott and Don DeLillo. But the less well-known were welcome, too. The store became a base for the growing writing community in Brooklyn, and was a starting point for many newcomers to the profession. Emma Straub, the novelist, did her first reading at BookCourt in 2009. It was around the same time she began working as a bookseller. She even sold from the store copies of a small-run novella she wrote at the time. “Lots of people I sold them to were editors that then bid on my novel later,” Ms. Straub, 36, said. Straub and her husband considered taking over BookCourt from Zook and Gannett, “but that didn’t work out,” she said. They are instead going to open their own...

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Affordable Brooklyn? Try Sheepshead Bay

Nov 07, 16 Affordable Brooklyn? Try Sheepshead Bay

Posted by in All, Real Estate

Although the average rental in Brooklyn is considerably less than Manhattan’s sky-high prices, the range in Brooklyn is wide. Some people who might be thinking, based on Brooklyn’s overall average rent, that living in Brooklyn is still too costly, should consider some of the borough’s less expensive neighborhoods. There are three areas in Brooklyn where the average rental goes for under $2,000. That’s a bargain if you compare to Brooklyn’s most expensive area, DUMBO, where rents average out at over $5,500. Compare that to the Manhattan average of a bit more than $4,100 and Brooklyn’s average rent of almost $3,200. It kind of makes you want to know what horrible places have rentals for under $2,000. Well, it turns out these places are nice. In Sheepshead Bay, which is on the southernmost border of Brooklyn, just east of Brighton Beach and Coney Island, there is a charming, quiet, calm feel in the air. “It’s a tight-knit neighborhood that is relatively quiet compared to living in, say, Downtown Brooklyn,” says Jonathan Miller of Miller Samuel. “A key draw continues to be its location on the water and, thus, the area has been seeing more new development activity,” he added. The downside is that it takes about one hour to get to midtown Manhattan by the B and Q trains. The other two neighborhoods which have rentals for under $2,000 per month are Sunset Park and Flatbush. Not as cheap as Sheepshead Bay, and maybe not as charming, but a bit closer to Manhattan, and overall, nice places,...

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Eamon Rockey Helping Celebrate 333 Years of Gaggenau

Sep 25, 16 Eamon Rockey Helping Celebrate 333 Years of Gaggenau

Posted by in All, Business, Featured

New Yorkers looking for a great meal in a restaurant with a top-notch bar have discovered Betony. This high-end eatery offers a lot more than just exquisite food. General Manager Eamon Rockey, along with his team of mixologists, have taken the concept of restaurant bar to a whole new level. Until the advent of Rockey and his staff transformed Betony’s bar into an adventure in cocktails, the main purpose of a bar in a restaurant was to keep the customers happy until their tables were ready for them. Not so at Betony: here you find that many of your bar companions have come exclusively for the bar. And no wonder. The cocktails on hand, created by Eamon and his staff, are nothing if not fun. Original and amusing, wouldn’t you love to try a drink with the cognomen of Rifflin’ Dixie, The Socratic Oath, or Eat a Peach? The joy in creating these specialty drinks is shared by the bar tenders gladly with their customers. No question is too basic. On the contrary: the staff is ready to not only share their knowledge, but will pour samples of their creations, free, if you express even the slightest hint that you might want to have a taste of something you’ve never heard of before. The fun atmosphere, delicious drinks, and amazing food, which can also be ordered at the bar, is what keeps New Yorkers coming back. Eamon Rockey will be making an appearance at the exclusive pop-up Restaurant 1683 for two of the four days that Gaggenau will be celebrating its 333rd anniversary. From September 26 to 29, three Michelin star chef Daniel Humm, together with restaurateur Will Guidara, will be serving guests at a by-invitation-only sensory extravaganza. For those perhaps less foodie and clued in to the highest end of food production, Gaggenau is a German brand of food design and technology, whose history dates back to 1683.  On the program will be a multi-sensory experience which will present the history of Gaggenau...

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From Jimmy John Liautaud to Nathan Handwerker: A Visit to the Country’s Fast Food Chains

Sep 22, 16 From Jimmy John Liautaud to Nathan Handwerker: A Visit to the Country’s Fast Food Chains

Posted by in All, Business

Have you ever noticed how different regions in the United State have their own favorite quick service restaurants? Perhaps it has something to do with loyalty, and where that restaurant originated? For instance, in the Midwest one of the most popular and fast growing franchise chains is Jimmy John’s Sandwich shop. The popular quick service restaurant was founded by Jimmy John Liautaud in the Chicago area in 1983. During the past 33 the restaurant has been growing by leaps and bounds, and just recently signed a deal with private equity firm Roark Capital Group, majority owners of Arby’s, Carl Jrs and other chains that are just getting their feet wet on the East Coast. If you are a New Yorker you are most likely stuck on places like T.G.I. Friday’s. Did you know that the original restaurant of this national chain was located on 1152 First Avenue in Manhattan? Alan Stillman founded Fridays in 1965. Stillman opened up the bar/restaurant with $5,000 of his own money and an additional $5,000 his mother lent him. Franchising of the brand began only two years after the Manhattan location opened, the first store opening in Memphis Tennessee. Yet, through all the changes the restaurant has undergone in the over 60 years since its birth, TGI Friday’s is still a favorite of New Yorkers. As a Brooklynite from Brighton Beach, I must add that my personal favorite is of course Nathan’s Famous. To describe the origins of this iconic hot dog mega chain one must reach back to the very beginnings of the 20th century. In 1916 Polish-Jewish immigrant Nathan Handwerker took his entire life savings of $300 and opened a hot dog stand in Coney Island. The hot dogs, based on his wife Ida’s recipe, sold like “hot dogs” and it wasn’t long before his Surf Avenue store became a destination for fast food on a big scale. The original store is still there, with very little difference in appearance since it first opened. Today Nathan’s has...

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