It’s November in New York and that means three things: Q3 Market Updates are out, holiday shopping begins, and it’s time for a feast of food. New York City is a special place to be during the holiday season, and it’s an even more special place to own a home. The market has shifted considerably over the last few years – with a mad rush to buy turning into flat and then declining numbers in the last ~2 years. The market is strong for buyers, a great shift for those who are looking to buy or upgrade, and important information for sellers to keep in mind. Here are the numbers:

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Eco-Friendly Holiday Shopping in Honolulu

Because living on an island challenges Hawai‛i residents to live in harmony with the environment, I’ve grouped together some eco-friendly places that locals love to shop for the holidays. I’ve also included some online shopping venues, because shopping online saves gas, time, and the stress of long lines. And everybody loves that!

Eco-Friendly Shops

Roberta Oaks  19 North Pauahi Street, Honolulu 96817, (808) 526-1111

Also in Chinatown, this is the spot where hip locals buy their modern fitting Aloha Shirts and vintage-inspired dresses. Roberta Oaks is a Missouri native whose artistic roots bloomed from her farmhouse childhood and hippie parents. The Roberta Oaks brand evokes memories of the ‘60’s. Clothing is handmade in Honolulu, and the Aloha Shirts are created in small batches which has made them collectors’ items. The shop carries brands like Angel Court, Herbivore Botanicals, Stone & Cloth, Threads & Stones, Topo Designs, Will Leather Goods, and locally crafted jewelry and body products.

WIMINI  326 Kuulei Road, Kailua 96734, (808) 462-6338

Started in 2007 by Mari and Yutaka Chino, the shop is filled with hand-printed shirts for babies, kids and adults. They also have home décor, jewelry, and other types of apparel. Yutaka is a Tokyo-born graphic designer who moved to Hawai’i in 1992. WIMINI uses water-based inks that are safe for humans and the environment. The inks are also re-cleansed with water to make the prints feel softer. Amazingly, WIMINI uses sunlight instead of electrical exposure units to expose the screens, since the sun shines for most of the year in Hawai’i. The t-shirts are made in a small garment factory in Los Angeles, and they are individually hand printed in the company’s tiny factory in Hawai‛i.

Mu‛umu‛u Heaven  326 Kuulei Road #2, Kailua 96734, (808) 366-2260

Deb Mascia founded Mu‛umu‛u Heaven in 2005 with the desire to recycle vintage island-wear into new quality products. She describes her brand as ‘earth-loving, vintage-loving, …ocean-loving.’ She transforms vintage Hawaiian apparel into one-of-a-kind eco-friendly pieces and easy-to-wear pieces. The vintage fabric is also used to bring to life new pillows and home décor items.

Lily Lotus Boutique  3632 Waialae Avenue, Honolulu 96816, (808) 277-1724

Lily Lotus embodies eco-friendly clothing for a mindful lifestyle. The shop includes organic and eco-friendly yogawear, fitness and active apparel along with home décor, artwork, stationery, crystals and jewelry. The sustainable fabrics don’t hold wrinkles and they wear and pack nicely.

Owens & Co.  1152 Nuuanu Avenue, Honolulu 96817, (808) 531-4300

Nestled in the historic Arts District of Honolulu’s Chinatown, Owens & Co. has been serving up uniquely curated home accessories and gifts since 2011. They carry exclusive clothing lines, handmade soaps, boxed stationery, home accessories, rare gifts from across the globe, jewelry, greeting cards, fragrances, kitchenware, and gifts for children and pets.

Online Shopping Ideas

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Courtesy Hawaiian Aroma Caffe

Hawaiian Aroma Caffe

Hawaiian Aroma Caffe has a string of high-quality cafes in Waikiki. Their eco-friendly business practices include a photovoltaic-paneled 17,000 square foot roasting facility in West O‛ahu, and a fleet of hybrid-powered company vehicles. Check out their website for the café nearest you, because you’ll enjoy watching their talented baristas and latte art. Order their premium island coffees for direct-shipping to your recipient’s home.

 

Waikiki Xmas Ornament
Waikiki Christmas Ornament Courtesy Maui by Design

Maui by Design

If you know a Christmas ornament collector, check out these hand painted Christmas ornament inspired by the sights and sounds of Hawai‛i. It’s mailed directly to your recipient’s home and they have 50 scenes to choose from to remind you of Hawai‛i every Christmas.

Whether you’re in the market for a small or large gift, locals and visitors will thank you for shopping sustainably.

Image Header by Kari Shea on Unsplash.

Fall 2018 Food and Drink Events in NYC

With the weather consistently around 50 – 60 degrees and the sun setting around 6:00 pm, it seems that fall is in full force in New York City. Plenty of us are looking for ways to get out and enjoy this nearly-perfect season before it begins to get too cold to leave our apartments. Luckily, NYC offers a lot of food and drink events this time of year. From festivals to bar crawls to markets, here are the ones you should take advantage of this season.

Food Loves Tech
Friday, November 2nd-Saturday, November 3rd, 10am-4pm
274 6th St, Brooklyn
Located in Industry City, Brooklyn, this two-day event offers a taste of the future. Now in its third year, the expo aims to educate attendees on how technology shapes the way we eat and the things we eat. With almost 100 vendors lined up, you’ll get a chance to try new ingredients, taste sustainably grown foods, and devour simply created confections. An up-and-comer in the food scene, this is one expo you won’t want to miss!

New York Cider Week
Friday, November 2nd-Sunday, November 11th
Various Locations
Begun in 2010, New York Cider Week started as an opportunity to connect Hudson Valley growers with NYC restaurants, bars and vendors. Today, it’s a week-long affair with events all around the city. Some of the tastings are free, others are pay as you go, and some have a set price tag that allows you all the cider you can drink. One of the biggest events of the week is the Lower East Cider Fest on November 8th, but you can see an entire list of tastings, parties and trivia nights here.

Eat Up Tokyo 2018
Thursday, November 8th, 6-9pm
NYC Event Spaces, 4 W 43rd St, New York
A rare opportunity to experience the best cuisine of Tokyo in the heart of New York City, Eat up Tokyo is an exclusive fall food opportunity. Open to only 250 attendees, the event is free to attend. Anyone looking to try handmade sushi, dishes inspired by Tokyo landmarks or delicious sake pairings needs to RSVP by October 31st. However, RSVP-ing doesn’t guarantee entry. Those who have won the golden tickets will be notified in the following days, the rest of us can follow the fun on Instagram and hope for better luck next year.

New York City Whiskey Fest
Saturday, November 10th, 2-5pm or 6:30-9:30pm
The Tunnel, 269 11th Avenue, New York
Featuring over 100 styles of Whiskey (and other spirits) this is the ultimate festival for those who love a good pour. From hard-to-find Japanese whiskeys to the best home-grown Kentucky bourbons, there’s sure to be at least one type of liquor that tickles your fancy. General admission tickets start at $60, but there’s an all you can drink limit.

Brooklyn Crush: Fall Edition
Saturday, November 10th, 2-5pm or 7-10pm
The Landing (220 36th St, Industry City, Brooklyn)
If wine is more your speed, there’s another great event happening on November 10th. Thrillist has called it “one of the things you have to do in NYC,” and the wine and artisanal food festival shouldn’t be missed. Wines come from both NY state wineries and leading wineries all over the world. There will also be dozens of food vendors, and all attendees will go home with their own keepsake tasting glasses.

18th Century Tavern Night
Friday, November 16th-Saturday, November 17th, 8-11pm
Queens County Farm Museum, 73-50 Little Neck Pkwy, Floral Park
If you’ve ever wondered what dining was like during the 18th century, add this event to your calendar. Attendees will partake in an authentic 18th-century meal, prepared over an open hearth, using traditional recipes and served on period tableware. Seating is limited, so reservations are required. History buffs welcome!

The Brooklyn Chocolate Fest
Sunday, November 18th, 10am-5pm
Aviator Sports & Event Center, 3159 Flatbush Ave, Brooklyn
The ultimate food fest for those with a sweet tooth, the Brooklyn Chocolate Fest features every kind of chocolate under the sun. Attendees can sample everything from chocolate covered bacon to vegan desserts to the “best brownies in Brooklyn.” Family friendly, the festival also features the Hot Chocolate Dancers, a chocolate fountain, and an eating contest. There’s a whole host of vendors lined up, and it’s happening just in time to stock up on original holiday gifts.

Brooklyn Chili Takedown 2018
Sunday, November 18th, 5:30-7:30
Murmrr Ballroom, 17 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn
The first takedown was in the winter of 2003, in a little Brooklyn apartment. Today, the franchise has grown immensely and there are dozens of takedowns a year. This year’s chili takedown is happening in mid-November in the heart of Brooklyn. Amateur, self-taught chefs bring their best recipes and compete for prize money and glory. Attendees get to sample the offerings and cast their own votes. New takedowns spring up all the time, so if you love this kind of event be sure to keep an eye on their website!

Union Square Holiday Market
Thursday, November 15-Monday, December 24th, 11am-8pm
Union Square Park
Holiday markets are some of the most anticipated fall and winter events in the city. While they aren’t solely food and drink, these unique shopping experiences offer dozens of locally made original food and drink options. Bring the whole family, try some tasty new treats and get a little holiday shopping done all at the same time.

Columbus Circle Holiday Market
Friday, November 28th-Monday, December 24th, 10am-8pm
Columbus Circle
Much like the one at Union Square, this holiday market brings together some of the best and most original dining options in the city. With 15 food vendors lined up, those who stop by can find everything from chicken and waffles, to bao, to churros. If you’re looking for a warm drink in the cooler weather, there are hot chocolate, apple cider, and hot toddy options galore.

The 10th Annual Latke Festival
Monday, December 3rd, 6-8:30pm
The Brooklyn Museum, 200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn
Located on the stunning plazas surrounding the Brooklyn Museum, the 10th Annual Latke Festival celebrates the best and most creative potato pancakes in the city. Tickets to the event get you unlimited latke tastings, as well as beer, wine, cocktails and non-alcoholic beverages. Last year 19 vendors brought dozens of latke variations, and while the official list of 2018 vendors has yet to be released, we’re sure it will be incredible.

Bar Car Nights
Various dates in November & December, 7-10:30pm
New York Botanical Gardens, Holiday Train Show, 2900 Southern Boulevard, Bronx
On almost a dozen nights over November and December, city residents can trek up to the Bronx for a magical drink experience. Exclusively for those 21 and up, revelers can buy a drink from one of the seasonal themed bars and then set out to explore the gardens. There are fire pits to warm up next to, ice sculpting demonstrations, plenty of live music, and much smaller crowds than normal operating hours. Parts of the event are outside, so be sure to dress warm!

 

Header image by Eaters Collective on Unsplash.

Eco-Friendly Holiday Shopping in New York City

NYC is a haven for innovators, and artisans inspired by climate change have stitched together more than one way to make fashion and home products eco-friendly. This sustainable shopping safari will guide you from the Upper West Side all the way down to Brooklyn. If you get hungry, stop by your closest Sweetgreen, a NYC salad chain that uses compostable serverware and local veggie sources.

Alternative Apparel
281 Lafayette St, New York NY 10012
Using organic and recycled materials, Alternative Apparel makes everything from t-shirts to coats for men, women, and children. And duffle bags. And boxer briefs. And skirt shorts. With fun names for their clothing like “Keeper” and “Boss,” they’re open about their favorite bestsellers and the brands they trust for going green.

Fjall Raven
262 Mott St, New York NY 10012
Fjall Raven uses sustainably sourced wool/down materials in its outdoor clothing line, ensuring both you and the planet are ready for whatever’s coming next. Clothing here is for the adventurer, with trekking tights designed for rough terrain and damp ground. Right now their fall line is in, and that means some seriously soft flannel could be coming home for Christmas.

Boody
163 1st Avenue, New York NY 10003
Boody Wear is a pioneer in a durable, sustainable, bamboo-based fabric called bamboo viscose. With it they produce soft undergarments including bras, leggings, socks, and boxers. Know a new mom or dad? Boody makes luxury onesies, and has a baby beanie/bootie set in pink, blue, and white. They also offer free delivery.

Magpie
488 Amsterdam Ave, New York NY 10024
If you’re hunting for eco-friendly gifts for your family (or yourself), Magpie in the Upper West Side has everything from Alpaca blankets to a vintage bark cloth clutch (try saying that three times fast). They also stock stationery, jewelry, and organic soaps. The store has such a sharp eye for design you will find it surprisingly difficult to choose between the handwoven cotton napkins for anyone with a dining table, and the notebook necklace for the writer in your life.

Baggu
242 Wythe Ave., No. 4, Brooklyn NY 11249
What’s an eco-tour of NYC without a dip into Williamsburg, the headquarters of all things new, hip, and green? The now famous Baggu started as a mother-daughter shop, crafting purses and totes from canvas, nylon, and washed denim. They sell everything from reusable bags to eco-friendly wallets, but if you’re going shopping be sure to start with their signature shaped totes in dark denim.

Cap Beauty
238 W. Tenth St., New York NY 10014
If shopping for a woman, check out the 100% natural products at Cap Beauty. Bath salts, make up, and body scrubbers are here, in addition to hair strengtheners, stylers, and shimmers made of eucalyptus and lavender. This is one location you won’t have to work hard to find – just follow your nose.

Green
432 Myrtle Ave, Brooklyn NY 11205
Maybe you don’t want to buy someone eco-friendly clothes and souvenirs, but rather get them household goods that are good for the planet. Green in Brooklyn has you covered. They stock household essentials that don’t drain the planet. Everything from kids products to cleaning supplies, blankets to laundry detergents, this shop stocks items that are organic, biodegradable, and fair trade.

Header photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels.

A Brief History Of New York City Subway Performers

Performers and musicians are as fundamental to the character of the New York City subway as train delays. And yet, the issue of subway and even street performances has been highly contested in the city for decades. In fact, in the 1930s, New York Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia referred to these musicians as “beggars” and banned all street performance. But, according to Susie Tanenbaum of the The Street Performers Advocacy Project and City Lore, from as far back as the 1940s, rebels like folk singer Woody Guthrie would defiantly buck the rules and play music on city streets and subway tracks.

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Photo by Florian Schneider on Unsplash

After 1970, street performance was legalized but subway performances remained illegal. As a result, several musicians who broke that law were summoned to court for supposedly posing a safety threat to riders. These musicians defended their performances as a first amendment right. In a critical decisions in 1985, the courts ruled that performers’ first amendment rights outweigh any “safety interest.” The issue heated up again in 1989, when the Transit Authority proposed a ban on music on subway platforms. Performers, lawyers and politicians all flocked to public hearings to oppose the ban. As a result, the Transit Authority banned amplified music on platforms, but allowed acoustic music. By 1990, a court declared the subway platform a place for “musical expression” and since then, the city’s train tracks have been a place where you can hear any kind of music, any time of day.

And if you’ve ever stopped in amazement at how wonderful a subway performer is, then you probably have experienced the joy spread by the MTA’s Music Under New York (MTA MUSIC, also known as MUNY) program. Beginning as a pilot program in 1985, MUNY, managed by the MTA’s Arts & Design unit, has managed offering more than 7,500 performances every year by over 350 soloists and groups at 30 prime locations in the transit system.

To join the elite ranks of MUNY, musicians must make it through a cutthroat competition process, impressing both a group of professional judges and everyday commuters to qualify. For instance, this past year, 309 applicants competed for just 25 spots. The resulting repertoire of underground subway musicians is incredibly varied from Cajun cellists to Latin guitarists to opera singers to Classical violinists. Many are professionally trained.

The system goes like this: MUNY musicians request certain performance locations. Every two weeks, they receive a schedule, or “permit” which offers them priority positions at some of the more popular train stops. (Areas like the Grand Central Terminal’s lower level and Penn Station’s Long Island Rail Road waiting area are reserved exclusively for MUNY performers.) MUNY members are allowed to sell CDS in commuter railroad terminals, but only there.

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Photo: Metropolitan Transportation Authority / Patrick Cashin

What if you’re not selected to enter the ranks of the MUNY musicians? You can still legally perform on the subway. Acoustic music can be played on platforms, while acoustic or amplified music can be played on mezzanines. There are also a number of highly-specific requirements: musicians are not allowed to play during public service announcements and must be positioned at least 25 feet from a token booth. But beyond that, the sky’s the limit, and subway street performers continue to surprise and delight New Yorkers on their morning commutes.

Header photo by Hans Vivek on Unsplash.

 

 

5 Hiking Spots on O’ahu

One of the great things about being on O‛ahu is that, despite the crowds in downtown Honolulu and the traffic snarls daily, just 5 or 10 minutes outside of town you’ll feel like you’re in a remote area far away from civilization. And there’s nothing quite like standing on a mountaintop or hill and looking out over a view of O‛ahu that few people ever experience. There are so many hiking trails on O‛ahu that it’s impossible to list them all, so here are 5 of the easiest hikes you can try that will take you to diverse corners of the island.

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Photo: State of Hawai’i Dept of Land & Natural Resources

Kaena Point
Length: 4-5 miles
Time: Varies
This coastal hike takes you to the westernmost tip of O‛ahu. You’ll hike along the coast where you can explore tidepools even though the terrain is a little desolate. It’s hot and windy, and you sometimes feel as if there isn’t another person on earth. You can approach Kaena Point from the south or the north, but be sure you have enough daylight to finish the hike before you start, because it gets pitch black after the sun sets.


 

Koko-Crater-Arch-Oahu-Hawaii
Photo: OnlyInHawaii.org 

Koko Crater Arch
Length: 1-2 miles
Time: 0-1 hr
This short ridge hike will take you to a natural arch on the side of Koko Crater. The trail isn’t always well-defined on the way to the arch, but you’ll know where you’re heading. The hike is steep in areas, and if you choose to walk up the arch you’ll definitely need hiking shoes with good grip. You’re likely to get amazing photos and the view is unforgettable.


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Photo: Hawaiian Scribe

Kuliouou Ridge Trail
Length: 5 miles round trip from trailhead in Hawai‛i Kai
Time: 3-4 hrs
The thought of the awe-inspiring views you’ll get at the peak should keep you pushing forward on this ridge hike. You’ll trudge over several layers of scene-changing forests amid tall grasses, but there are many plateau areas where you can rest a bit and catch your breath. After traveling over a series of switchbacks on the hillside, it’s a straight climb to the top and that unforgettable view of East O‛ahu.

view from Lanikai Pillboxes
Photo courtesy of Shaka Guide

Lanikai Pillboxes
Length: 2-3 miles
Time: 1-2 hrs
This ridge hike is one of the most popular with locals, and not too strenuous. Within a few minutes of starting the hike, you can look back and get a view of the Kailua area and the Mokulua Islands, those two small islets offshore. The two pillboxes that you’re climbing towards are remnants from World War II. One of the best things about this hike is that it’s short enough for you to stay on the ridge until the skies start turning orange at sunset, and still get back down before dark.

Waimano Falls group swimming

Photo courtesy of David Chatsuthiphan, Unreal Hawai’i 

Waimano Falls and Pools
Length: 1-2 miles
Time: 1-2 hrs
This waterfall hike is best after Honolulu’s gotten a good rain. You start at the Manana Trail, and then it’s about an hour to get to the Falls. First you hike up through shaded forests, then you hike down to get to Waimano Falls. This is often a fun group hike, because if the Falls are gushing, everybody can swim in the pools.

Good to know before you go:

  • Hiking in Hawai‛i is not only beautiful but is also safe: you likely won’t find poisonous bugs, predators, or snakes larger than an earthworm. There are wild boars and goats at high elevations, but they stay away from humans.
  • It’s best not to wear running shoes while you hike in the islands. Light hiking shoes are better because they have more traction. Mountaintops here get a lot of rain and can be slippery.
  • Be sure you have enough water and carry a light snack to keep your energy levels high; dried mangos are a great option you can find at any local grocery store.

Header image by Brocken Inaglory on Wikimedia.

41 West 72nd Street #7H

Offered at $1,195,000, this beautifully renovated large one bedroom is bright and spacious with a well-configured layout, all on a prime Upper West Side block. This unit has been completely gut renovated to the highest standards and offers solid oak floors, a kitchen outfitted with custom cabinetry, stainless steel appliances, marble countertops, solid wood doors throughout, and a brand new marble bathroom.

Apartment 7H exemplifies luxury living; the apartment comes complete with a renovated and windowed open kitchen, featuring stainless steel Bosch appliances as well as a Sub-Zero refrigerator. This unit offers abundant closet space, a Bosch washer/dryer in unit and a large sun-filled bedroom with an oversized closet.

The Hermitage, one of the few charming pre-war condominiums located on the Upper West Side, is located on an ideal block between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue. Building amenities include 24-hour doorman, a laundry room,  and bike storage. It’s located in close proximity to Lincoln Center, the shops of Columbus Avenue, world-renowned restaurants, and transportation. The Hermitage is a pet friendly building and offers a warm and welcoming environment.

For more information call me at 917.854.5069. View full details about the home by clicking here.

The three most telling indicators about the strength of Honolulu’s real estate market are: 1) steadily rising average and median home prices; 2) an absorption rate under 3 months; and 3) 810 Honolulu home sales closed last month, and single family homes received 99.1% of asking price while condos received 98.6% of asking price. It’s a great time to sell if you’re looking to upgrade, and it’s a great time to buy because prices continue to rise.  Continue reading