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Life and Art in Rockland County

Rockland County might be the smallest county by area in New York State outside of the five counties that comprise New York City, but when it comes to art, we are home to some of the finest talent anywhere in the country.

Sean-Scully_Front-Small2I recently was made aware of just how gifted this area is when I had the pleasure of attending an event featuring the renowned artist and Palisades, New York, resident Sean Scully. “Sean Scully in Conversation with Ken Carbone” was held on Oct. 11 as part of the award-winning Palisades People Sunday Symposia series, presented by the Palisades Free Library.

The event was the library’s 27th, and our very own Marjorie Galen helped organize it. Past honorees include author Toni Morrison and ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov, both Rockland County residents.

It was an honor to see Mr. Scully, one of the world’s leading abstract painters, who I first met when I sold him his home in the area almost three years ago. He is the recipient of the Guggenheim fellowship and a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship and twice was nominated for the Turner Prize. His work has been exhibited in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim Museum, the National Gallery of Art and the Tate Modern.

Sean Scully

For those who live here, it is no surprise that Mr. Scully and many other notable artists– including Edward Hopper, Jasper Johns, Henry Varnum Poor and Jasper Cropsey– chose to make a home in Rockland County. Peaceful and bucolic, the county undoubtedly is an inspiration for their work. Thanks to my affiliation with the Sotheby’s International Realty® brand, art is part of the air my agents and I breathe. While that relationship keeps us connected with the art world on a global basis, we enjoy deepening our connections with our local art community. Here are some of my favorite local organizations dedicated to Rockland County art:

  • The Arts Council of Rockland: This nonprofit institution provides grant opportunities, technical assistance and information to artists and arts organizations.
  • The Edward Hopper House Art Center: Located in Nyack (next door to my office), this is the birthplace of renowned American artist Edward Hopper. Since 1971, the Edward Hopper House has been a nonprofit art center. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
  • ARTSROCK: This nonprofit organization’s mission is to provide increased access to professional arts and multicultural programs for an underserved, diverse audience, in and around Rockland County.
  • The Art Students League of New York- League Residency at Vyt: Founded in 1875 by artists, the Art Students League of New York has been instrumental in shaping America’s legacy in the fine arts. Many renowned artists have honed their skills at this institution, which is dedicated to sustaining the great tradition of training artists. Today, more than 2,500 students of all ages, backgrounds and skill levels, study at the League each month.
  • Rockland Center for the Arts: This multiarts center is dedicated to creating and promoting art through its School for The Arts, exhibitions, workshops, literary and performing-arts events, Summer Arts Day Camp and outreach programs.


I encourage you to learn more about these fine organizations, and if you are able, offer your support. To learn more about the arts in Rockland County, click here.


Ellis Sotheby’s International Realty Event Supports Nyack’s Homeless

Ellis Sotheby’s International Realty today announced it raised nearly $5,000 for the Nyack Homeless Project at a recent open house held for the organization.

A main attraction for the Nov. 14 event was the venue itself, The Whitney House in the Snedens Landing community of Palisades, New York, where actress Angelina Jolie spent part of her childhood.


Eugene Kohn, center, owner of The Whitney House in the Snedens Landing community of Palisades, New York, gives a tour to Jane Pauley and her husband , Garry Trudeau, during a Nov. 14 open house sponsored by Ellis Sotheby’s International Realty that served as a fundraiser for the Nyack Homeless Project.

“We are so proud to be able to make a meaningful donation to such a well-deserving organization that does so much to help our community, especially at this time of year,” said Richard Ellis, the property’s co-listing agent and owner of Ellis Sotheby’s International Realty.  “We believe it is so important to give back to our beautiful community, which gives so much to us.”

More than 40 guests enjoyed a menu prepared by Chef Peter Kelly of Xavier’s at Piermont, New York, and a presentation on mid-century architecture by Nicolai Ouroussoff, former architecture critic for The New York Times.

The evening concluded with a performance by Maestro Eugene Kohn, the home’s owner and renowned conductor, who accompanied acclaimed tenor Nelson Ebo.


Nelson Ebo, right, sang operatic tributes in Italian, Russian and English, accompanied by Kohn on the piano. The event raised nearly $5,000 for the Nyack Homeless Project.

Donations for the Nyack Homeless Project were collected throughout the evening, and a silent auction contributed to the total raised.

“The Nyack Homeless Project, a grassroots, nonsectarian, nonprofit volunteer organization, this year will directly donate to over 30 organizations, shelters and pantries in Rockland County that will benefit men, women, teens, families, children and infants,” said Litany Burns, the organization’s cofounder and director.

“We thank Rich Ellis and Brandon Wagner of Ellis Sotheby’s International Realty as well as everyone who attended the open house last weekend for their generous donations on behalf of so many adults lacking winter coats and toiletries, parents in need of food for families, pre-school children and teens without warm hats and gloves, and soup kitchens in short supply,” she said.

26 Woods Road, Snedens Landing

26 Woods Road, Snedens Landing

The four-bedroom, three-and-a-half bath Whitney House currently is listed for $2.049 million through Ellis and co-listing agent Brandon Wagner.  For more information on the Nyack Homeless Project, visit www.nyackhp.org.


Snedens Landing: Home to Your Future Star

Old-fashioned Americana is alive and well in one of the country’s best-kept secrets: New York’s Snedens Landing. Walking through the small hamlet, you will find a Norman Rockwell painting come to life, with children riding their bikes and families, friends and their dogs going for walks together down to the Hudson River.

26 Woods Road, Snedens Landing

26 Woods Road, Snedens Landing

It is in this bucolic slice of life that celebrities, creative types and business people at the top of their field have gravitated, as they look for a place to raise their families. Offering privilege and privacy, the area has just one road in and out and has bred many of today’s stars including Angelina Jolie, whose childhood home is currently for sale through our firm, and Hayden Panettiere, whose home also is available.

129 Washington Spring Road, Snedens Landing

129 Washington Spring Road, Snedens Landing

Many widely known actors of stage and screen also have chosen to raise their children here, including William Hurt, Bill Murray, Lorraine Bracco and many others.

What is so compelling about Snedens Landing? According to a recent article in The New York Times, “…with its outgoing, sometimes eccentric residents, artists and celebrities among them, the quiet would be a welcome change from the busy anonymity of city life.” Many residents live in New York City and utilize their home in Snedens as a respite from the sensory overload of city life.

Indeed, Snedens Landing, part of Palisades, has no mayor nor official legislatives, but it does have its own library and Zip Code and is almost entirely residential. And its residences run the gamut from 18th-century Dutch farmhouses to 19th-century farmhouses, Victorians and estates to 1950s post modern contemporaries and newer style homes.

64 Ludlow Lane, Snedens Landing

64 Ludlow Lane, Snedens Landing

For those interested in the geographical specifics, Snedens Landing is located within the eastern portion of Palisades, between U.S. Route 9W and the Hudson River. It also has a registered historic district along Washington Springs Road and another known as the Closter Road – Oak Tree Road adjoining Snedens Landing in Palisades.

40 Lawrence Lane, Snedens Landing

40 Lawrence Lane, Snedens Landing

For those looking to raise their future star or just want the quiet respite, we have many fine properties currently available, from the $4.8 million property known as Seven Oaks, the oldest estate property in Snedens Landing, and now on the market for the first time in 38 years, to the “Cliff House,” a romantic mid-century home on 2 private acres overlooking the Hudson River for $2,995,000.