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Haunted House: The Legend of 1 La Veta Place, Nyack

Every Halloween you can be sure to see costumed children collecting candy and carved pumpkins adorning windows- but if you live in Nyack you are guaranteed to also hear about the legend of 1 La Veta Place, which was deemed a legally haunted house in 1991 by the New York Supreme Court.

1 La Veta Place, Nyack

1 La Veta Place, Nyack

Over more than two decades I have had the opportunity to represent it for sale twice, and have an insider’s view of what has affectionately become known as the “Ghostbusters House.”

Take a step back in time to the late 1980s, and I was at the start of my career as a real estate broker. I was asked to represent 1 La Veta Place, a late 1800s house that had been on the market for a couple of years with another brokerage. The owner, Mrs. Ackley, was very proud of her house, but insisted she wasn’t the only inhabitant.  She described two women in hoop dresses and a little man in a Revolutionary War era red coat that also would visit.  The only catch is they were not living. This fact didn’t seem to disturb Mrs. Ackley, but I remember I would often get nervous going down to the very large, dark basement to put on whatever few lights there were!

After about a year a buyer was interested and put a deposit down. Right before it closed, the seller asked us to advise the buyers of the ghost visitors, which we did. They still wanted to proceed and jokingly said they would call the “ghostbusters in,” referring to the popular movie of the time.

Two weeks after contracts were signed, however, the buyers had a change of heart, and the rest as they say, is history.  The case went to court, and while my firm and I were released from the case, the owner/seller was held liable.  Ultimately the case settled out of court, but along the way the New York Supreme Court ruled the home legally haunted.

New York News Day, 1991

New York News Day, 1991

As a result, New York State real estate license law changed for a brief time, requiring the broker to have to automatically disclose if a home owner said they had a ghost. Since then the home has gone down in pop culture history, with media from all over covering the story.

When the home went back on the market, I showed it to several clients and one would tell stories of feeling something brush against him in the hallway. Eventually the home sold for about the same price as it would have sold the first time.

Fast forward to about 2012, the third owner after Mrs. Ackley called us to list the home for sale. While the owners didn’t mention the ghosts, the first day I had a showing there, I had my own supernatural experience. As I went around the house putting the lights on, the door bell rang as I made my way to the Tower Room on the top floor.  The clients had just arrived to view the home. As I put the last light on a light bulb burst and a small fire started.  The flame grew larger and a nearby shade caught fire before I could put it out.

Was it a ghost I encountered that day? Did they object to the house changing hands again?  Many in the psychic world say there is no such thing as coincidence.  Perhaps the activity at 1 La Veta Place was simply an old soul wanting me to know they were still there. We will never know for sure… one thing is certain, however, the next time you hear a creek in the floor or a voice in the night, just keep moving forward and don’t look back.  Happy Halloween!!!

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Ellis Sotheby’s International Realty and Edward Hopper House Raise $21,300 for Local Arts Education

elllis_hopper_house_benefit_101516_9769Ellis Sotheby’s International Realty and Edward Hopper House raised $21,300 during a recent event to support arts education in local schools and the Edward Hopper House in Nyack.

The Oct. 15 benefit drew 145 attendees and featured an online and live auction of several items, notably the opportunity to spend a night in Edward Hopper’s bedroom as reimagined by Architectural Digest’s featured designer Ernest de la Torre and architect Walter Cain, with dinner and breakfast for two included. While new bedding was used, Hopper’s original headboard and frame were placed in the room, as were one of his easels and three distinct settings derived directly from Hopper’s work.

The event’s Auction for a Cause will benefit arts education in Hudson Valley public schools. Guest speakers included Richard Kendall, art historian and former curator at the Clark Art Institute, and Randy Williams, Manhattanville College professor and artist. The live auction was conducted by special guest magician and auctioneer Benjamin Levy, whose many accomplishments include performing at President Obama’s 50th birthday celebration.

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Guests bid on the opportunity to attend a Nov. 20 brunch reception for 10 guests celebrating the American Art sale at Sotheby’s Auction House in New York that will feature a specialist-led tour of the exhibition. Attendees also heard from two local art students who spoke about their work and what art has meant in their lives. A silent auction featured several works of art from local artists as well as a guided tour of homes and sites painted by Edward Hopper.

“I’m very happy with the results of our benefit to raise funds and awareness to provide art education in public schools and support the Edward Hopper House,” said Richard Ellis, owner of Ellis Sotheby’s International Realty. “It was a holistic experience, as we accomplished our mission and created a synergy between our agents and agents from the Sotheby’s International Realty Manhattan Brokerage and the Hopper House staff.

“Working for the same meaningful cause builds trust and relationships. The most touching moment was hearing a local high school student speak about how art classes helped him build confidence, friendships and self-esteem. This truly reinforces the importance of our mission. We hope to make this event an annual benefit to build awareness and support for children and teenagers and their arts education needs.”

401 North Broadway Upper Nyack, New York | $3,495,000

401 North Broadway Upper Nyack, New York | $3,495,000

The fundraiser was held at Glen Iris on the Hudson River, home of New York Supreme Court Judge Arthur S. Tompkins during the first half of the last century and, later, Norman Rose, the late actor best known as the voice of fictitious coffee grower Juan Valdez in Colombian coffee television commercials. The 8,200 square foot, move-in-ready home currently is listed with Ellis Sotheby’s International Realty for $3.495 million.

“This event single-handedly will enable us to start arts education partnerships in Nyack and the surrounding public schools,” said Jennifer Patton EdD, executive director of Edward Hopper House. “Thanks to the monies raised at this event, we can begin using Edward Hopper-based curriculum in these schools. We also will be able to use studio space in the Edward Hopper House for hands-on projects when students visit. It is business and nonprofit partnerships like this that make the most tremendous difference in a community. Now we can meet the needs of classroom and art teachers, integrating art to create interdisciplinary curriculum.”

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Snedens Landing: Then and Now

 

Once upon a time, for artists and celebrities already maintaining a residence in New York City but looking to purchase an additional property near the hustle and bustle of the city, they chose either Snedens Landing in Palisades or South Mountain Road in New City.  The virtues of both enclaves have been extolled as far back as the 1900s.  In fact, I recently came across an article on the topic from July 1952 for Park East magazine. In author Pamela Whittaker’s descriptions of both markets it is evident that as much as things change, they also stay the same.  In fact, the article and its descriptions of the lifestyles could have been written today.

In this two-part series we will look at Snedens Landing and South Mountain Road and compare the nuances of each area’s lifestyle and how they have changed over the years.

Life in Snedens Landing

Seven Oaks

Seven Oaks is one of the oldest estate properties in Snedens Landing and on the market for the first time in 38 years for $4.8 million.

Today, Snedens Landing is many things to many different types of people including a retreat for the artistic.  As Bloomberg recently noted:  “Hollywood and Broadway elites from Laurence Olivier to Ethel Barrymore set up residence here, and celebrities have been coming, and going, ever since….Full of winding roads and dead-end streets, Snedens is the kind of place where the homes have names ….There is little more in the way of commerce than a library and a post office, and much of the area falls within historic districts, with several homes on the National Register of Historic Places. The draw is the seclusion and natural beauty, and the prize is the Hudson and woodsy land around.”

Snedens also offers a community center with farmers market and a great local food market and cafe just outside the residential area on Route 9w. And as we looked at in a recent blog, Snedens Landing also has been the childhood home to many a future star.

In reading Pamela Whittaker’s description from 1952, it is amazing how much has stayed the same.  She paints a picture of an area whose beauty and serenity – and its privacy- appealed to artists.  “Snedens’ hours are haphazard…What commuting there is generally has no precise schedule, and for that reason is by car rather than by bus or train.”  This is very much still the case, as Snedens remains accessible mainly by bus or car, which just adds to its air of privacy and mystique.

Cliff House is a romantic and private Hudson Riverfront home in Snedens Landing, currently on the market for $2.495 million

Cliff House is a romantic and private Hudson Riverfront home in Snedens Landing, currently on the market for $2.495 million.

An interesting change Ms. Whittaker noted at the time was that Snedens began as a more communal area, “young families pooled food and money to get by, and gave each other frequent and lavish parties…” By the time she wrote the article in 1952, she noted many residents were more involved in their careers and parties were less frequent.  I think she would be interested to see that in present day Snedens has come almost full circle, with that spirit of community distinctly in the air.

In part two of our blog series on Snedens Landing and South Mountain Road we will look at how life on South Mountain Road has evolved over the years.

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Fundraiser for Arts Education & Edward Hopper House

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Ellis Sotheby’s International Realty and Edward Hopper House today announced they will host a fundraiser Oct. 15 to benefit arts education in local schools and at the Edward Hopper House in Nyack, New York.

The event will feature an online and live auction of several items, notably the opportunity to spend a night in Edward Hopper’s bedroom as reimagined by Architectural Digest featured designer Ernest de la Torre and architect Walter Cain, with dinner and breakfast for two included. Hopper is widely acknowledged as the most important realist painter of twentieth-century America.

hopper-house-designers

Guests will be invited to bid on the opportunity to attend a Nov. 20 brunch reception celebrating the American Art sale at the Sotheby’s Auction House in New York. The winner may bring up to 10 guests. There will be a specialist-led tour of the exhibition and they will be able to explore the Sotheby’s Worldwide Headquarters in New York, with auctions of 19th Century Paintings and Latin America: Modern and Contemporary Art also on view.

The event also will feature an Auction for a Cause to benefit arts education in Hudson Valley public schools. Richard Kendall, art historian and former curator at the Clark Art Institute, will be the guest speaker.

Judge Tompkins Estate, "Glen Iris" | Upper Nyack, New York | $3,495,000

Judge Tompkins Estate, “Glen Iris” | Upper Nyack, New York | $3,495,000

The fundraiser will be held at Glen Iris on the Hudson River, the home of New York Supreme Court Judge Arthur S. Tompkins during the first half of the last century and, later, Norman Rose, the late actor best known as the voice of fictitious coffee grower Juan Valdez in the Colombian coffee television commercials. The 8,200 square foot, move-in ready home currently is listed with Ellis Sotheby’s International Realty for $3.495 million.

 

“Funding for arts education has unfortunately been cut back through the years and we believe this curriculum is important in creating a well-rounded individual – or maybe even the next Edward Hopper!” said Richard Ellis, owner of Ellis Sotheby’s International Realty. “We have proudly served the Hudson Valley community for more than 30 years. This is our way of ensuring the next generation of residents has every opportunity to develop their artistic skills. The Hudson Valley has a rich history of nurturing great artists, and we are committed to continuing that tradition.”

The fundraiser will begin Oct. 15 at 4 p.m. at 401 N. Broadway, Nyack. Availability is limited. For more information, to request an invitation or make a donation, send an email to ellis.events@sothebysrealty.com.

“We hope this event will support the development of creative young minds by connecting with Edward Hopper’s world of inspiration that was nourished in his birthplace and flourished on his beloved Hudson River,” said Jennifer Patton, EdD, executive director of Edward Hopper House. “A portion of the monies raised will help establish arts education classroom space, exhibitions and teaching curriculum to support and inspire all our children. We are especially proud to be able to offer a lucky bidder the chance to spend a night in Edward Hopper’s bedroom − the first time we have offered such an opportunity. Designed in the period he lived, the room will provide the winner the chance to experience where Hopper’s art began.”

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