Friday, September 30, 2011

Maplewood MacArthur Genius Cites Passion for His Work

Maplewood MacArthur Genius Cites Passion for His Work

Ubaldo Vitali, the first silversmith to receive a MacArthur Foundation Genius grant, says he's not a genius — he's just passionate about what he does.

By Mary Mann

Vitali is currently working on a restoration of a replica of Independence Hall that was crafted for the Centennial Exposition held in Philadelphia in 1876.
Analyzing the materials
Giving new meaning to "Hi ho, Silver!" — Ubaldo Vitali models his silver cowboy hat.
Anthony Cavalieri at work in Ubaldo Vitali's workshop
Amrit Tamrakar came from Nepal to work with Vitali in Maplewood.
tools of the trade
Vitali with a replica of a medieval furnace that he built for a documentary
Visiting MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant awardee Ubaldo Vitali in his Maplewood studio
Add your photos & videos

"I like to be hidden away," said Ubaldo Vitali, when Patch visited his workshop on Hilton Avenue in Maplewood recently.

Although Vitali has been unobtrusively working in the building for 31 years, he is hidden no more. The announcement made by the MacArthur Foundation on Tuesday, Sept. 20, that Vitali was among its 22 awardees for 2011 has brought the world to his doorstep.

Just before Patch stopped by, a German media crew had spent a portion of the morning interviewing Vitali. He's been profiled in the Wall Street Journal and on CBS radio, noticed in The New York Times, and, on the day of the announcement, la Repubblica, a major Roman daily newspaper, ran a full-page story on Vitali.

For more about Mr. Vitali, please go to: http://maplewood.patch.com/articles/maplewood-macarthur-genius-cites-passion-for-his-work#photo-7957566

Mark Slade
Keller Williams

Friday, September 23, 2011

Maplewood Housing Stats Year-To-Date Solds 2011 vs 2010

I'm always curious to see how the local maplewood real estate market is doing and for that i like to draw upon my Economics background and my experience as an Exec Vice President in Wholesale where I would have my team provide me with sales tracking data.
As a realtor, i prefer to do this myself so that I am well versed when i meet with current clients or new potential clients.

So, here are the Year-to-Date Stats:

So far this year there have been 182 closed sales for the year. This compares to 194 sold thru the same time (9/15/2011 vs. 9/15/2010) period last year and a drop of 6.6%. The good news is that there are also 43 Homes currently Under Contract and another 3 in Atty Review and another 142 Active on the market.

While we like to know our unit comparisons, let's face it, everyone's main focus is on the almighty $. So, here is how we stack up $-wise:

In 2010, the average final listing price was $511.2K and the average price sold was $500.4K, meaning that homes sold for just a fraction under 98% of final list price.

In 2011, the average final listing price fell 1.8% to $501.9K and the average price sold fell 2.4% to $488.3K translating into homes selling for a slightly weaker 97.3% of final list price. So, yes, there has been a little deterioration using these statistics.

However, as a practitioner of Advanced CMA and former Ecomomics major, I feel compelled to adjust these statistics a bit further in lieu of the fact that in 2011 the average home sold came in slightly larger at 8.6 rooms vs 8.4 rooms in 2010. This 2.1% increase in home size, coupled with the 2.4% drop in price sold, really means that the average price paid for homes sold in Maplewood in 2011 is trending down by 4.5%. Still, relative to most of the area markets, we are comparatively healthy; but, if you are listing your home for sale, you need to be aware of this downward pressure as I would have no choice but to use these statistics in a conversation of potential current market value for home on the market. (ALL DATA TAKEN FROM GSMLS AND MAY ONLY BE AS ACCURATE AS REPRESENTED BY THEM).

If you have any questions, fell free to contact me, Mark Slade, Keller Williams Technology Coordinator and Agent at 917.797.5059, email me at marksladehomes@aol.com or check out my websites: and

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Mortgage Rates UNDER 4!!!!!!!

30 Yr FRM 3.85 3.98 -0.13%
15 Yr FRM 3.25 3.25 0.00%
FHA 30 Year 3.75 3.77 -0.02%
Jumbo 30 Year 4.11 4.25 -0.14%
5/1 Yr ARM 3.05 3.09 -0.04%

High Above the Tree Tops in West Orange at the New Adventure at Turtle Back

Patch Gets Sneak Peek: New Treetop Adventure Course at Turtle Back Zoo

Essex County Patch editors get early access to aerial course, zipline set to open Saturday

By Karen Yi

Treetop Adventure Course guides (in orange) coach participants in maneuvering through courses. They also help shaky participants feel confident while moving through the adventure course.
Millburn-Short Hills Patch editor Laura Griffin (l.) and Caldwells Patch editor Teresa Akersten smile just before beginning a course along wobbly wooden planks.
Participants of the Treetop Adventure Course can guide themselves along each course with the help of specially placed ropes.
West Orange Patch editor Karen Yi carefully hangs onto ropes while guiding herself through a precarious course.
Caldwells Patch editor Teresa Akersten nears the end of course two at the Treetop Adventure Course at the Essex County South Mountain Recreation Complex.
Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo Jr. carefully makes his way across a difficult course at the Treetop Adventure Course at the Essex County South Mountain Recreation Complex.

Patch editors get a sneak peek at the new Treetop Adventure Course at Turtle Back Zoo.

There was no monkey business for a group of Essex County Patch Editors that swung across tress at Essex County Turtle Back Zoo's newest exhibit: the Treetop Adventure Course.

Members of the media were invited on Monday for a sneak peek of the county's aerial obstacle course and zipline slated to open to the public on Saturday.

The roughly three-acre space includes two aerial courses that each contain 12 obstacles. Each course finishes with a zipline that brings you back down to ground level.

With the course reaching a maximum height of 35 feet, guests are required to wear a harness and a helmet, and are encouraged to wear comfortable shoes.

The entire adventure course takes an average of an hour-and-a-half to complete but visitors have the option of finishing after the first 12 obstacles and zipline.

Ground guides help visitors navigate the course by yelling words of encouragement and instruction from below — where to hold, where to step and how to keep going.

The project took about two months to build and is part of the $3 million "Big Cat Country Complex," according to Dr. Jeremy Goodman, the zoo's director.

Mark Slade
Local Realtor
Keller Williams

Click for more about this

Friday, September 16, 2011

Redevelopment of Former Police Station finally appears underway!

Town Near to Sale of Old Police Station Parcel, Mary Mann, Patch.com

The prospective developer of 125 Dunnell Road held an informal meeting with the board of the special improvement district. The mayor says a deal has been reached; attorneys are drawing up a redevelopment agreement.

By Mary Mann
Email the author
September 15, 2011

Prospects are looking good for the development of the old police station site on Dunnell Road.

On Wednesday night, representatives of J.G. Petrucci Co. of Asbury, N.J. made an informal presentation of preliminary plans for the development of 125 Dunnell Road to members of the Maplewood Village Alliance.

At the meeting, Mayor Vic DeLuca stated that the Township and Petrucci had come to an agreement for the sale of the site and that "attorneys are drafting the redevelopment

For more go to:

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Maplewood Artist Who Brought Healing Post 9/11-Maplewood Patch

The Maplewood Artist Who Brought Healing Post 9/11

Valerie Rhatigan's mural — which adorns Maplewood Fire Engine 33 — comforted many in the aftermath of September 11.

By Mary Mann

On September 11, 2001, Valerie Rhatigan was the proprietor of Val's Art Studio on Maplewood Avenue.

Rhatigan says that when the planes crashed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and in the fields of Shanksville, Pa, "an explosion of anger, sadness and heightened patriotism came over me."

Being an artist, Rhatigan dealt with her feelings the best way she knew how.

"I bought a 40 x 60 canvass and started to sketch. Taking hints and advice from my husband Greg and friends, as to placement and content, the picture began to emerge. A week long drawing frenzy began. I took the Statue of Liberty, the image of Iwo Jima, a policeman, the three firefighters and three American flags to display patriotism."

Rhatigan put the unframed image in the large front window of her studio in Maplewood Village.

As a result, "People came into my studio just to talk, vent and relay sad stories they had experienced or heard concerning that awful day. I wanted to frame the piece with a fire hose which was donated to me by a Nutley, N.J. firefighter. The frame was completed when another firefighter, from Springfield, N.J., donated a hose nozzle."

For more of this article and see more of this beautiful and moving art, go to:

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Why you Should Buy a House, from a kid's perspective

This posting was inspired by a friends posting as they were looking for homes online:

"Mommy can we get a house with a chimney?" So I asked her "why?" She said, "So Santa can come down the chimney at Christmas." Little love.......always thinking ahead!

So, there you have it!

Mark Slade
Keller Williams

Thursday, September 8, 2011

How Big is NJ Transit?

For you information:

NJ Transit operates the following:

2,027 buses

771 trains and

45 light rail vehicles

over a service area of 5,325 square miles; that's a whole lotta plains, trains and automobiles

It's a Dog's World!

Along with snacks and prizes, PUPS@PLAY will be having a locally renowned PET PHOTOGRAPHER at our OPEN HOUSE this Monday Sept 12th between 6:30-8:30! You'll have the oppor tunity to have your DOG'S PORTAIT TAKEN AT NO CHARGE! Come be the first to see (bring your human) the area’s most progressive and worry-free solution for your daycare & wellness needs!
Please RSVP by calling Lori 973-740-8500 or click here to RSVP online. *Pass this invite along to other dogs and their humans!
PUPS@PLAY, 42 Okner Parkway (just off Route 10 West), Livingston

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

NJ Monthly's Top 100 Towns

“The 100 Top Towns” is featured in the September issue of New Jersey Monthly.

Here is a look at Essex Towns that made the "Top 100" according to New Jersey Monthly.

Rank Town

9 Essex Fells
17 Caldwell
22 North Caldwell
41 Cedar Grove
42 Livingston
46 West Caldwell
51 Millburn
62 Roseland
83 Glen Ridge

Friday, September 2, 2011

Shopping for a mortgage rate is like playing pin the tail on the Donkey!


“Lock it Or Lose It” : Mortgage Rates Changing Quickly

Welcome to my blog. I'm glad you're here.

Mortgage rate changes daily chartMortgage rates continue to change at a frenetic pace. If you're not locking your rate, you're losing your rate.
Lock Your Rate Or Lose It

Mortgage rates are like stock prices -- they change all day, every day. Pricing from the AM is rarely there in the PM, and is certainly not there the next day.

The market changes. Often by a lot.

In the same way that you can't buy GE stock at yesterday's stock price, you can't lock a mortgage at yesterday's rates. Yesterday's rates are (literally) yesterday's news.

Click here to get a mortgage rate quote.

For some perspective on how fast mortgage rates changed in August, look at these figures comparing August to prior months.

April 2011 : Rates changed every 4 hours, 28 minutes
May 2011 : Rates changed every 4 hours, 13 minutes
August 2011 : Rates changed every 4 hours, 5 minutes

When rates change every 4 hours, on average, it doesn't give you much time to shop around, let alone "sleep on it".

You need to know what you want, and by that i mean know what will fit your budget and then be ready to lock it right up!

Mark Slade
Keller Williams