Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Where's the Meat? It's at Village Burger in Maplewood

Village Burger Sizzles on Maplewood Ave.

The new "better burger" spot is a hit in the Village.

By Carolyn Maynard-Parisi for Patch
Email the author
January 30, 2012

Village Burger has only been open for about a month, but it feels as though it has been there forever.

This casual, cheerful spot on Maplewood Avenue buzzes with families, local workers and students from Maplewood Middle School.

Of course, the fact that it is owned and operated by one of the best-known restaurant families in town doesn’t hurt.

“We’re working the kinks out,” owner Angelo Vayas explained modestly. Vayas owns the restaurant with wife Mary — who in her “spare time” operates the eclectic boutique No. 165. Angelo is also the proprietor of the wildly popular Village Trattoria "chainlet," with locations in Maplewood, South Orange and Summit.

The space was briefly WokStar, run by the couple’s son Aris. Although that spot didn’t work out the way the family had hoped, Aris was deeply involved with developing the Village Burger menu and concept.

The burger selection includes the bestselling Original Burger with Cheese, topped with special sauce. Other options are a California Burger with onions and avocado, a Pizza Burger, a BBQ Burger or a Chili Burger. The meat is a special blend made just for the restaurant by Summit Meats.

For more about this new restaurant in Maplewood, click on Maplewood.patch

Monday, January 30, 2012

Increase in Cash Gifts being part of Home Purchases

Mortgage Approval Help : How To Give And Receive A Downpayment Gift For A Home

Having recently had a closing that almost didn't happen due to method of depositing "GIFT" money to use for down payment/cash at closing, this article couldn't be more timely!

Downpayment gifts are common among today's home buyers (i find them to be increasing in popularity). It may surprise you, though, to hear that buyers of all types are taking gifts for downpayment. It's not just first-time home buyers.

Move-up buyers and even buyers of jumbo homes seem to be bringing cash gifts to closing more frequently than in the past.

If you're getting a gift of downpayment from a family member or spouse, make sure you do it the right way. If you do it wrong, your bank may turn down your loan in underwriting.

"Downpayment Gifts" Rise Sharply

Since 2006, mortgage lenders have been tightening their downpayment requirements. High default rates have led to big losses so banks want to see more of buyer's own money into the purchase.

This is not to say that low downpayment mortgages aren't available. They are. There are a number of high-profile loan programs for which downpayment requirements are small :

FHA Purchase : Minimum 3.5% downpayment
Veteran's Administration (VA) Purchase : 0% downpayment
Fannie Mae HomePath : 3% downpayment

Despite a bevy of low-downpayment (and no downpayment) mortgage choices, most home buyers rely on standard Fannie Mae / Freddie Mac conventional loans.

A conventional loan is characterized by loan size and downpayment. Loan sizes are typically $417,000 or less except in high-cost areas such as Palo Alto, California and Fairfax, Virginia; and downpayments are typically 10% or higher.

Conventional mortgages are the most popular among today's mortgage choices because they often provide the best combination of low mortgage rates and low closing costs. Plus, for loans with less than 20% down, conventional mortgages typically provide cheaper options for mortgage insurance.

These are all reasons why mortgage gifts are more common today.

If accepting a downpayment gift is part of your home financing strategy, though, it's important to recognize that there's a right way and a wrong way to do accept a cash gift for downpayment. You can't just deposit your parents' money into a bank account, for example.

There is a set of rules to follow, and you must follow them to the letter.

Download Your Certified "Downpayment Gift Letter"

When you accept a cash gift for a downpayment on a home, there's a 3-step process to follow. No matter to where your loan is ultimately headed -- Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA, VA, or the USDA -- the process is the same.

First, write a gift letter that follows the includes the following information :

The amount of the gift
The subject property address
The relationship of the gifter to the giftee
A note that the gift is actually a gift and not a loan

The gift letter should be as long as needed and should not contain "extra" information. Have all parties sign and date the letter. Set the letter aside until Step 2 is complete.

Now, if writing letters is not your thing and you want to a pre-written, fill-in-the-blanks gift letter for your purchase, use my online rate quote form and I will send you the same gift letter that I use for my own clients upon request.

Follow The Mortgage Downpayment Gift Guidelines

Now that you have your mortgage downpayment gift letter written, you'll want to make sure you don't violate the rules of "taking a gift". The key is for the gifter to keep an extra-strong paper trail for the money being gifted.

This means that if you're the one giving the gift to the home buyer, and you sell stocks as part of the downpayment gifting process, you'll want to make sure that you document your stock sale as well as the transfer of funds from your brokerage account into the account from which you're gifting funds to the home buyer.

Next, write a check for the exact amount specified in the gift letter -- no more and no less. Photocopy the check. Keep one copy for your records and give one copy to the giftee -- the lender will want to see it.

Do not wire funds, if possible. It's simpler to document and track a check -- all you need is a teller receipt.

If you are the home buyer and you are receiving the downpayment gift for your home purchase, there are steps that you are going to want to follow, too.

First, with your gift check in hand, physically walk into your preferred depository bank (i.e. Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Chase). Whichever bank you choose, select the bank account from which all of your downpayment funds will be drawn. Do not make your downpayment fund using monies from multiple bank accounts and multiple banks.

Pick one bank, and one bank account at said bank. Then, do the following :

Deposit the downpayment gift as a single deposit.
End your transaction.
Collect a receipt for your deposit.

Under no circumstances should you "co-mingle" the gift deposit. If the gift is for 10% down on the home, the deposit receipt should be for 10% of the home's purchase price. It should also match the exact amount specified on your certified downpayment gift letter.

If the deposit amount fails to match the gift amount specified in the gift letter; or the amount shown on the gifter's teller receipt; or the amount shown on the photocopy of the gift check, your lender will likely disqualify your use of "gift funds" entirely.

Tax Notes On Home Downpayment Gifts

As a giver of cash gifts for downpayment, or the recipient of a cash gift for downpayment, you may be subject to certain tax or legal liabilities. Your lender will not report your gift to the IRS; it's not the lenders responsibility to report gifts of downpayments. It's yours.

Your lender will use your gift letter(s) and gift status for underwriting only; to make sure the mortgage meets underwriting standards.

If you have questions about how donating a cash downpayment gift to a home buyer will impact your tax liability, or if you'd like to know whether receiving a cash downpayment gift is something to report to the IRS, talk with your accountant.

About the Author

Dan Green (NMLS #227607) is an active loan officer with Waterstone Mortgage. Email Dan at dan.green@waterstonemortgage.com or call 513-443-2020.

Mark Slade
Keller Williams

Email: marksladehomes@aol.com

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Parent's Who Rock On even after starting their Families in NJ

What do you do when you Love Music and Performing but also want a family? Well, some people "settle down" as the expression goes and others "just won't settle." That's where Parents Who Rock come in. This group, started by Montclair resident Alma Schneider is exactly the answer for all of you that want to keep in tune.

Parent's Who Rock features benefit performances in the area to help raise money and also has many local businesses, etc., participating in their drive.

For more about this group, click on Montclair Patch or click on this link to CBS News for a full story and a song to help you get your groove on!

Mark Slade
Keller Williams

Friday, January 27, 2012

Gimme a "P," Gimme a "T," Gimme an "A" Great Talent Tonight at Seth Boyden

Kudos to the P-T-A for Seth Boyden!

and if you want to know more about his namesake:

Mark Slade
Keller Williams

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Two Towns Coalition for Complete Streets Tonight at 6:30PM

To My Local friends,

I wanted to let you know about Moving Maplewood to Complete Streets, a community event that's happening on Thursday evening, January 26, at the Maplewood Library. It's an informational forum on what the Complete Streets initiative means, and how it can benefit our town. Nationwide, a movement is afoot to complete the streets. States, cities, and towns are asking their planners and engineers to make their road networks safer, more livable, and welcoming to everyone. Adopting a complete streets policy ensures that roadways are designed with all users in mind - drivers, public transit vehicles and riders, bicyclists, and pedestrians of all ages and abilities. South Orangers, Millburnists and Unioners are encouraged to come as well.

Below is the notice that you'll see at the Library and posted around town.If the graphic doesn't show-no biggie.Please pass on to your friends and neighbors and let groups that you are a member of know. And please join the group on facebook(address below) Note our "snow date" is February 16.


Join your Maplewood neighbors for an informative evening with Sheree Davis, Bureau of Commuter & Mobility Strategies, NJ Dept. of Transportation, to find out more about Complete Streets, a policy that will take the needs of all citizens into account when transportation decisions are made.

We can work together to reduce traffic and congestion, and to focus our street improvements NOT just for automotive traffic, but for foot and bike traffic as well. By making room for pedestrians and bike riders, strollers, seniors, and handicapped, we can preserve the sense of place that makes Maplewood such a wonderful place to live.

Refreshments to be served! Eco-friendly door prizes!

Thursday, January 26
6:30-8:30pm at Maplewood Memorial Library
51 Baker Street

Sponsored by:
Two Towns Coalition for Complete Streets
South Orange/ Maplewood Bicycle Coalition (SOMbike)

We hope that you can join us on the 26th to learn more about this exciting opportunity for our town. Please visit our facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/groups/twotownscompletestreets/

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

NEW JERSEY Rated #1 for Raising Your Children!

New Jersey is on the receiving end of many jabs—high taxes, congested highways, Jersey Shore—but it turns out the Garden State is the best place to raise a healthy, well-rounded child.

Love this amazing photo by Joy Yagid of Maplewood

New Jersey ranked No. 1 in the latest Child Well-Being Index, released by the Foundation for Child Development and published on the Today show’s Moms page. The state edged out Massachusetts in the rankings, with New Hampshire, Utah and Connecticut rounding out the top five spots...

...Seven markers factor into the Child Well-Being Index: family economic well-being, health, safe/risky behavior, education attainment, community engagement, social relationships and emotional/spiritual well-being.

Of the seven, New Jersey only hit No. 1 in one category: social relationships; but this was enough to give NEW JERSEY its #1 Rank!

for more: morristown patch

or for the full report: click here

Mark Slade
Keller Williams

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

One Great Thing per Week to do in NJ

Excerted from NJ Monthly: 52 Things You Must Do This Year

Feast or frolic, explore or extol, we’ve got you covered for a self-directed festival of discovery and delight. Every week, meet a bit of the Garden State you need to know by heart.

Posted December 12, 2011

No. 1
Go Up, Up and Away
Anyone who thinks all of New Jersey’s hot air is concentrated in Trenton has never been to the Quick Chek Festival of Ballooning, the largest summertime balloon festival in North America. This year more than 125 colorful hot-air balloons from around the world are expected to take flight as the sky-high extravaganza celebrates its 30th anniversary, July 27 to 29 at the Solberg Airport in Readington. The event attracts more than 150,000 guests each year, and last year raised $2 million for local organizations. There will be amusement rides, music, arts and crafts, food vendors, group activities like yoga and Zumba, as well as a fireworks spectacular. Keep your feet on the ground—or book early and take your very own balloon ride. (39 Thor Solberg Road; 973-882-5464)

No. 2
Re-create the Glory Days
These days, you’re unlikely to find Bruce Springsteen hanging out under the Asbury Park boardwalk, but that doesn’t mean a trip to the town that launched the Boss is wasted time for Bruce-o-philes. At the legendary Stone Pony, tribute acts like the B-Street Band, Tramps Like Us and Bruce in the U.S.A. are in regular rotation. Is it a second-rate experience? By definition, yes. But given the setting, the history and the thump of the music, see if it doesn’t transport you to the days when girls combed their hair in rear-view mirrors and the boys tried to look so hard. (913 Ocean Avenue; 732-502-0600; stoneponyonline.com)

No. 3
Run With the Crabs
The annual spawning of the Delaware Bay horseshoe crabs is a must-see for even the most tenuous of naturalists. Every year from late May to early June, tens of thousands of these 450-million-year-old creatures emerge from the bay to lay their eggs in the sand. The spectacle attracts enormous flocks of red knots, migratory birds that fly up from South America to gorge themselves on the eggs. The best place to view this prehistoric pageant is on Reed’s Beach in Cape May just after the full moon.

No. 4
Sample the Original Jersey Pizza
Trenton is the birthplace of pizza in New Jersey, dating to 1912. But like Trenton politics, Trenton pizza is topsy-turvy. Cheese and toppings go on first; then chunky crushed tomatoes (not tomato sauce) are ladled over, producing what are called tomato pies. There are three revered temples of tomato pie, each with deep roots—DeLorenzo’s Tomato Pies (530 Hudson Street, Trenton; 609-695-9534; delorenzostomatopies.com; and 2350 Route 33, Robbinsville; 609-341-8480; same website); DeLorenzo’s Pizza (1007 Hamilton Avenue, Trenton; 609-393-2952; delospizza.com); and Papa’s Tomato Pies, the oldest, continuously operating pizza parlor in the state (804 Chambers Street, Trenton; 609-392-0359). The prominent flavor and texture of the thick tomatoes set tomato pie apart from regular pizza.

No. 5
Flip for the Falls
Paterson is hardly the garden spot of the Garden State, yet it contains one of Jersey’s greatest natural wonders, the 77-foot-high Great Falls, which comes thundering through its urban surroundings like a gargantuan fish out of water (in this case, the Passaic River). Stop in at the little visitor’s center (65 McBride Avenue; 973-279-9587; patersongreatfalls.org) for some history, then walk out on the overlook for a close view. Next stroll down the hill to Little Lima and grab a bite at one of the many Peruvian sandwich shops along Market Street.

No. 6
Go Beyond the Boardwalk
It was one of the most welcome sights down the Shore last summer: The return of the Asbury Park swan boats. Pedal one of these iconic crafts around Lake Wesley, then check out other signs of Asbury Park’s ongoing revitalization, including two new entries on Cookman Avenue: the Shore Institute of the Contemporary Arts, and BACA, an upscale cocktail lounge/sports bar. Or browse the vintage fashions at Asbury Park Trading Post (110 Bond Street), Blue Hawaii Vintage (529 Bangs Avenue) and Sweet Joey’s (523 Bangs Avenue).

No. 7
Get Into Training
Think of Northlandz as a giant work of sculpture that you can walk through. It doesn’t look like much from the exterior, but inside this ambitious model railroad layout is an extraordinary testament to the imagination and skill of one man, creator Bruce Williams Zaccagnino. Its miniature towns, deep canyons and scenes of work and play are animated by up to 100 HO-gauge trains that glide through the manmade landscape on more than eight miles of track. A must for kids, train fans or anyone wowed by works of fantasy. (495 U.S. 202, Flemington; 908-782-4022; northlandz.com)

No. 8
Wolf Down a Few Old-Fashioned Sliders
In this age of exotic sumo burgers that you can hardly get your jaws (or wallet) around, it’s nice to visit a place that time forgot. People wait on line at Hackensack’s White Manna—a cute little burger-shaped, glass-brick bungalow with a white, dome-like top—to get their hands on pillowy, oniony, crisply beefy burgers that are diminutive in price and size but not in satisfaction. George Motz, in his book, Hamburger America, hails White Manna as “beyond a doubt, one of the most historically important hamburger joints in America.” The Old Faithful of ground beef. (358 River Street; 201-342-0914)

No. 9
Seek Out Your Roots
Most Jersey folks have immigrant roots. Explore your own at the Ellis Island Immigration Museum, a short ferry ride from Jersey City’s Liberty State Park. The museum is located in the main building of the former immigration station complex, where 22 million new arrivals entered the country between 1892 and 1924, after passing the nearby Statue of Liberty. Take a self-guided interactive tour, check out the American Immigrant Wall of Honor and talk to a historian who will help you look up your family’s records. (ellisisland.org; 201-604-2800)

No. 10
Watch Saltwater Taffy Being Made
Saltwater taffy, which contains no salt and barely any water, supposedly earned its name after a flood tide soaked a Boardwalk taffy stand in Atlantic City in the 1890s. More than a century later, it remains an iconic Shore souvenir. Much more fun than eating the gluey stuff is watching it being made, which you can do at Shriver’s on the Ocean City boardwalk. Mostly sugar, the taffy emerges from a steam kettle as a viscous liquid, then cools into a pliant mass that has to be pulled and stretched and folded and refolded and tapered and extruded until, lo and behold, it is finally snipped into the familiar little pieces and wrapped in paper with twirled ends. (9th and Boardwalk; 877-668-2339; shrivers.com)

No. 11
Go Victorian in Cape May
You don’t need to know the difference between a Queen Anne and a Gothic Revival to fall in love with Cape May Victoriana, which earned the town its designation as a National Historic Landmark. Here, “painted ladies” done up in bold color schemes and bedecked with gingerbread sit majestically, sometimes sweetly, along narrow streets in this increasingly hip seashore town. Bed-and-breakfasts, like the well-loved Chalfonte, abound, but daytrippers can take in the flavor through hourly walking and trolley tours. And don’t count out a wintertime visit: During Christmas in Cape May, through January, the town takes on a charming Dickensian vibe, with twinkling gaslights and robes of fragrant garland.

No. 12
History, With a View
The Weehawken Dueling Grounds is the site of the July 1804 pistol showdown between Alexander Hamilton (father of industrial Paterson) and Aaron Burr (a Newark native). Hamilton died in the incident; Burr lived on in disgrace. On the cliffs of Weehawken (across from 39 Hamilton Avenue), a plaque marks the spot where “somewhere below” the duel took place. The boulder upon which Hamilton leaned after suffering his mortal wound has been moved to the spot and sits behind a bust of the ill-fated patriot. You’ll come for the history but stay for the incomparable view of midtown Manhattan—best enjoyed from nearby Hamilton Park (at Boulevard East and Duer Place).

No. 13
Flashback to the ’50s
There’s an endless parade of antique-car shows in New Jersey, but none quite like Lead East, the annual Labor Day weekend celebration of post-World War II kitsch. The cars are the stars—almost 2,000 of them, from showroom-perfect Chevys to eye-popping street rods—but this five-day event also features ’50s music, dancing and movies. It’s a fantasyland of doo-wop bands, poodle skirts and chromed exhaust pipes. This year’s event runs August 29 to September 2 at the Parsippany Hilton. (leadeast.net)

No. 14
Accept No Sub-stitutes
Some say the White House Sub Shop in Atlantic City is all about the subs, and they have a point. Fresh bread from local bakeries is brought in several times a day, the ingredients are super fresh, the subs are mammoth (even a half will feed two normal people) and the countermen make three-card monte dealers look like slowpokes. But we say it’s equally about the atmosphere, or anti-atmosphere, of fluorescent glare, cramped booths, walls crammed with celeb photos and mementos (including hand towels supposedly used by Sinatra in his last A.C. concert) and lines out the door. Gloriously dingy, the White House has not changed a whit since it opened in 1946. Fortunately. (2301 Arctic Avenue; 609-345-1564)

No. 15
Get a Blowout at the Jerseylicious Salon
Nobody ever said just because you live in New Jersey you have to look the part—the one portrayed by the many reality-TV series set here, that is—but that doesn’t mean a few hours spent in pursuit of the Jersey Girl look is not an essential New Jersey experience. And why go halfway? Skip the spray tan and head straight to Green Brook and Gatsby Salon, home of the Style Network’s Jerseylicious. It takes a while to get an appointment, and your blow-dry-and-style (starting at $30) is not apt to be administered by owner/star Gayle Giacomo herself. But you will walk out with Texas-sized hair and a feeling of superiority to Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi, a poser from Marlboro, New York. (215 U.S. Highway 22; 732-752-4247; gatsbysalon.com)

No. 16
Get Your Jaws Around an Italian
To consume a Jimmy Buff’s Italian hot dog like a normal sandwich, you need an elastic jaw like a python’s. Short of that, the pleasure is in the deconstruction, bite by bite, of deep-fried potatoes, onions and peppers stuffed into a half loaf of soft pizza bread on top of one or two deep-fried hot dogs or Italian sausages. Jimmy Buff’s has been serving hot dogs this way since 1932. Then as now—the health-conscious will appreciate this—everything is fried in soybean oil. (East Hanover, Scotch Plains, West Orange, Kenilworth and Randolph; jimmybuff.com)

No. 17
Tear Into a Ripper
Beauty is only skin deep. No one knows this to be truer than the loyal customers of Rutt’s Hut. The shack-like restaurant’s infamous ripper, a hot dog deep-fried in vegetable oil, gets its name from its rugged appearance—the outside skin rips open when fried. While the exterior is rough, the middle is soft and juicy. Rippers can be ordered as “In and Outers” (just barely cooked), “Medium” (name says it all), “Wellers” (well-done) and “Cremators” (cooked until charred). Rutt’s relish, almost as famous as the dogs, is a secret homemade blend. (417 River Road, Clifton; 973-779-8615; ruttshut.com)

No. 18
See if it’s Better in Buttzville
People journey from all over to drive through Buttzville, home to Hot Dog Johnny’s. What started as a small hot dog stand in 1944 has become a Jersey landmark on the forested end of Route 46. With outdoor picnic tables and a swing set overlooking the Pequest River, this family-friendly stop in Warren County remains open year-round serving their classic hot dogs fried in peanut oil along with frosted mugs of birch beer and fresh buttermilk. Visitors not only stop by Johnny’s for their food, but also for their signature yellow T-shirts and other pieces of Buttzville memorabilia. (333 Route 46; 908-453-2882)

No. 19
Celebrate Jersey’s Cranberry Culture
Held each year on the third weekend of October, the Chatsworth Cranberry Festival is a tribute to the culture of the Pine Barrens and New Jersey’s cranberry harvest, the third largest in the United States. Artists and craftsmen abound, and myriad food vendors sell everything from cranberry pies to deep-fried Oreos, all under an inspiring canopy of pines. Admission is free. (cranfest.org)

No. 20
Be a Beacon Down the Shore
On one weekend each fall, New Jersey celebrates its seaside heritage with the Lighthouse Challenge, a contest of sorts that requires you to visit all of the state’s 11 lighthouses (from Sandy Hook to Cape May and up the Delaware River to Tinicum Island in Paulsboro) as well as two lighthouse museums and two life-saving stations. Along the way, you collect souvenirs at each stop and experience some of the state’s most breathtaking shoreline views. Funds raised from the weekend benefit lighthouse upkeep. (lighthousechallengenj.org)

No. 21
Order Taylor Pork Roll at a Classic Diner
Griddled Taylor pork roll (or Taylor ham, as it’s also known) is the Taylor Provisions Company of Trenton’s gift to the basic blue-collar breakfast. Its salty, round slices provide the perfect finishing touch to the simple fried-egg sandwich. Classic diners provide the perfect porcelain-and-Naugahyde environment in which to contemplate this marriage of meat and egg. One of the last and best of the breed is the cozy little Summit Diner, built in 1938 in the railroad-car style by the Jerry O’Mahony Company of Elizabeth (“In our line we lead the world”). Opt for a stool, the better to inhale the essential aromas wafting from the griddle. (1 Union Place; 908-277-3256)

No. 22
Saddle Up for the Rodeo
Yes, Virginia, there is a real rodeo in New Jersey. Founded in 1929, Cowtown Rodeo is the longest running weekly rodeo in the United States, attracting cowboys from all over the country to the Salem County town of Pilesgrove. Every Saturday night from May 29 through September 25, the lights come up on the 4,000-seat outdoor arena at 7:30, and spectators are treated to nearly three hours of bronco riding, calf roping, steer wrestling, barrel racing and more. A rodeo clown performs between events. Adults pay $15, children 12 and under get in for $10, and parking is free. (780 U.S. 40; 856-769-3200; cowtownrodeo.com)

No. 23
Get Rolling With Jersey’s Roller Girls
With team names like Anchor Beach Assassins, Murder Beach Militia and Jersey Shore Beat Down, you can be certain the Jersey Shore Roller Girls are fast and furious. The all-woman, flat-track roller derby league was formed in 2008 and promises some of the fiercest derby action on the East Coast. Home matches are held at the Asbury Park Convention Hall. (1300 Ocean Avenue; 732-775-3533; jerseyshorerollergirls.net)

No. 24
Hit the Brick City
You don’t know New Jersey until you know Newark, the state’s largest city. Throughout the year, the Newark Preservation & Landmark Committee runs tours of the city’s important landmarks, 75 of which are on the National and New Jersey Registers of Historic Places. Don’t miss the Newark Museum, with its world-class collections of fine and decorative art and fascinating science exhibits. A church tour during the holiday season is especially jaw-dropping: at the 1890-built First Baptist Peddie Memorial, you’ll encounter mysterious half-hidden faces embedded in the cornices of the Byzantine-Romanesque structure. And all year long, the Ironbound District attracts ethnic food fans with its profusion of Brazilian and Portuguese restaurants. For Iberian delicacies, the colorful neighborhood is the next best thing to being in Lisbon; try Seabra’s Marisqueira on Madison Street. For a churrascaria (Brazilian steakhouse), go to Brasilia Grill on Monroe Street.

No. 25
Float Without a Boat
No shoes, no shirt, no problems. Tubing the Delaware River has become a popular warm-weather pastime, with outfits cropping up all over the Jersey and Pennsylvania riverfronts. For $24, Delaware River Tubing Inc. in Frenchtown supplies shuttles to and from the water, tubes for the three-and-a-half hour float and a mid-trip meal from the River Hot Dog Man’s pontoon boat, a mainstay since 1987. With water temperatures up to 80 degrees and the occasional mild rapids, the river provides a perfect setting to drink in Jersey’s splendor. (2998 Daniel Bray Highway; 908-996-5386; delawarerivertubing.com)

No. 26
Sample Ivy League Life for a Day
You don’t have to be an art major to appreciate the beauty of Princeton University, the state’s only Ivy League campus. Tours are available year round (for more information, call 609-258-3060). Fall is a particularly beautiful time to visit—and perhaps catch the Tigers in a home football game. After the game, stroll the paved paths of the 500-acre campus, with its grand buildings designed by four centuries of distinguished architects. Next, head to adjacent Nassau Street and Palmer Square to browse the high-end stores and shops full of Princeton paraphernalia.

No. 27
Stick a Feather in Your Cap
Here’s a must for Norman Rockwell fans: The world’s largest mural by the famed painter of Americana hangs behind the bar at the Nassau Inn’s Yankee Doodle Tap Room in Princeton. Edgar Palmer, the wealthy Princeton graduate and trustee, commissioned the mural more than 70 years ago for the inn. Rockwell delivered with a lively, 13-foot-wide depiction of Yankee Doodle himself—coming to town on a pony, of course. (10 Palmer Square, Princeton; 609-921-7500; nassauinn.com)

No. 28
Drop in on Chris and Mary Pat
Okay, Chris Christie and family don’t actually live in their official home, but once you’ve seen Drumthwacket, you may want to move in. Hey, why not? You pay enough in taxes, don’t you? The historic Princeton residence, which dates to 1835, doubles as a museum and is open to the public for tours most Wednesdays. Visitors get to see many of the mansion’s rooms, the solarium, the gardens and more. The sprawling property is just down the road from Princeton’s town center. (354 Stockton Street/Route 206, Princeton; 609-683-0057; drumthwacket.org)

No. 29
Get Hooked on the Blues
Get off the sand this summer and go angling for bluefish on one of the dozen or more Point Pleasant Beach fishing boats that take off through the Manasquan inlet daily when the blues are running, typically late spring through late fall. On a good day you’ll be packed like sardines, literally rubbing elbows with your fellow anglers, but that’s part of the fun. Blues run in large schools; with a good captain at the helm, it’s virtually impossible not to catch one. Crewmates will clean and fillet the fish for a nominal fee. (pointpleasantbeach.com/charterboats)

No. 30
Look, But Don’t Touch
There’s only a narrow window to enjoy the beauty of the Presby Memorial Iris Gardens in Montclair. The irises typically bloom from mid-May to early June in an explosion of yellows, purples and bright whites such as only nature can provide. The garden was founded in 1927, but some of the 10,000 flowers neatly arrayed in 36 beds can be traced back to the 16th century. Admission is free; donations are requested. Come early to avoid crowds. Bring your camera. (474 Upper Mountain Avenue, Montclair; presbyirisgardens.org)

No. 31
Stroll Along a River
The Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park is a treat for bicyclists, walkers and joggers almost any time of year, but especially in the fall. The park—actually a gravel path along the Delaware, Millstone and Raritan rivers—is perfectly flat and nicely maintained, although some sections took a beating in last year’s storms. The most popular stretch of about 22 miles runs along the Delaware from Washington’s Crossing to Frenchtown and passes through Lambertville and Stockton. There’s no better way to combine some easy outdoor activity, gorgeous scenery and a bit of brunch or boutique shopping.

No. 32
Just Do It, Frank’s Way
Hoboken native Frank Sinatra was likely inclined to leisurely strolls, highball in hand. But you won’t be taking the Chairman of the Board’s name in vain with a mild jog along Sinatra Drive, the curvy, park-flanked, mile-long stretch of road that skirts the Hudson River and affords spectacular views of Manhattan. Fill your iPod with some of Frank’s classic tunes (“Fly Me To The Moon” and “The Way You Look Tonight”) for the warm-up from First Street to Pier C Park, then huff it the rest of the way to “My Way.” (Skip “My Kind of Town,” though—that’s about Chicago.)

No. 33
Go Back in Time
Head to Vineland for a wholly unique and nostalgic experience at the Delsea Drive-In, New Jersey’s only drive-in movie theater. Renovated and reopened in 2004, the Delsea offers a different first-run double feature every week from late spring to early fall for just $8 per person. Gates open at 6:30 pm; the evening’s first show starts at sundown. (2203 South Delsea Drive; 856-696-0011; delseadrive-in.com)

No. 34
Try a Natural High
How considerate of New Jersey: You can get all the way to the state’s highest point (about 1,800 feet) without breaking a sweat. Route 23 takes you right into High Point State Park, where a paved road leads almost to the base of a 220-foot-tall obelisk marking the Garden State’s apex. Walk around the monument for an unparalleled 360-degree tristate view. The park has abundant picnic areas, 50 miles of hiking trails, lakeside camping, a glacial lake for summertime swims and a cross-country ski center for winter recreation. (973-875-4800; nj.gov/nj/things/parks)

No. 35
Say Cheese
Valley Shepherd Creamery is more than a working sheep dairy; the 120-acre Morris County farm is a living workshop on sheep management and cheesemaking. Take its popular old-fashioned cheesemaking class, and you’ll learn to make your own wheel of artisanal sheep’s-milk cheese, which is then left in the creamery’s hillside cave to age for 90 days. Participants get a tour of the facility, including the milking parlor, ewe barn and lamb house, and enjoy a luncheon and cheese tasting on the farm porch. (50 Fairmount Road, Long Valley; 908-876-3200; valleyshepherd.com)

No. 36
Watch the Whales
Ready for a whale of a time? Catch a whale-watching cruise out of Cape May. The 110-foot Cape May Whale Watcher, for example, has been plying South Jersey’s coastal waters since 1993. It runs three daily trips from April through September and weekend trips in October, November and March. During summer, these sessions include a two-hour dolphin watch at 10 am, a three-hour whale watch at 1 pm, and a two-hour dinner cruise that sets sail at 6:30 pm. (1218 Wilson Drive; 609-884-5445; capemaywhalewatcher.com)

No. 37
Let Them Eat Cake
Carlo’s Bakery was founded in 1910 and purchased by Buddy Valastro’s family in 1964. Yet it wasn’t until TLC premiered Cake Boss in 2009 that the Hoboken bakery became a phenomenon. Now, on any given day, the corner of Washington and Newark streets (renamed Carlo’s Bakery Way two years ago) is lined with fans waiting for a taste of sweets and reality television. For the shortest line come early, and avoid summer, when the wait can last up to two hours. Luckily Washington Street is replete with boutiques and restaurants to peruse while Dad holds the family’s spot in line. Hint: Mile Square City residents can skip the line and bring one friend with them. (95 Washington Street; 201-659-3671; carlosbakery.com)

No. 38
Get Greasy at Rutgers
Sure, you can tour Rutgers, maybe catch a football game on Saturday, but it’s not a true RU experience unless you stop for a bite—a big bite—at one of the Rutgers grease trucks located on the New Brunswick campus. There, you’ll find students cramming down legendary fat sandwiches like the Fat Cat, which piles on two cheeseburgers, French fries, lettuce, tomato, mayo and ketchup. Not enough for you? Then head over to College Avenue and Hamilton Street, where you will find the R U Hungry truck, birthplace of the Fat Darrell, and bite into a stack of chicken fingers, mozzarella sticks, fries, lettuce, tomato and marinara sauce. (732-246-2177)

No. 39
Order an Omelet at 3 am
Pondering the age-old causality dilemma never tasted so good. Chicken or the Egg—fondly called Chegg by regulars—has been serving up breakfast, lunch, dinner and late-night to the masses in Beach Haven on LBI since 1991. Open 24 hours every day during the summer season, Chegg is famous for its wings, omelets and everything in between. Whatever you order, make sure to “buffalize” it with one of their homemade sauces, which range in order of taste-bud temperature from mild and sweet honey BBQ to the concoction dubbed “ludicrous”—so hot that minors must be accompanied by an adult when ordering it. (207 North Bay Avenue; 609-492-3695; 492fowl.com)

No. 40
Watch the Pigskin Fly
They officially may be the New York Jets, but Rex Ryan’s team calls New Jersey home. During the 2012 preseason this August, Jets training camp at the Atlantic Health Training Center in Florham Park will be free and open to the public. Get ready for the season by snagging autographs from the friendly Flight Crew (read: cheerleaders) and watching Mark Sanchez and the rest of Gang Green take their snaps. Snacks, beverages and Jets gear are available for purchase. Young fans can spend the day at the Jets’ interactive theme park featuring rides and skill challenges. Parking is free but limited. (One Jets Drive; 973-549-4844; newyorkjets.com/camp)

No. 41
Hike a Hunk of the Appalachian Trail
Stretching from Georgia to Maine, the Appalachian Trail is one of the longest continually marked footpaths in the world. Jerseyans lay claim to 72 of its 2,180 miles as it snakes north from the Delaware Water Gap along the Kittatinny Ridge to High Point, then east through the Pochuck Valley. The rugged and remote route features abundant wildlife, moderate elevation changes up to 1,685 feet and striking panoramas. The route passes glacial Sunfish Pond—a national natural landmark—and crosses bogs, wetlands and a wildlife sanctuary. Access points intersect the trail every few miles, making modest day hikes possible. (appalachiantrail.org)

No. 42
Pick a Winner
Even the uninitiated can place a bet at Monmouth Park in Oceanport; a mere $2 gets you in on the excitement (732-222-5100; monmouthpark.com). Grab a track program as you enter and select your favorites—there are detailed instructions for the novice. Thoroughbred racing starts in mid-May and runs through mid-November, every weekend. You can even bring the kids: Family Fun Days, with pony rides, clowns and face painters take place every Sunday from Memorial Day to Labor Day, noon to 4 pm. Save on the high cost of concession food and pack your own picnic. (The Meadowlands Racetracke offers similar racing action, January through mid-August, generally Thursday through Saturday.)

No. 43
Tour a Staggeringly Great Wine Collection
With more than 120 different vintages of Chateau Latour (dating to 1863) and 100 different vintages of Chateau Lafite Rothschild, among other treasures, the wine cellar at Restaurant Latour, at the Crystal Springs Resort in Sussex County, “is considered to be the best Bordeaux collection in the United States,” says its sommelier, Susanne Lerescu. But with 100,000 bottles, the collection—the personal stash of Crystal Springs owner Gene Mulvihill—ranges far beyond Bordeaux. Free guided tours through the winding catacombs are offered daily at 3 pm, and each tour includes a complimentary wine tasting—though not of the 1863 Latour, which (though it’s probably vinegar) is worth $17,000. (1 Wild Turkey Way; 973-827-0548; crystalgolfresort.com)

No. 44
Read a Jersey Classic...
It’s been more than 40 years since John McPhee wrote The Pine Barrens, his classic account of the culture, history and natural wonders of rural southern New Jersey. The Pines may seem worlds away to much of the state’s population, but that’s all the more reason to consider McPhee’s tome the essential Jersey read. Don’t be put off by McPhee’s imposing credentials—Pulitzer Prize winner; longtime Princeton University writing instructor—The Pine Barrens is a pithy, anecdotal gathering of colorful characters and amusing folktales.

No. 45
...Then Paddle the Pines
The Pine Barrens is a canoe and kayak enthusiast’s dream, with dozens of tucked-away rivers, creeks and lakes brimming with rare wildlife and vegetation. Highlights include the Mullica, Oswego and Batsto rivers, as well as the Rancocas Creek. And don’t worry if you haven’t got a canoe or kayak of your own. There are plenty of places in the Pines that offer day and weekend rentals.

No. 46
Peek Into a Golfer’s Mecca
Pine Valley Golf Club is one of those places where the elite meet to golf without intrusion from the general rifraff. One day a year, though, most often the last Sunday in September, the mere public can gape during the final round of the Crump Cup, an international amateur event honoring Henry Crump, the course’s founder and architect. For just $20, visitors can follow the players up the fairways and see what most aficionados rank as one of the premier courses in the world. (East Atlantic Avenue; 856-783-3000)

No. 47
Take a Flyer at Fly Fishing
You don’t have to go to some remote Western river to get caught in the lure of fly fishing. Just head over to Parsippany and hook up with Andrew Moy, owner of Tight Lines Fly Fishing (973-244-5990; tightlinesflyfishing.com). Moy offers fly-fishing lessons—and for about $200-$250 can outfit you with a rod, reel, flyline, leaders, flies, waders and boots. If you’re a novice, he’ll likely point you toward scenic Ken Lockwood Gorge, where the Raritan River’s South Branch meanders near High Bridge, Hunterdon County, or the Pequest Trout Hatchery west of Hackettstown in Warren County. The Hatchery also has a number of programs for the beginner.

No. 48
Enjoy Newark’s Bounty of Cherry Blossoms
Every April, Branch Brook Park celebrates its assemblage of 4,100 cherry trees with the Cherry Blossom Festival. At this year’s 36th annual event, enjoy bicycle races, benefit runs, music, a photography workshop and free lectures. Or simply wander through the park’s 360 acres of fields and paths. After feasting your eyes, feed your stomach along Bloomfield Avenue, which features options from ethnic eateries to white-linen restaurants. (973-268-2300; branchbrookpark.org)

No. 49
Watch History Repeat Itself
George Washington was in a bind. In a week, the new year would bring the end of conscription, and his troops would be free to go home. Enthusiasm for the war, so vigorous the previous summer, had ebbed, and Washington needed at least a PR stunt to keep it going. His spies told him that Trenton, just down the road from the riverbank across from New Hope, Pennsylvania, where his army sat, was ill guarded by Hessian mercenaries. In a daring Christmas-night move, Washington gathered the troops, put them in boats across the Delaware, marched them the few miles to Trenton and surprised and defeated the Hessians. Troops re-upped, and the American Revolution continued. Each Christmas Day at 1 pm, dozens of men in Colonial mufti re-enact the voyage across the Delaware at Washington Crossing State Park. The spectacle is free, as is parking. (Route 29, Titusville)

No. 50
Go Down the Shore in the Winter
The Shore is gloriously desolate in winter. Drive to the southernmost tip of Island Beach State Park and walk the vast dunes to glimpse Barnegat Light across the inlet. Watch in awe as boats tackle the winter surf. In nearby Seaside Heights, stroll amidst the boarded-up boardwalk attractions and visit the Jersey Shore house (1209 Ocean Terrace) with nary a Snooki in sight. Finding an open restaurant might be tough. Try Surf Taco in Point Pleasant Beach (1300 Richmond Avenue), where endless of surfing videos provide a glimpse of summer to come.

No. 51
Walk on the Water
Practically everyone in New Jersey has driven over the George Washington Bridge, but how many of us have walked (or biked) across the 4,760-foot span? The views up and down the Hudson River are extraordinary. Pick a sunny, calm day, for your crossing. You can stow your four-wheeler in the Fort Lee municipal lot across from Cafe La Maison (140 Main Street), a comfy spot for a post-walk nibble.

No. 52
Don’t Forget Lucy
You’ve never seen the Atlantic Ocean through the eyes of Lucy the Elephant? What are you waiting for? The six-story wooden pachyderm is perhaps the grandest Jersey icon of them all. Next time you’re near Atlantic City, give Lucy a wave. Better yet, climb inside to check out the exhibits and that elephant’s-eye view of the surf. (9200 Atlantic Avenue, Margate; 609-823-6473; lucytheelephant.org)

Contributors: Ashley J. Cerasaro, Nick DiUlio, Natalia Knochowski, Tammy La Gorce, Eric Levin,
Dervela O’Brien, Lauren Payne, Drew Anne Scarantino, Ken Schlager and Robert Strauss

Mark Slade
Keller Williams

MLK Remembered by Khalil Gibran Mohammed and shared by a Great Turn Out of Maplewood Residents

While this is a lil late, I was so impressed with the events celebrating MLK day last week. I saw so many friends and an incredibly diverse crowd listening to new neighbor (in South Orange) Khalil Mohammed of the Schomburg Center of the NY Public Library.

There was also a whole room full of area volunteers with tables to help assemble a weekend food kit for less fortunate children; also a small games assembly line, as well as many other philanthropic foundations and clubs.

Its what I love about Maplewood.

Mark Slade
Keller Williams
181 maplewood ave
Maplewood, NJ 07040

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Penguins Painting the Town Red

This is so cute. Apparently Essex County's Turtle Back Zoo has some resident Penguin Artists. They were recent featured on CBS news and also written up in Maplewood Patch (links will be provided below).

Having relocated from NYC and Brooklyn many years back, it's so nice to know that we have a great lil zoo just "around the corner." Actually it's at the corner of Northfield Ave and Pleasant Valley Rd. For the slightly bigger kids there is zoo sculpture mini-golf.

For the slightly older kids there is a new climbing and elevated obstacle course.

And for the biggest of kids, there is the newest location for McCloone's at the Boathouse.

Mark Slade
Keller Williams

Link to video on CBS: Click CBS

For more about the Penguins and the Zoo: click on Montclair Patch

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Indie Music Circus Continues to Play for Us; Sunday 1/22/12

He wears more hats than Bartholomew Cubbins, the kid in that book by Dr. Seuss.

He's an actor, a playwright, an emcee, a musician, a singer and a songwriter.

However, this Sunday night at Luna Stage in West Orange, Michael Aquino will perhaps play his best-known role.

Aquino will be curating his Indie Music Circus. No, no elephants, girls in sparkly tights or guys on a high wire. Just a few tunesmiths sitting in the round, playing their songs. Then, talking to Aquino about their craft.

This night has become one of the certainties of life.

"The Indie Music Circus is in its fourth year," said Aquino, who hails from Union City and now lives in Bloomfield.

For more about the Indie Music Circus and Michael Aquino: click on montclair patch

Mark Slade
Keller Williams

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Mortgage Rates : Rapid Rise Likely In The Coming Months according to Dan Green, Waterstone Mortgage

Mortgage Rates : Rapid Rise Likely In The Coming Months

Welcome to David's latest blog entry. I'm glad you're here.

Low mortgage rates are on a short lifeline.

There Are 4 Reasons Why Mortgage Rates Will Rise

The HSH article is titled "The End Is Near For Low Mortgage Rates". It's a brief history of the last 2 years with respect to mortgage rates. It covers the 2009 Crisis of Confidence that spawned today's Refi Boom.

Mortgage rates would not be at today's levels if it was for a series of events including Eurozone bailouts, massive job loss nationwide, and 3 rounds of Federal Reserve intervention. Mortgage rates are low not on fundamentals, but on fear -- and on Wall Street, fear always gives way to greed.

(MARK: and, please keep in mind that an interest rates dramatically impacts your monthly budget as well the maximum purchase price you can afford; every 1% increase in interest rates is the equivalent of a $9,000 drop in maximum purchase price you can afford, all other things being equal. If you have any questions, please call me at 917-797-5059, email me at marksladehomes@aol.com or check out my website www.maplewoodandsouthorangehomes.com)

Here's an excerpt from the article :

Many forces conspired to keep mortgage rates low in 2011. Now, some of that energy spilled into 2012. If we examine those forces one-by-one, though, we see that rates can't stay low forever. Mortgage rates look poised to jump. It won't gradual, either. It will be all at once."

The piece breaks down mortgage bonds, market psychology and what's next for rates. The conclusions aren't so far-fetched. Beginning this February -- just in time to doom those HARP refinancers! -- mortgage rates could surge northward.

Mortgage rates are at the mercy of the markets. You don't get a second chance to lock yesterday's mortgage rate. The only way to guarantee a mortgage rate reservation is to actually place that order with your lender.

Dan Green
About the Author

Dan Green (NMLS #227607) is an active loan officer with Waterstone Mortgage. Email Dan atdan.green@waterstonemortgage.comor call 513-443-2020.

David provides regular guest commentary on the HSH.com website. HSH provides mortgage data and insight to businesses and individuals. My most recent column looks at today's ultra-low conforming and FHA mortgage rates, and explains why rates are set to rise.

Looking for a Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac loan; or an FHA Streamline Refinance; or an VA IRRRL loan; or a USDA mortgage? What about a jumbo loan? Act quickly. The forces that, since 2009, have conspired to keep mortgage rates low are now poised to fade into history. And when they're gone, so will low mortgage rates.

Monday, January 16, 2012


Don't believe me?

Read this from RIS Media:

And with 2012 looking to be the year we "finally" hit bottom and start climbing again, this is your year to buy your first home or trade up for that growing household!

Mark Slade
Keller Williams

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Modern Art in Montclair

Since its December opening, the Montclair Art Museum’s exhibit, “Patterns, Systems, Structures: Abstraction in American Art” has been attracting a steady stream of viewers.

The exhibit – which came from the museum’s vast collection of permanent holdings – is a big show of surprises. The result is a show that bedazzles, intrigues and educates.

The show also appeals to a variety of art fans – from a preschooler who saw Edna Andrade’s big op art work and exclaimed, “I love this one” to a more mature group making observations about Robert Motherwell’s 1965 piece “Sea of Biarritz.”

Montclair-based artist Elizabeth Seaton, who teaches at the museum’s Yard School of Art, enjoyed “Deliverence Disco” a 1987 work by George J. McNeil, while visiting the show with her husband. She said, “What I really value about this installation is the variety of angles of attack on the issue of abstraction.”

That variety is exactly what Chief Curator Gail Stavitsky said she had in mind for this exhibit, “My goal was to show the full spectrum of abstraction, from works with references to nature to works completely separated from nature.”

For more click on Montclair Patch

Just a short 15 minute drive from Maplewood/South Orange

Mark Slade
Keller Williams

Friday, January 13, 2012

Getting a Jump Start on Summer Camp Info: First Posting of information

Just got this notice:

Below is info for Kids Kamp 2012 an earlier date for early registration is included
Kid’s Kamp – Summer 2012

Maplewood’s Kid’s Kamp is a traditional day camp for children in kindergarten (5 by Oct. 1, 2012) thru 5th grade. It is for Maplewood & South Orange residents only.
It is held at Seth Boyden School for 2 three week sessions (Mon thru Fri) beginning June 25th.

Campers swim 3 days a week at the Maplewood Community Pool under the supervision of camp staff as well as MCP lifeguards. All campers are swim tested and assigned pools accordingly.

Each week the camp leaves the site for a field trip. Past trips include bowling, Funplex, Bowcraft, the State Fair & Turtle back Zoo.

Our staff is comprised of local high school and college students, many of whom were Kid’s Kampers themselves. They are CPR & First Aid certified and available to help answer your questions.
Half day campers attend from 8:30AM to 1PM and Full Day campers attend from 8:30AM and 3:30PM. Campers must bring lunch each day unless otherwise notified.

There will be Early Bird registrations held on Saturday, January 28th & February 4th from 9AM to 12PM at the Maplewood Community Center, 120 Burnett Avenue. The Early Bird rate will be $650 for full day & $450 for ½ day. After February 4th the full day cost will be $700 and ½ day will be $500. There are also multiple child & multiple session discounts.

For additional information please call Michelle at 973-763-0750.

Mark Slade
Keller Williams

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Brooklyn to NJ contributed Story about Mr. Ray! Rock On!

My Friend Joyce sent this to me this morning and I want to share it with all of you.

"I just wanted to let everybody know about a Kid concert we went to this weekend.
We saw MR. Ray in the living room in Soho. We had a ball with our 2 and 4 year old. They sing and dance to his music here at home day and night and i have to be honest.. i jam with them because i LOVE Mr. Ray just as much as they do...Maybe that is because he jammed with Bruce Springsteen, Meat loaf and Jon Bon Jovi. Or maybe because he is so darn cute with the kids. We had a moment to chat with him after the concert. Such a nice guy. He grew up around here and told me he is available for Birthday parties in your home or on location. Seriously... this guy with his guitar and his amazing voice in my house! Sign us up! My daughter kept on asking if we could take him home for dinner....She is 4 so she did not listen when i told her he was busy. She is still asking me- off course- when he is coming!!
Mr. Ray can also sing at your local school, library, museum, park... The sky is the limit with this guy.
He has been written up in the Wall Street Journal, NY magazine and Parenting to name a few. I did not even think we could get this guy for a Bday party, but he will come and you will all have a ball. Many people even hire him for adult Bday parties with kids because Mr. Ray appeals to everybody and can sing anything.

Take a look at these links and his website:


or check out this video:

MR Ray at the UN

My daughter's favorite song

Mom to Nina and Kai

PS: He will be jamming at McLoone's Boathouse soon too. Saturday the 28th from 8-12:30. (Ray Anderson Duo)

and more:

This press article in the Wall Street Journal (you can read it on his website) says it all:

Rock-Star Wannabe Finds Fame Making Music for Kids

April 6, 2004; Page B1
From the time he was a toddler, Ray Yodlowsky wanted to be the fifth Beatle.
He grew up in Carole King's former house in suburban New Jersey, where the doorbell chimed
"Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow," one of her first songwriting hits. He got his first drum set at seven years old.
At 16, he jammed with Bruce Springsteen on guitar and keyboards at the Stone Pony club in Asbury Park, N.J.
Then he skipped college, started rock bands and eventually hit the road with Meat Loaf and Matchbox Twenty.
He even adopted a smoother last name -- Andersen -- to use on stage.
"Yodlowsky, bleh," he says.
It might have continued this way, another talented musician plugging along while waiting for his break into rock 'n' roll stardom.
But in 1994, Mr. Andersen played an impromptu gig at a Kiddie Academy day-care center in New Jersey,
belting out "Yellow Submarine" as a favor to his wife, who was temping there. The kids went wild.
And without realizing it, Mr. Andersen was on a new career path.

Today, the musician is more successful than ever. Known simply as "mr. Ray," Mr. Andersen has sold
about 25,000 compact discs in the past three years featuring music from his children's album, "Start Dreaming."
His songs, ranging from "Swish!" to "Boo-boos Go Away," are a hybrid of kid-empowerment messages cloaked
in a rock sensibility that parents welcome as a break from Barney. Mr. Andersen's own dinosaur tune,
"I'd Be a Dinosaur," is played in a minor key with a shuffle inspired by Doors classic "People Are Strange."
Moms say they don't mind Mr. Andersen's good looks or sultry style, either.

His pay also has picked up. Mr. Andersen charges $500 to $2,000 for his concerts at museums, schools, birthday parties,
parks and theaters, and less for church and charity clients. Families up and down the East Coast have hired him,
and he is playing bigger and bigger venues. Actress and mother Julianne Moore bought his DVD after a
recent concert honoring Dr. Seuss at New York's Hammerstein Ballroom, he says. Mr. Andersen earned $100,000 last year,
nearly three times as much as during his highest-paid year as a rocker.

In many ways, Mr. Andersen's journey is like a lot of careers; his work unexpectedly led to an accidental destination,
and now it is hard to go back. The transition wasn't easy. For a while, he tried to live in two musical worlds, playing
until 3 a.m. with his own nightclub band, Blue Van Gogh, which left him groggy and reeking of smoke when he showed
up the next day at day-centers filled with adoring children. His kid-friendly mr. Ray moniker also didn't seem to
fit his self-image as more of a rock 'n' roll rebel. "I wanted to be something more like Rocket Ray," he says.
"But some kid called me Mister Ray, and I was stuck." He lowercases "Mr." as a way of gently bucking the establishment.

The two musical genres didn't mesh naturally. The guys in Blue Van Gogh didn't come to hear
Mr. Andersen's new repertoire, even as mr. Ray's pint-size following grew and he furiously wrote songs
for his first kids' album. "I'd bring the music into rehearsals, and I'd tell the band about it," he says.
They would chuckle, he says, making Mr. Andersen a bit defensive. "The kids' music universe is not taken seriously."
Blue Van Gogh eventually disbanded, but Mr. Andersen still is friends with his former band members.

Still, Mr. Andersen couldn't make a quick, clean break with his past. Along with wife Patti Maloney, also a musician,
he was asked to open for rockers Matchbox Twenty on that group's European tour in 1998. That led to the biggest
offer of his career: a gig with Meat Loaf. For three years, Mr. Andersen traveled off-and-on with the band in the U.S.
and Europe, singing backup vocals on songs such as "Bat Out of Hell" and playing keyboards and rhythm guitar.
Crowds often were arena-size, and the paycheck was healthy.

Nevertheless, on Meat Loaf's tour bus, Mr. Andersen constantly tinkered with his mr. Ray songs,
including "Flower Power" and "When I Grow Up." Before long, Meat Loaf band members started calling him mr. Ray.
When he came home to New Jersey for a few weeks at a time, playing a few mr. Ray shows,
Mr. Andersen began to realize that he missed being around kids.

"It was like a shaft of light slowly coming through the windows," he says.
"Finally, it was just enough to make me realize, 'What am I doing?' " He quit Meat Loaf in April 2001 and immediately
released his children's album. It was upon signing a distribution deal with Sugar Beats Entertainment,
a New York company coincidentally founded by Carole King's daughter, that Mr. Andersen recalls,
"I finally felt like I was letting go of my rock self." At the launch party for "Start Dreaming,"
held at a hip Manhattan night club, Mr. Andersen found himself running around to cover erotic paintings with blankets because
he didn't want to offend kids in attendance.
In retrospect, maybe Mr. Andersen should have seen his big change coming.
His adopted last name is taken from Hans Christian Andersen, one of the musician's favorite children's authors.

As mr. Ray's popularity grew, so did Mr. Andersen's business opportunities. Cablevision Systems Corp.
and Comcast Corp. play mr. Ray songs on their digital-cable music channels. Retailer Toys "R" Us Inc.
pipes him inside its stores, for which he is paid royalties. He has been invited to perform -- and pitch his
CD and recently released DVD -- on the QVC home-shopping channel. And Mr. Andersen says he is in
talks with two entertainment companies about music-licensing deals that could include plush toys based on
characters in his songs, such as Zibby the Zebra and Kalien the Alien. Mr. Andersen split up recently with
Sugar Beats, deciding that going it alone would give him more flexibility over distribution. Both sides say the split was amicable.

Mr. Andersen takes his new persona so seriously that last year he filed a $10 million lawsuit against Walt Disney Co.
and Pixar Animation Studios claiming the "Mr. Ray" manta ray in the animated movie "Finding Nemo" infringed
on his trademark and caused confusion among fans who expected him to be dressed as a manta ray at appearances.
The suit was settled out of court.

Other grown-ups have built followings as kids' musicians, ranging from touchy-feely environmentalist Raffi to
the more-folksy Dan Zanes and Roger Day. But making it really big is tough. Children's tastes can be fickle,
and getting widespread distribution in such a niche market is tricky. "Record stores usually put kids' music
behind the staircase," says Bonnie Gallanter, vice president of Sugar Beats, which has sold more than a
million CDs in the last decade featuring kids who belt out cover versions of hit tunes such as
"Walking on Sunshine" by Katrina & the Waves. "The best place [to sell kid-friendly music]
is bookstores or children's specialty stores, but they have limited shelf space for this kind of music."

Mr. Andersen says he hopes to become the "Mister Rogers of the rock 'n' roll world." But to get there,
he needs to get on television. The Wiggles, for example, is a men's quartet from Australia that released
its first album in 1991 and has parlayed live concert music into a booming business of videos, TV shows and merchandise.

"I would say that the biggest challenge is transferring the popularity of the music realm into the visual realm,"
says David Bittler, spokesman for the Nickelodeon cable network. "On our channel, kids are center stage, not adults."
Still, the popularity of "Captain Kangaroo," which ran on CBS for about 30 years, and PBS's "Electric Company"
in the 1970s show that kids will watch programs aimed at them that feature adults. If mr. Ray "has got this following,
it all comes down to talent, timing and chance," Mr. Bittler says. To boost his odds, Mr. Andersen's DVD is structured like a mock mr. Ray show.

Ironically, Mr. Andersen is finding that his mr. Ray persona attracts adult fans more than ever. To end kid concerts,
he often plays Paul Simon's "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard," while typically dressed in a black shirt with
shocks of hair falling in his face. "He's got a sexy charisma," says Susan Coleman, 41, of Solebury, Pa.,
who hired Mr. Andersen to play at a country club for her daughter's third and sixth birthdays --
and is trying to book him for her husband's 40th birthday party.
Diana Chaney, a former money manager, hired Mr. Andersen for her husband's upcoming 50th birthday,
where the musician will play a combination of kids' and adult-oriented songs. "Most kids' music drives
me crazy," she says. "But he's cool. Edgy."

David Stamberg, 40, recently purchased a Meat Loaf DVD shot when
Mr. Andersen was touring with the band. "Let's be clear," Mr. Stamberg says. "I like Meat Loaf, but I bought it for mr. Ray."
To nurture the grown-ups in his audience, Mr. Andersen on Friday night performed his first "Adult Acoustic Rock Show,"
with two other musicians featuring music from the '60s and '70s, at a tavern in Hightstown, N.J. In a nod to his core
fan base of kids, Mr. Andersen billed the show on his Web site as "PARENTS' NIGHT OUT!"

Mark Slade
Keller Williams

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Short Hills and Millburn NJ Real Estate Statistics 2011 vs 2010

Here are your Short Hills and Millburn New Jersey Real Estate Statistics for 2011 vs. 2010.


South Orange Real Estate Statistics 2011 vs 2010

here are the year end statistics for South Orange for 2011 vs. 2010

How much is your Home Worth, Really?

As a Realtor with Keller Williams, a key part of my job is to provide an approximate value of a home to both prospective sellers and buyers. This is perhaps one of the most emotionally challenged "negotiations" as sellers have a belief of what their home should be worth and buyer usually have a far different idea of what they think the same home is worth. The most important consideration that rules the roost here is that "It's all about the market!"

To best think about this, I prefer we minimize the emotional behavior by looking at a different model: So, when we deal with a manufactured product, we normally begin the process by approximating at our costs--including raw materials, labor, cost of facilities etc. But even this is only half of the equation as we know that just because an item may have cost $50.00 to manufacture doesn't mean that the prospective buyer/consumer will value the item to be worth the RETAIL cost of the item let alone the Manufacturing Cost of the item. How many times do we venture through the malls or online sites to see "REDUCED," "SALE," "CLEARANCE" banners.

Let's face it, while Apple is pretty darn good about protecting is "List" price for its iPADs, all to often, most products find themselves following simple Economics 101 relationships of Supply and Demand where "inventory" is presented to potential buyers and the pool of buyers tells us if they feel the product is worthy of the List Price, a slightly reduced price or a dramatically chopped price.

Using statistics reported from the GSMLS, of the 235 homes sold in Maplewood this past year, 28.3% of the homes sold for Final asking price or above, see Chart Below:

I love the irony for us maplewoodstock lovers that this chart looks like a "peace" sign. But the key points being made with the data plotted in this pie chart is that 30% of the closed home sales in 2011 sold for Final Asking Price or better and actually up to 108% of Final Asking/List Price.

Another 28% sold for 97%-99.5% of Final Asking Price; 17% sold between 95%-97% and almost 8% still sold for less than 90% of Final Asking Price.

Now, why do i keep referring to Final Asking Price? because homes are often remarketed multiple times throughout the process, which translates into being offered at lower (and lower again) prices when compared to the TRUE Original List Price. Even when a Listing Sheet refers to an OLP it doesn't include the fact that the Listing Agent may have re-listed the home to reset the price and the Days on Market during the process; nor does it include reference to a prior agent's listing of the same property, if that was, in fact, the case.

For those of you wondering if 2011 was an aberration, i can tell you it isn't! 2010's chart looks almost identical--Peace sign and ALL!

And, upon further examination, you would find almost the same Peach Sign with 2011's results for Millburn and Short Hills NJ.

So, how do we answer "HOW MUCH IS YOUR HOME WORTH? It's truly a dynamic of Economics Supply and Demand. It's not about what the home owner spent on the home and upgrades, it's not about what the neighbor's house actually sold for, nor is it about what you "want" or "need," it's about what the current buyer pool feels it is worth when they present and negotiate offers.

Can you price your home too low? Well, referencing our Pie Charts, I would say "NOT," because, as Realtor that studied Economics, it looks very much like the home often finds it's right price in the market and quite often gets bid up above its Final List Price!

Mark Slade
Keller Williams Mid-Town Direct Realty, Inc.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Official Guide to NJ Beaches, Parks and Forests now in an APP!

On Tuesday, the state Department of Environmental Protection launched a new mobile phone application to help visitors plan for — and make — the most out of their trips to New Jersey's state parks, forests and historic sites.

The free Pocket Ranger application provides information on activities, amenities and services directly to users' smartphones, and is part of Gov. Chris Christie's administration's plans to make the park system more self-sustaining while improving visitor services.

The app version compatible with Apple iPhones was launched Tuesday. The Android-compatible version will be launched in several days. The applications can be downloaded at StateParkApps.com.

For more about this click on Montclair Patch

Mark Slade
Keller Williams

You are not Alone if you owe more than your Home is Worth

You are not Alone if you owe more than your Home is Worth

According to Corelogic and KCM, up to 1 out of every 5 homes in NJ has negative equity--the outstanding loans total more than the current market value for the home.

So, you are probably not alone if you are frustrated, challenge and curious about your options.

As a SFR designated Realtor, I am apprised of the mutiple options available to you incuding ways to keep you home and ways to short sale it, if you are unable to keep your home.

And, as an agent that personally experienced a short sale as a seller a few years back==which is what inspired me to get into the Real Estate business==I can assure you I am incredibly empathetic to your feelings and situation.

Mark Slade
Keller Williams

Thursday, January 5, 2012

School of ROCK: The Sessions in January

Ever since the movie of the same namesake, i have been curious as to how such a great concept would evolve. Well, curious no more:

Nine Inch Nails
Who: Tweens and up.
What: School of Rock Montclair will perform a tribute to the band Nine Inch Nails. Featured will be the hits “Hurt”, “Terrible Lie”, “Head Like A Hole”, “In This Twilight”, “March Of The Pigs”, and more.
Where: Just Jake’s, 30 Park Street, Montclair, NJ, 07042 & The Parrish Hall at St. John's Episcopal Church, 55 Montclair Ave., Montclair, NJ, 07043.
When: Saturday, January 14 at Just Jake’s (12:30PM) and Sunday, January 15 at The Parrish Hall at St. John's Episcopal Church (6:00PM).
Cost: Adults $10, 17 and under $5.

Led Zeppelin
Who: Tweens and up.
What: School of Rock Montclair will present a tribute to Led Zeppelin. Featured will be such timeless rock anthems as ”Black Dog”, “Whole Lotta Love”, “Fool In The Rain”, “No Quarter”, “D’yer Mak’er”, and more.
Where: Just Jake’s, 30 Park Street, Montclair, NJ, 07042 & Crossroads, 78 North Avenue, Garwood, NJ, 07027.
When: Saturday, January 21 at Just Jake’s (4:00PM) and Sunday, January 22 at Crossroads (12:30PM).
Cost: Adults $10, 17 and under $5.

Women Who Rock
Who: Tweens and up.
What: School of Rock Montclair will pay tribute to some of the most talented and important female rockers of all time, including such favorites as “Another Piece Of My Heart” (Janis Joplin), “I Hate Myself For Lovin’ You” (Joan Jett), “Crush Crush Crush” (Paramore), “Cherry Bomb” (The Runaways), “My Favorite Mistake” (Sheryl Crow), and many more.
Where: Just Jake’s, 30 Park Street, Montclair, NJ, 07042 & The Parrish Hall at St. John's Episcopal Church, 55 Montclair Ave., Montclair, NJ, 07043.
When: Saturday, January 14 at Just Jake’s (4:00PM) and Sunday, January 15 at The Parrish Hall at St. John's Episcopal Church (12:30PM).
Cost: Adults $10, 17 and under $5.

Rockin’ Grohl
Who: Tweens and up.
What: School of Rock Montclair will pay tribute to the many bands of Dave Grohl. The show will include such energetic rock hits as “My Hero”, “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, “Bridges Burning”, “Learn To Fly”, “Drain You”, and more.
Where: Just Jake’s, 30 Park Street, Montclair, NJ, 07042 & The Parrish Hall at St. John's Episcopal Church, 55 Montclair Ave., Montclair, NJ, 07043.
When: Saturday, January 21 at Just Jake’s (12:30PM) and Sunday, January 22 at The Parrish Hall at St. John's Episcopal Church (6:00PM).
Cost: Adults $10, 17 and under $5.

Michael Jackson’s Dangerous Tour
Who: Tweens and up.
What: School of Rock Montclair will wind the clock back to 1992 and recreate Michael Jackson’s Dangerous Tour. Songs will include “Beat It”, “I Want You Back”, “Billie Jean”, “Smooth Criminal”, “Thriller”, and more.
Where: James Caldwell High School, Westville Avenue, West Caldwell, NJ 07006
When: Saturday, January 28 (7:00PM) and Sunday, January 29 (3:00PM).
Cost: All tickets $10.

For more information about any of their January shows, contact School of Rock Montclair at (973) 337-5296. Tickets can be purchased in advance at School of Rock Montclair,125 Valley Road, Montclair, or at the venue on the day of the show.

For more info, go to Montclair Patch

Mark Slade
Keller Williams