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Re: Mortgage Broker Recommendations
Just can't stay away
Just can't stay away

Why would you want to use a mortgage broker? They are middleman and are interested in getting themselves the largest profit, and in my experience they can be deceptive about fees involved-- waiting until the 11th hour to actually provide an accounting of all fees. They are also often in cahoots with the title insurance company (ie they get kickbacks for using a particular company that will end up costing you more, most people have no idea they can shop around for title insurance). There are lots of scammers out there too. I would recommend working DIRECTLY with banks or credit unions. It is more work, but you are cutting out the middleman.

Posted on: 2010/4/25 17:06

Is Cocoa Bakery/Bistro ever opening?
Just can't stay away
Just can't stay away

I have been anxiously waiting the opening, supposedly in April was the last posted on this site. However on another site I saw remarks that they had lost their funding and are not actually going to open a storefront bistro. I bike past the site all the time too and it does not look like any work is being done. Yet their website lists a new executive chef hired.
Does anyone have an official update?

Posted on: 2010/4/25 16:58

Re: Liberty State Park in the evening
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Just can't stay away

I've felt unsafe and was very happy I was on a bike in the park in the summer-- around 8:30 or 9 pm or so. I passed some teenagers who were grouped up on both sides of the waterfront walkway-- and they did not look like kids laughing and having a good time, they had a very harsh and cold look, it was not clear to me why they were there. Perhaps I am overcautious but as a slight woman, better safe than sorry.

Posted on: 2010/3/10 13:17

Re: Tia's Place in Downtown Jersey City -- a destination for stylists and fashionistas.
Just can't stay away
Just can't stay away

A couple of comments-- first, I've noticed that Tia's merchandise now has a considerably lower price point-- lots of inexpensive brands that I did not see before (Roxy, Quiksilver). Unfortunately (for me anyway), the merchandise and new labels are more suited for a very young client, which may be their target. Previously, they seemed to have a lot of the same labels you could get at Bloomingdales (Velvet, Tibi, etc)-- minus the regular bloomie's discounts. That did not really inspire me to shop there.
I would not at all mind paying more if Tia's would carry more small, interesting labels that you can't find at every UES boutique and department store. Some other items I would go in for regularly-- simple but stylish tops to wear under suits and cute, well cut work dresses. I currently buy work stuff at J Crew, Theory or Anthropologie but would love some more options.
And it's true-- I find it unsettling that as soon as you walk upstairs, someone quickly follows you up then pretends to busy themselves up there while you know they are "keeping an eye" on you. There must be a better way to discourage shoplifting?

Posted on: 2010/2/16 21:52

Re: Cocoa Bakery & Cafe
Just can't stay away
Just can't stay away

Is there any update as to when the bistro will be up and running?
I am really looking forward to it, I love the pics they have on the website and I am sure I will be frequenting it often.

Also, a suggestion to as to the bakery-- while buttercream has its fans, I and many people I know despise the "famous" nyc cupcake establishments that offer overly sweet, buttercream frostings that really all taste the same (Magnolia, Buttercup Cafe, Crumbs, etc)
I am hoping Cocoa will be offering non-buttercream, less sweet options (like some of treats offered in European cafes?)

Posted on: 2010/1/7 16:05

Was anyone else woken up by the overwhelming tar-like smell around Grove last night?
Just can't stay away
Just can't stay away

We had our windows open and were woken up at around 3 am from an overwhelming smell something like tar/burned rubber/pollution. Walked around outside but could not figure out where it was coming from. Did not go away for several hours and still smelled it a little this morning. This was around the downtown/Grove St area-- did anyone else smell it?

Posted on: 2009/10/22 17:43

Re: How to complain to JC Postmaster about Poor USPS Service
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Just can't stay away

Also, in case it's not obvious-- I would strongly recommend sending an email devoid of inflammatory terms to Jeff Gannon (i.e., "lazy", "incompetent")-- keep it factual, professional, and to the point or it will be likely disregarded. A nice letter or phone call is far more likely to render a result than an angry one.

Posted on: 2009/9/22 20:04

How to complain to JC Postmaster about Poor USPS Service
Just can't stay away
Just can't stay away

I saw the thread about the poor postal service in JC and the failed attempts to resolve complaints. I am especially concerned as I am about to move to the downtown area and rely on the USPS for my home office to function properly. So I contacted my friend who works at the USPS headquarters in DC and she told me that all complaints should be sent directly to the Jeff Gannon, the Postmaster of the Montgomery Street location.

Here is the contact info:

(201) 915-7001

Please post your experience in resolving issues moving forward only on this thread (no rehashing of past problems), your contact with Jeff Gannon, and whether the issue was resolved to your satisfaction. If you go through this channel and the issue remains unresolved, I will have my friend look into the next step and post it here, but as always with government, you need to follow protocol first.

Posted on: 2009/9/22 19:57

Re: looking for an allergy specialist...
Just can't stay away
Just can't stay away

My allergist is Dr. Daniel Burton in NYC-- he is excellent and always rated among the top docs. Worth it to go to the UES if you only need to visit occasionally, if you have to get weekly shots you will probably have to stick to a local dr.

Shepherd & Burton
235 E 67th St Rm 203
New York, NY

Phone: (212) 288-9300

Posted on: 2009/9/22 3:53

Re: Looking for other JC Chihuahua owners to swap pet care
Just can't stay away
Just can't stay away

JC night-- I pm'ed you-- hopefully we can work out a time/place for the first chi meetup then post here the details so everyone can join.

Posted on: 2009/9/17 2:03

Re: Looking for other JC Chihuahua owners to swap pet care
Just can't stay away
Just can't stay away

I have a chi too, a little under 4 pounds, a little timid but very sweet. Could we arrange to meet up in the park?

Posted on: 2009/9/16 22:21

Nearly run down by reckless driver today at Columbus/Grove, JC Police Unresponsive
Just can't stay away
Just can't stay away

I was at the corner of Columbus today at Grove Street, waited for the "walk" sign, then started walking across the street toward Duane Reade. In the left hand lane on Columbus, I spotted a beat up car with two young males, who clearly saw me walking in the middle of the crosswalk. The car suddenly revved its engine and and made a fast left hand turn straight into me, as if they were actually aiming for me (the driver was looking right at me), and did not stop. I quickly jumped backward and just narrowly missed being hit by the car. The young males laughed as they drove past me, then turned around and laughed some more. I caught the license plate as they drove away, VTV500, a NJ plate. People rushed towards me to make sure I was ok and I had a flood of witnesses who were appalled by the scene. Although I wasn't hurt, I was concerned the young males might hurt someone else, so I quickly called the 911, who took the information and assured me the police would arrive shortly and I could file a report, and hopefully the drivers could be tracked down as they may still be in the area. After waiting for 20 minutes, I called the JC police directly, and was told a car would come soon. After another 20 minutes of standing on the street corner, and still no one arriving (although I saw several JC police cars aimlessly driving around and clearly not looking for me-- I even tried to flag them down, to no avail), I called the police again. I was told the police would come "when they got around to it." After an hour I gave up and went home, left my cell number with the police for follow up. Of course I never heard from anyone.

Posted on: 2009/5/11 2:37

Carmen Rosa Bakery?
Just can't stay away
Just can't stay away

Has anyone been here and if so can you recommend anything?
I am looking for something to bring to Easter dinner, would prefer something unique to the area instead of a standard cake/sweets.
The other option I'm considering is Carlos Bakery in Hoboken but would prefer something by Grove. Thanks!

Posted on: 2009/4/8 16:22

Re: NYTIMES: STINKs (Stupid Twit Income Not Known) Makes Developers Smile
Just can't stay away
Just can't stay away

Why on earth would you think it's shocking that a person is held accountable to the contract they chose in free will to sign? I read that same article and thought 1) what an idiot to sign any contract without a mortgage contingency-- I never would have done that in a million years and 2) how stupid to put every last cent of your money into a down payment-- clearly they could not afford to buy a million dollar home if they only had around 90k to their name. How about buying a place for half as much where they could comfortabley put a down payment down and still have money left over in case of an emergency?
I have no sympathy for other people's poor choices and desire for lifestyles above their savings/income levels. These were not impoverished people being taken advantage of-- they were professionals buying a million dollar home and have every ability to understand the terms of a contract and consider that their circumstances may change in the future.

Posted on: 2009/3/22 18:52

NJ: A Market Going Downhill Fast (from NY Times)
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Just can't stay away

Great article-- how long before JC joins the rest of the state? See link to pdf of 5 yr sales data for jersey burbs: ... -region-housingchart.html

February 22, 2009
A Market Going Downhill Fast


IN the heady real estate days of the summer of 2005, a well-maintained house in a decent school district would not last long on the market. That was when a three-bedroom ranch house at 46 Windermere Road here achieved its peak-value moment.

The red-brick ranch sold that July for $709,000 ? fetching $50,000 over asking price ? after just 10 days on the market.

Fast forward to the spring of 2008, and a market gone slack, not just in Montclair or Essex County, but in all 21 counties of the nation?s second-wealthiest state. The brick ranch was for sale again, and had been, on and off, for more than a year. The owner had given up on getting his price, and moved out. The bank had agreed to a ?short sale? in which it would recover less than it was owed. The asking price was reduced to $599,000.

?That seemed like a really good price when we first saw it,? said John Strong, who finally bought the house with his partner, Heather Carter. ?But there were no lights in the house ? the electricity had been turned off ? and later we could see there were problems, because it had been empty and not kept up.? The final price at the closing last month: $528,110.

Over the course of three and a half years, the New Jersey residential market has headed downhill fast. In September 2006, Jeffrey G. Otteau, whose Otteau Valuation Group gathers data on the residential market for many builders and brokers, said there were 68,000 houses sitting on the market unsold for a month or longer, more than he had ever seen in his experience in this market. By spring 2007, there were 71,000 unsold houses, his firm reported, and by May 2008, that number had climbed again, to 74,000.

At the same time, the pace of sales kept lagging, sometimes erratically, but always headed down, according to monthly reports from Mr. Otteau?s firm, based in New Brunswick. Each December, on a line graph depicting month-by-month sales during the year, the squiggly line ended in a deeper valley than it had the previous year.

More than a year ago, Mr. Otteau announced that his calculations indicated there would be a long wait before prices returned to 2005 levels. Not until 2014, he said at the time ? and that prediction was made well before Wall Street quaked, the mortgage lending market foundered and unemployment statistics started to skyrocket.

The problem for many sellers now is that they cannot wait five years to sell their homes at prices comparable to what they paid for them.

Tom Wragg, a mortgage broker with Worldwide Financial Resources Inc., has his family?s three-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bath town house condo in the Crystal Woods complex in West Orange up for sale right now.

He purchased the condo for $438,000 five years ago, when his first child was about to take his first step. Last year, after he and his wife had their third child, Mr. Wragg put the town house on the market at an asking price of $525,000. After 125 days without a buyer, the listing was withdrawn ? and the house was relisted on Jan. 1 at $489,900.

Over the weekend of Feb. 7 and 8, when the weather was relatively balmy and small swarms of home shoppers actually emerged for various open houses around northern New Jersey, not a single prospective buyer showed up to view the town house, Mr. Wragg said.

?It?s a little disturbing,? said his real estate agent, Perri K. Feldman of Keller Williams in Summit, ?because this home is now very well priced.?

Ms. Feldman said last week that she was talking with two other sellers whose homes? values had apparently slid below what the sellers originally paid. She said she was considering when to tell them that their only option appeared to be selling short and moving on with no nest egg profit in hand.

As of January, the state had a 17-month supply of houses on the market, according to Otteau Group figures. That means that even if no other houses were put up for sale, it would still take 17 months to sell those already available, under current market conditions.

In Bergen County, it would take an estimated 15 years and 4 months to sell all the houses now on the market priced at $2.5 million or more. In Morris County, for homes priced from $1 million to $2.5 million, it would take seven and a half years, and in Warren County, for homes priced from $600,000 to $1 million, five years and one month.

With unsold-house inventories like those, and the probability that the economic malaise will continue for some time, Mr. Otteau?s most recent prediction is that New Jersey home prices will continue to drop.

Prices have declined by an average of 15 to 20 percent in every county in the past three and a half years, contract sales data indicates. At the start of 2009, some real estate professionals said they had noticed a few sellers starting to ?see the light? and agreeing to slash asking prices by 10 to 20 percent, sometimes even 25 percent.

James Bednar, who writes the real-estate blog, said last month that it was high time for both buyers and sellers to face reality. He proposed a new mantra for them: ?Home prices can fall. Home prices can fall. Home prices can fall further than I believe possible. Home prices are falling and will continue to fall.?

Posted on: 2009/2/24 20:42

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