You know...sometimes it's good to just sneak away. To grab a few necessities; i pod, Starbucks coffee card, wireless laptop, Treo, shades, cap--and slip into the blogosphere. No worries. New adventure.
Sooo...once at my cyber launchpad, a WiFi friendly semi-private nook a few blocks from my Chicago condo, I simply made a space for myself, ordered an Italian Roast French press, pointed my mouse in an eastwardly direction and headed for Queens, baby! Now I'm East Coast by almost every sense of the definition except for the fact I live in Chicago (long story) so when Carollo Real Estate's Christine Forgione invited me to crash on her virtual davenport for a day, I loaded a gig of Beastie Boys on the Nano, flipped my Mets cap backwards and was outta here. And although I'm a die hard Phillies fan with all the trimmings, my feeling is 'at least the sun rises over correct ocean up on the Island', so it's all good.
I don't ever hide the fact of what I do for a living as I am probably--to use an overused psychological term--obsessed with real estate. And while I may very well be silently suffering from a real estate disorder what I don't do is go walking around with a Hello, My Name Is: Geno Petro, Realtor tag stuck to my shirt, especially when I'm checking out unlisted properties or venturing forth on the sidewalks of a new city. My wife once muttered something under her breath about me being the 'My Cousin Vinny of real estate' but take that with a grain of salt because she has a little of that Marisa Tomee attitude herself..."yeah, and you blend!" We were visiting Seattle at the time, so go figure.
But that was different. This is about Queens. And as I scrolled and strolled the virtual neighborhoods around the Forgione's Bayside crib I couldn't help but take some comparative notes--my first entry being; It ain't exactly cheap here, either!--although a picture postcard Whitestone Detached Colonial captured my fancy as did a Flushing North Tudor. At a smidgen under 600 grand each, they would appear to me to have some pretty strong real estate legs, even in a crowded market.
Speaking of crowded, what's with the parking in Queens? A lot of Escalades rollin' by taking up a lot of street space if you know what I'm saying. I personally just traded a late model S Series for a souped up Mini-Cooper because among other reasons, I'd been towed for illegal parking so many times that my front-end suspension was permanently wrecked--they just hook you up and drag you down the street sideways in my neighborhood. Maybe its different in Bayside--"leave the Caddy...take the cannoli." And speaking of Escalades and cannolis, at least your Italian neighborhoods have actual Italians. Little Italy in Chicago is turning into a college campus.
Anyway, a while later as I was meandering along a side street west of Main in Flushing I caught glimpse of this giant hollow metal globe and immediately tried to zoom in for a closer look. Caution, objects may appear closer than they actually are...ten years later I'm lost in this place called Flushing Meadows Corona Park which I'm pretty certain has its own zip code. Yeah, the Unisphere built by US Steel in the 1960's is pretty cool but we have a pretty cool piece of rusting metal ourselves back in ChiTown called the Picasso Horse. US Steel...Picasso...whatever. 'Mezza Mezza,' as my Pop Pop would say.
Now before I continue I should probably go on the record and say that I'm really not a Techie--pretty far from it as those who know me will attest. I just buy the latest stuff and have the web guys in our office explain it all to me later. But if there is a 'hot spot' satellite signal anywhere to be found I can usually figure out a way to access the Multiple Listing Service of any city I land in. Moot point in Manhattan, come to find out. There is no such animal. Or if there is, I didn't see it. But you probably know this.
So I clicked on Christine Forgione's Long Island MLS search tool and took a quick spin around Queens County to find a few places to visit and perhaps even something I might take a run at myself if I were in the market there. I do this same exercise on a daily basis in Chicago splitting equal time between my own web page and my company's main landing site at ChicagoHomeEstates.com. It keeps me sharp and on top of the inventory. And before I retire for the night I'll also spend an hour or so on my primary Blog but really, this is just icing on the virtual biscotti. Its all about information sharing and linkage in this day and age.
So after a few mezza mezza virtual visits to Jersey (don't ask--wrong click), a quick circle back to Howard Beach (hey, I might know a guy who knows a guy...) and a semi-guided tour of Whitestone (lovely) I found myself back on the davenport with a few remaining hours to kill and some credit left on my Starbuck's card. Ironically, I remembered my mother telling me just recently that I had a cousin in some place called Malba which I heard was nearby so I decided to Google him before proceeding any further.
"He's very wealthy," my mother had told me.
"What do you mean by wealthy, Ma?" I asked.
"Oh...I don't know anything about that. But he's an accountant at a big firm and his wife is Jewish."
"Ma...My wife is Jewish," I said.
"I thought she was half Jewish," said my mother.
And there's really no point in saying much more about it because the conversation in real time took an hour. So come to find we don't speak to that side of the family anymore anyway (because that's what we do in our family--not speak to each other for years if necessary). But sure enough according to Google, I do indeed have a cousin in Malba and judging by his page rank and a few other interesting entries, he may indeed have quite a bit of dough. Anyway, I decided to take a pass on Malba. I got nothing to say to the guy.
I decided instead to Google Earth a place called Lake Success I'd heard mention of--a long and glitchy download to be sure, but usually worth the wait from my experience. Now the laptop battery was getting low, my Treo was vibrating every few minutes with unheard messages, new e-mail notifications, text one-liners, and my caffeine level was fast approaching the aortic red line--in other words, it was time to go. And to be blunt, my Beasties loop was coming around for the third time and enough already (like I really need to be reminded to 'fight for my right to party' that many times in one day). I waited patiently as Google completed its satellite magic.
Sure enough, ten minutes later I landed on a mini-mansion for a cool 1.8 Mil. Now thats what I'm talking about. I like the name, Lake Success. And the price, while a little bit of a stretch for me, could probably work if the wife had to have it and I stumbled across a unique enough opportunity to Make Me Move (inside joke). I closed my eyes and mentally zoomed into my new surroundings.
But then again, I like to pretend--always have. The nuns used to crack my head for daydreaming but that was back in a time when the Unisphere was being built and apparently it was also legal to knock around kids in grade school. They're all probably waiting out their 10,000 years in Purgatory by now so...whatever.
But back to 'Success'. Its on a 110x120 foot lot, 5 bedrooms, 3 baths, and everything else I look for in a house whether I need it or not. I'm always thinking resale. Self cleaning oven? Who cares. Of course I'd have to take off the gloves and go a few rounds with Ms. Forgione but that's what we do, right? We represent. We negotiate. We fight for the right...Her client is at 1.8 and I need to be at 1.75. So get it done already.
Now for all you folks out in Iowa and beyond I realize this is pure insanity. You can get the same house in your neck of the woods, fields or where ever, for 250. I think we all know this. But the last thing I will say is whether its in Queens, Chicago or 'where ever'....you the big bad cousin from Malba with a spread like that.
ps..I don't actually speak Italian but...Buon Natale e Felice Nuova Ano! (figure it out)
unisphere photo by amazonaws
gangsters photo by mgd photography
denver boot photo by universalboot
Thank you Mary - this was alot of fun!
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dited to add:
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