Tuesday, September 04, 2007


I spoke to the realtor who is leasing the old Barnes & Noble store yesterday. I asked him about the orange colors. He said the building is being converted (only temporarily) into a halloween store. The space is being rented out for two months.


Anonymous said...

Thank you Paul,you answered someones comment who was going bonkers about this empty store.As I explained to that person,one has to have an answer before it could be published.Watch out he'll be back after the two months are up.

hal samis said...

Anyone want to take bets on a Christmas store as the successor?

dont shop at fly by night operations said...

Should anyone patronize a "store" that will be in business for only two months and whose only purpose is to cannibalize our other long standing retail merchants who sell halloween related merchandise?

Think about that when this "store" comes to town.

Anonymous said...

Feiner has no say as to who rents the store for two months or two years.
The landlord is the one who decides what to do with the property.Someone complained about it being empty,painted orange and the such.
Think about the landlord who lost all this money for not having the store rented for almost a year.
If the prices are right,people will patronize the establishment,if not they'll go elsewhere.
Just pray that the civic associations stay away from taking
figures of how many cars go in and all the extra traffic it will generate.
We all know dam well they could never mind their business,and refuse to let people make an honest living.
As Hal said,maybe a Christmas store
why not ,if it keeps business going, I'm for it.

Anonymous said...

Could the future Edgemont Town Hall be all orange?

Super Bob, your opinion?

Anonymous said...

Please ask the assessor's office the assessed value of the building.
I suspect the amount being charged as a two month rental is significantly more than the building's assessed value adjusted to market value.
If that is so, shouldn't there be an additional tax assessment which would provide additional revenue to Greenburgh Central?

halloween idea said...

here's something scary for halloween - move that hideous wall feiner put up in front of webb field/presser park to this location

Elle said...

Boy, I bet the landlord wishes Barnes & Noble were still around. That store has been vacant for so long. It's a shame to see it turn into what sounds like an eyesore.

Dear Hal said...

That's a good bet for sure but I'm going to go with it staying vacant after the Halloween store leaves.

It will be too costly to repaint it red & green. I'm betting it will stay empty for at least 3 years and will remain that hideous orange & black.

I think we should move what's left of European Health Club statue(Titus?) into the parking lot just for fun.

Who the heck OK'd that paint job? Isn't there any contextual review of site plans?

Anonymous said...

did feiner get any campaign money from the landlord?

Anonymous said...

did suzanne berger's law firm get a no bid contract...

hal samis said...

One thing that makes me ashamed to live in Greenburgh is how narrow-minded many of the resident's are.
How they are stuck in their fantasized Greenburgh of circa 1910. They use this blog to have conversations that might have taken place on front porches.

What I am talking about is not the lack of liberal leanings, the hypocritical morality of those with ponderous beliefs that foreshadows the possibility of change.

Imagine that people are upset about a store painted in Halloween colors; a store to sell specifically Halloween costumes and decorations; a store of obvious temporary duration.

A store that no one has to patronize if they are offended. And a store which is located not on a quiet residential street but on commercially dominant Central Avenue.

Then we have the expert who assumes it will be too costly to repaint. I'm betting that as a condition to the lease, the landlord already has as additional security an amount to cover returning the exterior to its original "contextual" lustre.

For those purists, who love to maintain the status that never was, the health club statue (Atlas?) should maybe be "preserved" as well as the exterior of the first "Carvel" or even Paul Bunyan. After all, aren't these cultural artifacts that we should want to hold dear as they represent a Greenburgh of yore?

And we should redo assessments every two months based on "now it's rented, now it's no"? How about redoing school district taxes so that only those with children in school pay them, pay per child. When the kids grow up and are no longer using the schools, then their school taxes stop. That allows people to remain in Greenburgh and not be forced out due to rising taxes. Not really so different from charging taxes only to landlords with tenants, on how much they can get from them in rent.

And if the store is an eyesore, or much more so than many other nearby retail structures, then that would present a very big problem for the landlord in trying to rent it much like the makeovers that homeowners do when preparing to sell their homes. So, why not leave it in the hands of the owner to decide whether or not he has a problem and, if so, how to cure it.

Since posters on this blog are quick to criticize Feiner for everything and make his solely responsible, I am surprised that no one has criticized him for using the color "orange" for the headline "Barnes & Noble Store to be...". This might be one thing that he can be held accountable for.

And since this is such a very important Primary issue, then someone should ask Suzanne to weigh in on it as well. I'm 60% certain that she knows where the store is located.

Anonymous said...

hal samis said...
8.39 PM
'one thing that makes me ashamed
to live in Greenburgh is how
narrow-minded many of the residents are'
your daily rantings on many subjects on the Feiner blog
are annoying,you may want to leave at the end of Feiners current
term,there will be nothing left for you criticise or promote,
[depending which approach helps
the Supervisor.]
Having read many of your pearls of
wisdom,I for one am numb towards
your wisdom.

hal samis said...

Dear numb Party of One,

Get tromatized!

On the contrary, were Feiner to lose, I have no doubt that there will be much much more to criticise thereafter.

And unlike others, too nameless to mention, when readers see "Hal Samis says" they know either to scroll on past or they can, at their own peril, read.

Smart people who get annoyed at reading my postings won't follow the Listerine example: the taste you hate every day.

And, if Feiner loses, what forum will you have available to post your own imitation of toxic avenger.

Anonymous said...

So disgusting - a formerly, somewhat dignified store, now to be painted orange and open for only two months - where do we live -I could undersrtand this if it was Camden, New Jersey. I know we don't live in Greenwich or Bronxville - but PLEASE - how are we to maintain a decent middle class community if the Town Board and building department regulations, as well as Planning and Zoning, can't keep such atrocities from happening! This is a real slippery slope - where do we go next - every other store painted black, green, purple, whatever hideous thing will make money for someone for a month? Perhaps a mauve pink bordello or a red light district, as in the Netherlands? This is really alarming!! Maybe it's time for us folks who actually live in Greenburgh to move somewhere where there are some enforeceable standards that encourage permanent decent stores.

hal samis said...

So check out the listings in Bronxville or Greenwich.

feiner is scary said...

scary - the supervisor obviously thinks this is a good thing! Happy Halloween indeed.

hal samis said...


Anonymous said...

more like: boo hoo

hal samis said...

more like boo who.

Anonymous said...

check with the shadow.

Anonymous said...

What the chance of there ever being a Supervisor Berger blog?

Anonymous said...

Question of the day for Steve Bass:

Building on your Dakfur successes, what do you suggest the US Government do with the existing structural problems with the Alternative Minimum Tax?

Your astute insight would be appreciated.

PS - How about a resolution?

Anonymous said...

I think that orange paint job on the old Barnes and Noble wakes up the Hartsdale area.

Anonymous said...

I hope they have plans to paint it white again. I think that would be a great spot for edgemont town hall, what board members want to meet me there? Anybody?

Anonymous said...

NO, I like the idea of an Orange Edgenot Town Hall.

Every time that I drive by, I will think of the carriage that turned back into a pumpkin.

And the horses that turned back into mice.

Some interesting analogies to the majority of the Town Bored, wouldn’t you agree?

Anonymous said...

Whatever, I don't mind the orange store as long as it is repainted as soon as halloween is over. Is it permanent paint?

hal samis said...

Can you believe it?
Down the road from the orange Halloween Store there is a restaurant with a blue roof!

What is this world coming to?

Anonymous said...

"What's this world coming too?" I guess the LCD - lowest common denominator required for the quick buck. That means whatever color your little heart desires or your mind can imagine - I'm looking to rent a big box store for a month and to paint it vomit green.

hal samis said...

And I can't think of a better source of regurgitation than you.

drive on by said...

dont shop at "here today gone tomorrow" operations

Anonymous said...

I agree with Drive ON, there is a party store in Midway that pays rent (and indirectly real estate taxes) the whole year. It probably has same seasonal goods.

Anonymous said...

Well said 4:16, "drive on by" - don't shop at 'here today, gone tomorrow'. In complete agreement with you.

Anonymous said...

Maybe we shold start a "Drive On By" bumper sticker campaign for Greenburgh residents who are willing to support businesses that are not fly by night, any horrible thing, for a quick buck.

hal samis said...

This is America.
Unfortunately this is also the blog where Anonymous is the protection for posters.

Which means that someone who feels their existing business might be threatened could use the blog as a way to stave off competition.

This is accomodated under the argument that if someone is willing to pay rent year round; they should be allowed to thrive in peace.

Like the farmer's market is a no no.

So suddenly posters on the blog are worried that some landlords won't get their monthly rent check.
But not as worried that the owner of an already vacant building might pick up a few months of rent from a seasonal tenant.

It would be ok if it were a tenant who signed a five year lease and went out of business after five months.

If someone wants to be in business only to sell seasonal items, they should be discriminated against?

What's next, the community should decide on what types of business can rent space, based not on the type of merchandise or use of the premises, but on whether existing merchants sell the same products.

And, no more flea markets at Churches or on Webb Field?

We should not allow a new car dealer because it would mean more competition for those dealers which already exist.

Perhaps Verizon should not have been allowed in our community; they could be a threat to Cablevision.

But whatever the argument or belief, don't get caught up in a crusade led by anonymous posters --they might be beating the drum solely for their own personal enrichment.

Anonymous said...

9:08 is missing the point. Of course this is America - stores go in and out of business - some are seasonal,like the farmers market.
The objections people are raising is the use of hideous colors to attract customers. 90 foot signs advertising a business are not allowed in Gburgh - there are also other provisions that restrict a business from doing anything they want to promote themselves.
Get real.

Anonymous said...


The purported competition from Verizon is, to me at least, useless, as no one can tel me when they might, if ever, put lines in on my street. Chalk this up to another PR play.

And everyone in Town has the right to chose what establishments they shop out.

I always emphasize to my family we help the businesses that support the town. I do have issues with the "Farmers Market" competing with local businesses.

hal samis said...

This is America #2.

Christmas Trees are not offensive as decorations. Even though everyone is not Christian.

Thanksgiving decorations are not offensive unless you were a native american indian before casinos.

And before big box stores, the mom and pop stores flourished at the expense of their customers. Retail prices have been lower ever since they arrived on the retail scene. And with the internet, even the big box stores have competition and the consumer can have shopping opportunities never before even envisioned. But growing up in the 1950's, I do not look back fondly on an era when consumers were limited to buy only what the store sold or go to movies that everyone would like and everyone read the mass books like Life, Look and the Saturday Evening Post.

There are a few people, probably from Edgemont, who are more comfortable in that world.

So when someone says shop at local stores, they don't mean CVS, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble, Marshall's, Michael's, Verizon, The Gap, Starbuck's do they? They are saying pay more at the mom and pop.
That is everyone's choice to decide but the idea that there should be some "movement" to protect a one tier pricing model is absurd.

As for the orange paint job, it is for a Halloween store on a Commerical street and I don't like the implications of the "good taste" police riding herd on design.

I went to a zoning board hearing once at which one of the issues in an application was that all the driveways on the block were on the "left" side of the owner's plot and for the purpose of re-siting the planned home on the subject plot, it would have required the driveway to be on the "right" side of the plot. If you know what the result was, hold up your hand (right or left) so I can take a count.

I personally think that the tract developments on the wrong side side of Central Avenue are not up to par if we're talking design sense. But that was the developer's right to produce and the buyer's right of free choice.
But look how proud communities are to roll our their McMansion laws.
If can afford to build it, you can't build it here. So while the Town is "reeling" elsewhere on the blog about the loss of the Elmsford Library service contract, we are also trying to discourage people with money from living here.
People who might (or not) support those stores others want to protect.

Everything is connected, including the narrowing of the potential universe of buyers who would buy a tear-down from a Greenburgh seller to build a McMansion. Tough luck Greenburgh resident, we don't tolerate your kind. Take the next stage out of Dodge and don't come back trying to buy a Condo either.

Do we need comnprehensive Town Laws and a trip to the paint store to decide what are the acceptable colors in Greenburgh.

Let's make it simple.
Every home must be painted the same shade of white. Every store shall have brown metal/glass storefronts.

And let's now sing along with Pete Seeger..."little boxes, little boxes and they all lokked the same".(lyrics by Malvina Reynolds)

As for Verizon as a PR ploy, are you agreeing that Sheehan's best damn contract was phony?

And, if you asked, I'm not as concerned as the next guy as to how large the signs are, if you want the offending sign to go away, do your shopping elsewhere.
A lot of these become issues because people are led to believe that they should be concerned that these issues affect everyone.

One man's weed problem is his absolute right to vent. But there are equal numbers of people that don't care at all.

Everyday I see people wearing hideaous ties or the wrong tie with their shirt. Am I entitled to make a citizen's arrest. This would be no problem if everyone wore the same uniform. People say that they live in America and that they appreciate what it stands for but in practice they want is an America filled with people who are the clones of themselves, think alike, dress alike, shop at the same stores, in other words appreciate the safety of conformity and blandness. The danger of living in a true democracy is that someone may like orange as a color and have the wherewithall to do something about it.

And of course, here I am back with my oft repeated Ayn Rand rap.

So let's just keep it at "everyone has the right to shop where they choose" and let the freemarket of patronage determine which stores shall prosper and which shall not.

No one believes that Barnes & Noble would have closed if it were one of their better performing stores, despite other nearby locations. It closed because it was, relative to their sales per square foot tablulations, an underperforming store. This would lead me to wonder whether the residents of Yonkers or Fairview read more than the residents of Edgemont?
Chew on that.

Anonymous said...

Hal, I agree with you, in a sense, but I always took exception to the Joan Baez song of yesteryear where she sings with disdain of "little houses made of ticky tack". Many of us live in little houses, some in tracts, and are grateful and proud to have a house at all. We don't have the big bucks that Joan Baez and Pete Seeer have and resent being ridiculed.
However, as I grew in age and wisdom, looked around and went around, I came to see that small houses and mcmaisions as well, don't have to be ugly. Neighborhoods with these homes can be attractive and a great asset to the tax base. Same goes for commercial buildings.
Maybe Greenburgh needs an Architectural Board of Review - as many towns and villages in Westchester have, so that atrocious design and color by a builder is tweaked or even sent back to the drawing board. I am cynical enough to think that builders will do what is required by regulations that the people who live there already and pay taxes, have set in place.
Bottom line - the better looking a town is, the more tax revenue is generated.

hal samis said...

Dear 11:51,
It is the same song "Little Boxes" written by Malvina Reynolds which became a "hit" for Seeger and an album track for Baez.

But don't get hung up on the assumption that the song is limited to tract homes or even to little tract homes. The song is about the dangers of conformity and the "little boxes" is just the vehicle to drive the message "home". Think about it, Baez and Seeger are closely identified with protest songs; don't be so narrow as to think that they were opposing the Levittowns, the affordable homes for the people, the union members, the working stiffs that Baez and Seeger sang about.

But your "bottom line" is not something that I buy into.

There's no getting around that "the better looking a town is" statement really provides for some official policy in determing what "better looking" is.

What other communities do or have done doesn't do anything for me.
In fact, citing them is more of the same problem: we should be like other communities.

I don't care how fashionable, retro, historic, pretty, contexual, expensive, "cool", or any other terms you feel comfortable with as the criteria for the august body that makes the decision; what they are doing is acting as the "taste police".

And it would be done "in the best interest of the people", not in the best interest of the property owner -- this is the crux of what troubles me and in large part due to the early influence of Ayn Rand on a teenage mind.

"Fountainhead" would be most applicable here in that it is about an architect and mirrors my arguments as applied to Greenburgh.

Striking and innovative architecture only comes when a courageous builder takes a chance that tenants or buyers will share their vision. NYC despite being popularly viewed as a cutting edge urban metropolis is light years behind European cities and Los Angeles in adopting striking architecture. Only in the last five years have some interesting and different designs managed to escape the typical rectangular glass cubes which house offices and apartments. The occasional "upstarts of their times, the Lever Building, the Guggenheim Museum and the "lipstick" building don't even rate a second glance years later as they have "blended" onto the street as would even an orange colored building in time, just like the blue roofed IHOP building of its era.

Either you are amenable to change or you aren't. Either you can pick up a chair or you can't. Either you are pregnant or you're not. Those blacks and whites are not the issue. What confounds the issue is "saying" you are for change (I'm as progressive as the next guy) then opposing it when it stares you in the face. Not unlike the NIMBY movement.

And the one thing about change is that it is going to look different.
That is why it is called "change".

Fitting in with the neighborhood only means that everything will continue to look the same.

Just like those little boxes.

PS: how nice to have a dialogue unconnected to the candidates.

Anonymous said...

To belabor the point, and with apologies for doing so, I just don't think that the precedent set by painting a store as big as Barnes and Noble Halloween orange for 2 months is the right way to go, if we want to have a strong business tax base on Central Ave.
I guess Ayn Rand, were she alive today would love Houston, where one can find pig farms next to commercial office buildings. It is a city with no zoning ordinances at all - except for the areas with private deeds which people have set up so that a decent quality of life can survive,in an exceptionally ugly city.
And if you like Houston, you'll love Rotterdam. This old city in Holland has no zoning standards either. Also, no cutting edge great architects have chosen to erect their fabulous new buildings - despite the lack of restrictions by local government!
When folks are going to spend serious money (the kind of money that results in municipal tax revenue) they look for areas with the best returns. Those areas have standards. Sorry, Ayn.

hal samis said...

No apologies necessary. This is the blog on a topic that only you and I are still posting on.

What a splendid comparison, Houston. Please excuse my not dealing with Rotterdam because I don't have a clue what goes on there.

So regarding Houston, it is a city of 570 square miles, a little bigger than Greenburgh and even bigger than NYC (300 square miles) and the eighth largest port in the world. And whereas there is little agriculture, cattle and pigs, oil drilling or a space center in NYC, apparently you feel that not having these in the metro area is the coup de grace for your argument that having an orange storefront will devastate the local economy.

So when investors are about to invest serious money they do look for areas that promise the best returns. Which means that if the best return were next to a pig farm, they would be off to Houston in a hearbeat (assuming that they don't mind travelling that far). In fact, some of my New York based mortgage clients have done precisely that -- they have invested in Houston because of the higher returns.

And one of the things that have limited these returns locally is the high cost of land in the metro region, a fact which has deterred many pig farmers from buying on Central Avenue. And then investors have to deal with prissy local zoning, planning and school boards -- all of which seem to feel that it is they who should determine the best return and use of the investor.

Might that have some effect upon the willingness of serious money considering investment in Greenburgh? If there was a shortage of residential, retail or office uses and the opportunity presented itself, you would do well to recognize that the steam shovels would be digging beside, in front or behind even an orange colored neighbor. And with precious little mixed use zoning

And which use in Houston is going out of business. The office building next to the pig farm or the pig farm? Apparently both uses can coexist. Conclusion: YOU as a private citizen would not rent space in that Houston office building; you would not live next to either and you should take more care in determining where your next ham sandwich comes from. But others apparently are not as fussy.

But Ayn is not upset. You haven't disproven a thing. Private ownership of private property determines its highest use, not those who have no stake.

Since the fall of the Communist government in Russia, we seldom see the word communism in print these days. As you recall, Communism was not a political system but an economic system. The opposite of Communism was Capitalism, the system that the average citizen believes is in place in America.

In simple terms, Capitalism respects private property and private ownership. Those who take the risks are entitled to the rewards or loss. In Communism, the government on behalf of its citizens "assumes" ownership for the good of the proletariat and determines how property should be used. If the government decides that an orange sided building is bad for business, then no orange.
It was in this environment that Ayn Rand wrote.

And people like you think that living in a democracy (or a republic) tolerates this because of majority rule. These are political systems not economic systems so be careful when you shape your arguments not to dance back and forth between economics and politics.

Anonymous said...

What you don't seem to understand is that in the common law concept of property, the individual or corporate owner does NOT possess all the rigths in the property. The individual owns some of the rights and the society owns some of the rights. This is the "bundle of rights" concept.
The individual is not allowed to use his property to injure the rights of others by polluting the air or water or surrounding land, for example. Visual pollution and non-conforming uses can also violate the right of others. This is the basis for land use regulation.

hal samis said...

Your common law bundle of rights refers to substantive measures to protect the property rights of others. However when go beyond and push the elevator button down to reach the bottom of the food chain, get off on the floor marked visual pollution, make the first left and straight ahead is the architectural review board. In other words, the home to the "good taste" police.

If we all live in a yellow submarine has any validity, who do you complain to about getting it repainted to a less controversial color?

Anonymous said...

Since for most of us, our homes are out biggest investment, we think twice about living in the Yellow Submarine - as tantalizing and carefree as it might be.
In passing, must mention that in Nantucket 90% of the homes are gray shingle - by force of regulation of the Nantucket "color police". You can buy a one car garage, with a one bedroom apartment on top of this garage, on a side street, not near the Ocean, for $900,000. It is a beautiful Town - primarily because there are strictly enforced codes.
Don't tell me to move there. It is now a place only for millionaires - they came and liked what they saw. Wouldn't be surprised if Pete or Joan have a summer place there.

Anonymous said...

The orange store front will be there for two months.Live with it.
It happens to be a good gimmick for business.
Check out all the vacant stores along Central ave.and ask yourself why.
It seems that all business's are failing for one reason or another.
At the same time our neighbors to the south and then north are really flourishing.
Could it be the moritorium that Sheehan wants to enforce in Greenburgh has something to do with new business.

hal samis said...

Dear Nantucket Chamber of Commerce,

Other than aluminum siding, most paint colors exposed on islands surrounded by salty sea air, end up as grey.

What is your point though, that prices have increased there because of a monochromatic color scheme or hadn't you noticed that prices have increased elsewhere even in Greenburgh.

Perhaps you would consider moving, not to Nantucket (very unpleasant in the winter although few tourists) but to one of an increasing collection of planned communities. In these you can be confident that everything and everybody will be the same; not from governmental interference but because of the developer's marketing plan. Buyers who don't want to think out of the box, are happy to live in a box.

But before you reply by telling me about real estate in Pasadena, let me remind you of one thing, prices on the nearby smaller island, Martha's Vineyard have appreciated even more and that is a place with several communities, a more stable population and a broader color palate.

stop the gimmicks said...

a good gimmick for business ?

we have had enough of feiner style gimmicks in greenburgh. we need real businesses just like we need real govenment.

hal samis said...

Are real businesses those that never advertise, never offer 20% off coupons, provide free shipping and will match competitors prices or give you the item for free?

And real government is one which introduces a local law to mimic the year-old State law to allow residents to email their FOIL requests to the Town Clerk.

And real government is one which does not include the other provision of the State law, that the Town email the information back if so requested.

And real government is one which takes the recommendations of the Ethics Board under advisement and then is allowed to ignored them.
Like what if members of the Town Board were the subjects of the Ethics Board direction, who would vote on whether or not to invoke the "suggested" penalties.

And real government is one which takes credit for grants even though it it the Town's grant coordinator that does the work.

You can't be serious; for people like you the name anonymous was created.

Anonymous said...

If not real government then perhaps professional management and consistent fair governance.

feiner not up to the job anymore said...

amen 8:45- something feiner is incapable of providing as a pandering careerist.

Anonymous said...

Passing the old Barnes and Nobel store twice a day, I must say it's getting to look better and better each day. It brings life to that area of town.
It will be there for only two months so live with it.
Could you imagine if the Yankees win the pennant,how would that look painted with pinstripes.
I bet that wouldn't bother you at all.
Live and let live.

Anonymous said...

It looks just awful - beyond the pale

Anonymous said...

I have no problem with it painted like this for 2 months. It is ugly in my opinion though.

My problem is that it will remain that way for as long as that store is not leased, and that could be YEARS!