Modern Furniture That’s Not Hideous

From French furniture company Roche Bobois. Possibly not something I would do in MY home, but…

A typical suburban real estate agent inspects a minimum of 10 houses per week, often it’s twice that number. That simple fact is the reason the job category “real estate agent” still exists. All that time and effort spent studying, analyzing, discussing with fellow brokers, and watching individual properties go through the sales process from start to finish, makes an agent a valuable person.

If you were foolish enough to ask a denizen of Manhattan “where’s the best fishing spot between Tod’s Point and Indian Harbor”, the Manhattanite wouldn’t have a clue. Similarly, people who merely watch real estate from the comfort of their office swivel chair can certainly have opinions about what a house is worth, but they are not useful opinions.

But where was I? Oh yes, modern furniture! So, with all that house-looking, we brokers encounter an awful lot of hideous glass and steel tables, steel chairs and bookcases (with no books), white shaggy couches, and of course, faux zebra throw rugs. Gets tiresome.

One sees more and more of THIS…

and less and less of THIS… (maybe that’s a good thing?)

It is therefore amazing that I have stumbled upon contemporary furniture that even I must admit ain’t bad looking. See if you agree: RocheBobois

(It’s a French furniture company, looks like the nearest showroom is on Manhattan’s upper west side, at 2040 Broadway)


A Review Of The Jaguar XJ, Year Six


The 2012 Jaguar XJL, with supercharged V-8. It now has 41K miles, still completely reliable.

All you paid-up members of the Gid Fountain Fan Club* know that October 15th marked the 6th anniversary of the day I picked up the new Jaguar. Six years later, I’m still driving it, which is unusual for a Greenwich resident. We tend to swap out cars after two, maximum three years (houses, six to ten years, spouses, ten to twenty), yet here I am with the same ol’ clunker, go figure.

The thing is, it still looks new, smells new, acts new! It has been completely trouble-free all these years, so there is no incentive to trade it away. Do I see possible benefits for a Realtor to own the new Tesla that does zero to sixty in 1.9 seconds? Yes, I do see a possible need for such a clearly practical, real estate show-car. But dammit, the Jaguar is just plain better looking than the Tesla, so that’s that.

Anyway, here’s my brief review of this phenomenal car…

The best parts:

The sheer, over-whelming, airplane-like power. Getting on the highway couldn’t be easier. Those specs in your rear-view mirror? Those are the cars you got on with.

The “feel” of this car is very good. Maybe it’s the seats, perhaps it’s the steering wheel, or  the smoothness of the ride, not sure how to pin it down, but no other car ever felt like this.

The fit and finish are superb. Again, never experienced this high a level before.

The parts that took, er, getting used to:

This is an XJ “L”, the L stands for long-wheelbase., which added about 6 inches of rear leg-room for passengers (real estate show car, remember?). The problem with a long car is getting used to the idea that the back needs to catch up with you. I complete my turn, thinking I’m ready to proceed, but the passenger-side rear wheel bumping the curb reminds me there’s still some car length left out there.

Low-profile tires: Jaguars, Porsches, BMWs, Ferraris, all powerful sports cars come with “low-profile tires”, which means very little sidewall, which means very little protection for your magnificently expensive alloy wheels. I have learned to spot and avoid potholes on pitch-black, rainy nights, at 75 MPH.  New York state, which taxes its residents more than anyone else, has the worst roads of any state I drive in. I see that the new Tesla also comes with %#@&-ing low-profile tires, that’s swell.

Low-profile tires look really cool, but until roads improve (or wheels get tougher), I’d advise against them. But if you insist, then keep your eyes peeled for pot-holes!

The interior: six years later, still a thrill.

Am I glad I bought it? Yes. Would I buy another? Yes. (nearest dealership is Darien)

End of review.






*Gift rates apply, through December 24th!

The Wimpification Of Greenwich

Scene of devastation: somehow the car was able to make it…

The Friday Morning Snow Storm

I actually felt bad for the snowplow guys. There they were, all buzzing around town, searching for something to plow, finding nothing but clear roads. There was a bit of snow sticking to lawns, but no customers wanted their lawns plowed.

Yep, Friday’s “snow storm” caused every school to close and, more importantly, cancelled all of Gideon Fountain’s carefully prepared house-showing plans, and for what? Essentially flurries, the sort of snow Vermonters would barely notice, let alone change their plans for.

Absolutely pathetic, and a sign that Americans, well, Greenwich Americans, get softer and wimpier every year. This despite nearly every household owning at least one 4-wheel drive vehicle. Driving in snow is what they were made for, dammit! If that makes you nervous, go find an empty, snow-covered parking lot and practice. If you fear snow, you are a sissy, plain and simple, and the world can be a very hard place for sissies. Now, get out there!

At the height of the storm…thank goodness we could take shelter in this handy tunnel!

Sorry, no more skating, no more fun, all because some sissy-pants chiropractor or urologist or something, successfully sued the Town of Greenwich when he broke his leg whilst trespassing on town property.

You wanna see the right attitude about snow? THIS is the right attitude… Copy this guy!


Greenwich’s “Drought” Continues

"Rockwood Lake", one of Greenwich's reservoirs, looking pretty full this afternoon (Seen in foreground, Canada geese which have been fitted with disposable diapers to prevent water contamination)

“Rockwood Lake”, one of Greenwich’s reservoirs, looking pretty full this afternoon (seen in foreground, Canada geese, which have been fitted with disposable diapers to prevent water contamination)

Every time we have yet another torrential, all-day rain like the one seen yesterday, I look forward to the Town announcing the “End of the drought”. Sadly, that announcement has been postponed again, and it’s starting to look like NO AMOUNT OF RAIN will ever solve this problem.

Here’s the latest Greenwich Time story on this bizarre “drought that won’t go away”:

Since massive rainfall has no effect, has anyone considered the possibility that one of our reservoirs may have a hole somewhere?

Or, how about this idea: let’s dig a deeper reservoir!

As usual, Fountain puts the great brain to work, and out pop two great ideas!

“Halloween Alley” needs a break

Cute? Sure, they're cute, but imagine what it's like when 1,500 show up in the space of 4+ hours!

Cute? Sure, they’re cute. Now  imagine what it’s like when 1,500 show up in the space of 4+ hours!

Susie and I took the dawg over to our old neighborhood this morning and hung out at Brunswick Field for a bit. Whilst lighting my cigar, I happened upon a group of my ex-neighbors, standing around complaining about an advertisement in the Friday Greenwich Time real estate section. It’s an ad from one of those real estate “groups” and, in highlighting their knowledge of Greenwich, mentions that [street name omitted] is “the best for trick or treating in Greenwich”.

The real estate group is not the first to promote this idea. As I recall, some twenty years ago, a curmudgeonly old chap * who had his own little real estate column in the Greenwich Post, or Greenwich News, or something, announced to his readers that this particular street was “the place” to bring the kids to on Halloween!

As the neighbors reminded me, trick-or-treating on this, or any other street, is not some sort of Town-sponsored event or public fair. Trick-or-treating exists solely because of the kindly, voluntary cooperation of countless homeowners who willingly stay home that night and hand out sometimes hundreds of dollars worth of candy to all comers.

The general idea, you see, is that neighborhood children, living within walking distance, will visit you and show off their costumes in return for a candy bar. Does anyone mind if some of those kids come from adjacent Port Chester or Stamford? Heck no, but what seems to irk the neighbors on this (besieged) street is when lines of $120,000 SUVs descend from the backcountry and disgorge additional dozens and dozens of kids.

How many are we talking about? Friends of ours on the street attempted to take a careful count one year of how many children showed up at their front door. They gave up counting when they reached 1,500!

ONE THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED KIDS. Is that a lot to ask of each resident of one particular street? Yes, it is.

Do we blame the kids? Nope, we blame dopey parents who don’t have enough imagination to come up with perfectly good alternative streets to visit. Greenwich is loaded with ’em, so spread out, people, spread out!


  • This guy’s column actually pre-dates Chris Fountain!