Behind The Hedges 22.08.2019 11:42 Updates: Mel Brooks, Murray Place, and More in Contract

News & Features

Updates: Mel Brooks, Murray Place, and More in Contract
August 21, 2019
Things are starting to look up in Hamptons real estate. This week, the oceanfront house formerly belonging to Mel Brooks and the late Anne Bancroft, a property in Murray Place with oceanfront access, and a $10 million barn-style Bridgehampton house are all in contract. This modest oceanfront property, on Flying Point Road in Water Mill, belonged to comedy legend Mel Brooks and actress Anne Bancroft. Brooks and Bancroft bought the house in 2000, for just $3 million, but Brooks sold it for $5.3 million in 2010, five years after his wife of 40 years passed away. Asking $11.5 million, the property, repped by Mary Ann Cinelli at Brown Harris Stevens, is now in contract. There's just over an acre of land along with the cozy 2000 square foot house. Congrats to all. A similar property--modest house, great location--in Southampton's Murray Compound is also in contract. There is an acre of land, with nice rolling lawns, just 500 feet from the priceless private beach entrance. The house is 1600 square feet. Last asking price for the listing, represented by Tim Davis and Thomas P. Davis at Corcoran, is $6.95 million. Finally, an attractive Bridgehampton barn-style build by Debra Simon Designs is in contract. Last ask was just under $10 million for the property, which comprises 1.5 acres of land, a two-story poolhouse, dining pergola, and a 12,000-square-foot, 7-bedroom house. The property was repped by Matt Breitenbach at Compass. Congrats to everyone involved.
Hamptons Confidential: Ann Ciardullo
August 20, 2019
Ann Ciardullo has attained the rank of Global Real Estate Advisor at Sotheby's, yet says that she might like to be a restaurant hostess in another life. She lives in East Hampton's Northwest with her partner in life and work, Keith Green, and does a lot of work for charity in her spare time. Where are you from originally? New York City, born and raised there. Then I moved when I got married to Bedford, where I raised my two children for 20 plus years. After my divorce, I thought, "Where am I going to go now?" If I moved to the city, my children were already living there after college, and I stayed with them, and they were like no-oooo. But now they visit every weekend and they bring their children to visit. What did you do before you were an agent? I've only ever been an agent. I got married right out of college, had my children, and wanted to be very involved in their lives. And just being a PTA mom got boring fast, so I became an agent in 1979. It's been very good to me. It was good when I was married and when I got divorced, it supported me and my children. Had you been to the Hamptons before you decided to move there? Never! The closest I got was when I lived in the city, we summered at Rockaway. The thing I missed when living in Bedford was the beaches. The Hamptons are kind of like Bedford with beaches! I went out to visit a friend who had a house out here, thought, "I could live here," and got a winter rental. After that, I bought a house. [caption id="attachment_72730" align="alignnone" width="667"] Ann in her happy place with her grandchildren[/caption] What do you like to do in your spare time? I like to go to the beach, with my children and my grandchildren. I've got three little girls. And I like to play tennis, and after a knee replacement, I want to get back into it. I love going out and being social. If you weren't an agent, what would be your dream job? I'd be a cruise director on one of the largest ships! I could be a hostess in a fancy restaurant. I would love that! Instead of matching people to the right house, I would be setting people up in the right table. For me, being an agent isn't about the houses, it's about the people. I just love being around people. What do you think is the best thing about being an agent in the Hamptons? I love the freedom. I could work 14 hour days, but if I had a job where someone tells me I have to be in the office from 9 to 5, I would shoot myself. I do not want someone telling me where to be. On the other hand, I work more than I should. What are some of the drawbacks about being an agent? We just planned a vacation in Italy with Keith's family for two weeks. We also convinced two of our listings to reduce the price of their homes. After they agreed, Keith and I looked at each other and said, "How can we tell our clients thanks for reducing your prices; now we're going away for two weeks?" We had to cancel our vacation. What do you think of the market right now? I think the market is spectacular. It was sluggish in June and July, but in August, it's like suddenly a light turned on. Frank Newbold told me he doesn't know whether he's coming or going. The business used to be much more seasonal, but now you have people looking on the Internet and they're already educated. And everyone at Sotheby's is so busy right now. Buyers seems to know now is the time.
Property of the Week: The Neski House, Water Mill
August 19, 2019
This is a very special property: the beloved second home of architects Julian and Barbara Neski, designed by them in 1965. The headline of Julian Neski's 2004 New York Times obituary pretty much sums it all up: "Julian Neski, 76, Who Brought Modernism to Beach Houses." The article, by Alastair Gordon, went on: "All of his houses were relatively inexpensive to build and, unlike the high-maintenance trophy mansions of recent years, easy to maintain. Functionalist simplicity was combined with sculpturally expressive form." Gordon also wrote Weekend Utopia, which pictured the Neskis in their house. The Neskis were part of the midcentury modern movement in Hamptons houses, which also included architects such as Peter Blake, Andrew Geller, Charles Gwathmey, and Norman Jaffe. We asked Pat Garrity, the Corcoran broker who is listing the property for $3.245 million, if the place is likely to be torn down. She's hoping there's a buyer out there who "gets it. It's a 50/50 shot. I've certainly had brokers ask me what one can build there," she says. "But I've also had architects come and one customer interested who wants to retain the house. But of course, if somebody is paying three million dollars for fifteen hundred square feet, they always think the price is too high." Part of the midcentury modern movement was building smaller, more manageable weekend houses, not so much the giant trophy mansions of today. The Neskis designed the Water Mill house shown below along with Peter Blake, which is described as a "cantilevered cigar box shaped house," with the upside down style to maximize the views. The article notes that the house cost $13,750, "high for a vacation house because it is heavily insulated and equipped for year-round use." Today the house, which still exists at 49 Huntington Lane in Water Mill, would be worth close to $3 million. [caption id="attachment_72724" align="alignnone" width="394"] LIFE magazine, August 3, 1959[/caption] While the Neski house is modest, with 1,300 square feet, 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, it's "been well taken care of and updated sensitively," says Garrity. And while it's just a half acre, she says, "You go find another half acre on the water with a dock where you can kayak to the Atlantic Ocean." And, unlike some other properties in the region, with tons of wetlands with associated restrictions, a pool is a possibility here, if wanted. Preservations and architecture buffs, take note! For more, click here. 75 Westminster Road, Water Mill
Hamptons Open Houses to Check Out This Weekend
August 16, 2019
Open houses are a great way to find your next home, see inside a house that you have always been curious about, or just get design ideas. 140 Hills Station Road, Southampton Open house: Friday, August 16, 2:30PM-4:00PM Ask: $1.495 million Beds: 5 Baths: 3 Size: 1.8 acre; 3,400 square feet Features: A large plot includes a pool, pool house with fireplace (which could be used as an art studio), and a house with an open plan design, leading to the multi level patios and decks. There's a craft room/den with office and loft space as well.   169 Division Street, Sag Harbor Open house: Saturday, August 17, 10:00AM-11:30AM Ask: $3.195 million Beds: 4 Baths: 4 Size: 0.09 acre; 3,100 square feet Features: An 1870 house that's been restored with smart home technology that controls everything. But you'll find historic wide-plank pine floors, cast iron tubs, Dutch doors, and a rare third floor with cast iron stove in a library, complete with another bedroom and bath.   83 Bay Avenue, Hampton Bays Open house: Saturday, August 17, 11:00AM-12:00; Sunday, August 18, 11:00AM-12:00 Ask: $695,000 Beds: 2 Baths: 1 Size: 0.6 acre; 1100 square feet Features:  This small cottage has been restored inside and out with quality finishes. Out back is a heated saltwater gunit pool, with patio and garage. Inside you'll find a new kitchen and a dining area with Noguchi chandelier.
High Style in the Gilded Age: Southampton 1870-1930
August 15, 2019
Once the Long Island Rail Road was extended to Southampton in 1870, the town changed from a sleepy agricultural area to a fashionable vacation area for the wealthy. Summer "cottages" began to be built, with a pretense of rural simplicity. But, inevitably, country charm began to give way to city polish. Gilded Age excess moved in and beach picnics gave way to elaborate formal balls. Ladies arrived for the summer with trunkloads of gowns for social engagements, and the social season became just as elaborate as in the city. Then, a younger generation began to take over, and moved away from excess and formality. By the 1920s, the flapper was a modern girl who liked cocktails and cigarettes and had no time for corsets and formality. The women in the Southampton Historical Museum's latest exhibit were Southampton's trendsetters, admired by all and lavishly written about in the society columns. You'll meet the Cyder triplets, who made their society debut in 1900. They became the talk of New York, appearing on magazine covers and in much ink in New York social columns. The Cryder oceanfront summer house is now gone, but their presence is memorialized by Cryder Lane. Grace Clarke Newton was an accomplished poet and a member the East End equestrian set where her husband, Richard Newton Jr, was Master of the Suffolk Hounds. After her premature death, Richard, a well known artist, illustrated Poems in Passing, a collection of her poetry. Main pic is the Southampton Summer School of Art, 1905. Janet "Nettie" Hoyt was credited in 1887 as the force responsible for "starting the fashion of cottage life at Southampton." She lured William Merritt Chase to Shinnecock Hills to start a school, where his students set up their easels.     As a young woman, Ruth Wales summered in Southampton before she fell in love with Henry Francis du Pont and became the mistress of Winterthur, the magnificent du Pont home in Delaware that became a world-renowned museum of American furniture. She and Henry were married in June 1916. Ruth and Henry built Chestertown House in Southampton on Meadow Lane. A reception for "High Style in the Gilded Age: Southampton 1870-1930" is this Saturday, August 17, from 4 to 6PM, at the Rogers Mansion, 17 Meeting House Lane, Southampton. RSVP by calling (631) 283-2494 or emailing The exhibit will be open through August 8, 2020, Wednesdays to Saturdays, 11AM to 4PM. Fee is $5 adults, free for members and children 17 and under.
Updates: Normandy House, Sagaponack Farm and More in Contract
August 14, 2019
Time for some updates again! This week, we're glad to report that Normandy House is in contract, as is a very handsome Sagaponack property and a Greenport pied-a-terre. Normandy House was a victim of the slowdown in Hamptons real estate. It originally hit the market several years ago (2015), asking $48 million. And just to make things weird, Rob Kardashian--apparently at random--claimed to be buying the property in the summer of 2016. (Spoiler alert: he didn't.) Now the house is in contract at a last ask of $24.9 million. It's repped by Tim Davis of Corcoran and Harald Grant and Bruce Grant at Sotheby's. Normandy House is a grand old Southampton mansion on Lake Agawam by Polhemus & Coffin, who designed many French-style mansions on Long Island, Newport, and in New York in the 1920s. One of the nicest things about the place is that the pool and pool house are much closer to Lake Agawam than would be allowed these days. The house was treated to a makeover by Tony Ingrao a few years back. Congrats to the new owners and to all the agents. 544 Hedges Lane, Sagaponack, has been one of our favorite properties on the market for a while now. Lily pond with bridge? Check. Original farmhouse? Yes! Converted 1880s barn? You betcha. All on 4.2 acres of land. Plus there are additional outbuildings, a pool, and tennis. In all, 9 bedrooms and 9,000 square feet of space. Last asking price for the place was $13.5 million, and we think the buyer got a great deal. It was listed by Beate Moore and Frank Newbold at Sotheby's. Finally, we featured this adorable Greenport cottage just a few weeks ago on our weekly open house post. No surprise it's already in contract. Asking just $889K, the property is just a few blocks from a sandy bay beach and under a half mile to the Jitney, LIRR and the restaurants and shops. Inside the renovated 1920s farmhouse is open plan; outside, the corner lot is set for summer relaxation. It's repped by Bridget Elkin at Daniel Gale Sotheby's.
Hamptons Confidential: Bill Williams
August 13, 2019
Bill Williams has been a top agent in the Hamptons for many years; these days he works out of Compass's Bridgehampton office. Before that, though, the Ohio native was a tennis pro. What led him to the Hamptons and real estate? Where are you from originally? Ohio. I'm from Niles, Ohio. I studied finance at Ohio State. Where do you live now? Wainscott. Off Wainscott Main Street, opposite the chapel. How did you end up in the Hamptons? I had moved to New York and I was teaching tennis at a place called Manhattan Plaza. I started coming out here to clients on the weekends because they had their own courts there. I just liked it, so I stayed. So you were a finance major in college, but then taught tennis? I played tennis all my life--I played in high school. I just played a lot. I just didn't like the corporate world so I just picked up a racket. Quite literally from the time I graduated college, I taught tennis, for 20 years. Tell us about being a pilot. I started flying in Ohio. Part of the draw of the Hamptons was the airport. I eventually just lost interest in flying. So what do you like to do in your spare time? Fly fishing. I go to the ocean. I go for the bay. I like to go up to Northwest Harbor. I get on my standup paddleboard and go out and fly fish off my paddleboard. If you weren't an agent, what do you think you might be doing? Probably a builder. I've built a couple houses out here, but what I really enjoy is the real estate part. What are the best things about being an agent in the Hamptons? The people. You meet all kinds, all sorts. From the richest people to people looking for their entry level house. I also enjoy the competition. I like to go up against people, competing for the same listings and the same markets. What are some of the drawbacks? You're pretty much on call 24/7, especially in the summer and with rentals. You're working a lot. You do get to make your own hours. I don't want to make it sound like a hardship. In the summertime you have all these rentals, and people really shouldn't call their agent, but they do. What do you think of the market right now? It's very sluggish, with a lot of inventory. But I am looking forward to the fall, which is traditionally one of the best markets of the year. Prices are low; prices are depressed. Inventories are high. But I'm starting to see people call about properties and investment properties. I think we're going to have a pretty good fall. Images from Bill's listing at 77 Cross Highway, East Hampton: [caption id="attachment_72676" align="alignnone" width="667"] DCIM100MEDIADJI_0732.JPG[/caption]
Property of the Week: Shrubland Road, Southampton
August 12, 2019
In Southampton, you'll find a unique property with much to offer. "There really is nothing else like it on the market right now. The highly stylized interior leaves nothing to chance and seamlessly combines Hollywood glamour with mainstream Hamptons aesthetics," says listing agent Anthony Rosina at Sotheby's. It's a fairly compact property for the Hamptons, at 1100 square feet and with 0.36 of an acre of land, but everything you could need is included. "The uber-chic pool house is fitted with stylish furnishings," says Rosina, "including crafted built-in bunk beds and additional seating as well as a full bath." There are two bedrooms and a very nicely remodeled bath in the main house, along with a new marble kitchen. Outside, there's a deck, pool and pool house with a bedroom and full bath, along with waterviews. "Four-season water views of Cold Spring Bay," adds Rosina. "At $950,000 for a turnkey property with a pool and water views, it is definitely well-priced," comments Rosina. "I think the target market for this home appeals to young couples but could just as easily fit singles as well as recent empty nesters." For more, click here. 55 Shrubland Road, Southampton  
Hamptons Open Houses to Check Out This Weekend
August 09, 2019
Open houses are a great way to find your next home, see inside a house that you have always been curious about, or just get design ideas. 15 Norton Place, Southampton Open house: Friday, August 9, 11:00AM-12:00PM Ask: $2.45 million Beds: 5 Baths: 4 Size: 0.29 acre; 3,334 square feet Features: West-facing, this property offers views of great sunsets as well as Davis Creek with Conscience Point National Wildlife Refuge beyond. There's a private dock, charming stone patio with waterfall, and a heated garage with upstairs studio with full bathroom. 150 Rose Hill Road, Water Mill Open house: Sunday, August 11, 1:00PM-3:00PM Ask: $17.950 million Beds: 8 Baths: 13.5 Size: 4.26 acre;  13,000 square feet Features: 4.25 acres of rolling lawn, flowering gardens and specimen trees overlooks 34 acres of contiguous reserve. Main and rear staircases along with an elevator; a finished lower level with space for a home theater and gym. Various porches, an outdoor kitchen, and a 72' X 18' pool with spa are outside, along with a two-sided cabana, offering kitchen, changing room and bathroom. Of course, there's also a sunken tennis court. 21 Diane Drive, East Hampton Open house: Saturday, August 10, 12:00PM-2:00PM Ask: $2.955 million Beds: 5 Baths: 5.5 Size: 0.83 acre; 4,700 square feet Features: Start out with a two-story front hall and a great room with 25' coffered ceilings. There's a first floor master and den, and every guest room has a sitting area. Outside, there's a 75 foot bluestone terrace, pool with spa, outdoor shower, and outdoor fireplace.
Montauk Never Became a Transatlantic Port
August 08, 2019
A number of people tried to make Montauk into a transatlantic port in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. On paper, the idea made sense: docking ships at Fort Pond Bay and then putting goods on the Long Island Rail Road would cut a day off the typical New York-Great Britain voyage. But didn't pan out. In 1879, Arthur Benson bought most of Montauk for $151,000, paying only 10% down. (This deal is still being disputed today by the descendants of the Montaukett Indians.) Benson was a friend of Austin Corbin, the owner of the Long Island Rail Road, who planned to extend the railroad out to Montauk, and therefore Benson knew the land would become much more valuable. Once the railroad was extended, Corbin could turn Montauk into a deep water port; this would also cut down on overcrowding in the Port of New York. In 1894, a bill was introduced to Congress that would create a deep water port in Montauk. The next year, the Benson heirs sold 4000 acres of Montauk to Corbin and partner Charles Pratt for $200,000. The first LIRR train pulled into Montauk later that year. In 1896, a steel pier 400 feet long was built for steamers. So what happened? Corbin died in 1896, which put a crimp in his plans. Also, Corbin didn't figure out that Fort Pond Bay is too shallow and rocky to handle ships that size and could not be dredged. Other attempts were made to make Montauk into a transatlantic port over the years, including by Carl Fisher in the 1920s; all failed. Images: the first picture is a pamphlet published 1904; the second is from the American Architect magazine, 1926.
Update: Meadowmere, Jerome Robbins and More in Contract
August 07, 2019
Hamptons real estate news is not all gloom and doom--for instance, this week's update features three properties that have recently gone into contract. Asking price for all three combined is $64 million. That's pretty good, with the caveat of course that we don't know the final sales prices yet. The property with the highest asking price is Southampton's Meadowmere, at $32.5 million. The price had been $37.5 million, but was cut $5 million in the spring. It's repped by Bespoke. The property includes a Shingle Style house built in 2012, along with 3.1 acres of land in the Southampton estate section, which includes 110 feet on Halsey Neck Pond. The house is quite large, 12,000 square feet, with 9 bedrooms, 9 baths and 3 half baths. There's a home theater with a kitchenette attached, a pool house with bathroom, an exercise pavilion with bathroom, and of course pool and tennis. The dining pavilion outside includes a fieldstone fireplace and pizza oven. Congrats to everyone involved in the deal! For more, click here80 Meadowmere Lane, Southampton Next up is the former home of Broadway legend Jerome Robbins. Robbins died in 1998, leaving this property to the Jerome Robbins Foundation, which put the $15 million property on the market in March. Proceeds from the sale will benefit the foundation's support for the performing arts. Listed by Martha S Murray, Marilyn Clark and Frank Newbold at Sotheby's, the property is one acre with 118 feet of oceanfront. Since this is narrow Dune Road, there are also views of Mecox Bay. The 1950 bungalow is quite small, with two bedrooms and 1100 square feet. There's also a 45 foot pool out back. We'll be interested to see what happens to this property in the future. For more, click here139 Dune Road, Bridgehampton A handsome new-build on tony Hedges Lane in tony Sagaponack is also in contract. On 1.5 acres, 9,000 square-foot house by Michael Davis sports 8 bedrooms, 8 baths, and 2 half baths, plus such useful amenties as a laundry chute and an elevator. The exterior offers everything anyone could want for summer fun: 20' x 50' saltwater gunite pool with 8' x 8' spa with automatic cover, pool house with living area or gym and pergola, sunken all weather tennis court and extensive bluestone terraces with a built-in barbecue. Last asking price for this property, repped by Terry Cohen at Saunders, was $16.95 million. Well done to all. For more, click here. 324 Hedges Lane, Sagaponack
$20M Development Transforms Sag Harbor Waterfront
August 06, 2019
What had been an ugly wasteland right in the heart of Sag Harbor is about to become the jewel in the crown of the village's renaissance. For many years--13 in fact--the prime land at 2 West Water Street and the adjacent 1, 3, and 5 Ferry Road sat unused, while developers and owners squabbled about possible uses for the property. Now a new park, to be named after local John Steinbeck, will ensure all residents and visitors will be able to enjoy this incomparable spot. And the former 1-800-LAWYERS building was demolished, with three beautiful new condominiums rising in the area. The project will be the tallest building in Sag Harbor and will transform previously barricaded beaches into a family-friendly recreational facility. After many years on the market, new owner Jay Bialsky along with Andre Kikoski and Edmund Hollander gained all necessary approvals within 5 months. "It's very exciting to be part of a project that is not just for myself, but also that I've helped create open space in Sag Harbor forever, for everyone to enjoy way past my lifetime. I'm ecstatic," says Bialsky. The hardest part of the process, he says, was trying to get the design right. "We went to the ARB [Architectural Review Board] with a simple plan to ask for their feedback. Then I hired a couple of different architects to see what they envisioned. But it wasn't really getting there. Then Andre and I sat down and we nailed it on the first shot. We presented it to the Architectural Review Board and they gave a unanimous decision." Kikoski adds, "When Jay and I started the process we said hey--our children and grandchildren will point to these buildings. We need to make sure that we're tied to the DNA of Sag Harbor and its architecture. So before we designed anything, we walked all the way around town. What had Sag Harbor always built with? Brick, shingle, brick-and-shingle. "We loved the brick idea, because on one end of the spectrum you have that very simple fresh building at Bay Street. And then at the other end of the brick spectrum, you have the Jermain Library. In between you have some really beautiful houses." Kikoski goes on, "The best feature is that this project is one of a kind. You're not driving to the middle of the potato fields or the woods. You're in a beautiful spectacular waterfront house, which is also in the middle of Sag Harbor. There's nothing else like it. I have thought through every detail to make it an extraordinary place to live." For Bialsky, it's all about the lifestyle. "These buildings are three stories tall with rooftop pools. Our views of the sunset are priceless. Now the convenience of never having to really get in a car in the Hamptons in summer is also priceless. You could walk everywhere, boat everywhere. For a whole weekend you never have to travel anywhere in a car. That lifestyle is what attracted my family and me to make this location our primary residence." Interested in living in this slice of heaven? Two units are for sale, as Bialsky (as alluded above) is building one unit for his family. Each property will offer two private boat slips--unheard of in Sag Harbor. As for the style, while the brick exterior will pay tribute to Sag Harbor's long industrial history, the interiors will be totally modern, with jewel-box glass rooms to maximize the views. For your land-based transportation, an underground garage will be equipped to store 4-6 cars each. Residence Y and Residence Z are priced at $21.95 million and $19.95 million respectively and are situated right next to the new park. Bialsky actually gave up 60% of his building rights to help build the new park with Hollander for the community. The properties will be exclusively listed by Bespoke Real Estate.