Archive for category Good Living

Oktoberfest Comes to New York in September

oktoberfest-927666_960_720Oktoberfest has become one of New York’s premier fall festivals, celebrating great food, fall foliage, and of course amazing beer.

Oktoberfest began in Germany. In 1810, from October 12-17 the celebration was held to honor the Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig’s marriage to Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen. But why should such a fun tradition be relegated to one small country? The festival quickly spread across Europe and then the world, and has been changing the face of fall in New York in a big way.
This year the festival will take place beginning September 17, and ending on October 3. It was moved up from the original October date to the third week in September due to the weather, which turns cold and stormy in October.

There will be Oktoberfest celebrations in every New York borough so there is no excuse not to join in.

The largest events will be in Central Park on September 17, Munich on the East River on September 23, and Watermark’s Oktoberfest, September 17.

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Grab Your Kids and Go to NYC!

Yankee Stadium. Courtesy of Groupe Canam

Yankee Stadium. Courtesy of Groupe Canam

Taking your kids on a trip to New York City is one of the most fun things you can not only do for them, but for yourselves as well. There is a seemingly endless array of choices for kid-friendly activities that are exciting and enjoyable for the entire spectrum of tastes and abilities. Here is a brief review of the possibilities for what could be the best vacation you have ever had.

  • New York is world renown for “Broadway,” so take them to a show which could not even be on Broadway unless it was fantastically entertaining. Go see a classic like The Lion King or Annie, or even head to an off-Broadway performance for a little cultural challenge.
  • Ah, the mother of all parks: Central Park. This place is awesome. There are miles of country lanes for meandering strolls. A lake for boating, fishing and other activities. Concerts, both free and not free. Biking, baseball, soccer, volleyball, chess and heaven knows what else is available in the park, like a zoo and 21 playgrounds.
  • OMG you haven’t been to the American Museum of Natural History? And even if you have, the displays never get old, especially when there are new exhibits constantly organized to view side by side with the incredible dinosaurs and giant whale which just make that museum like a home to anyone who grew up in the city.
  • Take the kids to a baseball game. There are two great places to go: Citi Field and Yankee Stadium. The pace and feel of a baseball game is a great way to enjoy your family in a fun and relaxed atmosphere, and get some hot dogs for lunch while your there, too.

Some other ideas include a visit to the Statue of Liberty, FAO Schwartz, the New York Aquarium, the New York Hall of Science, the Bronx Zoo, and of course the Empire State Building. You are going to have a blast, and make memories that will last a lifetime.

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Great Ways to Save on Your Tax Bill from Anchin, Block & Anchin

6793826885_6fdd19b3c4_oThe CPAs at Anchin, Block & Anchin,  a New York-based accounting firm, have some great advice for ordinary tax payers who may be missing out on some great deductions simply because they do not realize they exist.

One such deduction, says Richard Baum of Anchin, is for moving to a new home after getting a new job. All that is required is that the job took you at least 50 miles away from your old home for a person to be eligible to deduct the moving expenses. This applies even to a first job at the beginning of someone’s career.

“Moving expenses for someone’s first job are deductible,” says Anchin CPA and partner Baum.

Anchin experts also suggest that self-employed people take their health insurance premiums as an “above-the-line” deduction. Those types of deductions lower your taxable income even if you do not itemize your deductions and just take the standard deduction.

In the same category is half of your self-employment tax. All taxpayers, not just the self-employed, can take long-term care insurance as a medical expense and are tax-deductible.

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As Baby Boomers Age They Make Demands on Healthcare Sector

US Birth Rates

US Birth Rates

Baby Boomers, that is, people born about one year after World War II until about 1964, are aging in record numbers. The oldest among them have already turned 70, while their youngest cohorts are about 18 years younger. As this population continues to age, the services they require will increase in demand.

There were about 76 million boomers still alive in 2005. This group is making demands on the economy in many ways, and one of the main ways is in health care. One innovation that boomers will demand more of is a new way to treat cataracts and other vision problems, intra-ocular lenses. Alcon Laboratories developed a lens called ReSTOR which most likely will be highly desired by people who would like to improve their vision without using eyeglasses, contact lenses, or laser surgery.

One other innovation which is getting some interest by boomers is something called balloon kyphoplasty. This surgical procedure is designed to alleviate pain and correct spinal fractures resulting from osteoporosis and/or cancer. Since 199 over 115,000 spinal fractures have been treated with balloon kyphoplasty.

“We’ve been impressed at how, in a relatively short time, balloon kyphoplasty has been so widely accepted by orthopedic surgeons and neurosurgeons,” said one observer.

Baby boomers will also be choosing nursing homes and assisted living arrangements as they age. Recently Dry Harbor Nursing Home and Rehabilitation Center has enlarged its team and improved its cardio-pulmonary center just in time to accommodate the expected increase in demand. Located in Middle Harbor, Queens, Dry Harbor Nursing Home has a 360-bed facility and boasts one of the largest and most comprehensive rehab teams in the borough.

Just as the boomers made their impact on pop culture, politics and much else in the American cultural scene when they were younger, they are changing the field of healthcare as they age.

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Flipped Village Apartment Largest Sale of Week

Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village. Photo by MBisanz

Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village. Photo by MBisanz

In December 2013 Robert Kaliner of Ascend Builders partnered with Jeffrey Davidson of West Orange, New Jersey to purchase a vacant apartment building on Waverly Place for $10.2 million. Last week, after an additional $6.5 million was spent for major renovations, the Greek Revival, 1905 brick building, now private residence, sold for over $23 million.

The residence, located at 146 Waverly, was gutted and rebuilt, with the addition of a below-ground floor.

“It was demoed and built from the ground up — the only thing left were the front and side walls,” Mr. Kaliner said, adding, “It wasn’t architecturally beautiful. It was a pretty crummy rental building.”

Their first attempt at selling the property was as a “customizable townhouse” for $22 million. Several months went by when the partners took the house off the market, realizing that no one wanted to get involved in all the dirty work of construction and renovation.

The partners decided instead to create an original interior design for the 7,600-square-foot building. Utilizing the expertise of architect Wayne Turett and Kaliner’s Ascend Builders contracting business, the pair was able to create a wonderful, light-filled house with high ceilings, high-end finishes, floor to ceiling windows and brand new mechanical systems everywhere in the building.

“Our vision was to build something that was classic with a contemporary feel to it,” Mr. Kaliner said. “It’s hard when you’re building a house on spec to pick something that everyone loves. We made sure this house was built the way it should be built.”

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Play Ball at Bergino Clubhouse

Jackie_Robinson,_Brooklyn_Dodgers,_1954

Jackie Robinson, 1954

Are you crazy for baseball? Do you know anyone who is? If the answer to either of those questions is yes, then head on over to a remarkable shop that takes the art of baseball collectibles to a whole new level.

Bergino Baseball Clubhouse has everything you can imagine if you adore America’s favorite game, and a more than a few things you probably can’t imagine. Handmade Bergino baseballs are affordable at only $25 each. The Americana selection pay homage to themes such as ‘Peace,’ Jackie Robinson, and the Star Spangled Banner. City map baseballs honor Los Angeles, Boston, and Jerusalem, which as far as I know, does not even have a baseball team. Go figure.

There are artworks for sale from artists such as Lou Grant and Roger Patrick. A Yankee Stadium musical snow globe is on sale. You can find coasters made of Astro Turf, baseball styled bag tags, and of course autographed books. Clubhouse gift items include a Bergino Baseball Clubhouse hat; cuff links, wallets and a money clip all made from authentic used baseballs; and even a stool made from a real base. It goes without saying this is just the “tip of the ballpark.”

All your gifts are taken care of already? Bergino also sponsors events. On Wednesday, December 16, fans can come here Derek Jeter speak at 7pm. The clubhouse website also has podcasts for its fans listening pleasure.

The clubhouse is located at 67 East 11th Street in Greenwich Village. Call for more information: 212-226-7150.

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An Oasis of Mindfulness Opening in the Village

Take a break and meditate.

Take a break and meditate.

New Yorkers have a reputation for being stressed, harried and harassed. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a place for people to go to unwind and concentrate on their larger goals in life in a quiet, supportive environment, but without having to commit to a two hour lecture?

For partners Ellie Burrows and Lodro Rinzler, the answer is a resounding yes. Together they have opened New York’s first outlet for nervous New Yorkers to participate in 30 or 45 minute meditations in the middle of their stressful days.

CEO Burrows says that her idea is to give people a space to “meditate and be quiet in a way that’s hard if you’re in New York City.”

After meeting Rinzler when she volunteered at his non-profit organization “Institute for Compassionate Leadership” Burrows wondered if it was possible to create a place in New York where meditation can become part of a busy person’s life. Her vision was to give people the ability to access mediation in a similar way to just “dropping in to get your nails done.”

Rinzler, who has written several books on meditation, created a staff of 25 expert teachers from a wide range of disciplines. The classes cover different themes such as emotions, sleep, breath, and setting specific goals for each day.

“Whatever their particular struggle might be, we’ll have a class for them,” Rinzler said.

MNDFL is opening in November at 10 East 8th Street and will be open seven days a week.

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