Recent endorsements


I’ve received 2 endorsements recently which I would like to share:

As an attorney dealing with estate work, I have had several instances working with Robert Rems, and his firm, Wohlfarth & Associates. At each time I have found a remarkable combination of thorough knowledge of the market, great realism in suggesting a price and a true ‘customer service’ approach in seeing the deal through to the end. Robert made sure he had an exceptionally detailed knowledge of the neighborhoods involved and was always willing to spend the time necessary to educate my clients as to the best way forward not just to secure the highest price, but to establish a price that ensured the property sold without undue delay. He was also extremely willing to handle all aspects of the transaction: his staging of the apartments was highly tasteful and acute in bringing their visual strengths to the fore. The publicity material he and the firm produced were similarly strategic, persuasive as to the high points without exaggeration. And he was available and involved in ensuring the apartments were properly cleared before Closing, and last minute details quickly taken care of.

I could only highly recommend the firm, and Robert himself.

John V. N. Philip III, Esq.


Robert is a true professional and very easy to work with – he knows Manhattan apartments and is always available and responsive.

Arlene Harris, Esq., Special Counsel,  Kaye, Scholer LLP














Kickoff brunch for Hudson Valley Dance Festival


2014-04-27 12.45.28 2014-04-27 12.45.092014-04-27 12.33.50


As members of the Host Committee for the Hudson Valley Dance Festival, Stanley and I attended the brunch today at Beattie-Powers Place, a historic house in Catskill, NY.  The festival will be held on October 11 at Catskill Point.  The dance performance and reception are a benefit for Dancers Responding to AIDS.  Last year’s performance was sold out (350 seats)  and was a huge success, raising approximately $75,000.  This year’s target is $100,000.

The Hudson Valley Dance Festival is a spinoff of the Fire Island Dance Festival, which has been a highlight of the Summer season in Fire Island Pines for 20 years.

For information, visit the DRA website at




Dinner at Mercato (Red Hook, NY)



We consider Mercato the best Italian restaurant in the upper Hudson Valley.  Chef-owner Francesco Buitoni (yes, of that Buitoni family) uses fresh, seasonal ingredients and local produce for his constantly changing menu.  This time we had stracciatella soup and lamb sausage for starters, then poussin and pork Milanese.    A bottle of Super-Tuscan was a fine choice from the always-interesting and reasonably priced wine list.  We skipped dessert this time.

A half-hour drive from our house in Claverack, but always worth the trip.

Malai Marke – Miracle on 6th St.


This Wednesday, we had a lovely dinner at Malai Marke, our favorite Indian restaurant.  Though it is located on East 6th St., one of many (mostly mediocre) Indian restaurants on that block, it is an absolute gem.  Every time we have eaten there we walk out smiling, saying “Wow, that was delicious”.   Every dish is well-spiced and full of flavor.  Beer is the best accompaniment to this kind of food, and the Founder’s Porter is what we have every time we eat here.   I can’t even cite a specific dish as a “must have” as everything is so good, but as fans of goat, I would say the Chennai goat curry is perhaps our favorite.  We also love the jinga luchi, chili chicken, patiala lamb kebab, achari chicken tikka, shrimp caldeen, lemon rice,  allepy red curry, rogan josh, and… well it just goes on and on.





Easter dinner, travel plans, real estate news


Let’s start with food, specifically our Easter dinner yesterday. Stanley and I outdid ourselves as usual. We had four guests. Started with a few rounds of my famous Cosmos, along with hors d’oeuvres from Trader Joe’s (why make them yourself when these are so good and so easy?), ham and cheese flatbread, seafood croquettes and parmesan pastry pups. Then we sat down to a scallop crudo with grapefruit, garlic, jalapeno and cilantro. Next up was a lemon sorbet from Grom, topped with a splash of Campari. Main course was carnitas, the wonderful Mexican pulled pork. Here is a link to the recipe:

I used at least twice the amount of garlic, lime juice, and spices called for in the recipe, added a good amount of cayenne to spice it up, and reduced the excess cooking liquid to a sauce which I poured over the meat when serving. Incredibly delicious! We served it with Hungarian cabbage noodles and deep-fried baby artichokes sprinkled with parmesan. For dessert we had rice pudding (Martha Stewart recipe, with golden raisins added), topped with Grom salted caramel gelato. Wow! Everyone loved it of course.

Bought the plane tickets for our trip to Spain this coming November (yes I am obsessive about planning ahead). We will pick up a rental car at Madrid airport and visit Leon, Burgos, Santiago de Compostela, Cadiz, Malaga, and Granada before returning from Madrid. Now researching hotels (and restaurants of course).

After a great year in the real estate biz in 2013, I’ve closed two more deals so far this year. No current listings, but a few possible listings in the pipeline. Also have a few potential buyers, and I wish I had more properties to show them. I don’t feel too bad because everyone I know in the business is having the same difficulty. Not enough people selling! Here is my 1st quarter 2014 NYC market report:

First quarter 2014 was characterized by a continuation of the trend toward lower and lower inventory, while demand has remained steady, with the highest number of closed sales of any quarter in the past seven years. New listings have not kept pace, pushing inventory to a record low, causing frustration for buyers, with no relief in sight. Prices for existing units continued to increase, but could be reaching a plateau, while those of new high-end condominiums have been soaring. Average and median prices are becoming almost meaningless as they are skewed by the super-luxury sales.

In light of these factors, we’re offering some advice to buyers and sellers for navigating this highly unusual market.

For sellers, the good news is that any property that is priced correctly will sell very quickly, often well above the asking price, but overpricing at the outset can result in a lower sale price in the end. Be wary of an agent who “tells you what you want to hear”, quoting a very high price without providing comparable sales to back it up. Be informed and ask questions. Buyers are cautious, but will bid high if they realize that others are competing with them. If a property remains on the market more than a few weeks, buyers see it as overpriced and move on to something else. Even if the asking price is subsequently reduced, the momentum will have been lost.

For buyers, there are strategies that can lead to being the winning bidder, but in multiple bid situations, having a knowledgeable and trustworthy agent is a must. Sometimes, the “bidding war” can be avoided by making a quick decision and asking the seller how much it would take for them to sell to you and not entertain any further bidding. Even though this will likely be above asking, it may get you a better deal than competing with other bidders, and can be less stressful for both buyer and seller. Another situation that can work in a buyer’s favor is a “stale” listing, one that started with too high an asking price and has languished on the market. Because other buyers are ignoring it, it may be possible to make a reasonable offer and have it accepted.

If you found this interesting, you may want to sign up for my emails (which you can unsubscribe from at any time) to receive market reports and notices of my listings. Just send a request to to be added to the list.

You can also visit my web page at: