Upstater: Real Estate is the Game, and The Buzz is in Kingston

There is a buzz in the air this Spring; not the buzzing of bees but the buzz of real estate. Parking spaces for condos in D.C. list for $100,000+. Multi-million dollar listings in Manhattan receive seven offers in one day. Everywhere you turn it seems everyone is either buying or selling real estate. So how is the real estate market in our corner of the world? Have the repeated articles about Kingston’s artistic community, restaurants, and bars in the New York Times, Travel and Leisure, and countless blogs affected the local market? Has the county’s endless supply of 18th century stone houses started selling again? Is Woodstock still a popular selling area? Are there new hot-beds rising within Ulster County? Searching for just these answers and many more, I contacted my friend and realtor Harris Safier.

Read the full article "here".

Upstate House Spotlight on Kingston, NY: CITY OF QUIET COOL


In the fall of 2012, a young artist and a tattooist secretly began spray-painting red goats throughout Kingston’s Uptown Stockade district. Some condemned the red goats as vandalism; others lauded them as public art. Either way, the goats became something of a brand for Kingston; those same images of red goats showed up in far-off places like Brooklyn, Missouri, Miami, and even Canada, warranting a story in the New York Times.

The goats, which could symbolize the city’s bloody history or its dogged resilience, got the message out: Kingston may have struggled, but it’s plenty cool. Mayor Shayne Gallo, who is on a mission to redevelop and enliven the city, says he appreciates the red goats as a free branding tool and calling card to the rest of the world. Today the red goat lives on as the logo for the Kingston Film Festival, now in its third year. That bloody history started when the city was the site of violence between Dutch settlers and the Esopus Indians in the early 1600s. In 1777, as New York State’s capital, Kingston was burned down by the British. Over 300 of the Uptown Stockade district’s original 18th-century stone buildings were lost, but 41 were reconstructed and remain. In the early 1900s the city thrived in manufacturing and as a transport center, but these industries declined by the time IBM arrived in 1955. Forty years later, IBM left, taking away 7,100 jobs and leaving 25 vacant buildings on a 256-acre campus.

Today, the campus is called TechCity, meant to be a small-business incubator. Though a welcome idea, the vision has yet to be fully realized, but residents remain hopeful.There are three main sections of Kingston. Midtown had been badly blighted, especially around crime-ridden Henry Street, except for a few brave institutions like the Ulster Performing Arts Center (UPAC) and the YMCA. It’s now safer and attracting new businesses and residents, thanks to the city’s plans to turn the area into a tech corridor.

Uptown Kingston, with its narrow, walkable streets, is busy with small businesses, and it’s the more historically preserved area. The picturesque main drag of Wall Street has undergone a makeover, and the area’s culinary scene has blossomed.

The Rondout district, also called the Strand, features a waterfront and marina where three bodies of water meet; it’s slated for an extensive redevelopment. Over the past decade, thanks to a crackdown on drugs, many of its formerly neglected storefronts have become art galleries, eateries, and shops offering goods from designer baby clothes to motorcycle upholstery. Much of the Victorian architecture was lost to urban renewal in the 1960s, but the Rondout still has attractive architectural offerings, and the neighborhood varies in topography, with some gently sloping hills. At night, the tree-lined, sloping streets can be as quiet as the countryside.



In 2007, Bloomberg Businessweek named Kingston the fifth best place in the country for artists to live. The city’s arts scene is thriving and its music scene is taking off too, with the popular indie band Bishop Allen recently relocating to the city from Brooklyn and the continuing rise of the annual O+ Festival, a music and art event that promotes health insurance for artists. With its waterfront walkways and outdoor summer films and festivals, family-friendly Kingston isn’t vying for the title of “the New Brooklyn.” It doesn’t so much want to strut its stuff as it wants to be discovered, quietly, and given its due.


Uptown is the most desirable neighborhood in the 8.5 miles of Kingston. It includes Colonial, Federal, Queen Anne, and grand Victorian houses, usually ranging from $250,000 to $400,000. Prices in the Rondout range from $65,000 for tiny brick Victorians and Federals to $300,000 for larger, well- maintained Victorians. Rentals in both Uptown and the Rondout run from about $700 for a condominium to $1,300 for a full house or large apartment. In parts of still-blighted Midtown, low-priced, two-family homes needing minor to major work abound, but these bargains also come with urban problems like gangs and drugs, both of which are being targeted by the city’s revitalization plan, which will be implemented in stages over the next decade. Smaller, mostly Victorian homes can be had from as low as $100,000.

Recognize the location spot in Uptown Kingston from a screenshot from the Cold in July movie trailer? 

It was just last summer that Michael C Hall stayed at The Saint James Kingston vacation rental ( in Kingston, New York while filming Cold In July. It's the fourth film this year that has been filmed in the Hudson Valley! 

Now the movie is now being shown at Rosendale Theatre July 21, 23, and 24th, 2014.

Watch the full trailer here below:

Nov 19, 2013

Design Sponge on Outdated: An Antique Cafe // Maxwell Tielman


"Two of my favorite kinds of places are coffee shops and antique stores, so you cannot believe how thrilled I was to discover a place in Upstate New York that combines the best of both. Outdated, a large space located on Wall Street in Kingston’s historic Stockade District, has been dubbed an “antique cafe” by its founders, Gabriel Constantine and Tarah Gay and combines the couple’s two passions—vintage furniture and food. “We had our first date at a flea market and the rest is history,” says Gabriel. “During the years of buying antiques and vintage around the Hudson Valley, we began dreaming up the idea for Outdated.” The result is an open but endlessly inviting space—one part shop, one part restaurant, and one part dazzling museum of curiosities. With ample seating space and a few sofas and coffee tables thrown into the mix, being at Outdated is akin to being in a living room away from home. Add in the delicious, locally-sourced food, baked goods, and coffee and you have a wonderful (and dangerous) combination. Check out the rest of the photos plus Gabriel and Tarah’s notes about the space after the jump!" 

View the entire article here: Design Sponge


Oct 14, 2013

Design Sponge on John McKinney's Uptown Kingston Colonial home: 

"My neighbor John McKinney is an optometrist with a serious eye for design (pun absolutely, shamelessly intended). Although his days are filled with eye charts, optical exams, and glasses fittings, his evenings and weekends are packed with trips to local auctions, estate sales, and flea markets—all part of his tireless and passion-driven journey to renovate and furnish his 1723 house in the heart of uptown Kingston, New York. John’s home, an absolutely stunning stone construction, is a a gem amongst gems—one of the neighborhood’s oldest and longest-standing structures, dating back to Kingston’s pre-Revolution days when it originally functioned as the town’s Elmendorf Tavern. It has survived not just the Revolutionary War and the infamous 1777 burning of Kingston, but centuries of change. Nineteenth century Italianate and Victorian homes have sprung up around it, but this quaint colonial construction has remained one of the area’s most beautiful homes.

Throughout my first months as a Kingston resident, I had always admired John’s home when walking past it on trips to the city’s center, but I was absolutely floored when I was first welcomed inside for afternoon cocktails. After purchasing the home from a former medical practice five years ago, John has been painstakingly renovating it to its former glory—right down to period-appropriate antique furnishings and woodwork. John’s loving commitment to his home is clear in every detail—and the story of how he purchased the home and ultimately furnished it in its colonial and colonial revival style is downright fascinating. John’s previous home—a split-level ranch filled exclusively with midcentury modern furnishings—was a far cry from the pre-Revolution styles he currently surrounds himself with. When he put his former home on the market five years ago, though, the purchaser chose to buy with one proviso: that the home come with all of its furnishings. Despite having obsessively culled all of the home’s authentic Modernist pieces over the years, John split with them willfully and amicably, relishing the opportunity to start fresh. Although John seems to have broken up with his midcentury obsession when he broke up with his former home, the colonial style, with its hallmark simplicity, has proven to be an unexpected compliment to his eye for the clean, modern line. “As long as you keep it simple,” he notes, “it’s all ‘modern’ for that time period. If you pick the right pieces from each time period, you can see the clean lines in it.” John’s house might have a 1723 date on it, but its classic styling and timeless beauty makes it right at home in the twenty-first century. —Max"

Read more on "DESIGN SPONGE"


 Sep, 2013.  

Kingston got some great press with this feature of The Saint James Kingston on Owners, Philippe Trinh and Julian Lesser restored their old Victorian/Tudor house into a "neighborhood gem".  

Want to learn more about the home?  Click on the below link and see what Maxwell Tielman had to say about the home and the owners! (Photos: Maxwell Tielman)

Read more on:  "DESIGN SPONGE"


Kingston's Wealthy Legacy Gets New Life. 


Sept, 2013.

With its rich history and burgeoning small-business and dining scene, upstate New York's Kingston is increasingly on the radar of second-home buyers.  Located on the western bank of the Hudson River, Kingston is about 90 miles north of New York City, and there is daily bus service connection with the Port Authority terminal. The Rhinecliff-Kingston Amtrak station also is nearby.

Kingston was initially settled in the mid-17th century and became the state's first capital during the Revolutionary War. The area was a hub for coal, bluestone and cement shipping for much of the 19th century.  In the 20th century, prosperity came in the form of a large International Business Machines plant that was in operation between the mid-1940s and mid-1990s, employing thousands and leaving a large vacuum in the region's economy when it closed.  Kingston "was very depressed after IBM left, which destroyed our economy and housing market, but we have had a huge influx of people since 9/11 who have transplanted to Kingston—a lot of artists, musicians and website designers," said Michael A. Schneller, a broker with Win Morrison Realty who was born and raised in Kingston.  Mr. Schneller said the city, with a population of around 24,000, is now becoming "hipster-ish" as more New York City residents buy and rent houses and apartments locally.


The median sales price in Kingston is $123,700, according to the real-estate listings website Housing styles run the gamut from modest 20thcentury ranches to grand 19th-century Victorians to pre-Revolutionary stone residences. The city's architecture has lent itself to having three districts on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Rondout-West Strand District, comprising 259 buildings, is situated on the harbor and was the area's commercial center in the 1800s.

The Chestnut Street District is a residential area that was popular with wealthy businessmen in the mid-19th and early 20th centuries, and its large houses are built in styles that were popular in that era, including Italian Villa and Colonial Revival.

The Stockade District, also called Uptown Kingston, is made up of commercial and residential properties that include 21 Dutch-style stone buildings, many of which were built before 1700.

Gerald Celente, who publishes Trends Journal, a publication that forecasts social and economic trends, moved into an office in the Uptown area in 2007 and purchased three other historic buildings nearby last year. "This was one of the grandest cities in the United States," according to Mr. Celente, who is originally from the Bronx and says he spent $1.5 million on the properties.  "I want to restore colonial Kingston," he said. If Virginia "can have a fake colonial Williamsburg, we can have a real colonial Kingston."  The three stone buildings Mr. Celente purchased are all on one corner anddate from the mid-1600s to late 1700s; he has been renovating them and renting office space.

Elsewhere in Uptown new restaurants have opened in recent years, including Elephant, a tapas and wine bar; the Stockade Tavern, which specializes in vintage cocktails; and the American bistro Boitson's.  Maria Philippis, Boitson's owner, said she decided to open in Kingston in part because the city reminded her of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where she lived in the early 1990s.  


Parks: Kingston's parks include the 19-acre Forsyth Park, which has trails, tennis courts and a nature center with a small zoo. Kingston Point Park, which is on the Hudson River, is an 87-acre space established in the late 19th century that includes a beach area for swimming, boating and kayaking.

Schools: The Kingston City School District includes the Harry L. Edson Elementary School, which has an enrollment of approximately 450 students and was rated as in good standing by the state for 2010-11 in English language arts, math and science. Kingston High School has an enrollment of around 2,300 students. For the 2011-12 school year, 88% of the high school's graduates received a Regents Diploma, according to its New York state School Report Card.

Dining: At Le Canard Enchaine, an upscale French bistro, most entrees run from $20 to $30. Local brewery Keegan Ales serves pub fare such as steak and pulled-pork sandwiches that cost around $10.

Shopping: The Hudson Valley mall has a multiplex, as well as retailers such as Target and Sears. Mom-and-pop shops include Half Moon Books, a used bookstore, and Ellipse, a boutique that sells clothing made by independent designers.

Entertainment: The 1,500-seat Ulster County Performing Arts Center has regular music, dance and theater programming.

Read more here on Trend Research  

Taken from: The Wall Street Journal //  NY REAL ESTATE RESIDENTIAL Sep 20, 2013,  // A18 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal

Full story here: The Wall Street Journal


36-ny times.jpg


THE NEW YORK TIMES: 36 Hours in The Hudson Valley, 2013

July, 2013.  

Only have a couple days to spend in the Hudson Valley?  See what the New York TIme had to say about where to go in Kingston, dubbed the "Kingston Trio" below: 

Stockade Tavern: Opened three years ago, selling sophisticated cocktails in a one-time Singer sewing machine factory in Kingston’s 17th-century Stockade District, the bar’s arrival foreshadowed changes for New York’s former capital. 

BSP Lounge: Enthusiastic new management and has become a sort of musician’s living room, hosting local and touring bands in a former vaudeville theater. 

Rondout Music Lounge: Maritime aesthetic that evokes the nearby  Hudson River Maritime Museum and the casual welcome of a neighborhood coffeehouse.

Read more at: The New York Times

Culinary Road Trip


Before Albany, There Was…

Kingston, a sweet Victorian town nestled in the Hudson River Valley, was actually the first capital of New York in 1777 before being burned by the British that same year in the battle of Saratoga. With many of the buildings maintaining their original colonial charm, Kingston today is home to several bed and breakfasts, restaurants, specialty shops and one of the most highly regarded artist communities in the country.

While Kingston boasts several points of interest worth exploring, few share a story as unique as Boitson’s Restaurant on Front Street, an old time main street thoroughfare. Ultimately, Boitson’s is a longtime dream realized through the power of an unlikely friendship between a Brooklyn landlord and his tenant. When Maria Philippis (the tenant) discovered she was a beneficiary of her landlord “Al” Boitson’s estate, the gift was enough to fund the creation of a restaurant named in his honor.

Still the same spunky and loving Long Island gal that won Boitson’s friendship over the years, Maria hops from table to table delivering cocktails, serving entrees and generally making sure each guest feels at home. Now with a back porch that spans twice the width of the actual restaurant, locals and travelers share chilled seafood towers and cocktails under the backdrop of the Catskill Mountains on the horizon.

The menu captures the charm of Kingston with the sophistication of New York City. A mozzarella caprese salad becomes transcendent with grilled peaches, the charred marks intensified with crystallized nectar. Pasta specials rotate weekly, including hollow bucatini pasta straws tossed in a delicate pesto cream with sweet figs. Fried pickle spears achieve an unprecedented crunch with a wonderfully crisp cornmeal batter. Classics like fried chicken with mashed potatoes and green beans are executed simply and deliciously – an all-American plate that somehow tastes better when enjoyed on a back porch overlooking the mountains. It’s the kind of gem you feel lucky to stumble upon the first time, and it’s reason enough to return to Kingston regularly.

Kingston is reachable by an express hour-and-a-half bus ride on Trailways from Port Authority.

Boitson’s Restaurant
47 North Front Street, Kingston
Tel: 845-339-2333



ABC NEWS: Top 10 Greatest Streets of America

Wall Street in Kingston makes top 10 list for Greatest Streets of America. 

"Wall Street is a mixture of past and present, where historic buildings meet contemporary needs," 

"Evolving block by block, the thoroughfare is at the center of the commercial, political, cultural and religious activities that shape daily life in Kingston."  2012

Full story here: ABC NEWS



THE NEW YORK TIMES: Kingston, NY, A Rest Stop On The Hudson. 

FROM its menu of pre-Prohibition-era tipples concocted with house-made syrups to its setting in a painstakingly restored 1880s sewing machine factory, the year-and-a-half-old Stockade Tavern is the epitome of cocktail chic. But you won’t find it in downtown Manhattan or across the river in Brooklyn; instead, head about two hours north to Kingston, a modest-size city in the Hudson Valley of New York.

Although home to some of the state’s most beautiful and historic architecture, Kingston has been a mostly sleepy spot since I.B.M. closed its plant there in the mid-1990s. But that’s changing, thanks to a fresh crop of bars and restaurants inspired by the city’s old-time charms, as well as its growing population of young artists and its farm-rich location.

“We just felt like country people could use a decent drink, too,” said Giovanna Vis, who owns Stockade Tavern (313 Fair Street; 845-514-2649; with her husband, Paul Maloney, and their business partner, Don Johnson. The bar is named for the Stockade District, also called uptown, which dates back to the mid-17th century.

Another recent addition is Boitson’s (47 North Front Street; 845-339-2333;, a stylish American bistro with leather banquettes and marble-topped tables, which opened uptown in June 2010. Maria Philippis, the owner, named it for its benefactor, her former Brooklyn landlord, who died in 2007 and left Ms. Philippis money to pursue her dream of opening a restaurant.

“Mr. Boitson was a sailor in World War II, and I wanted the restaurant to look like the kind of place he would have hung out in,” she said. It offers comfort foods like fried chicken and steak frites, and has an all-New York State beer list and a wide selection of American wines.

Then there’s Elephant (310 Wall Street; 845-339-9310;, a wine and tapas bar around the corner from the Stockade in Kingston’s uptown, and a pioneer of sorts: it opened five years ago in the former recording studio of the cult-indie band Mercury Rev. When the space became available, the landlords, Joe Concra and Denise Orzo, a couple (both are artists), called their friend Rich Reeve, a chef. At the time, it seemed like “the middle of nowhere,” recalled Mr. Reeve, who now runs the business with his wife, Maya Karrol. But the rent was low, so they took a risk. “We just decided we would do what we wanted, and play punk rock and serve beef-heart tacos and pig tails,” Ms. Karrol said.

The restaurant is kept in offal by Fleisher’s Grass-Fed and Organic Meats (307 Wall Street; 845-338-6666;, the locavore butcher across the street, which opened a second shop in Brooklyn last month and plans to open a burger place in Kingston called Grass next spring.

On a Saturday night last spring, Jesse Van Note, a local musician, was enjoying a drink at Elephant after a local band had finished its set. “We’re in a tapas bar where you can hear surf rock,” he said. “Where else are you going to find that?” 

Full story here / Oct 2011:  The New York Times 



THE TODAY SHOW:  Barabara Corcoran


According to Real Estate Expert, Barbara Corcoran, the City of Kingston was rated #9 as one of the 10 top bargains in America.  Barbara listed her Top 10 Home Bargains in the country for a new home buyer on a segment of The Today Show. 

Full story here: The Today Show


We just ran across this article, it's an older article but it's ever so relevant now.  With the Hudson Valley having more artists per capita than NYC, it's no wonder why Kingston wouldn't be among the top 10 cities for artists to live!  Fast forward a few years and we see that Businessweek was spot on about cities with large artist populations like Kingston will eventually bring in new growth and investments. Kingston has seen a large insurgence of new businesses including Boitson's, Duo, Yum Yum, Sissy's Cafe and other great establishments all within the past few years!

Bohemian Today, High-Rent Tomorrow

By Maya Roney // Businessweek

Creative types are essential to urban and regional economic growth. Here's why—and the cities artists should flock to now

Want to know where a great place to invest in real estate will be five or 10 years from now? Look at where artists are living now.

Sociologists and policymakers have long been touting art and culture as the cure-all to economically depressed neighborhoods, cities, and regions. The reason? It has been proven that artists—defined as self-employed visual artists, actors, musicians, writers, etc.—can stimulate local economies in a number of ways.

Artists are often an early sign of neighborhood gentrification. "Artists are the advance guard of what's hip and cool," says Bert Sperling, founder and president of Portland (Ore.)-based Sperling's Best Places and compiler of's list of the Best Places for Artists in America.

Creativity Leads to Growth

Artists, because of their typically lower incomes, usually need to seek out less expensive, developing neighborhoods where they can afford the rent. But because of their creativity they are able to fix up these areas, eventually attracting hip boutiques, galleries, and restaurants. Not all artists are starving. While some are able to achieve success writing, acting, painting, or dancing, others get tired of scraping by as waiters or bartenders and sometimes apply their abilities in more entrepreneurial ways.

Anne Markusen, an economist and professor at the University of Minnesota's Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs and a leading researcher on the effects of the arts on regional economics, once profiled an abstract painter whose work is now displayed on ceilings and in MRI machines in hospitals across the country. In Markusen's research, artists have also been found to stimulate innovation on the part of their suppliers. A painter may need a certain type of frame that is not manufactured, forcing the frame maker to create a new design that happens to also work well for other artists.

But Markusen also maintains that artists bring more than culture to a community. "Businesses don't often understand the extent to which art affects them," Markusen says. "[Artists] are just as important as science and technology companies."

Nonarts businesses also use artist contractors to improve product design, help with marketing, or even use dramatic theory to solve employee relationship issues. Being a cultural center also helps local businesses attract employees who want to be able to regularly go to the ballet or the theater, hear authors read from their latest books, or attend art gallery openings.

Follow the Money

Due to the individual nature and economics of their work, artists are also some of the most itinerant professionals out there. When relocating, they often look for cities and towns that already have high concentrations of artists and a young, racially and ethnically diverse population. The presence of a nurturing art community in the form of art societies and centers is also essential, especially to young artists.

A low cost of living is important, but many artists make financial sacrifices to live near an art-rich urban center or live in a cheaper neighborhood. Few struggling artists can afford to live in neighborhoods like New York's SoHo and Greenwich Village, or even Williamsburg, which once were artistic havens before attracting wealthier residents. Now you are more likely to find New York-based artists in the Bronx, Brooklyn, or even Philadelphia.

In addition to the presence of like-minded individuals, proximity to wealth is also important. The fact of the matter is that artists can seldom earn a living, let alone become rich, selling to other artists. They need wealthy benefactors to buy their paintings or support their local symphony, which explains why each of the places in the U.S. that we found to be the best for artists are in or located near centers of wealth. Los Angeles, No. 1 on our list, is most commonly associated with the film industry. While the city provides great opportunities for actors and directors, there are equally rich prospects for musicians, artists, writers, and dancers. Of course, the majority of these people can't afford to live in Beverly Hills—at least not until they get their big break—and instead opt for more affordable digs in areas like Echo Park.

Where to Go Now and Sperling's Best Places came up with a list of the best places for artists in the U.S. by identifying the metro areas that have the highest concentrations of artistic establishments. We also looked at the percentage of young people age 25 to 34, population diversity, and concentration of museums, philharmonic orchestras, dance companies, theater troupes, library resources, and college arts programs. Lower cost of living played a part in the selection of some cities but had to be overlooked in others because of other very favorable factors.

Some of the top ten are traditional art "super cities"—one of the reasons Los Angeles leads the list is because it has 56 artistic establishments for every 100,000 people, a diversity index of 84.2, and an arts and culture index of 100 (on a scale of 1 to 100). New York City and San Francisco are also in the top ten. Other places are midsize cities, like hippie havens Santa Fe and Boulder, and country-music nucleus Nashville. Smaller, less-obvious additions include Carson City, Nev., which ranks third for its high concentration of art establishments, and the city of Kingston in New York's Hudson River Valley.

Ready to quit your day job and make art your profession? These metro areas are good places to start. And with all the economic benefits you'll be providing, they should welcome you with open arms.

Above article was taken from