Blog :: 09-2014

Critical Review of Old Greenwich Article in the New York Times

If you haven't read the New York Times article on Old Greenwich, you should (HERE), its worthy of a read. I give the article a solid B. I'm pretty critical when it comes to articles about Greenwich (including Cos Cob, Riverside, Old Greenwich and every other community), especially if they touch upon real estate.

Old Greenwich, Conn. Town

Since I'm a bit dorky, I'll just outline my 2 main criticisms in bullet points:

1) "The housing market is just now emerging from a nearly two-year slump induced by Hurricane Sandy." - This is the biggest concern I have about this article and the first red flag that went up in my head. Anyone that has been working on real estate in Greenwich for more than the past 4 years, understands that Old Greenwich (macro level) never went into a "slump" from Sandy or even from the bubble bursting (relative to the rest of town). Parts of Old Greenwich are now hotter than they have ever been, while areas of back country Greenwich are nowhere near their peak (adjusted for inflation). Yes, Sandy affected many homes that were under the new FEMA flood zone and slowed down some waterfront interest, but it did not put Old Greenwich into a slump. Heck, it helped houses that were just outside of the flood zone. For example, I sold an Old Greenwich house (central, south of town, just outside flood zone) for $2.121m in May 2013 that my clients had bought for $1.743m in August 2010. They didn't do any work to said house.  Yes, Hurricane Sandy caused all sorts of issues for waterfront and low lying houses in Old Greenwich, Riverside, Belle Haven, Byram, etc..., but no, it did not cause a "two-year slump."

2) North Mianus - Speaking about "slumps," the author really didn't explain the difference between southern Old Greenwich/Riverside and northern, affectionately referred to as North Mianus.  This area has seen a huge uptick over the past couple years and is one of my all-time favorite stories in Greenwich. As all Old Greenwich and Riverside residents know, there is a big difference in real estate north and south of the Post Road and Interstate 95 border. It has always been desirable to be closer to the water and therefore more expensive. In addition, as we have seen over the past 15 or so years, it has been more desirable to live close to town and the train, so that has helped spur the southern real estate growth even more. Now one area of discussion that is commonly overlooked, is not only the location differences between the two areas (north and south of Post Road), but the history of how they were created and defined.  North Mianus (northern Riverside and Old Greenwich for this discussion) was almost largely (for this discussion) built in the early 1950s after World War 2. Nimitz Place, Marshall Street, Hoover Road, you get the point. While southern Old Greenwich is much older and has a little more organic growth pattern. The 1950s brought lots of smaller cape and split level homes, which are not necessarily in vogue right now and can be very hard to convert to modern standards and demands.

This existing supply level of North Mianus (Northern Riverside and Old Greenwich) split level homes had created a bit of a ceiling in values, until the land value tipped the scales, which is why we started to see a serious pop in construction and sales starting 2 or so years ago. You see, for a long time houses in North Mianus had a hard time breaking the $1m price point. Its a fantastic place to live with great families and tons of houses/friends for kids to visit, though it was considered by some to be a bit dated as a whole. That was until the prices in lower Old Greenwich and Riverside came up so much. With the flood of buyers over the past 15 or so years looking for more of a community, close to water/town/train, we have seen a dramatic uptick in values in southern Riverside and Old Greenwich, pricing out many that started to move north to North Mianus. Eventually this pushed values and demand high enough that it made sense to tear down homes or blow out existing ones. Developers and buyers with sizable pocket books started realizing that this area of Greenwich is a fantastic place to invest in. It is still very close to downtown Old Greenwich, Binney Park, Old Greenwich and Riverside train stations and Tod's Point (Greenwich Point Park), while also providing a super family friendly tight nit environment. Kids everywhere. If you move there, you better buy lots of candy for Halloween.


Back to the original article and my critiques -  I understand that the writer has a limited number of words to use (unlike us bloggers that can go on and on and on - god bless SEO) and needs to simplify things. I also understand that the author is focusing on much more than just real estate, while I have blinders on and spend 95% of my time thinking about what houses are worth what in Greenwich. I did end up giving him a B, which is much better than passing grade in my book and am always excited when any national newspapers give attention to any Greenwich neighborhood or community. Maybe they could come back and write about the fascinating history in North Mianus!


meScott Elwell - Partner Fieldstone Group of Sotheby 's International Realty Stevens, Toepke, Kencel & Elwell One Pickwick Plaza, Greenwich, CT 06830 Mobile: 203.940.0444 | Fax: 203.930.2808

FIELDSTONE GROUP: Website | Facebook Sotheby's Page 




  1. Mrs. Ball on

    Do feel free to contact this teacher for proofreading.
    • Jerry on

      Nice article but you need to work on your spelling. Holloween, realy... other typos as well...
      • Peter Flierl on

        Horse feathers! Forget the real estate angle. Has the writer ever taken in the Old Greenwich art show? Or how about the Christmas celebration with a rock band in one garage, the best chili ever on Sound Beach, handouts from Garden Caterers, carriage rides and more? Or been a member of the Old Greenwich Merchants Association? Or enjoyed hoops, soccer, an antique show, or expo at the Civic Center? Old Greenwich is a crown jewel.

        Greenwich CT Real Estate Agency Shake Up 2013/2014

        Houlihan Lawrence just celebrated their 1 year anniversary  in Greenwich and what a year it has been (for them and all of us involved in Greenwich Real Estate). Over the past year, I have moved from Greenwich Fine Properties to Sotheby's International Realty, Greenwich Fine Properties and Round Hill Partners were bought out by Coldwell Banker, and Douglas Elliman hired Jean Ruggiero signaling their entrance into Greenwich, though they don't really have a full blown office here yet. I still wouldn't count them out, they are coming...

        Most importantly of all, I partnered with three fantastic agents (Lyn Stevens, Beverley Toepke and Robin Kencel) to created The Fieldstone Group of Sotheby's International Realty, though this post isn't about that. This is about the real estate agency shake up in Greenwich, Connecticut.

        I can't tell you how many conversations I have had about big agencies (Houlihan Lawrence and Douglas Elliman) coming to Greenwich and small agencies (Greenwich Fine Properties and Round Hill Partners) being bought out (by Coldwell Banker). Houlihan Lawrence made the gigantic splash a year ago starting off day one with some top tier Greenwich agents, who happen to cover the entire town, not just high end central Greenwich, but Old Greenwich, Riverside, Cos Cob, Glenville, Byram, North Mianus, etc.... Houlihan picked well and have, in turn, done very well. Coldwell Banker also did a great job in acquiring Greenwich Fine Properties and Round Hill Partners, which gave them not only a slew of new savvy agents, but also a fantastic new office location on Mason Street.

        Agents of all levels of experience and success have been moving offices and have been worried about those that are moving offices. They have been worried about those new agencies coming into town guns a blazing and those that are closing up shop.  At first I was excited and saw lots of areas to be concerned and lots of areas to grow from. Then I realized one thing, while Greenwich has seen some pretty serious real estate money come into town, we (the agents) haven't seen any new competition, we are still competing against the same agents.... the competition and worry really should be for the owners of these shops, not the agents themselves.

        The agencies should worry. Greenwich now has some pretty serious hitters in town which cover the gambit from large shops like Sotheby's International Realty, Coldwell Banker, Houlihan Lawrence, Douglas Elliman and Berkshire Hathaway though the mid-sized and smaller shops like Real Living, David Ogilvy, William Raveis, Weichert, Anderson Associates, New England Land, and now Brad Hvolbeck & Associates. It's a big town, so I'm not going to say we are way too saturated with agencies and agents (though it does feel like nearly everyone has their license at times), but it is pretty obvious that competition is stiff and there isn't much room for coasting.



        meScott Elwell - Partner Fieldstone Group of Sotheby 's International Realty Stevens, Toepke, Kencel & Elwell One Pickwick Plaza, Greenwich, CT 06830 Mobile: 203.940.0444 | Fax: 203.930.2808

        FIELDSTONE GROUP: Website | Facebook Sotheby's Page



        Greenwich CT - One of the Safest!!

        In a time when we see all sorts of "top 10" lists that I'd prefer not to be included in, it's pretty fantastic to see Greenwich come up as one of the top 10 safest towns in CT!



        Having lived hear nearly all of my life (born and raised) I can attest to this result. Greenwich, along with Cos Cob, Riverside, Old Greenwich (and all other areas) has provided me and my family with a wonderfully safe place to call home.

        More Juice Bars In Greenwich, CT? (and Cos Cob...)

        I was just reading a new article from in the Greenwich Time concerning the addition of another juice bar coming to town. "Is a juice war brewing in Greenwich?"  I'm really on the fence about this. On one hand I do see how this relatively new healthy craze/kick is sustainable, while on the other I see spending $10 per drink as a bit crazy... I keep going back and forth. If you have ever tried to make one of these drinks you'll see how expensive it is just to buy the fruit.