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Photo: Jim Alcorn



Every man's work, whether it be literature or music or pictures or architecture or anything else, is always a portrait of himself." - Samuel Butler



Tina Traster

The New York Times

Farmer Fights to Keep His Piece of Earth

May 1, 1994 -- WILLIAM PULDA beckoned a visitor to come in from a soaking spring rain. His two small dogs, lapping at his feet, followed him into a dining room cluttered with desk lamps, a worn sideboard filled with owl statues, several clocks and a brass American bald eagle spanning a wall. The sweet smell of smoke from his 1920's cast-iron stove seeped into the room.

Pulling up a chair, Mr. Pulda lowered a hanging light over a clothed wooden table, as if to illuminate his thoughts. "I feel like it's over," said Mr. Pulda, a retired 72-year-old farmer, alluding to the controversy that has thrown him into a public spotlight in North Brunswick Township and beyond. Read Story

Drum and Bugle Corps State Comeback

October 11, 1992 -- For three hours on a scorching Saturday afternoon, the 60 young members of the Southern Knights Drum and Bugle Corps of Franklinville marched across a grassy field at Bayonne High School's Veteran's Memorial Stadium. At 7:30 P.M. they were to compete in the Garden State Circuit Championships.

In their routine called "Foreplay," percussionists formed a front line; buglers and color guards gathered in a circle. The high-pitched bells reverberated, and the snare, quad and bass drums joined in. Read Story

Luncheon Clubs: A Tradition Fades

August 2, 1992 -- Gone are the days when men gathered in smoke-filled libraries to scan the newspapers a half-hour before lunch. Gone are the days when power brokers washed down three-course midday meals with too many martinis. And gone are Newark's private luncheon clubs.

In late March, the last remaining and oldest of the luncheon clubs -- the 116-year-old Essex Club at 52 Park Place -- closed its doors. The nearby 744 Club on Broad Street closed last year, and the Downtown Club folded a few years earlier. Read Story

The New York Post

Why Andes is Worth a Peek

August 18, 2011 -- My most vivid memories of being a camp counselor in the late 1970s are about nights out at the Andes Hotel in upstate Delaware County. The scene was a mix of tattooed, bearded bikers shooting pool in the bar and blue-haired ladies and gents square dancing in the cavernous dining room. We counselors used to order pizza and beer from the bar.

Nights at the 1850s two-story Colonial hotel, with its gracious rocking-chair porch, were exotic for a city kid, as was the night I spent in one of the hotel rooms out back. (Don’t tell my parents.). . . Read Story

Callicoon Calling

August 4, 2011 -- What's been drawing Manhattanites -- and celebrities such as Mark Ruffalo and Debra Winger -- to Sullivan County’s tiny Callicoon, a hamlet of about 2,200 people located in the town of Delaware?

Maybe it’s the beauty of its setting, along a stretch of the Delaware River between the Poconos and the Catskills. Maybe it’s the quaint annual traditions like the tractor parade and the Delaware River canoe regatta. . . Read Story

Powell Trip in the Catskills

May 12, 2011 -- Julie Powell’s life is one of those genuine Cinderella stories.

The Julia Child-inspired cooking blog she wrote while working a mind-numbing government job turned into a best-selling book and then a hit movie, “Julie & Julia,” starring Amy Adams and Meryl Streep.

Powell’s follow-up book, “Cleaving: A Story of Marriage, Meat and Obsession,” was an explicit account of learning to carve up animals at an upstate butchery and an aching reflection on a two-year extramarital affair. . . . Read Story

Klaus House

September 23, 2010 -- It's a page torn from Currier & Ives.

Hip hotelier Klaus Ortlieb, in a yellow striped shirt, blue jeans and slip-ons, is leaning back in a wicker lawn chair, sipping iced coffee on the grass in front of his weekend house. He tosses tennis balls to his dogs, Dutchess and Princess, a pair of Vizslas who bound from the rural Dutchess County property’s pond, slick with mud. Even the pop-pop-pop of men hunting quail in the distance doesn’t make Ortlieb flinch. . . Read Story

I Lived Mom's Adoption Pain

April 18, 2010 -- Everyone said I would fall in love with my daughter the minute they laid her in my arms. She was beautiful, with her broad, alabaster face and deep, brown eyes. And she was a flirt: At 6 months, she could flash a dimpled smile. I was awed by her perfect features as the orphanage worker pressed her to me and handed me a bottle. I took the bottle hesitantly and tipped it toward the baby's pursed lips. How would I know when she was sated or whether she needed to burp? I felt as though someone had lent me an expensive camera I was afraid to fiddle with. . Read Story

Different Strokes

May 28, 2009 -- What's a downtown hipster like Strokes guitarist Albert Hammond Jr. doing in the Catskills? "It all started because I bought a Range Rover," the whippet-thin musician says while walking around his custom-built country lair in Eldred, NY, his two little dogs trailing at his heels. Read Story

She's Home . . . At Last

February 26, 2009 -- If we'd read the diva handbook, we'd have known better than to arrive at Ann Hampton Callaway's Westchester house 20 minutes early for a noon interview.

She squinted when opening the door, ushered us to the roaring fire in her living room and asked us to wait. When she reappeared - holding a tall espresso and wearing a black suit with coattails, sequined-seamed pants and a cobalt-blue blouse - she apologized. Read Story

Buying Low

October 30, 2008 -- On their way home from house-hunting in Westchester during weekends in 2006 and 2007, Mark Wancier had to dole out lots of tissues to his wife, Romina.

"We would drive up from the city to look at homes in affluent towns like Scarsdale and Briarcliff, but prices were obscene," says Wancier, a real estate debt investor for JP Morgan Chase. Read Story

Sun House

March 22, 2007 -- Seth Neubardt acknowledges that he is a gluttonous American consumer. So when he bought a 1910 Colonial home in Westchester that needed a total renovation, he tried to go as green as possible. Neubardt installed solar panels and replaced an old fireplace with an energy-saving furnace fireplace. He bought a super-efficient gas-fired boiler and created a "solar attic" to heat his pool. (He says he can't give up his SUV, so he bought an SUV hybrid.)

The 30-panel, 5.5-kilowatt solar-panel system cost Neubardt $60,000, but the New York State Energy and Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) reimbursed him $40,000. Read Story

Oh, Pioneers!

January 3, 2008 -- Meet the suburban pioneers - folks who've migrated to edgy, diverse towns in the Hudson

Valley where you can nab a house for less than $350,000. And like SoHo in its day, Beacon, Peekskill and Haverstraw are being populated by artists, writers, musicians, restaurateurs, gallery owners and other creative types - people willing to take a chance for a housing bargain and, in turn, fueling the revitalization of these riverfront areas. Read Story

Happy Landings

May 10, 2007 -- REMEMBER how exciting it was when Pa built the little house on the prairie for the Ingalls family? That pioneering spirit lives on. If you're willing to go to the trouble to buy raw land, you can build your dream from scratch - even within striking distance of New York City.

Ron de la Pena is one such pioneer. The 41-year-old Manhattan graphic designer recently purchased a 17-acre wooded hilltop for $175,000 in Galletin, a rural community in upstate Columbia County. Pena figures he'll spend roughly $750,000 to build a small house and make land improvements. For less than $1 million, he'll end up with a personally designed country getaway. Read Story

Making A Fresh Start

April 17, 2008 -- Etta Kantor and her husband, Nate, are going for the gold. No, they aren't training for the Olympics. They're hoping to get Gold LEED certification for their under-construction, $1.5 million, four-bedroom, 4½-bath Adirondack-style house in New Canaan, Conn.

LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a national voluntary rating system that recognizes energy-efficient, healthy homes. Some 500 newly constructed homes nationwide have been LEED-certified, and another 11,400 are awaiting designation. Read Story

Betting The Farm

October 25, 2007 -- Kerry Potter-Kotecki is your typical suburban mom. She chauffeurs her three children to sports and dance classes, does bookkeeping for husband Leon's construction business and tends to her old Rockland County farmhouse in Suffern.

And, like many moms, Potter-Kotecki rises early to feed her family the most important meal of the day. But breakfast at the house is a bit of a production because, in addition to five humans, Potter-Kotecki feeds five goats, 15 hens, three guinea fowl, two ducks, two rabbits and a mule. Read Story

The Journal News

An Era Ends: Cartoonist's House Is Up For Sale

April 28, 2007 -- The rambling mustard-yellow farmhouse with green shutters on Thiells Road in Stony Point has been in the Overgard family for more than half a century.

William T. Overgard, the renowned cartoonist, novelist and screenplay writer, and his dancer wife, Gloria, left behind their bohemian Manhattan life in 1954 and relocated to this 17-acre rural respite in Rockland's pre-Tappan Zee Bridge era. Read Story

More Curator Than House Seller

February 10, 2007 -- Grisha Davida tumbles out of his jam-packed station wagon sporting an 1812 flintlock musket. He invites a visitor to enter his restored 1749 Dutch Colonial in Piermont. The muzzle-loading long gun, he explains, will hang over the fireplace. "This is how the colonials kept the gun powder dry," he says.

Davida seems more curator than house seller. The history buff and avid preservationist not only restored the Dutch sandstone façade using old mortaring techniques - mixing sand, lime and horsehair - he re-painted the house inside and out with historic colors. He has filled the dwelling with period pieces, furnishings and artifacts dug up during the four-year renovation. The $775,000 price includes the house and its contents. Read Story

The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Make-Believe Gunbattles; Paintball Game Gaining Popularity

June 6, 1999 -- Television images of U.S. Army helicopters airlifting dead soldiers from Vietnam three decades ago remain etched in David Huryn's memory.

The 35-year-old Dobbs Ferry, N.Y., man says war is horrific, but paintball, a simulated war sport he enjoys, is "just a game."

Jason Jagudaeu, a 13-year-old from Woodcliff Lake who was playing the game on a recent Saturday at ABC Paintball in the Hewitt section of West Milford, likes "war, and anything to do with guns. "He said killing in a fantasy setting, gives him a "feeling of power." Read Story

Vanishing Breed; Sun Is Setting On A Generation of Meadowlands Hunters and Trappers

May 27, 1999 -- Boys will be boys, no matter their age.

Get Ed Moran and Don Smith together, and it's the Meadowlands rendition of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn.

"I used to get off the school bus, throw down my books, sling the gun over my shoulder, and go out and hunt," said Smith, 56, who grew up in Little Ferry." I'd walk past the neighbors and they'd ask me to get them a rabbit or pheasant for dinner." Read Story

Raising Grandchildren and Awareness; Seniors Becoming Surrogate Parents and Find Public Aid Lacking

January 4, 2007 -- Darkness has fallen and the aroma of a robust spaghetti sauce permeates the small house on Tulip Street in Bergenfield.

While Elaine Weisbrod, 61, shuttles between the cluttered kitchen and toy-strewn dining room preparing dinner, her husband, Paul, a semi-retired computer programmer, watches an animated adventure on television with their 6-year-old twins, Tommy and Riva.

Three decades after raising four sons, the Weisbrods are rearing their grandchildren, the twins and 9-year-old Kyle, because a Family Court judge ruled six years ago that the children's drug-addicted parents were incapable of caring for them. Read Story

Mister Meadowland; Nature Specialist Retires After Three Decades

December 13, 1998 -- Ask Don Smith to talk about planned development in the Meadowlands and he responds with practiced bureaucratic positions. But mention that a 6-foot bird halted traffic on Route 80 near the Delaware Water Gap, and Smith, a strapping man who wears khakis and hiking boots, will tell you, sight unseen, that the bird is a great white egret.

And that's not all.

"Never get too close if they're hissing," he warns, his blue-violet eyes growing wider as he talks about a subject dear to his heart. "When they're scared, they go straight for the eyes." Said to be a modern-day Natty Bumppo, James Fenimore Cooper's literary frontiersman, Smith has been the Hackensack Meadowlands Development Commission's natural resource specialist for nearly three decades. He retired last week. Read Story

Trailer Parks Crumbling? Downward Mobility, Community Feeling Gone, Residents Say

December 11, 1996 -- It was never paradise, not even close. But at one time, owning a home in Moonachie's mobile-home parks engendered a sense of pride and community.

Things have changed.

Residents of Metropolitan Mobile Home Park and Rogers Mobile Home Park say community spirit has dissipated and living conditions are abysmal. Read Story

A Conservationist At Work; Trying to Save the Meadowlands

October 8, 1996 -- Bill Sheehan had an old score to settle, with himself.

The avid fisherman, who spent his youth angling in the Hackensack River and trapping in the Meadowlands, never became an Eagle Scout because he did not perform a community-service project.

"This was one of the biggest failures in my life," said Sheehan, a blue-eyed and burly man with white- and gold-flecked whiskers." I was 18, and I got into the music business. It took over my life, and there was no time for the Scouting world." Read Story

Christian Bible Ministry or Cult? Resurgent Group Alarms Its Critics

March 17, 1996 -- On a cold, snowy evening, a man stands in the doorway of his Wanaque home and welcomes his visitors, each carrying a Bible. They exchange hugs, sing rousing Christian songs, and pray. A woman speaks in tongues, then translates her "message from God."

Welcome to The Way International. Members call it a Christian Bible research and teaching group with ministries worldwide.

Critics call it a cult. Read Story

Rebirth Of A River; Down the River From Rockland to Newark Bay Dam Divides Two Waterways

August 27, 1997 -- There are two Hackensack Rivers.

One is the freshwater stream that flows from the High Tor mountains in Rockland County and runs through one reservoir and four lakes that supply drinking water to 750,000 residents in Bergen and Hudson counties.

The other, the tidal portion, wends south from the Oradell dam, passes through a pastoral stretch near River Edge, and then becomes an urbanized waterway that empties into Newark Bay, also the mouth of the Passaic River. Read Story