12/28/09 10:30am

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It’s time for our year end predictions of what’s going to happen in 2010. Has the economy bottomed? Will real estate prices go lower, or start to rise again? Will jobs return to NY, and what kind of jobs and industries are going to fuel our return to the center of the universe? What are we going to see in our neighborhoods? Will people finally stop asking if it’s safe to live in Bed Stuy and Crown Heights, or will the conversation turn back to asking how many people are legally able to share a one bedroom, one bath, brownstone floor-through in Park Slope? Will Miss Muffet buy this year, or will DaveInBedStuy have to sell his 18th century antiques to keep the house? Montrosini the Great predicts many comments. Don’t make me have to wear this hat all week!
Image by Bxgrl.

10/18/07 10:33am

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Before you know it, the ground will be frozen and you won’t feel like hanging out in your backyard for a while; in the meantime, there are some things you can be doing to help your garden put its best foot forward next spring. We asked Susanne Kongoy, the owner of Boerum Hill’s GRDN, for some tips on tending to gardens and backyards during the fall. Here’s what she told us:

-Fall is still a great time to plant or transplant, perennials, trees,and shrubs. Water until the ground freezes and mulch.

-You’ll find plenty of perennials, trees, and shrubs on sale now at your favorite garden shop or local nursery. It’s a great time to find bargains and fill in those holes in the garden.

-Plant hardy bulbs now! It’s finally cooling off, which means it’s time to think about planting tulips, narcissus, crocus, allium, etc. Bulbs are so easy, and squirrels don’t like narcissus!

-Indoor gardeners should consider planting paperwhites and amaryliss for December blooms.

-It’s time to redo that tired stoop pot! Switch out summer annuals for fall color or dwarf evergreens that’ll get you through the winter.

-Mulch with free compost from the Department of Sanitation. The last compost giveaway is this weekend at Fish Kills on Staten Island, and it’s definitely worth the trip. Check out www.nyccompost.org for more info.

Any other suggestions you can think of?

Photo by xmarcus

10/16/07 11:18am

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Question: I have an ancient boiler and heating system in my two-family brownstone. What can I do when I upgrade to create the most energy-efficient system?

Good question given the time of year. First, some tough love: Replacing an old boiler is a 20-year-or-more investment. While today’s boiler technology provides greater efficiency than in the past, the piping from the boiler also plays an important role in how efficiently the boiler and system work together and how long the equipment, new or existing, lasts. The distribution piping immediately exiting the boiler (commonly called the near-boiler piping), if not done correctly, can have the effect of a blocked artery, forcing the heart of your system to overwork in its attempt to get the fluid to where it’s needed, at the radiators. The thermostat in your living space will be telling your boiler, “Come on, more heat”, your boiler will obediently respond, but the main beneficiary of the flaring burner and the accelerating rotations of your meter will be the toasty warm rodent in your utility room. (more…)