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Old World Christmas Charm In New York City

You don't have to travel to Vienna, Austria or Germany to experience the Christkindlmarkt.

Now in its 16th year the Union Square Holiday Market is modeled after the European style markets. Union Square market seems to be filled with local artisans and crafts people.

There are other markets as well for those who prefer the Upper West Side by central park and a stroll away from Lincoln Center. This market is in it's 7th year and it features original handmade, recycled and organic gifts and decorations.

My favorite market is Holiday Shops at Bryant Park and I can't wait for it to get cold and go there, window shop, look at the skaters and drink some mulled  wine.

Below are the markets and the times that they start as well as the website if they have one.

Union Square Holiday Market
South end of Union Square at West 14th Street
November 19–December 24
Open daily 11 a.m.–8 p.m.
(Closed Thanksgiving Day)

Columbus Circle Holiday Market
Southwest entrance to Central Park
December 1–December 24
Open daily 10 a.m.–8 p.m.

Holiday Shops at Bryant Park
Between Fifth and Sixth Avenues and 40th and 42nd Streets

Grand Central Holiday Terminal
Grand Central Terminal, Lexington Avenue at 42nd Street

Holiday Gift Shops at St. Bartholemew’s
325 Park Avenue

Home buyers and Credit Fitness

Many home buyers now and into the foreseeable future will be facing tight lending standards and the need to improve the credit score to get prequalified for mortgages. Some steps to speedy credit repair to gain lender approval and the best possible rates; especially if you are a few months away from purchasing.


  • paying DOWN revolving charge cards is more beneficial than paying down student loans or auto loans
  • ALWAYS leave 30% or higher between what you owe and the credit card limit
  • Use cards with care EVEN IF you pay off the balances monthly; because depending on the statement dates the lender may see the big balances
  • pay down the cards closest to their llinits for speedier credt repair. The lender will see the "gap" it wants to see.
  • Do NOT ask creditor to lower credit limits. Generally, carrying low balnces on several cards is better than one large balance on one card
  • check your credit card limits to make sure the report is correct. Limits may not be reported on all cards.
  • Never make a late payment on credit cards or any loan.


  • Protest unjust negatives, such as late payments, collections that are not yours and any items not reported as "paid as agreed", if you paid on time and in full.
  • Protest items listed as unpaid that were included in a bankruptcy and items older than (7) seven years (10 bankruptcy)
  • Focus  FIRST on th elarger newer negatives listed on the report

It is important NOT to worry about smaller items such as incorrect address information, or old employer listed as current. Unless ther is the possibility of identity theft or the file is mixed up with someone else.

This certainly is not an all inclusive list of the steps that can be taken to improve a credit score, it is a great starting point, before attempting to get pre-approved and purchase a home. 


Top 10 Cities Buy vs Rent

  1. Minneapolis
  2. Arlington, Texas
  3. Miami
  4. Fresno, Calif
  5. San Antonio
  6. Mesa, Ariz
  7. Jacksonville, Fl
  8. Phoenix
  9. El Paso,Texas
  10. Las Vegas

Minneapolis tops the list of US cities where home prices have become affordable that it makes more sense to buy a home than rent one according to the recent buy vs rent index published by the online website Trulia. The index's price to rent ratio is calculated using average list price compared with the average rent on a 2 bedroom apartment, condo or townhouse listing.



Surviving a Hurrican at the Jersey Shore

Surviving a Hurricane
Jersey Shore residents shouldn’t really count on government—of any type—to save them. Security can only come from having an escape plan and the discipline to employ it when the time arrives. If we’ve learned anything it’s that we can’t truly predict the weather.

Even the most advanced climate-tracking equipment and professionals are no match for Mother Nature’s wrath. Late-hour changes in a hurricane’s path could leave thousands unprepared.

Bottom line: all shore dwellers must be vigilant and always have a “Plan.” Here are some basics to consider:

  • Review your homeowner’s and flood insurance polices annually to determine if you are properly covered.
  • Be a little more careful and thoughtful during this hurricane season.
  • If you suspect weather trouble, watch the Weather Channel or visit Weather.com periodically. Tune into your community’s radio station for regular weather updates.
  • Have a personal escape route planned and a safe location established. State emergency management officials have posted Coastal Evacuation Route signs throughout county. Know them and have your car gas tank full.
  • Assemble a disaster supplies kit. This should include a flashlight, radio, batteries, first aid kit, nonperishable foods, three gallons of water per person, and protective clothing.
  • For more information visit the Monmouth County Office of Emergency Management or the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management.