Merlino & Gonzalez - March 2024

Take a look at our March newsletter!

March 2024





When it comes to luxury real estate, I can’t imagine a better team than this incredible mother-daughter duo. I’m thrilled to introduce you to Lisa and Christina Lonuzzi, the Compass team that brings a new level of excellence to the field.

Christina officially joined me in the real estate business in 2014. Our partnership proved to be a perfect blend of our strengths, and we quickly realized that we made a formidable team. We were business partners and a mother-daughter duo. That combination allowed us to provide an unparalleled experience to our clients not too often seen in the luxury real estate world. We live within six minutes of each other, making balancing our personal lives with our professional responsibilities easy. Christina is also a mom, so we understand the importance of balancing work and family life. But it’s hard not to have our business conversations spill over into our family life since my son works alongside his dad! In many ways, we are our own real estate family, bouncing ideas and insights off one another. With my two granddaughters who love to play pretend as agents, who knows? They might continue the mother-daughter real estate tradition in the future! Christina and I specialize in luxury real estate, and this journey has been nothing short of fulfilling. We take pride in representing clients with properties in the million-dollar market and even multimillion-dollar listings in Brooklyn. One of our most significant accomplishments has been the upcoming launch of 74 luxury rental units on the St. George waterfront. This project holds immense promise for the area, as it provides easy access to Manhattan and aims

to create a thriving community. Our involvement in this project reflects our dedication to serving our community and fostering growth.

However, our journey is not just about business success. It’s also about giving back to the community that has supported us. We believe in philanthropy and strive to make a positive impact. We donate our time and a portion of our sales proceeds to underserved communities, particularly through our partnership with The Red Hook Initiative ( This nonprofit organization empowers youth and families in the Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn. Our journey in luxury real estate has been marked by dedication, passion, and a commitment to excellence. As a mother-daughter team, we bring a unique perspective to the industry, and our legacy is one of giving back, creating opportunities, and serving our clients and community. I can’t imagine doing this without my hardworking partner and daughter!

When I embarked on my real estate career in 2001, little did I know that it would become a family affair. I obtained my real estate license in 1987 and actively worked on Staten Island for several years. However, around 2008, when my children started college, I decided to expand my horizons to Brooklyn. Staten Island was not only my workplace but my neighborhood, filled with family and friends. Even though I had an office in Brooklyn, I remained actively involved on Staten Island. I felt the need to set the record straight about the beauty of Staten Island, and my journey was all about bridging the boroughs and helping people discover my hometown. My daughter, Christina, became increasingly interested in real estate. After graduating in 2009, she initially pursued a traditional 9-to-5 career. However, she soon found herself drawn to real estate after giving me a helping hand on the weekends. It was only natural for her to join the field because of my work and because her father is a developer!

If you’d like to learn more about what we do and if we can help you, please visit our website at or scan the QR code! –Lisa Lonuzzi




The Fingerbot is a newer entry into the fantastic realm of smart gadgets. This small cube acts as a remote finger with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity. An app lets you control traditional devices remotely, allowing you to flip a switch anywhere there’s Wi-Fi. This opens a wide variety of opportunities. Available for under $30, the little device can click any button or start up any appliance remotely. Features Besides its deceptively simple press-down mechanism, the Fingerbot boasts these features:

Long Battery Life: Boasts up to eight months of power with a rechargeable battery. Easy to Install: Just peel the Fingerbot backing off and stick it wherever you need it. Automation: Compatible with most smart home software and apps, allowing you to program it however you like. These features make the Fingerbot popular for smart home and automation enthusiasts. It works well with software used in home automation alongside other gadgets. Use Ideas While the Fingerbot may seem simple, it has a wide range of uses. It is limited only by the imagination. The device will function wherever there’s a switch or a button to press. People use the Fingerbot primarily to automate older devices or make them smart. You can use it to open a garage door, turn the AC off, or turn

on a coffee machine. Software compatibility gives you tremendous options, such as voice control.

Some people have devised more creative uses. Ever forget to water your plants? Fingerbot can help. Its lightweight size and versatility allow you to attach it to almost anything, including a spray bottle. Program it to spray every 30 seconds and ensure your favorite plant stays perfectly quenched. The Fingerbot is an exciting example of how people use smart technology to automate their homes. While you can find other ways

High Compatibility: Works with 98% of all existing buttons and switches. Voice Control: Use Google Home, Siri, and Alexa to

to implement smart tech around the house, the Fingerbot is unique — it helps you repurpose that older technology you’re not ready to let go of.

activate the Fingerbot.


Language Development Beyond cultural understanding, travel significantly impacts linguistic development. Associate Professor Erika Levy from Columbia University notes that surrounding children with various language sounds helps maintain their ability to distinguish and learn different languages. This exposure is particularly beneficial in the first few years of life when brain development is most rapid. Experiences That Shape Perspectives The experiences children gain from travel go beyond just forming memories. They shape their perspectives and understanding of the world. Every element of the trip contributes to a child’s learning, from trying new foods to adapting to different climates and customs. Even if they don’t remember every detail, the skills and insights gained during their formative years stay with them for life. Incorporating Travel Into Early Learning Implementing travel as a part of a child’s early learning can be as simple as exploring local neighborhoods, engaging with different cultures, or creating travel-related traditions. These experiences don’t have to be grand — even small trips offer valuable learning opportunities. Travel is more than just a leisure activity for children; it is an invaluable educational tool. By embracing the joys of travel, parents can help develop their children’s cognitive, linguistic, and emotional skills. Whether a local adventure or an international expedition, every journey becomes a stepping stone in a child’s path to a richer, more interconnected future.

Introducing children to domestic and international travel at a young age can significantly aid their development. Surprisingly, traveling with children as young as 6 months old can be remarkably beneficial. It instills a sense of curiosity and openness to new experiences. In addition, child development research shows that travel broadens a child’s horizons and plays a pivotal role in their cognitive and emotional growth in several ways. Cultural Empathy and Adaptability Travel exposes young minds to different cultures and environments, fostering empathy and adaptability. A global education specialist, Dr. Robin Hancock, explains that children who travel from an early age learn to appreciate cultural differences and are more likely to develop meaningful relationships across diverse backgrounds. This early exposure lays a strong foundation for them to grow into well-rounded, globally aware adults.


What Are Pooled Income Trusts?


In the intricate landscape of financial planning, the quest to safeguard assets while ensuring a steady flow of income in the golden years often feels like a quest for a hidden treasure. Pooled income trusts represent a beacon of hope, offering unique advantages that can be the key to unlocking a more secure financial future. This financial tool helps preserve eligibility for crucial government benefits and serves as a precise conduit for managing income and assets. What Are Pooled Income Trusts? Pooled income trusts are a specialized type of trust that allows individuals to contribute their income to a collective pool managed by a nonprofit organization. The upside of this arrangement lies in its capability to help participants remain eligible for public assistance programs, such as Medicaid, without spending most of their income. The deposits into the trust cover the beneficiary’s allowable expenses, ranging from health care to living expenses and personal needs, effectively reducing the individual’s countable income.

Accessibility and Professional Management

Navigating the Nuances While pooled income trusts offer numerous benefits, you must approach them with a comprehensive understanding of their intricacies. These trusts are governed by specific rules and regulations, including the permissible types of expenses and their potential impact on estate planning. Therefore, consulting with a legal expert in elder law or special needs planning is imperative to customize the trust to one’s unique situation and objectives. Pooled income trusts exemplify financial innovation, providing a lifeline for those aiming to balance the need for government assistance with the desire to protect their financial legacy. Through asset protection, income management, and the preservation of eligibility for public benefits, these trusts present a compelling strategy for many. As we traverse the complexities of financial planning, the pooled income trust emerges as a symbol of collective action and skilled management, leading individuals toward a secure financial future.

A distinguishing characteristic of pooled income trusts is their wide accessibility. Contrary to other trusts that might necessitate substantial wealth, pooled income trusts welcome individuals from any income level, offering an inclusive solution for a diverse audience. Additionally, the professional oversight provided by the managing nonprofit organization ensures that funds are handled with expertise and attentiveness, offering peace of mind to participants.

Asset Protection and Financial Mechanics

Pooled income trusts also offer a significant level of asset protection. By allocating their income to the trust, individuals can shield their assets from being considered in eligibility assessments for government benefits. This aspect is crucial for anyone in need of long- term care, giving them access to essential resources without draining their savings.



Chipotle-Inspired Chicken Burrito Bowl


• 2 boneless chicken breasts • 2 tbsp olive oil • 1 tsp paprika • 1 tsp cumin • 1/2 tsp chili pepper • 1/2 tsp salt • 1/2 tsp pepper • 1 cup white or brown rice, cooked INGREDIENTS

• 2 cups shredded romaine lettuce • 1 cup canned corn • 1 cup canned black beans • 1 avocado, cubed • 1/4 cup sour cream • 1/4 cup shredded cheese

For Salsa • 1 tbsp chopped cilantro

• 1/2 tomato, chopped • 1/2 onion, chopped • 2 tbsp white vinegar • 4 tbsp lime juice • Salt, to taste


1. Cut chicken into bite-size pieces. In a medium-size bowl, add chicken, olive oil, paprika, cumin, chili pepper, salt, and pepper. Mix until chicken is evenly coated. 2. In a skillet over medium heat, cook chicken for 7 minutes or until cooked through. Set aside on a plate. 3. In a large bowl, layer the rice, lettuce, corn, beans, and cooked chicken. 4. In a separate bowl, mix together salsa ingredients, then pour over the chicken mixture. 5. Top with avocado, sour cream, and cheddar cheese. Enjoy!



394 Manor Road Staten Island, NY 10314




Meet Lisa and Christina: The Dynamic Mother-Daughter Realtor Team Page 1

Automate Any Button With This Device

Childhood Development Through Travel Page 2

Demystifying Pooled Income Trusts

Chipotle-Inspired Chicken Burrito Bowl Page 3

Family-Friendly Events to Keep You Moving! Page 4


Spring is finally here, and what better way to get the season started than getting your family outdoors and active? Let’s start spring on the right track by remembering to stay healthy and happy with those we love most. Whether it’s dancing, stretching, or gardening, there are plenty of local events to keep you and your little ones moving!

From planting to harvesting, kids can learn all about gardening together, and the class is perfect for ages 4 and up. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Let’s nurture our love for nature and healthy eating!

Kids Afternoon Yoga Every Wednesday, 4–4:30 p.m. and 4:45 p.m.—5:15 p.m.

It’s never too early to start learning the art of calm! With a 4 p.m. session for kids 3–5 years old and a 4:45 p.m. session for kids 6–10 years old, your little ones can receive the gentle instruction they need to experience yoga for the first time and have fun. All kids’ yoga classes will be held outdoors, weather permitting.

Kids’ Dance Party With DJ Baba Yako Monday, April 22, 4–4:45 p.m. Get ready for a lively dance party with DJ Baba Yako! Be prepared to groove to the infectious rhythms of Afrobeat music — a cultural celebration for the whole family. Let your little ones experience the joy of dance and unity. Don’t miss out on this vibrant cultural experience!

Garden-to-Table Family Class Tuesday, March 26, 4–5 p.m.

Head to the Van Vleck House and Gardens for the Garden-to-Table Family Class! Spend quality time with your child exploring the edible garden. 4

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