Merlino & Gonzalez - September 2023

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REALESTATEPLANNINGLAW.COM 718-698-2200 September 2023



You’ve probably realized by now that our team loves to support the local businesses, events, and attractions that make Staten Island special. One of my favorites is Historic Richmond Town — a living history museum that takes you back to what life in New York was like hundreds of years ago! In a few weeks, Historic Richmond Town will host its biggest fundraiser of the year, the Richmond County Fair, so we invited the site’s director of internal affairs to tell you all about it. I hope you enjoy Amy’s story as much as I did. !

Battlefield Historic Site in southeast Pennsylvania. I fell in love with history while giving tours of the headquarters for General George Washington and Marquis de Lafayette and reenacting life in the 1700s — sometimes as a tavern wench! During the Christmas holidays, I sat in front of the fireplace dressed in 18th century garb, sewing and telling visitors stories about how I contributed to the household as a teenager in 1777. That passion for history never died. I’ve spent my adult life working at museums, and to this day, I’m still a sucker for a good historical kitchen! There’s something special about the famous “old house smell” every history nerd knows mixing with the scents of the fire, the hearth, and baking bread. If you visit Historic Richmond Town, you can experience that incredible smell for yourself. It’s just a tiny part of what makes this place so unique. We’re the only living history village in New York City, and when you step onto our 100 acres, you’ll feel transported to the past. You’ll

see living history demonstrations like tinsmithing, blacksmithing, and bread baking; speak with interpreters dressed in historical costumes; explore sites like the seventh-oldest house in New York state, built in the 1660s; and leave busy, fast- paced, modern New York City behind. There are 40 structures to explore in Historic Richmond Town, including one of the city’s oldest working farms, so it can be tough to know where to start. In addition to the kitchen in the Guyon- Lake-Tysen House, I recommend checking out our Native Encampment, which just opened in 2022 and was hand built with plants native to Staten Island! You can also check out a full calendar of special programs happening in our historic village all year long by visiting our website.

When I took the job of director of internal affairs at Historic Richmond Town, my family wasn’t surprised. They didn’t blink at the idea that I would want to work at an amazing living history village, historical

museum, and arboretum alongside interpreters dressed in historical costumes — even though it’s not exactly a “normal” job! Why not? Well, because they watched me grow up. At age 13, I was on of the youngest Revolutionary War reenactors at the Brandywine

Here are a few more insider tips for enjoying Historic Richmond Town to the fullest: If you





Keeping Your Kids Busy While You Work From Home

Let them be crafty. Kids are swift learners, and after a quick tutorial from you, they’ll be ready to tackle any art project. Gather construction paper, child- safe scissors, pipe cleaners, googly eyes, glue, cardboard, and markers, then go online to find some creative ideas for arts and crafts that your kids can make themselves! Schedule sensory playtime. Sensory activities are sure to keep your kiddos busy and their minds engaged. While you work, let those little hands feel, poke, and explore different food textures, shaving cream, sand, Play-Doh, and water. Build a fort. Forts are a great way to keep your children entertained all day long — you’ll be surprised how long a few pillows, blankets, chip clips, and furniture cushions will keep little ones busy. Camping out in the wilderness of your family room is an epic adventure!

Break out the puzzles. If your children are old enough to build puzzles, these are interactive enough to occupy them for a few hours. The best part is that puzzles can be incentive-based — offer a yummy treat or extra playtime later in the evening once they complete the puzzle! Get moving. Dance parties, balloon volleyball, kids’ yoga, indoor hopscotch, and scavenger hunts are some safe ways to keep your kids active indoors during your workday. These ideas will help burn off energy and pass the time while allowing you to concentrate in relative silence. With so much technology available today, it’s tempting to plop your kids in front of the television so you can get some work done. However, these ideas keep kids busy without relying too much on screen time and allow you to finish your work with minimal distractions.

Studies show that roughly 43% of parents work from home, which means you’ve likely experienced a few of your important meetings being interrupted by kid-fueled chaos. Whether you work remotely full-time or out of your home office occasionally, keeping your children quiet long enough for you to stay focused on your job can be challenging. Here are some great ideas for keeping your little ones entertained during your 9-to-5 without Netflix playing babysitter.


Freshen up shoes.

Dryer sheets, thin pieces of fabric coated with softeners, fragrances, and lubricants, are a game-changer when it comes to freshening and softening your laundry! However, did you know these thin sheets of magic can also work wonders in your kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom? Check out some of these awesome dryer sheet hacks!

Nobody likes the funk of well-used sneakers and dress shoes. If your shoes have gotten a little ripe over time, add a scented dryer sheet to each one before returning them to your gym bag or shoe rack. Just remember to remove the sheets before slipping them on! Clean your car. There’s nothing worse than having a bunch of dead bugs all over your vehicle’s windshield and grill after a road trip. Dryer sheets have abrasive properties that are strong enough to remove the insects but are still gentle enough not to damage the paint and finish on your car. It’s a win-win!

Clean your pots and pans. It’s a real bummer when you have food stuck to a kitchen pot or frying pan. The next time you have food caked to one of your pans, place an unused dryer sheet in the bottom of the cookware, fill it with hot water, and allow it to soak. The silicone coating on the dryer sheet will help to soften and remove all the crusted food and particles left behind. Remove pet hair from clothes and furniture.

If you have pets or visit a friend with pets, then you likely know the hassle of being carpeted in dog or cat hair. The same properties that reduce static on your clothes in the dryer are perfect for helping lift fur off your clothes and furniture. Just take a clean dryer sheet and wipe the area to loosen the hair. Then, follow up with a lint roller.

Remove soap scum . If soap scum coats your shower door and the corners of your tub

or shower, use a damp dryer sheet to wash away the soap residue. It also works on hard water stains. The result is a sparkly clean shower without harsh chemicals!


STUCK IN A CONSTRUCTION NIGHTMARE? Use These 3 Methods to Escape Your Builder Contract

How to Escape the Nightmare 1. Take advantage of the termination clause. Most written contracts include termination clauses that provide an escape hatch. You may lose the deposit on your renovation or have to pay a fee for hours worked, but you could break the deal and get most of your money back. 2. Hunt for breaches by the contractor. If your contractor already breached your contract, then you can use that breach to terminate the agreement. However, this will only work if you didn’t already ratify or acquiesce to the breach — which could be anything from a change of start date to a dip in quality. You might have given the breach a thumbs up without knowing it, so talk to your lawyer before trying this strategy.

If you’re building a new home, renovating your existing house, or having construction work done on a rental property, you should know how to get out of a builder contract just in case something in your project goes south. Why Terminate a Contract? There are all kinds of reasons to terminate a builder contract. Maybe your life circumstances changed since you agreed to the terms, your contractor isn’t following through on the promised work, or a supply chain delay pushed your renovation back a month — ruining the family reunion you were supposed to host. These things happen, and they can cause you serious stress! While getting out of a contract is challenging, it’s not impossible.

3. Leverage situations that ‘make performance impossible.’ If your builder is holding you to an

agreement you can’t follow through on, you may be able to breach your contract. Maybe you couldn’t secure HOA approval for your renovation, or your rental property burned down before the renovation date. In those extreme situations, you may be able to back out of the deal gracefully. That said, the bar for “impossible” performance is high, so you should discuss the situation with your lawyer. If you’re stuck in a contract and want to get out, call your Merlino & Gonzalez real estate attorney. Our team will advise you on the process, help you take the right steps, and ensure you don’t end up in a lawsuit!



visit from May–October, you can take a self-guided tour of our site and museum. If you visit in the cooler months, we offer guided tours every hour on the hour from 12–3 p.m. I highly recommend experiencing the site in both seasons and calling ahead and ask which historical buildings will be open on the day of your visit. We’re always doing restoration, so the places you can explore rotate throughout the year. Last but not least, please consider coming out for the Richmond County Fair Saturday, Sept. 2–Monday, Sept. 4! It’s our biggest fundraiser, so every dollar you spend on admission will fund our programs, education, and preservation efforts and ensure we stay open for generations. (You can read more about the fair on Pg. 4.) I can’t wait to go with my 2 1/2-year-old and 8-month-old sons. I hope we see you there! -Amy Kennard Director of Internal Affairs Historic Richmond Town


Inspired by


• 2 6-oz boneless, skinless chicken breast halves • 1/4 tsp salt

• 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper • 1 tbsp butter • 3 tbsp honey • 2 tbsp finely chopped pecans

• 1/4 tsp garlic powder • 1/8 tsp black pepper


1. Pound chicken with a meat mallet to 1/2-inch thickness. Sprinkle with salt, garlic powder, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. 2. In a large nonstick skillet, heat butter over medium heat; brown chicken on both sides. Cook covered until chicken is no longer pink, about 6–8 minutes, turning once. 3. Drizzle with honey and sprinkle with pecans. Cook covered until chicken is glazed, about 2–3 minutes.



394 Manor Road Staten Island, NY 10314




This Site Will Transport You to Staten Island’s Past Page 1

Tips to Keep Kids Engaged During Your 9-to-5

The Magic of Dryer Sheets: Surprising Uses Inside Page 2

3 Ways to Escape a Construction Nightmare

Honey-Pecan Chicken Breasts Page 3

2 Must-Attend September Events in New York Page 4

It’s almost September — one of the most beautiful months of the year in New York! We can’t wait for cooler weather to arrive and the leaves to start changing. There are so many things to do this time of year, but as you make your September plans, don’t forget to consider these two local events. They’re great options for ending summer on a high note and kicking off fall. The Richmond County Fair When: Saturday, Sept. 2–Monday, Sept. 4; 12 p.m.–8 p.m. daily Where : Historic Richmond Town, 441 Clarke Ave, Staten Island, NY As Historic Richmond Town’s director of external affairs, Amy Kennard, explains on the cover of this newsletter, this is the site’s most exciting event of the year! The fair combines Richmond Town’s best living history exhibits (think blacksmithing, broom making, and more) with classic fair food, carnival rides, games, vendor booths, and live music. CELEBRATE THE END OF SUMMER WITH FAIR FUN AND HALF-PRICE BROADWAY TICKETS!

a ticket, you’re helping preserve local history! (To learn more about that, check out our cover story.) The event includes entertainment for all ages, like bounce houses and pony rides for kids and a wine ring toss for adults. You can even watch pie-eating and hot dog-eating contests. Buy your $3–$15 tickets online at or grab them at the gate on the day of the fair.

NYC Broadway Week When: Monday, Sept. 4–Sunday, Sept. 17; times vary Where: Various Broadway theaters

Tickets to Broadway productions aren’t cheap, but a few times each year, they become more affordable. NYC Broadway Week is one of those moments! For two weeks only, you can score two-for-one tickets to select Broadway shows. That means if you bring a friend or family member, you can see the show at half price. The show list just debuted Aug. 15, and you can check it out at .

Not only is the fair a great time for the whole family, but it’s also the unique living history village’s largest annual fundraiser. By purchasing 4

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