Merlino & Gonzalez October 2019

October 2019





Meet a Dynamic Real Estate Duo

Francesca, as the owner’s cousin, could’ve probably skipped the line if she wanted to, but instead, she chose to work hard and learn the ins and outs of the business. I’ve always admired that in her, and when she got her license in 2016, I knew we could make a killer team. We’ve been working together ever since and began servicing the New Jersey market two years ago. For us, there is no profession more rewarding than real estate. Being able to work with people to help fulfill their dreams — and buying real estate is a dream come true for many people, especially in our neck of the woods — is extremely humbling. We take great pride in working with homebuyers and sellers of all types to help them feel comfortable and engaged throughout the process. We try to serve as the helping hand, guiding people toward a decision that will benefit their future. Come to think of it, that’s exactly what Ken and John do for their clients. Working with them is awesome because we share the same attitude about client service. No matter what we throw at them, be it a tough situation or a sale that’s contingent upon an estate matter, they handle it like it’s nothing. No matter what happens, they take it in stride and keep the interests of the client first. You don’t find folks as stand-up as Ken and John every day. When you do, you keep working with them. It’s just that simple. Outside of work, Francesca and I both happen to be planning weddings. I’m sure our fiancés (James for Francesca; Joe for me) love how much of an excuse that gives us to talk wedding details all the time and go shopping together. As people with a strong sense of family, we know how important a home is to the people who live in it. That, above all, is why we’re in real estate. You can learnmore about KristenandFrancesca by –Kristen Petino & Francesca Trunzo

Being able to serve clients in both New York and New Jersey, as well as handling both real estate and estate planning matters, makes us a unique firm. Navigating all of these junctions can be a tricky process, but it’s much easier when you work alongside capable professionals. Kristen Petino and Francesca Trunzo of Cangiano Estates are more than capable; they are an absolute joy to work with. Kristen also has a second gig with Mark A. Coller, our CPA, so we’ve worked with her on countless estate and trust matters over the years. Since I can’t say enough good things about these two on a personal and professional level, I figure I should just turn it over to them. I first met Ken and John through my work with Mark A. Coller, a CPA in Staten Island. After working with the team at Merlino & Gonzalez in that capacity for a number of years, my real estate partner, Francesca Trunzo, and I had the chance to work with them on a real estate transaction involving one of our clients at Cangiano Estates. It was as seamless a transaction as you could ever hope for. Since then, we’ve heartily recommended Merlino & Gonzalez any chance we get. We truly love working with them.

Francesca and I both have a long history in real estate. We both started off answering phones, doing scheduling, and helping out at firms in any way that we could. I’ve had my license in New York for 17 years, so I’ve got no shortage of experience in the market.





HOW’S THAT FOR ODDS? Reggie ‘Mr. October’ Jackson’s Legendary Game

football and excelled at all three, though football was his strong suit. He was scouted and given opportunities to go pro straight out of high school, but, on the advice of his father, he went to college on a football scholarship. Thanks to a $5 bet, he tried out for the baseball team at Arizona State University and made it. Jackson was the first black person on the team, and, even though he experienced discrimination, he never let it stop him. From the minor leagues into the majors, Jackson’s ambition got him through many tough times, as did the constant support of his father and of Oakland A’s manager John McNamara. Jackson always dreamed of playing for New York, and, eventually, his dream came true when he signed with the New York Yankees in 1976. To this day, Jackson holds many prominent records, including being the first player to earn more than 100 home runs for three different teams (the A’s, Yankees, and Angels). He even has his own candy bar, the “Reggie! Bar,” which debuted during a Yankees game in 1978. Let’s see if any of this year’s playoff games stir up as much excitement as Reggie Jackson’s did in his heyday.

“I feel that the most important requirement in success is learning to overcome failure. You must learn to tolerate it, but never accept it.” –Reggie Jackson

Some people shine brightest in the spotlight. When put to the test, they deliver every time. Baseball Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson is one of those people. During the sixth game of the 1977 World Series, Jackson hit three home runs in a row, securing the Yankees’ victory over the Dodgers and winning them their 21st World Series title. The legendary playoff game also earned Jackson the nickname “Mr. October,” which has stuck to this day. Like many stories of greatness, Jackson’s featured a lot of hard work behind the scenes. He dedicated himself to his sport and constantly worked to improve his play. Growing up, Jackson played baseball, basketball, and

HALLOWEEN COSTUMES TO THINK TWICE ABOUT How to Steer Clear of Looks That Might Offend

If you’ve ever taken your kids trick-or-treating for Halloween, then there’s a good chance you’ve seen a costume that made you feel a bit uncomfortable. Perhaps it was something too sexual or gory for your 4-year-old’s eyes or a satirization of a political figure you admire. Odds are you didn’t say anything, but such encounters can be unsettling, even for the most laid-back among us. This Halloween, help others avoid that discomfort by thinking twice about the costumes you and your family choose. When dressing for Halloween, remember that it’s important to consider your audience. A skimpy Jessica Rabbit or Poison Ivy costume might be fun for an adults-only party, but it’s inappropriate for a family gathering. Similarly, you might not want to go the political route for an office party, where putting your opinions front and center could cause friction with your coworkers or boss. Instead, opt for a fictional character or a classic Halloween monster. No one is going to argue with you about your support or disdain for werewolves. While some costumes have their time and place, others are off-putting in any setting, and it’s never too early to explain that to your kids. Consider the case of Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, who came under fire earlier this year for a 1981 yearbook photo that appeared under his name and showed two costumed figures, one wearing a KKK uniform and the other in blackface. Northam’s role in the photo was never clarified, but it caused permanent damage to his reputation and friendships.

Make sure your family avoids similar strife this Halloween by steering clear of costumes associated with racist, sexist, or politically divisive groups. Teach your kids that it’s best to rule out costumes imitating another race or culture, particularly if they promote stereotypes, to avoid hurting anyone’s feelings — famous sports teams facing criticism for their Native American mascots are canaries in the coal mine on that point. Finally, encourage your kids to avoid hamming up symptoms of mental illness or addiction in their costumes. Dressing like a “mental patient” can hit too close to home for real-life sufferers, some of whom you likely know and love.



Losing a loved one is never an easy experience. It comes with grief, sadness, and a deep sense of loss. It can also come with a mass of paperwork if you happen to be the person responsible for settling the decedent’s estate. Being selected to perform such a task is a great honor, a sign of trust and respect between you and the deceased. Such a grand and important request deserves to be taken seriously. Responsibly settling an estate is a multistep process fraught with pitfalls and peril. You have to collect assets, pay bills, and ultimately distribute the estate to the designated beneficiaries. Failing to do so in a timely manner can lead to increased fees and market risks. Even scarier, you can be held personally liable for certain mistakes made during the settlement process. With careful planning and action, though, you can elude these threats. In designating you to execute their estate, your decedent didn’t intend to add any stress to your life. But if you don’t seek out

guidance in the settlement process, that stress can arrive as a matter of course. Whether we like it or not, the process can be complicated. That’s why it’s so important to work with a trusted attorney who can help guide you through each step. Odds are you’ve never done this before, while we have seen every type of estate you can think of, from the easiest to the messiest and most contentious. At Merlino & Gonzalez, we’ve created an Estate Settlement Roadmap that will take you from wishes to fulfillment. It begins by filling out a questionnaire where you state your needs and worries about executing the estate. From there, we create a game plan to ensure every last detail of an estate comes to fruition. We work with all parties involved to resolve an estate with as little stress as possible. The death of a loved one will always be trying, but settling their estate doesn’t have to be. Call our office at 718-698-2200 to find out more about how we can help.


take a break

This super easy and fun way to create homemade treats provides your kids with a healthier and more delicious alternative to packaged industrial candy. As a bonus, making it is an awesome Halloween activity for your family to enjoy.


• 1 package melting chocolate • Assorted dried fruit, including apricots and mangoes


1. In a large saucepan, bring 1 inch of water to a boil. 2. Place a large, heatproof mixing bowl on top of saucepan so that no steam can escape. Place melting chocolate in mixing bowl and double boil until melted. 3. Dip half of each piece of fruit in chocolate before transferring to a parchment-lined baking sheet to rest. 4. Let cool for 10 minutes until chocolate solidifies. 5. Place in school lunches, serve at parties, and indulge in a few for yourself.

718-698-2200 3

394 Manor Road Staten Island, NY 10314




Our Friends Kristen and Francesca ‘Mr. October’: The Legendary Reggie Jackson Halloween Costumes to Think Twice About

Estate Settlement 101 Chocolate-Dipped Fruit The Meaning of Dia de los Muertos

in the spring. Dia de los Muertos evolved from those roots and is now observed throughout Mexico and the United States. It’s a time of remembering your loved ones by celebrating their lives. FULL OF LIFE Though the name might lead you to believe differently, Dia de los Muertos is a joyous time. If you visit Mexico during the holiday, the air is filled with music, and the streets are full of dancing and color. Instead of a sorrowful mourning of the dead, it is a vibrant, joyous celebration of life. Intricate altar displays, called ofrendas, honor the spirits of relatives who’ve passed. Families fill them with photographs and the relatives’ favorite food and drinks. It’s believed that during Dia de los Muertos, the boundary between the living and the dead is lifted, and for one night only, spirits come back to visit and enjoy what their families have set out for them. Today, the multiday celebration takes place throughout Central and North America. As tiny Batmans and Skywalkers add the final adjustments to their costumes, other families clean their homes and prepare to honor the spirits of their loved ones. And in today’s beautiful blend of cultures, many families celebrate both holidays. DIA DE LOS MUERTOS A Celebration of Life

Despite the common misconception, Dia de los Muertos is not an offshoot of Halloween. While the two holidays often happen simultaneously, Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is a Mexican holiday that originated with the indigenous people of Central America, including the Aztec and Mayan civilizations. Each year, they gathered and gave offerings to their dead. When the Spaniards came to Mexico, they fused the indigenous celebrations with their traditions of All Saints’ Day (Nov. 1) and All Souls’ Day (Nov. 2). ANCIENT BEGINNINGS Ancient Mesoamerican civilizations viewed death as a beginning rather than an end. This was likely tied to agricultural practices and the seasons, with crops dying in the winter and being reborn 4

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