Merlino & Gonzalez January 2019

January 2019





Why I Love Working With M&G

Even though the majority of the work I do is residential, I’ll take on a commercial renovation under the right circumstances. Because I already knew John was an ideal client, I didn’t hesitate when he asked us to spearhead the office revamp at Merlino & Gonzalez. It’s always an honor to be asked to do a second project for a previous client, as there’s no greater sign of a job well-done. The Merlino & Gonzalez office was a great project for us, and I’m thrilled that everyone is happy with the result. In addition to John being a client of mine, I’m also a client of his. In my real estate dealings, I always use John and his team for any legal needs. When I have clients who ask me for a good real estate lawyer in the area, John’s name is always the one I bring up. His attention to detail, exceptional communication skills, and ability to roll with the punches set him apart. The same is true of everyone at Merlino & Gonzalez. I’ve never had one less-than-stellar interaction with anyone at the firm. There aren’t many service providers you can say that about in any aspect of life, so I recommend Merlino & Gonzalez without reservation. We’re truly lucky to have them in our area. When I’m not working, the bulk of my time is spent with my wife, Cynthia, and my 12-year-old twins, Vincent and Vanessa. Vincent is a dedicated baseball player, and Vanessa is always participating in some awesome artistic or otherwise creative projects. Between the two of them, they keep me plenty busy, but it’s the good kind of busy. At Monello Enterprises Inc., we specialize in custom home building and expert renovations, including roof raises and major additions. We serve Staten Island and North Jersey. If you are thinking about renovating in 2019, check out MonelloEnterprises. com to learn more about us and see examples of our work. –Vinny Aiello

Many of our clients remark on how beautiful our office looks. While we’d like to take some credit for that, the lion’s share of praise belongs to Vinny Aiello of Monello Enterprises Inc. Vinny and his team helped create the office of our dreams, and they can work the same magic on your home. Whether you’re building from scratch or need a major renovation, Vinny is the guy to call. I say that from personal experience, as before he renovated our office, he custom-built my home.

I first met John Merlino when he hired me to build his house. All of my jobs are memorable, but working with John stands out because it was the start of a wonderful relationship. As you can imagine, working as a residential home builder requires constantly balancing a client’s hopes and expectations with what’s possible. In some cases, that can lead to a lot of push and pull between the client and our team. John’s home was the opposite. It was a pleasure working with him from start to finish. Maybe it’s because John is very familiar with the nature of real estate through his work, but he was a dream client no matter how you slice it. He’s also just a great guy.



MOM REALLY DOES KNOW BEST 3 Wives’ Tales Proven True strengthen the immune system and nutrients that help combat illnesses. The effects of garlic can actually be more effective than over-the- counter flu medications. Some studies show that regular consumption of raw garlic lessens the likelihood of getting a cold, so if you feel a tickle in your throat, try a clove before you open the medicine cabinet. HEARTBURN MEANS A HAIRY BABY It’s hard to list wives’ tales without bringing up one about pregnancy. Many are solely based on intuition, but a few that sound odd are legitimate. In 2007, a study done by Johns Hopkins attempted to debunk the myth that heartburn during pregnancy would mean a hairy baby at birth. Instead of proving it wrong, they found that 82 percent of women with severe heartburn during pregnancy gave birth to hairy babies. Turns out the hormones that cause heartburn in pregnant women also affect fetal hair growth. JOINT PAIN PREDICTS THE WEATHER Did you ever look at your mom with skepticism when she would predict rain because her knees hurt? If so, you might owe your mom an apology, because there is a scientific connection. The drop in barometric pressure that’s common during storm weather causes pain in arthritic joints.

“Make a face like that, and it’ll stay that way forever.” You may have heard something like this from Mom’s book of wisdom. Maybe you never disputed the idea that mother knows best. But as you grew up, it slowly became clear that hair doesn’t grow back faster and thicker if you shave it, cracking your knuckles doesn’t cause arthritis, and gum doesn’t stay in your stomach for months after you swallow it. After a whirlwind of wives’ tales over the years, many common claims have been put under scrutiny. Wives tales have been known as pseudoscience and blind intuition, but even as many were disproved, some surprisingly proved to hold weight. Here are three wives’ tales that have proven to be true. GARLIC CURES COLDS For decades, moms have professed the healing properties of garlic, suggesting it can cure colds and help the body fight sickness. It turns out they were absolutely right. Garlic has antiviral properties that

PUTTING THE ‘PAIN’ IN CHAMPAGNE Spontaneously Ejecting Cork Causes Lawsuit

For many people, preparing for the New Year’s countdown is the most exhilarating part of the holiday season. You tune your TV to the Times Square ball drop, hand out party hats, confetti, and noisemakers, and meticulously line up some champagne flutes. What’s left to do? Pop open the champagne! There are many partiers who pop the cork with enthusiastic and careless abandon, while others point the bottle away from their faces and anxiously twist the cork until they hear those bubbles surge to the surface. Turns out, while the latter practice may be slightly less fun, it’s certainly the safer approach. On April 8, 1978, Charles J. Murray was injured when a natural cork stopper spontaneously ejected from a bottle of previously unopened Almaden Blanc de Blancs champagne and struck him in the left eye. He was preparing to serve the bubbly to a party of 40 people, so he placed 12 bottles on a rolling cart and removed the foil and wire retainer from three or four bottles — including the one that eventually injured him. Once he started to roll the cart toward the guests, the cork shot out of the bottle all on its own.

alleging that they were responsible because they failed to include a proper warning label on the bottle. The defendants, however, argued that the cork stopper did not and could not spontaneously eject unless Murray had handled the bottle improperly. The case was argued by both sides for two years, but eventually, Murray won. Almaden Vineyards now prints the following on its bottles: “WARNING: THIS BOTTLE IS UNDER PRESSURE. THE STOPPER WILL EJECT SOON AFTER THE WIRE HOOD REMOVAL. TO PROTECT AGAINST INJURY TO FACE AND EYES, POINT AWAY FROM SELF AND OTHERS WHEN OPENING.” When it comes to bubbly-induced mayhem, the greatest potential trouble lies in the eye of the beholder — literally. With an estimated velocity of 60 miles per hour, uncontrolled corks do in fact fly faster than the blink of an eye. To avoid having to explain a not-so-fashionable eye patch at work on Monday, handle those fizzy drinks with care.

Due to the severity of his injury, Murray sued Almaden Vineyards, Inc., National Distillers and Chemical Corporation, and Carbo, Inc.,



We’ve all heard the phrase “trust fund baby,” usually used derisively as a way to describe somebody who’s had everything in life handed to them. Given how commonplace the term is, you may be surprised to learn that trusts aren’t just for the uber-wealthy. They can serve many different purposes and prove useful for all types of estates. Before we list some categories of trusts, let’s lay out a few of the basic terms surrounding them. The person who creates the trust is called the grantor; the person who manages it is called the trustee; the people who put assets into it are called donors; and the people who receive those assets are called beneficiaries. Now that the terminology is clear, here are five types of trusts worth considering. BYPASS TRUSTS These trusts are the ones you’re probably most familiar with. They are designed as a way for wealthy individuals to pass on as much money as possible to their heirs without having to pay estate taxes. GENERATION-SKIPPING TRUSTS Essentially, these are multi-generational versions of bypass trusts. They allow grantors to name beneficiaries far down the genealogical line, protecting assets for grandchildren and even great-grandchildren.

SPECIAL NEEDS TRUSTS Designed to help people who cannot care for themselves, a special needs trust can be used in conjunction with social programs to provide a comfortable life for loved ones with extensive needs. SPENDTHRIFT TRUSTS These trusts don’t just dictate who will receive assets, but also how they will spend them. The grantor can create provisions to distribute assets to beneficiaries when they reach a certain age in the form of an allowance or for specific expenditures. It’s a great option for those who don’t want to allocate assets to their beneficiaries in a lump sum. QUALIFIED TERMINABLE INTEREST PROPERTY (QTIP) TRUST A QTIP is a way to provide for a spouse while still protecting assets for your children. It allows the grantor to distribute a certain amount to a surviving spouse without granting them control of the trust’s contents. Put another way, it ensures that your children receive what you intended for them, no matter what happens after you’re gone. These are just brief overviews, and we don’t have the space to list all the relevant types of trusts available. To learn more about trusts and how they could benefit your estate, call our office today.


take a break

• 2 large or 4 medium chicken thighs • 3 pounds bok choy, cut into 3–4-inch ribbons • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil • 3 tablespoons oyster sauce INGREDIENTS DIRECTIONS

• 2 teaspoons sugar • 2 tablespoons cornstarch, mixed with 4 tablespoons water • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil • Salt and pepper, to taste

1. In large pot, boil three cups of water. Add chicken and reduce to simmer, cooking for 30 minutes. Remove chicken and let cool. Once cooled, remove skin and bones, chop, and set aside. Reserve the cooking liquid. 2. In a large skillet over high heat, heat vegetable oil. Once simmering, add bok choy and cook for 1 minute, stirring throughout. Add half of reserved cooking liquid, cover skillet, and cook for 2 minutes. Remove cover and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Transfer bok choy to a plate. 3. Add remaining cooking liquid and chicken to the pan, maintaining high heat. Heat chicken, then add oyster sauce, sugar, cornstarch-and-water mixture, sesame oil, and bok choy. Season to taste, toss together, and serve over rice.

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394 Manor Road Staten Island, NY 10314




Meet the Man Who Built Our Office 3 Wives’ Tales That Are True Watch Out for Rogue Champagne Corks This Year An Introduction to Trusts Chicken Chop Suey The Best Skiing Destinations in the World

mountains of British Columbia, you’ll understand why they hosted the 2010 Winter Olympics. The location’s beauty is only part of your stimulating experience, because every curve of fresh powder makes your pupils dilate. Once you’re done flying down the hill where Bode Miller took the bronze, head over to the winter wonderland of the old Olympic Village for a cozy night in a picturesque town. ST. ANTON, AUSTRIA If you want a great location for next year’s Christmas card photo, there’s no better place than the Tyrolean Alps. Nestled in a valley between perfectly molded mountains, the Austrian landscape provides a beautiful backdrop for your winter excursions. The densely wooded areas and the bright reflection of the snow frame the vibrant town that’s just waiting to be explored. When you’re ready for world-class runs, hop in one of the 11 gondolas and zip down the hills that hosted the 2001 Alpine World Ski Championships. 3 OF THE WORLD’S GREATEST WINTER SPORT DESTINATIONS Who’s Ready for Some Powder?

The sound of the first carve through fresh powder is the anthem of all winter sports enthusiasts. Here are three of the world’s best places to experience that powder you’ve been craving all year. BRECKENRIDGE, COLORADO John Denver’s anthem “Rocky Mountain high” is about the freedom he felt here. Where there are great mountains, there’s even better snow. The ski resort boasts five peaks, 187 trails, 34 lifts, four terrain parks, and a renowned cross-country trail. After a day on the slopes, head into the town of Breckenridge for dining and activities that ditch the glitz and glamour of Vail or Aspen and take you straight to the heart of fun. WHISTLER, BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA A destination that looks like a cross between a Nordic paradise and Olympic-level runs, Whistler is filled with true magic, winter activities, and a town that captivates the senses. When you see the 4

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