Sunday, Aug 07th

ducktourIn the weeks leading up to Groupon’s IPO – which had its incredibly successful public debut Friday – there has been much talk about the magic (or lack thereof) that makes Groupon, well, Groupon. Is it their gorilla marketing campaign? Their ginormous subscriber list? A sales force that rivals in size the Red Army? Perhaps.

But, if you ask me, the quality that sets them apart is…ducks.

You see, the first time I used a coupon from Groupon was to take my family on an amphibious tour of San Francisco. Let’s get one thing straight here: I would not be caught dead on one of these boat-vans in my home city of New York, arguing that riding on an amphibious vehicle is akin to wearing a skort. Plus, as if the weird boat-van doesn’t draw enough attention to your lame posse, everyone riding this thing is given bright yellow “quackers” – kazoos shaped like Daffy duck lips - to wear around the neck and blow into when feeling enthusiastic. Which is often. (Quack once if you see the Ghirardelli chocolate factory! Quack twice for Pier 39! And Pier 40! For Alcatraz! Quack to the homeless man! Quack three times if you think the captain of your tour self-medicates!)

If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s those tourists that look like tourists, and on a duck tour there’s no question about it: you’re from outta town.

But, I rationalized, as I contemplated my computer screen’s daily deal a few days before heading out to the West Coast, no one in San Fran knows me. And for one day only, Groupon was offering the tour for 64% off. It was like getting three quacks for the price of one! What the hell. I went for it.

A week later, my family and I took a ride on a giant skort. And, as the captain blasted “We Are Family” from the speakers in his hindquarters while all of Union Square looked on and felt sorry for us, I smiled and waved like I was on the Popemobile. It was a quacking riot.

Therein lies Groupon’s true secret: they know the price of your dignity, and they undercut it every time.



decden1If you know that your home decorating needs improvement or updating but are overwhelmed by the task, a new local resource can help. They offer a one-stop solution with assistance in your home at your convenience and carry furniture, fabrics, wallpapers and all types of shades from top manufacturers like Kravet and Hunter Douglas. And once you meet with Marina Colella and tell her what you have in mind, she’ll bring all the samples to your home – eliminating the need for trips to the furniture store or D&D building in Manhattan. She’ll even wait for deliveries and installations in your home so you don’t have to miss work or personal engagements.

Marina of the Decorating Den can create a variety of looks in your home – from traditional to contemporary and incorporate items you want to keep into the plan. She has an accommodating and reassuring way about her, and as soon as you meet her you’ll see that she won’t intimidate you into making purchases that are out of your comfort zone.

As a first step she’ll come to your house for a complimentary consultation where you can show her what you’d like to keep and what you’d like todecden2change and discuss your budget. She’ll take this information back to her office and return for your second meeting with a plan, including layouts, fabrics, carpet samples and even suggested paint color swatches. Once you make your decisions, she’ll place the orders for custom upholstery, window treatments or wall paper and keep track of the status. When everything is ready, she’ll be in your house to supervise the deliveries and installation. The whole process, from start to finish, usually takes around three months and there are no hourly fees for design, shopping or installation.

Putting her in charge takes the risk out of the process and prevents you from ordering something that turns out to be the wrong size or the wrong fit for your home. Plus, you don’t need to find installers or upholsterers because these services are provided. Decorating Den is part of a large national chain and has a wide range of sources in competitive prices they pass onto you.

We asked Marina about some of the challenges she has helped customers overcome and she mentioned a tight sunroom that the client wanted to use as a TV room. Rearranging furniture and optimizing the space she was able to create a cozy, inviting room where the whole family could enjoy a show together. She also has helped customers with the opposite problem – a very large room that needs to be decorated to add warmth and scale. Last, we wondered what’s new in home trends this season and she told us that popular colors are grays, off white and a touch of tea. As for style, the latest is “transitional” which melds traditional with contemporary flair.decden3

Marina Colella
Decorating Den Interiors
Windows, Furniture, Lighting, Floor coverings, Accessories



iPhoneIt wasn’t love at first sight, but after we spent some time together I was head over heels. I am a middle aged woman, still deeply in love with my husband of almost three decades, but I had fallen in love again. The object of my new affection was sleek, well built, powerful, fast and fun. I had bought an iPhone

Last year, my previous phone - a Blackberry - was faltering, so prior to purchasing a new device I spent a great deal of time researching three smartphone platforms: BlackBerry, Droid and iPhone. Given the fast paced New York way of life coupled with the lack of overlap between my husband’s schedule and mine, I seem to spend more time with my phone than my spouse. The right choice of a new phone was critical.

So many factors to research! - and so unqualified for this task – but I went up the learning curve quickly: screen size, battery life, mega pixels, graphics quality, connectivity, call integrity, etc., not to mention cost and carrier plan specifics. And that’s how I met my iPhone.

When I purchased the phone, the salesperson introduced me to the world of apps. How useful and what fun! Here are a few of my favorites (in no particular order):

GasBuddy – provides gas prices by price or location

Flixster – find movie times and locations, view trailers, read reviews, etc…

iRetouch - photo editing on your phone

HopStop - provides options/directions for travel between two points within various cities/locations. Great in Manhattan!

NYC Subway Map

Sit Or Squat: Bathroom Finder (sponsored by Charmin!) - locates public toilets; provides reviews of cleanliness, etc… Of five stars maximum: 2 ½ or more indicate ‘sit’; fewer than 2 ½ indicate ‘squat’.

Open Table – make reservations at restaurants

Tip Calculator

Epicurious – great in the supermarket when you need recipes (with a list of ingredients) for dinner, etc.

Google Translate – like having many foreign language dictionaries at your fingertips

Merriam -Webster Dictionary

US Open Tennis – was wonderful for obtaining current scores, match locations, player stats, etc…

iHandy Flashlight – I never thought I would use this until I went to a very dark restaurant and couldn’t read the menu. Apparently, neither could anyone else because the restaurant was a sea of iPhone flashlights.

My only gripe so far with apps for the iPhone is that I can’t seem to locate a Metro-North schedule for my phone, but this app is available to Droid users. I suppose every couple has a tiff now and then.

Please share your favorite apps!



devanEdgemont will promote from within. That's what was announced at the October 11th Board of Education meeting when Edgemont Superintendent Nancy Taddiken presented her administrative succession proposal for the district. Assistant Principal Devan Ganeshananthan will assume the role of principal at Edgemont High School effective February 1, 2012. Dr. Friedman, the current principal who is scheduled to retire on August 31st, will assume the role of Assistant to the Superintendent and work in the District Office and also help Mr. Ganeshananthan through the transition period. Assistant Principal Mike Curtin will assume the role of Director of Curriculum and Instructional Technology for Grades K thru 12 on July 1, 2012 and will also move to the District Office. The proposal was unanimously supported by the BOE.

The district will search for two new Assistant Principals to fill Mr. Ganeshananthan's and Mr. Curtin's positions. Assistant PrincipalmcurtainMonseliu's exact position will not be filled when she moves to Florida at the end of December. The three existing assistant principal positions will be consolidated into two positions. Ms. Taddiken felt that she will first look internally to fill these two positions and then conduct an external search if necessary. Taddiken also mentioned that her current contract runs till July 1, 2013 and she has not yet decided if she will retire or not at that time.

Most parents that I spoke to were very happy with the announcements and were glad that both Mr. Ganeshananthan and Mr. Curtin had been promoted. Both are very well liked by many parents in the district. Some however expressed regret that an external search was not conducted to make sure that the best people were hired for these positions but did not have any problems with Mr. Ganeshananthan and Mr. Curtin filling these positions; they would have just preferred to have seen an extensive search. However Ms. Taddiken noted that Mr. Ganeshananthan was hired after an extensive search for his previous position (replacing Mr. Tim Hoss as junior high assistant principal). Previous to coming to Edgemont, Mr. Ganeshananthan was a house principal at New Rochelle High School.

freidmanAt the same BOE meeting, the district's independent auditor made a presentation and discussed the current financial state of the district. The district brought in $500,000 more in revenue than expected and spent close to $4 million less than expected. The excess funds were added to the fund balance for future use. Looking ahead ... the situation is difficult. Evidently the money that the school district has to contribute to various employee benefits including the teachers retirement system has increased significantly from last year. The auditor doesn't see how the school district can possibly meet these financial demands and stay within the New York State 2% budget cap. However the BOE can decide to present a budget to the community above the 2% cap and trust that parents will approve the budget by the required supermajority of 60%. Last year's budget passed by more than 60%.

At October 19th's PTSA Parent Forum (EHS Library at 9 am), Ms. Taddiken will review the succession plan with parents and community members and will do so again at the evening PTSA Parent Forum on Thursday, November 3rd. The evening meeting will take place at 7:30 pm in the high school LGI room and will also feature a presentation by EHS "Study Skills for Success" teacher, Mr. Doug Weitz.



tennistravisThis hasn’t been an easy year for the Scarsdale Girls Varsity A Tennis Team. The girls tennis team has an imposing history. Undefeated in their league for many years there’s a large display of banners in the gym that attest to the team’s supremacy season after season. However, unlike most team sports, the tennis team’s success is dependent on the talent of the students who come out for the team. Experienced players often start out young, taking lessons and playing in tournaments well before they get to SHS. Some of the community’s most talented players don’t even come out for the team – preferring to use their time to play tournaments and work on their rankings.

So though Coach Roane can select the best talent from the pool, encourage the players and set the line-up, once on the court the girls are on their own. And this is not to say that this year’s team is without talent – in fact there are many skilled players on the team and it’s hard to put your finger on exactly what has gone wrong this season. As of Monday October 3rd, the team’s record was 1 win and 4 losses in the league and 2 wins and 5 losses overall. The match against Mamaroneck on Monday October 3rd was called due to rain but looked promising before the clouds rolled in.

Team Captains Michelle Furnari and Jenna Karp are seniors and veterans. Michelle, a four-year varsity player is a tournament level competitor and is playing first singles. She looks energetic and confident on the court and in Monday’s match against Mamaroneck she breezed by Sarah Yakelis 6-3, 6-2, finishing well before the rain began. Senior Chloe Kaufman has returned to the team after taking a hiatus during her junior year and is also playing singles along with sophomore Adrienne Travis who played second singles in Monday’s match and was off the court quickly, winning 6-2, 6-0. Sophomore Lindsay Rokito played third singles on Monday and will resume her match when it is rescheduled.

The doubles teams have had mixed success this season, with many matches ending in stressful super tie breakers. Seniors Jenna Karp and

The Torres Twins
Stephanie Henkoff played first doubles for most of the season – but Coach Roane switched it up for the Mamaroneck match and paired Karp with junior Shelby Zucker and put Henkoff on the second court with junior Jessie Somekh. Roane was hoping that the realignment would bring wins on the first and second courts. Playing third doubles are juniors Alexandra Emmerman and Caroline Pitofsky who are working on their game and will have more court time next season.

On the fourth court sisters and twins Colette and Carine Torres have moved up to Varsity A this year from Varsity B where they played as freshmen. They report that they started playing seriously in sixth grade and are enjoying playing together. They follow in the footsteps of the Rokito twins who graduated last year and played for the Varsity team for several years. New to the team this year are two freshmen cousins -- Carolyn Zelicof and Kate Rabin who are playing doubles together. They are energetic and savvy on the court and sure to lead the team to success in future years.

Cousins and Partners: Zelicof and Rabin
Though the regular season is almost over, Coach Roane does expect to take several teams of girls to the sectionals. We will continue to follow their progress and wish them good luck!

Pictured at top: Adrienne Travis and Michelle Furnari

Team manager Baumer with Yogi
Thanks to team manager Corey Baumer and team mascot Yogi for their assistance with this article.


Leave a Comment

Share on Myspace