July 20, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Cloudy With a Chance of Orange

Many of the homes we currently live in have celebrated their 100th birthday and beyond. That’s 100 years of heavy rain and wind storms; 100 years of blizzards; 100 years of hot, hazy and humid summer heat. These homes have really lived through everything. I can remember feeling the tremors of the 1985 October earthquake from my home on Edgewood Ave (which is still standing today). As of late though, I have heard it said that when it rains now, it rains harder and faster than it did in the past. I will leave that to the meteorologists among us to determine.

Weather is usually pretty amazing no matter what the year and what particular season it may be. In the Jewish tradition there are blessings to recite when the heavens open up and we are regaled with booms of thunder and cracks of lightning. Humans have been amazed by the weather since we’ve been here. And yet … And yet… What many of us experienced last week feels different. This new phenomenon wasn’t necessarily more inconvenient than a light drizzle sending us all inside, but as a lifelong east coaster it felt extraordinary.

A friend who always reads my column called to tell me how prescient my article a few weeks ago entitled “Will We Ever Open the Windows to Our Homes Again?” was. Who knew we would go from pollen-filled air to the skies darkening with the smokey air from wildfires so many thousands of miles away. A few of my agents called me on Wednesday afternoon to ask if they should cancel their showings. I really didn’t know what to say. As is usually the case, we only know what we’re supposed to do in these situations well after they have already begun. I joked with one agent about highlighting the new filters on the a/c units of the home she was showing—not exactly something I ever recall talking about in earnest.

I went back to my home that Wednesday and took a laptop to my family room, which has plenty of light and windows, and tried to do some work. I kept looking outside waiting for the campfire smell to come inside. Remarkably, my current home built in the 1940s held up well during this latest test. Most of the people I spoke with that day experienced something similar; the smokey air stayed outside. I was certain that eventually the “orange” from outside would make its way into my home, but as you all know by now it did not come in. Soon the advice was pouring in again; put on masks, make sure to change your a/c filter and just run the fan even if you don’t put on the a/c.

I know my home is only a collection of some wood, concrete, glass etc … but with all the talk surrounding us as to the speed at which our world is changing on almost every level, there was something quite comforting about sitting in my den. My home, which isn’t going anywhere, remains an island of stability from all the tumultuousness outside. While it gets a coat of paint here and there, these four walls really have seen it all. As I write this article, the skies have returned to their familiar shade of blue. These century-old homes, that have endured countless storms through the decades, have weathered yet another anomaly and kept the orange sky from coming in.


Nechama Polak is the broker of record and owner of V&N Group LLC, located at 1401 Palisade Avenue in Teaneck. Send your thoughts and comments to [email protected] or call 201 826 8809

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