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New York City is experiencing its first Christmas season without Airbnb

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the staff of the Ridgewood blog

New York NY, New York City is experiencing its first Christmas season without Airbnb, and the cost of accommodations is on the rise. In September, the city implemented a stringent short-term rental policy that essentially excluded Airbnb, providing benefits to renters but limiting choices for tourists. Expedia Group reports a 25% year-over-year increase in hotel searches this month, with average nightly rates reaching $477, compared to last year’s still-high $416.

Continue reading New York City is experiencing its first Christmas season without Airbnb

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Columbia Bank Kicks off the Holiday Season in Ridgewood, NJ with “Downtown for the Holidays” Event

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file photo by Boyd Loving

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, Columbia Bank is excited to announce, once again it will continue its tradition  of sponsoring The Village of Ridgewood’s “Downtown for the Holidays” festivities, including the annual iconic Christmas  tree lighting, photos with Santa, and gift-giving.

Continue reading Columbia Bank Kicks off the Holiday Season in Ridgewood, NJ with “Downtown for the Holidays” Event

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Pro Arte Invites You to Our Messiah Sing Thursday, December 1st

Pro Arte Chorale

November 22,2016

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, Come join the Pro Arte Chorale for a joyous sing-along of Handel’s Christmas masterpiece, conducted by Maestro Steven Fox.  The Chorale will gather for this event on Thursday December 1st at 7:30pm at the Bethlehem Lutheran Church at 155 Linwood Avenue, Ridgewood, NJ.  Bring your own score or rent one of ours.  Admission is $10 at the door, including rental score.

Handel created such compelling melodic and fluid music that it’s easy to overlook what is one of history’s great examples of “word painting.”  The baroque era in music — roughly 1600 to 1750 — saw enormous interest in this technique of depicting a word’s meaning through music. A basic example is using dissonance to set the word “pain.”  Even those who have sung “Messiah” aren’t always made fully aware of Handel’s continual crafting of music to express the words.

Steven Fox, the Music Director of The Pro Arte Chorale, is also the artistic director of Clarion Music Society in New York, and the music director for Musica Antiqua St. Petersburg in Russia.  The Pro Arte Chorale, a 60-member volunteer chorus based in Ridgewood, is committed to enriching the lives of its members and its audience by exploring many musical traditions.  All performances are held in ADA compliant venues with handicapped accessible parking, ramps and restrooms.

For more information about Pro Arte Chorale or to join the mailing list, visit or send an email to  The Pro Arte Chorale is sponsored in part by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a partner agency of the National Endowment of the Arts.

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Reader says We are all so grateful for Mayor Knudsen. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

susan village council

file photo by Boyd Loving

So let me get this story straight and see if I have it right. PSEG schedules major work on Broad Street to commence in late September and run through the Christmas season. This is done when Roberta is still employed. The summer comes and goes, and Roberta goes…and goes. Then last week Tony Damiano gets up at a meeting and states that this is the worst possible time for the merchants, as they make most of their money in the 4th quarter. This makes sense, but it is hard to hear the sense in his message since he is all but accusing Mayor Knudsen of doing this on purpose to screw the merchants. As if she would do anything remotely like that, honestly, Damiano is insane. But I digress.

So the meeting ends at midnight or whenever, and Susan goes right to work the next day setting up a meeting with PSEG to see if they will change the time frame away from the Christmas season. In a text exchange with Damiano, she tells him she will be meeting with PSEG and encourages him to give her any input or insights before she meets with them. He does not do so.

On Monday morning at 10:00 she meets with PSEG, along with Rutishauser and (in the absence of Heather who was off) Janet Fricke. Mayor Knudsen manages to accomplish a major victory, because she gets the giant utility company to change their dates. This happens because Susan is very pleasant and diplomatic. We know that the PSEG folks DESPISED Aronsohn because he was such an Atilla the Hun with them, bossing them around through the hurricane aftermath.But now we have a mayor who is pleasant, polite, professional, and easy to get along with.

Mayor Knudsen immediately composes a press release to let everyone know that the dates have been changed, but before she can send it Mr. Damiano in his great arrogance sends out a victory letter taking full credit for accomplishing the date change. Un-effing-believable. He was NOT in the meeting, but he takes full credit for this. He does not acknowledge Mayor Knudsen, he does not thank Mayor Knudsen, and in fact he goes on to write some very snarky and sarcastic comments about her. He accuses the Mayor of trying to stick it to the merchants, instead of thanking her for solving the problem. And then he goes on to posture that he will be doing direct negotiations with PSEG moving forward for any work they want to schedule. What???? Damiano is not an elected official, he is not an employee of the Village. He has ZERO authority to schedule any utility work in this town.

In the end, Mayor Knudsen took the right approach, solved the problem, and took the high road in the face of incredible invective from Tony Damiano as well as Troll Halaby.

We are all so grateful for Mayor Knudsen. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

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Bricks-and-mortar sales edge lower at start of holiday season; online surges: data


Bricks-and-mortar sales edge lower at start of holiday season; online surges: data


(Reuters) – U.S. shoppers spent slightly less money at brick-and-mortar stores on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday than across the same two days in 2013, while online sales surged to record highs, data showed on Saturday.

Sales at retail stores totaled about $12.29 billion on Thursday and Friday, down 0.5 percent from the $12.35 billion spent last year, according to estimates by ShopperTrak. The research firm stuck by its forecast for November and December sales to increase 3.8 percent.

The data highlights the waning importance of Black Friday, which until a few years ago kicked off the holiday shopping season, as more retailers open their doors on Thanksgiving Day and start discounting earlier in the month.

It also points to the intense price competition among retailers, which have been discounting by 40 to 70 percent this year compared with 30 to 50 percent in the recent past, ShopperTrak founder Bill Martin told Reuters.–business.html

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Celebrate the Christmas Season at Bethlehem With Greg Caldarone and The NJ Brass Quintet Sunday Dec. 7


Celebrate the Christmas Season at Bethlehem With Greg Caldarone and The NJ Brass Quintet Sunday Dec. 7

What better place than Bethlehem to celebrate the Christmas season!   The members of Bethlehem Lutheran Church invite everyone to a Christmas concert on Sunday,

December 7 at 3:00PM.  Please join us in our sanctuary where we will be celebrating the blessed birth of Christ and the love of family and friends.  We will serve refreshments after the concert.  Our church is located at 155 Linwood Avenue, Ridgewood.

A free concert “Christmas: The Joy and Spirit 2014” will be performed by  Greg
Caldarone and The New Jersey Brass Quintet, accompanied by Bethlehem’s organist and pianist Elena Crudge and accompanist Rich Fusilli, and will feature classic and contemporary Christmas favorites.

Greg Caldarone, award winning singer/recording artist, recipient of the Universal Jazz Coalition “Dakota Staton Award”, has been sharing his vocal talents in our local churches and establishments for many years. Specializing in popular standards, Caldarone will feature Christmas classics such as “O Holy Night” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little

Christmas” as well as more recent songs such as Mark Lowry’s “Mary Did You Know?”  and of course Michael Card’s ” Joseph’s Song” (a signature for him). Greg has been a song leader in music ministries in our community for over 20 years. For more about Greg Caldarone go to

The NJ Brass Quintet is a fabulous ensemble that will immediately give you that warm wonderful feeling of an old fashioned Christmas. It is a non-profit corporation dedicated to the cultural enrichment of the community in which it serves. The musical ensemble’s programs include educationally oriented children’s concerts, park concerts in a “Village

Brass Band” setting, and special concerts for various occasions in addition to traditional chamber music concerts. Its repertoire ranges from earliest madrigals to the most contemporary compositions available.

The dedicated professional musicians that compose the NJBQ bring a high degree of talent and creativity to the ensemble. Each member of the quintet is an experienced educator as well as an accomplished performer.

To get us all in the spirit of Christmas there will also be a sing-along that will include  “Angels We Have Heard on High”, “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” “Joy to the World”, and “O Come All Ye Faithful”.Faithful”.

We truly hope to see you and wish everyone a joyous holiday season and a beautiful finish for 2014.  Admission is free, however a free will offering will be welcome. CDs by both Greg Caldarone and The NJ Brass Quintet will be available at the concert.   Please join us for refreshments after the concert,

Additionally, Bethlehem has some special services with inspirational music and
messages, and the presence of the Lord’s Holy Spirit planned. The schedule is as follows:

Dec 21, Sunday School Christmas Program, One service at 9:30

Dec 28, Christmas Week, One service at 9:30

The members of Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church, Ridgewood want you to know that God has a plan for you and he loves you.  Our faith is in Christ.   Our guide is in the Bible.  Our love is for all.  Come celebrate with us.  We offer 2 Sunday services:  

Contemporary Praise Service at 8:45am and Traditional Worship at 11am with Sunday School and Bible Class at 10am.  Please join us at 155 Linwood Avenue, Ridgewood.  

For more information, please visit our website,

Bethlehem Lutheran Church
155 Linwood Avenue
Ridgewood, NJ  07450