by Laura Matiz
I enjoy looking at films or photos that depict well-known New York buildings or structures in an earlier time. Not long ago, I ran into the Guggenheim Museum's posting by Francine Snyder on their opening day film, "Building and Crowds," shot on October 21, 1959. I posted on Twitter a link to the film noting some of the obvious changes.
Soon after that tweet, I happened to be in the park near the Guggenheim Museum and I took the opportunity to take some photos matching scenes from the film. I selected these two sets of pics to share: one from Fifth Avenue looking down 89th Street and one from 88th Street.
The 1959 film was shot on a beautiful fall day. There's even a stylish 1950s convertible driving north in the 88th Street frame. There are some notable differences from 1959: two-way traffic on Fifth Avenue, green and white New York City buses, and few lampposts and street signs. In 1959, the museum tower on the 89th Street side did not exist. (A tower was added in 1968 over the garage entrance, constructed by William Wesley Peters, Frank Lloyd Wright’s son-in-law. That was replaced by the current tower in 1992.) Another difference is that the trees were mostly bare on October 21, 1959. Today, with photos taken a week later in October, the trees are still full and mostly green.
You don't have to fight the traffic to get out of the city to enjoy amazing fall colors. There are numerous city parks that are excellent for watching the leaves turn glorious. The Parks Department offer a helpful fall foliage guide covering the five boroughs.
The city's centerpiece, Central Park, becomes a sight to behold when the sunlight hits it just right. Besides observing the trees at the park, we also have a balcony view from the many buildings that ring the rectangle—a number of which are open to the public—such as Top of the Rock. The home page for the Central Park Conservancy features some inviting photography to remind us what it will be like in a couple of weeks.
To plan your visit, download the Central Park's fall foliage map and then get out and take in the glowing golds, purples, bronzes, and reds as the trees begin to change color. Below is an excerpt from the map showing the description of locales and trees to look for. Bring a camera and happy leaf peeping.
by Laura Matiz
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) Know Before You Owe mortgage initiative aims to help consumers make informed mortgage choices and reduce confusion by providing easy to compare loan options and costs. The initiative simplifies and consolidates some of the required loan disclosures while changing the timing of some activities in the mortgage process. The new rules took effect on October 3, 2015 and applies to purchase and refinance mortgages from all lenders. It is important for consumers to question the preparedness of any lender they are considering in meeting all the new regulations. These new procedures should help consumers make one of the most important financial decisions of their life an informed decision.
A key simplification is that the CFPB has combined four disclosure documents into two while redesigning the application and closing pages to mirror each other for easier comparison.
Diagram source: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
The CFPB provides an interactive detailed, section-by-section explanations for the Loan Estimate Explainer and the Closing Disclosure Explainer. It has also created this video explaining the new process.
The Loan Estimate
Lenders must provide a loan estimate within three business days once the consumer triggers the request by providing a required set of personal information, including the loan amount and property being considered. Lenders can no longer require additional documentation, making it easier to get multiple loan estimates. Lenders can't charges fees other than reasonable fees for credit checks. A loan estimate can be used by the consumer to understand the loan parameters, but doesn't imply an approved loan. Once the consumer is ready to proceed, he/she must inform the lender, at which point the lender can begin the process and charge fees. In fact, the lender can only request payment information after the intent to proceed is given.
The Closing Disclosure
Under the new rule, lenders must provide the new closing disclosure three business days before the scheduled closing. Much of this information used to be provided for the first time at the closing, a time not conducive to deliberate and careful examination of the figures and fees. It is important to note that most changes, as long as they don't alter the basic terms of the deal, will not require a new three-day review period. The only changes that require a new disclosure and a new three-day review period are:
Download a copy of the CFPB's step-by-step guides with interactive worksheets and conversation starters designed to deepen understanding of the mortgage market.
I am happy to help any of my customers understand and take advantage of some of the consumer-friendly changes to the process. Please reach out.