‘The view was phenomenal.’ How a town home off South Broadway hooked its owners

From the moment owner Sally Lee stepped into what would become her new home, she was hooked. “The view was phenomenal. I immediately knew this was the house for us.” The owners’ beautiful town house is located in Mississippi Bluffs, a gated community off South Broadway. It offers breathtaking panoramic views of the mighty Mississippi.Leaving their century-old home in the DeMun Historic District, Sally and her partner, Val Guelker, moved into this newly customized home in 2016. “It’s unique,” says Lee. “We love its convenient, yet secluded location, just five minutes from downtown. We can actually see the Arch from here.”The bluffs, rising 80 feet over the Mississippi, were once crowned by historic mansions. Lee explains: “Our community was built on the 14-acre site of the original Doering Mansion. I luckily uncovered a piece of the old Doering garden fence — black iron, topped by a fleur-de-lis — which now sits outside our front door.”The home was designed with large windows, two balconies and a patio overlooking the river. They offer perfect views of the barge industry to the north, river to the south, and Illinois forests to the east. “We can enjoy spectacular sunrises, and because we’re on a hill, lovely sunsets, too.” There’s a lot of activity to observe: countless tugboats, barges and wildlife— bald eagles perching in the trees, bobcats, hawks, owls and an occasional coyote strolling by.The home’s interior reflects different styles, a combination of wrought iron, steel and wood. “Val likes a sleek, streamlined look. I’m more traditional; I like American Craftsman style furniture and lamps from Stickley and Roycroft.”A beautifully preserved tool chest, inherited from Lee’s grandfather, serves as a coffee table. “He brought it from Norway over 100 years ago.” The modern style attributed to Guelker includes the spotless Continue Reading

Amazon’s 50 hot new toys for September

By NEWSDAY.COM STAFF Updated September 15, 2017 8:11 PM Each month, the Amazon Toys & Games team votes on their favorite toys of the month. The selections may be new toys and games that recently hit the market or that are customer favorites and bestsellers. So if you're looking for new toys for your kids -- or a gift for a child's birthday party or holiday -- check out the Editor's Picks of hot new toys on Amazon.com. Little Tikes Cozy Truck Little Tikes' ride-on truck with "off road" wheels, gas cap, working horn, drop-down tailgate and more, is perfect for your growing toddler; $85.99-89.99 at Amazon.com. Scientific Explorer Mind Blowing Science Kit Your young scientist will explore the basics of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) principles, while constructing and experimenting with toys in the kit; $16.00 at Amazon.com. KidKraft Vintage Kitchen This vintage kitchen features doors that open and close, a cordless phone, removable sink and more; $90.94 at Amazon.com. Melissa & Doug Giant Seal At almost three feet long, this lifelike stuffed seal has realistic details, a plush body, and a huggable size and shape; $39.99 at Amazon.com. LEGO l Disney Frozen Arendelle Castle Celebration Kids can help Elsa throw Anna a birthday party to remember in the Arendelle Castle, which features an ice room, fireplaces, a courtyard party scene and more; $41.99 at Amazon.com. Crayola Model Magic Ideal for classroom projects and activites, Crayola's self-hardening, nontoxic modeling compound is clean and easy to use; $17.18 at Amazon.com. ALEX Toys Active Play Monkey Balance Board This balance board encourages hours of fun and helps kid develop gross motor skills; $15.59 at Amazon.com. Fisher-Price Little People Surprise and Sounds Home The Surprise and Sounds Home lets kids touch, sing and hear sounds, songs and phrases -- they can open the oven and fridge, lift the toilet seat, and press on the alarm clock; Continue Reading

Rob Lowe stirs a fevered response with a hot tub viral video of ‘The Hills Are Alive’

It started with a night in the Jacuzzi and ended with Rob Lowe spinning around shirtless in a lip-synching video viral sensation. The “Parks and Recreation” actor broke the Internet this weekend by tweeting a video of himself — fresh out of a hot tub — singing the title song from “The Sound of Music.” “Isn’t it amazing that someone can have that kind of fun at 25 years sober?” Lowe asked The News’ Justin Rocket Silverman. “For anybody else, I would say you have to breathalyze that individual — and he’s likely going to fail.” The preternaturally young TV and movie star, who’s 51, made the video with an app called Dubsmash that allows users to record over a sound clip. “My thing on social media is that I like to be authentic,” he explained. “I’m not fixing my hair and I’m not getting my clothes just right and I’m not worried about the lighting. For me, that’s the fun of it. Everything is so stage-managed today that I really enjoy just being able to authentically put things out that I’m feeling.” Lowe is also working with MasterCard on a fund-raising campaign for a charity called Stand Up to Cancer. His tweet announcing that partnership was retweeted 44 times by Monday afternoon. His “The Hills Are Alive” tweet was retweeted more than 2,300 times. A SUPERCHEF CAN HAVE A FULL PLATE Oprah Winfrey serves up a saucy interview with Jean-Georges Vongerichten in the August edition of O Magazine, where the superchef dishes about being married to his work. “I got divorced once. I came to New York married, my son was born in ’81 and my daughter in ’87. And six months after I got my four stars, my wife said, ‘I don’t want to live here. I’m going back to France.’ ” He recalled. “I said, ‘Are you kidding me? I can’t leave.’ ” And he Continue Reading

Queens comedian Mark Malkoff holes up in tiny bathroom for five days to kick Internet addiction

The good news for Mark Malkoff is that if he has to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, all he has to do is stand up. But watch out for the cereal bowl! The Queens comedian and filmmaker is spending five days living in his cramped Astoria apartment bathroom while attempting to kick his Internet addiction. "A while back, I noticed that many of the things that I have tried to accomplish on an average day were not getting done because I was online so much," says the 34-year-old Malkoff, who on Sept. 12 will post a video of his bathroom stay on MyDamnChannel.com. "I didn't know where else in New York City that I could go that would not have any distractions or temptations. So I barricaded myself in my bathroom for five days." Considering the minute size (and horrendous pink color) of Malkoff's bathroom, that's no easy task. "I measured it out and this bathroom is smaller than the average jail cell at Alcatraz," he says while lounging in his tub. "But the worst part is the color. Whoever designed this pink bathroom wanted to torture me. This color is just ugly." So how bad was Malkoff's addiction to the Internet that he had to lock himself in his bathroom? He admits that he was online from the moment he woke up in the morning to the time he went to bed at night. Not that being hooked on the Web is unusual in New York. "I don't think my Internet addiction is that much worse than a lot of New Yorkers who are required to be online for their job all day," says Malkoff. "But I'd be on dates with my wife and I'd excuse myself to go to the bathroom and check my Twitter or Facebook pages. That's unacceptable." Unfortunately for Malkoff's wife, Christine, the solution to his problem has just created another, more awkward, issue. "Initially she went to Starbucks to go to the bathroom, because we only have one in our apartment," says Malkoff. "But today she came in and used the toilet while I wore earplugs and hid behind the shower curtain." Continue Reading

Newsstand Junkie: Hot-tempered Mel Gibson’s ‘only friend’ is Britney Spears

It can't be Halloween already, but the mags are full of horror stories. In Touch says Kourtney Kardashian is "MARRYING A MONSTER." Life & Style says "SANDRA IS TAKING JESSE BACK." But Star comes through with the really scary stuff: 12 pages of "Stars Without Makeup!" Hasn't anyone learned from Dolly Parton? In Hollywood, you must sleep in your mascara. Bristol Palin's engagement to Levi Johnston could mean she has another baby on the way. At least, that's what Levi's sister thinks, says Star. Mercede Johnston wrote on her blog, "I certainly do not understand why you are rushing things. Unless, of course, there is some reason to hurry." A reason besides Sarah Palin installing bear traps outside the Wasilla city clerk's office? In the last year, Lady Gaga has racked up 130,000 airline miles, says Life & Style. That's almost five trips around the planet. But it probably seems like nothing to a woman whose wardrobe came from outer space. Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher "couldn't stand each other" on the set of their movie "Friends With Benefits," says Us Weekly. Kutcher "talked about Twitter all day" and the Harvard-educated Portman "would do her scenes, then head back to her trailer and read books." I hope Natalie got most of the monologues, and Ashton's lines were limited to 140 characters. Britney Spears is Mel Gibson's "only friend," says In Touch. "They speak on the phone all the time, usually late at night," says a source. "Mel was one of the only people who reached out to help Britney when she was at her lowest point, and she believes that demonstrates what a loving and wonderful man he is." Or maybe she thinks he's a schmuck like everyone else does, and is torturing him with her tuneless humming. Kristen Stewart has been "practicing the art of striptease" ever since she took lessons for a role as a stripper in the upcoming "Welcome to the Rileys." Now she's "gyrating to the music" and "strutting around" Rob Pattinson, Continue Reading

‘Bachelorette’ spoilers episode 3: Ali Fedotowsky gets hot and heavy with Kirk on ABC show

Things got Rated R (and a little PG 13) on Monday's "The Bachelorette." I recently read in one of the glossy tabs that Ali is embarrassed by her body, and that's why she wears cover-ups around the pool and bikini tops with pants. Of course, I take that information with a grain of STFU because it was a gossip rag, but if it is true, girl is delusional. She practically has a six-pack! If I had Ali's body, I'd be doing jumping jacks in a thong while giving my "this is how I feel about this guy" interviews. Maybe Ali is just modest. Did the In Touch ever think of that? Probably not. Kardashian syndrome. So last night's episode featured one group date and two individual dates. Roberto was up first for a one-on-one. Roberto is the dude who received the first impression rose. Ali clearly finds him attractive, but she said she was worried she had built him up too much in her mind and that he might not live up to her expectations. She rolled up to the guys' house in a new convertible (that's the third? fourth one so far this season?) but instead of driving off on their date, the ABC helicopter -- they really should just buy their own -- flew down and scooped them up. Ali is afraid of flying (Ty knew this! stalker?) so she held on tight to Roberto. "Roberto is so protective and manly -- he could really be the guy for me," she said. I guess earlier Roberto had told Ali that he wanted his dates with her to be adventurous, so she had them walking between two high-rise buildings on a tight-rope. And not only did they do it, but they did it holding hands AND they stopped in the middle to makeout. It got cheesier from there... After their high wire performance, Ali and Roberto had dinner on the roof of the building they walked across to. Ali thinks Roberto is "really interesting" because his first language is Spanish and he's traveled a lot. She also thinks Roberto doesn't know how good looking he is. Ha! I think Roberto knows EXACTLY how good looking he is. He Continue Reading

Tommy Hilfiger spreads patriotism with ‘Iconic America’

"America is not just a country," Bono said here recently. "It's an idea." Tommy Hilfiger and a group of Brits couldn't agree more. The designer, who celebrated a new creative patriotism at the Museum of Modern Art Wednesday night as Debbie Harry rocked the house, says he wants to reverse this "sad time of self-inflicted anti-Americanism" with his hefty new picture book, "Iconic America." "I have endeavored," he says, "to remind the world, as well as my fellow citizens, of the variety and magnificence of American pop culture." In the book, which will benefit UNICEF, Hilfiger has layered copies of the Declaration of Independence and the Gettysburg Address among eye-popping images of America, from hot dogs and jeans to Muhammad Ali. "This is dedicated to the intrepid spirit of a people living in freedom, while constantly fighting to keep it," he says. And no one represents that spirit more than moonwalking astronauts  Edgar Mitchell, Alan Bean and Buzz Aldrin — who were here in NYC yesterday to celebrate "In the Shadow of the Moon," a documentary directed by Brit David Sington. "I think that because I'm not American, I saw the Apollo mission not so much as one American achievement, but as something that expressed what the American character is all about," Sington told us at the Four Seasons. Producer Chris Riley, another Brit, said, "I've seen it 20 times, and I cry every time" — as have a lot of Americans who've seen the film. We asked Aldrin if he agreed with critics that the space flick reminds people of a time when people felt better about the U.S. He said the behavior of certain celebrities leaves young people short of role models. Aldrin then took a call from "The Right Stuff's" author, Tom Wolfe, with whom he talked excitedly about his Share Space Foundation, which promotes his dreams of a colony on Mars and travel to the moon for ordinary Earthlings. To say the three space travelers are role models is an Continue Reading

Goin’ to Carolina

There's no question that you can golf till you drop in Myrtle Beach, S.C. But this sun-kissed, 60-mile centerpiece of the Grand Strand offers much more than 115 championship courses, including nine of the country's top 10. You also can spend a sun-soaked week lounging on this low-country coastal community's wide, sandy white beaches. But those activities are just the tip of this ever-evolving destination's attractions. From a NASCAR SpeedPark with cars geared to all ages and sizes to the Myrtle Beach Pelicans - an Atlanta Braves minor league baseball team with an unlikely mascot - to two seaside hamlets each proclaiming itself "the seafood capital of the world" to a world-class aquarium and a live-action magic show where the whole family plays a role (and wields a wand), Myrtle Beach is practically a one-stop shop for family vacations. A TRUE GOLFER'S PARADISE A kid in a candy store has nothing on a golf lover arriving in the Grand Strand. Enter Myrtle Beach Golf Holidays, a consortium of 85 courses and 60 accommodations geared to helping visitors create the ideal package. The Jack Nicklaus-designed Long Bay Club is considered one of the most challenging courses in the area. In Murrell's Inlet, the Tournament Players Club gives golfers a feel for playing on a PGA Tour property. On nearby Pawleys Island (a gorgeous place to take a dip) the oak-lined Caledonia Golf and Fish Club is a local favorite and is built on the site of a working Southern rice plantation. Nongolfers can settle into extra-comfortable rocking chairs on the porch and watch frustrated players throw balls into the marsh. A brand-new and already lauded course is the par-72 Leopard's Chase Golf Club at Ocean Ridge Plantation, spread over 220 undulating acres. For the kids, budding duffers age 7 and older are eligible for Whispering Pines' Hook-A-Kid on Golf program, and putt-putters can have a ball with, at last count, 47 miniature golf courses dotting the area. TAILORED TO TOTS Continue Reading

‘Agency’ guys have only a slim chance

"THE AGENCY" (VH1) As the girl models at Wilhelmina are being encouraged to lose weight, the boys are urged to gain. Owen's a skinny Minnie. "He looks like Mary-Kate Olsen," said Sean. "I don't like how that is, just being used for your body," he fretted when the agents confronted him. Riiight. "If you do what we're telling you to do right now, I guarantee you, you will have the best year of your career," said Sean. "The last time I had this conversation with somebody, he was a young budding actor by the name of Brad Pitt, okay? We all know how that story turned out." Meanwhile, the agents judged some model contestants for a competition. Too short, bad skin, bunny face, not bright. Bunny face pulled it out in the end and won. And Owen stepped up to the plate, literally, by eating food off a plate, and booked a big Gap campaign. He was thrilled "just to show all these people at home that I'm working," he said, gleefully. Watch out, Brad. NOW THAT'S GOOD TV: For the contest, bunny face (her name's Hannah) got her hair chopped off into a bob. "I love it," said another of the wanna-bes. Translation: I hate it, and am so glad they did not cut my hair off."The Hills" (MTV) The events of last week's episode were completely unexpected. Lauren had made no secret that she hated BF Heidi's boyfriend, Spencer. Their friendship strained, Jen's birthday approached. "I'm like excited to celebrate with Jen, 'cause we've been best friends since like third grade," said Lauren. "She's been a really good friend." Well, what could possibly go wrong, then? But THEN, wouldn't you know, Spencer tells Brody, Lauren's love interest, that he should hook up with Jen. And then Heidi starts to encourage Jen to do the same. Jen's a good friend, check. Lauren likes Brody, check. Heidi and Spencer are intent on helping Jen betray Lauren with said dude. Lauren certainly did not see any warning signs. "I have a good feeling," Lauren said. "I can already feel it's going to be a good night." Then Continue Reading


The ladies of the "Tuesday Night Book Club" - a new eight-hour docusoap about seven women in a Scottsdale, Ariz., book club - are a little frustrated. At their first meeting, shown tonight at 10 on CBS, a discussion of the novel "Good in Bed" quickly evolves into a gripe session about the lack of sex in most of their lives. "I'm still waiting for my sex life to begin, and I'm a newlywed," carps Lynn, a 28-year-old speech pathologist. In a montage accompanied by singer Amy Rigby's disgruntled-housewife anthem "Are We Ever Gonna Have Sex Again?," Kirin, a 31-year-old housewife, mother and former model, puts on a sexy outfit in an attempt to shock her indifferent husband. Creator and executive producer Jay Blumenfield says his mission is "to finally honestly represent the American woman on television. " Jamie, a 25-year-old salon owner, leaves her husband of six years and moves into her own apartment. Jenn, dubbed the "trophy wife" by virtue of her marriage to a rich man, appears to have bought a lemon. At a housewarming party hosted by Lynn, Jenn's husband is seen chugging vodka from the bottle and making clumsy passes at women who are not his wife. And Lynn spends the entire first episode bitterly fighting with her husband, Eddie, a firefighter she met on Match. com, who appears to be adept at exactly zero in the household-chore department. "The way that we fight is pretty intense at times," said Lynn. "I think what we go through is going to tap into other women's experiences. " Not all of the women knew each other before the producers brought them together for the nine-week shoot that began last February. Lynn knew Jenn and Sara, 26, a loan manager who's called the "party girl. " Tina - a divorced mother of three children (ages 10, 15 and 17) and the book club's hostess - was already friends with Jamie and Cris, a 39-year-old animal trainer. "It's a nice cross section of really close friends, friends of friends, neighbors. It's an Continue Reading