I, like everything else in New York City, am a transplant. I arrived in March of 2011, from Mexico via California where I was born and raised. I have called Brooklyn my home for over a year and a half now. It still feels exciting being here, still vibrant. In many ways I feel more at home here than anywhere in the world.
But living in the Big Apple, it’s apparent that many people want to leave. I tell a local I’m from California and a gleam of light flashes across their eyes, followed by the question, “Why New York?” The more fortunate city-folk enjoy regular getaways where they escape the bright lights, go somewhere they can spot a star or two in the night sky, where the air is less tinged by exhaust. It is not enough that I listen to music while zigzagging through city traffic on my bicycle or wear earplugs when sleeping at night. The city noise will cut through.
That’s why when I want to get away, somewhere more exotic, I’ll look at travel photos, paintings, motion pictures, or allow myself to be transported through literature. While I enjoy looking at all kinds of images, I especially like looking at calm scenes of nature. To borrow the words of New York Times columnist David Brooks, I enjoy “lush open grasses, with thickets of trees and bushes, a water source, diversity of vegetation including flowering and fruiting plants and an unimpeded view of the horizon in at least one direction.” I guess we all do.
Working at Rentini, I view photos of vacation properties and their environments on a daily basis. I am often filled with awe at what I imagine life is like where these homes reside. That was how I felt when I saw Bob and Bab’s Waterfall House.
Located in the Catskill Mountains, tucked next to Woodstock in the town of Palentine NY, the Waterfall House is beautiful on the inside while surrounded by majestic nature on the outside. There is a waterfall, of course, but also a swimming hole and lush greenery and flowers at every turn. The environs have been the source of poetry, paintings, and pilgrimages by well-to-do seeking out it’s beauty.
The owners of Waterfall House, Bob Malkan and Barbara (“Babs”) Kostas, have decorated their home in the charming style of a Dutch cottage – with fine art, antiques, and cool light painted walls. For them, as important as aesthetic earthiness and charm is comfort. Since they spend time there on occasion, they have cultivated a home that –if their guest book is any indication– has been the context of so many beautiful memories not only for each other, but for families, couples, and groups of friends.
Bob entered the vacation rental space to justify purchasing a charming second home on a whim. As a businessman, he wanted it not just because he liked it, but because it would be a good investment, for the pocket book but also for the life of the home.
Before entering into vacation rentals, Bob co-founded Think Big! stores, which specialized in “whimsical giant objects taken from everyday life”. Think BIG crayons, BIG toothbrushes, BIG pacifiers…BIG everything. To the surprise of many, Bob’s quirky vision was a success. One of his products was even featured in the blockbuster film Forrest Gump, starring Tom Hanks.
Bob and Bab’s penned a poem one day, inspired by their comfort of their waterfall home:
“Perched on the Edge of Time.
The Beauty and Serenity of a
Breathe Deeply, Freely.
Immerse Yourself in the Cool
Waters of Swimming Holes Etched
in Ancient Rock.
Relax, Refresh and Renew in this
Sunny and Bright, Charming
Victorian Home at the End of a
Quiet Country Road.”
What better way to get away than to visit Waterfall House?