Real Music & Real Estate . . .

Yiddishe Cup’s bandleader, Bert Stratton, is Klezmer Guy.

He knows about the band biz and – check this out – the real estate biz too. So maybe he’s really Klezmer Landlord.

You may not care about the real estate biz. Hey, you may not care about the band biz. (See you.)

This is a blog with a gamy twist. It features tenants with snakes and skunks, and musicians with smoked fish in their pockets.

Stratton has written op-eds for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post.



I rented to a commercial photographer who moved out after 23 years and left a store full of manila folders, invoices, developing trays and chemicals.  Three dumpsters’ worth.  He shouldn’t have done that.  I had never hassled him about late fees.

Down the street, the Armed Forces Recruiting Center moved out after 40 years and left a punching bag, three couches, 27 chairs, a lot of  “Army of One” promotional material and a 1970s stereo system.  That wasn’t the half of it.

The good news: the government — unlike the photographer — paid for the clean-up.  Also, I got $75 for the Armed Forces sign on Craigslist.  (I thought the sign would go for more.)

Perfume bottle doubling as a pen holder

I’m sitting on about 3,000 perfume bottles.  I’m not totally sure they are perfume bottles.  Martha’s Beauty Salon left the bottles in the basement.  The bottles are packed in cartons with zone numbers on them, not zip codes. (Pre-1963.)

Every month I serve an eviction notice on a lawyer.   Every single month.  Then I file an eviction on him.

The lawyer rents a storefront office.  I pay the $85 eviction filing fee and get a court date.

The day before the court hearing, the lawyer pays the rent, including the legal fees.  Like clockwork.

Until he doesn’t.

At eviction court he said to me, “I’m broke.”  No tears, no dough.  “You’re in business.  You understand,” he said.  “I don’t have the money.  I’m moving out.”

He turned in the keys and cleaned the place.

He stole money from his clients.  He was disbarred in April and convicted of grand theft in June.  Sentencing is next month.

Note to the probation department: he left the store clean.


As my dad used to say . . .

Meaning: Pay the rent.  We aren’t a loan company.

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1 Jessica Schreiber { 08.10.11 at 11:30 am }

Good one, Bert. Nice use of irony.

2 emilie123 { 08.10.11 at 11:33 am }

You have quite interesting experiences that I find fascinating to read about. I like your writing style/ways of expression.

3 emilie123 { 08.10.11 at 12:05 pm }

When I lived in Manhattan, I overheard this one at the deli on 110th and Broadway when a customer asked the deli owner if he could pay for his purchases with a check. The owner replied, “Do you go to the bank and ask for salami?” :-)

4 Irwin Weinberger { 08.10.11 at 12:14 pm }

My son, Pierce, had some suggestions for turning those perfume bottles into a money-making venture. For example, how about vases, brandy glasses, maybe even goldfish bowls? Just look at the glass as half full.

5 Jane L. { 08.10.11 at 3:18 pm }

Hey, how about a contest asking people for ideas of how to use the perfume bottles? I bet you’ll get some crazy-assed answers.

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