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.

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 Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Washington Post.



The place: Brooklyn

The venue: the Barclays Center.

The show: Jay-Z on the mic.

The kingpin: Cousin Brucie Ratner, owner of the Barclays Center.

Brucie isn’t  my cousin, and I don’t know Jay-Z’s music.  But I felt part of the Barclays Center’s grand opening.  I walked around the outside of the arena.

Furthermore, I occasionally play gigs for the Ratner family in Cleveland. The Ratner patriarch — Albert — likes “Oyfn Pripetchik” (At the Hearth).  Albert doesn’t even have to ask.

Bruce Ratner told the New York Times he used to be embarrassed he was a developer. He was an anti–war protestor back in the day, he told the Times.

Brucie is me x 1 billion dollars.

I was at a wedding in Brooklyn.  Beyoncé’s sister was there.  I sat across from Beyoncé’s marketing agent. (Jay-Z is married to Beyoncé.)

The music at the wedding was arena quality. A gospel singer from the Blind Boys of Alabama sang the ceremony. A doo-wop group did the cocktail hour.  An eight-piece New Orleans brass band walked  into the wedding through an industrial garage door and wailed for hours.

Where was I — other than two miles from Jay-Z?  I was in a former brass foundry, close to a toxic site, the Gowanus Canal.

I saw guys in Brooklyn Nets T-shirts.

My band, Yiddishe Cup, once played the Brooklyn Center for the Performing the Arts in Flatbush.  Not too cool, apparently.  (My band or Flatbush?)

I think the wedding venue was in Red Hook, a section of Brooklyn.  Not sure.  Maybe Carroll Gardens (another Brooklyn neighborhood).  I like to know where I am.

Boys, hit ’em with “Oyfn Prip.”  Cousin Brucie might drop by.  Just like back home.  (There is a Brooklyn, Ohio.)   Jay-Z in the house?   Strike up “Money, Cash, Hoes.”



I sat on a bench at Horseshoe Lake and read the Cleveland Jewish News.   I felt like Isaac Bashevis Singer with the Yiddish Forverts.  (Typical Singer opening: “While I was sitting on a park bench I noticed that my left shoelace was untied.”)

I had a letter to the editor in the CJN and wanted to make sure the paper got it right.

The park bench at Horseshoe Lake had a plaque: “In loving memory of Arthur Lipton. He played at Carnegie Hall.” My question: Did Arthur Lipton get paid, or was he in a youth orchestra? Did they — the orchestra — rent Carnegie Hall?

The CJN got my letter right.

The “wombs and tomb” section of the CJN is the crux of the paper: the births, bar mitzvahs, weddings and deaths. Deaths are always a good read. Who owned what business. Who fought in Japan. In the weddings, there is usually a U. of Michigan grad. Does every Jewish family in Cleveland have a Michigan connection? I skip the bar mitzvah and birth announcements; I’m too old for those, or not old enough.

On returning from the park, I saw a dog crapping on my front lawn. I paused at a distance, to see if the owner would clean up. She did.

Great day.

Snack time: I opened a new jar of peanut butter.

It was creamy! I bought creamy by mistake!

Heinen’s should be more distinctive with its labels:

My (future) park-bench epitaph: “Albert Stratton preferred crunchy peanut butter.”

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1 Mark Schilling { 11.21.12 at 10:59 am }

I saw the Blind Boys of Alabama outdoors in Atlanta last summer with my cousin and her husband, who runs an accounts receivable website and is worth me 10,000 times over. The Boys rocked the joint.

2 marc { 11.21.12 at 2:24 pm }

Do we value each other by our financial assets?

3 Bert Stratton { 11.21.12 at 4:06 pm }

To Marc:

No, we do not value each other by our financial assets. Just making lame metaphors about dough.

Happy Thanksgiving!

4 bill jones { 11.24.12 at 5:53 pm }

Try Trader Joe’s Crunchy Peanut Butter. As good as Heinen’s and way less money. Then again, you may value Heinen’s for various sundry reasons in which case go with your flow.

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