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.



Merjeme Haxhiraj, a tenant, tried to get her rent reduced. She wrote, “Mr. Albert, I wish you will only rise the rent to $470/month.  I think you will fulfill my wish.”

She wrote this letter annually (changing only the dollar figure).  I knocked her rent down to $490 from $500 the last time.

Ms. Haxhiraj was Albanian, worked in a nursing home, and had cancer.

After 10 years, she said she was moving.  I couldn’t figure out where to.  New York? Albania?   Some place where I couldn’t find her, I bet.

She didn’t want to pay the final month’s rent.  She wrote, “I am leaving country and will not have forwarding address. Please keep the security deposit.”

Wait a minute, Ms. Haxhiraj, the tenant has to pay the final month’s rent! I knocked on her door and said, “We need the final month’s rent, Ms. Haxhiraj. That’s the rule.”  (I said Hacks-er-aj.  Totally wrong no doubt. Loved the x.)

“I am old woman.  I no work for three years.”  And don’t forget the cancer.

I walked through her apartment.  “OK, but don’t leave anything,” I said. “Take everything.” I pointed to the hangers in the closet. “Even the hangers.”

“Everything go,” she said.

“Not that it matters, but are you Christian or Muslim?” I asked.


I was curious.  That’s all.  I try to make my job as interesting as possible.

When Ms. Haxhiraj moved, she left a bed, five chairs, a sofa, handbags, four bags of garbage, many oranges, several chocolate bars and a lot of hangers.  No gym bag.  I needed a gym bag.

The little old lady from Albania, Albania . . .

I didn’t  get the chocolates.  The building manager beat me to them.

I got the hauler’s bill.

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