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.



Yiddishe Cup played four Century Village retirement communities in Florida.  Each Century Village had a theater the size of a basketball arena. Other acts on the boards were Debby Boone, Dr. Ruth, Jack Jones, “Jim Bailey as Judy Garland,” Joel Grey, and Larry Storch, “the lovable Corporal Agarn from F-Troop.”  (This was in 2002.)

One cummerbund-popping emcee told us he had opened for the Righteous Brothers, and had done Las Vegas, the cruise ships, and been married nine times. He said, “Only Mickey Rooney has me beat.” His latest wife wouldn’t let him travel, so he sold Cadillacs during the day and emceed Century Village shows at night.  He told us two “inside” Century Village jokes:

What’s 25-feet long and smells like urine?

The conga line at Century Village.

century village conga line

What’s an 80-year-old man smell like?


The band wasn’t allowed to mingle with the audience after performances. That was a rule.  Another Century Village rule was do not walk off stage for an encore because the audience will leave and you won’t get an encore. Also, don’t take an intermission because the lines at the restroom will be so long the intermission will never end. Also, do not sell CDs.  Why not?

We broke some rules.

We never got asked back — and the crowd liked our comedy stuff!  I think they did.  I remember talking to a New York couple after the gig (violation of rule #1).  They liked us.

I would like to return to Florida, but it won’t happen unless I buy a condo at Century Village.

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1 Ted { 10.22.14 at 9:31 am }

Interesting how your parents’ generation was all about moving to Florida and your generation will have none of it. Why do you think that is?

2 Ken G. { 10.22.14 at 9:32 am }

That guy with the “old people” jokes doesn’t deserve to be performing there. We found most of the Sunday entertainers at Montefiore to be, let’s say, not of the highest quality, but they did interact with the residents and showed respect.
Is one of the criteria for getting into this community one has to be at least a century old? Do they take people past 120? Then Mrs. Mitchell of Mitchell’s Candies and some others I know might be interested.

3 Ken G. { 10.22.14 at 9:35 am }

P. S. My house is 88 years young, and I know yours is about that. They’re still kicking.

4 Irwin Weinberger { 10.22.14 at 9:53 am }

I have such great memories from that Florida tour. I still figure we have one more shot at it. What if we promise not to throw anymore televisions out the hotel window. Lol
Nice story Bert!

5 Ken G. { 10.22.14 at 11:35 am }

Ted – I never really thought about that but there’s truth in it. I don’t hear about older Jews, anyway, retiring in Florida. I can’t speak for all of Florida; I know Miami Beach is not what it was and certainly more diverse. There are still the Orthodox that vacation there, but once the biggest resorts went non-kosher except for Passover, it symbolized something. Then again, the Catskills are even farther from what they were, with the biggest, most impressive Jewish/kosher places gone for good. I imagine there are still a lot of Americans who retire to Florida or vacation there in their older years, and lots and lots of retirement communities. Something like Arizona. Also, the FL population is yet growing very fast. I’d assume there are many who go down there for jobs.

6 Bert Stratton { 10.22.14 at 2:38 pm }

To Ted:

I know some people going to Florida. But it’s not 100%, like in your grandparents’ generation. It’s about 50 percent. Major alternatives: North Carolina, Arizona.

Another thing, the baby boom generation doesn’t feel as rich, I don’t think, as the WWII guys. The WWII gen had some money and felt they were going to die around 70-75. Boomers think they’re going to go to 85, so they have to save more money for retirement. So more of them are staying put.

Just my take on middle-class-and-up retirement. I’m not referring to trailer parks, Cen Village with 20K condos. That’s a whole other scene.

P.S. Am still waiting for the 8K Boca Lago owes for when Julia, your grandmother, moved out, around 1998. “Golf membership” refund, to be allotted to former residents (or their heirs) via lottery between 2011 and 2019, I think. Who is moving into Boca Lago (Boca Raton) now? I bet it’s Latinos.

7 Marc { 10.22.14 at 2:55 pm }

My late sister-in-law and brother-in-law lived in Century Village. I never understood how they could by a unit so cheap.($30,000). That’s what it costs to rent in Brooklyn for a year! She was a snowbird.

8 Ken G. { 10.23.14 at 9:55 am }

Also, our generation of Clevelanders and younger are absolutely infatuated with the Cleveland winters. We never, ever want to travel anywhere in the winter, let alone move away and spend the entire year in a warmer climate. Our parents’ generation had different ideas, apparently.

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