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.



Howard Metzenbaum was a big name in my father’s generation. Metzenbaum made millions in parking lots, and eventually became a U.S. senator. My father and Metzenbaum were born the same year, 1917, in Cleveland. My dad didn’t know Metzenbaum but enjoyed following his career.

Metzenbaum, in his later years, owned a condo at Three Village, the holy of holies for upscale living on East Side Cleveland. The building went up in 1978 near Cedar Road at I-271. The Three Village condo development was wooded and secluded. My parents lived nearby, at the Mark IV apartments (now called the Hamptons). My parents liked brand-new housing; they weren’t keen on used. Everything had to be shiny and new, maybe because they grew up in poverty.

Across from the Mark IV was Acacia on the Green — a step up, rent- and prestige-wise, from the Mark IV. Next to Acacia was Sherri Park, a step down. Across from Sherri Park was Point East, a step up from Acacia but down from Three Village. These buildings all went up in the 1970s and were popular with my parents’ generation.

three village

My parents never went inside Metzenbaum’s building. I did. I visited a rich friend who bought a condo in Three Village. Metzenbaum was long gone — dead as of 2008. The building’s buzzer directory read Maltz, Mandel, Ratner, Risman, Weinberger and Wuliger.

Maybe you have to be an old Cleveland Jew to appreciate that. If you’re not an old Cleveland Jew and have read this far, please explain why.

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1 Ari Davidow { 03.06.19 at 9:55 am }

I’m not old, and not from Cleveland, but I read the whole article. No useful explanation. Time on my hands, I guess.

2 Robert Wilkinson { 03.06.19 at 10:38 am }

I was looking for mention of Metzenbaum’s ownership of Sun Newspapers.

3 John Hilton { 03.06.19 at 10:48 am }

I’m always curious how people live …

4 Dr. Larry Ross { 03.06.19 at 11:12 am }

Uhh, Bert, I am an old Clevelander but not Jewish, and I read it. Well, my lawyer Fred Weisman lived at Three Village, and I used to go there all of the time for visits: he was one of the greatest men that ever lived, and he is succeeded by his son Mitchell who is also a great lawyer. You are as hilarious as ever, and I will never forget the garden party that you and Alice invited me to when I owned the Cleveland Heights Tennis Club! Maybe we can play at Cain Park, when someone shovels the snow off the courts???

5 Ken Goldberg { 03.06.19 at 12:57 pm }

You don’t mention the elephant in the room. The bldgs. you mention in the vicinity of Cedar and Richmond were and still are, to some degree, the most prestigious in Cleveland’s Jewish community as for highrises. They followed Shaker Towers, some buildings on Van Aken, and to some extent Waldorf Towers, The Chesterfield, Park Centre, Bratenahl Place, and Winton Place. I’m talking ca. 1950-late ’60s. I’ve recently been saying One University Circle has the potential for becoming half Jewish, and then six more luxury/upscale buildings are being planned for the Euclid/Chester/E. 107th vicinity.

6 joel { 03.06.19 at 3:19 pm }

I enjoy your work, which I first saw in WSJ, I believe. Very funny stories. I can identify with the ethnic names, but I’ve been explaining to my friends that you can’t identify people’s religion/heritage anymore with much accuracy due to popularity of inter-marriage and conversion. The days “Shapiro, Weinstein, Goldman” being immediate identifiers has gone….. Do these buildings have Shabbat elevators? (Serious question, that’s an important issue with buildings).

7 Bert Stratton { 03.06.19 at 4:02 pm }

Joel: No shabbat elevators. At least I don’t think so.

8 jmu { 03.06.19 at 5:41 pm }

Even worse, why would an old Gentile read that far? I guess I wanted to see if you mentioned Sun Newspapers. I thought you wouldn’t. I was right.

9 Ken Goldberg { 03.08.19 at 12:03 pm }

What is the WSJ, please?

10 Dave Rowe { 03.09.19 at 4:36 pm }

George Voinovich spent his final days in Collinwood, the relatively ritzy northeast section.

11 Wayne Walker { 04.06.22 at 7:05 pm }

I’ve been reading your articles in the WSJ and have enjoyed your writing. I’m an eastsider in Western Lake County. Keep up your entertaining work.

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