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 New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post.



Harvey Pekar is buried in the most expensive section of Lake View Cemetery — in $6895-a-plot turf. He’s near the Wade Lagoon, not far from Eliot Ness and Alan Freed. It’s crowded around that lagoon. It’s ongepatshket.

There are less-crowded  — and cheaper — sections of the cemetery. Lake View has 111,000 dead people. There is room for 5,500 more. My wife, Alice, and I rode around in a golf cart looking for a plot. Alice found a tombstone with a clarinet on it. No, it was an oboe, I told her. John Mack was buried there. He had been the principal oboist in the Cleveland Orchestra. His son once jumped on my front porch for no apparent reason. I didn’t know the kid, so I called Oboe to complain. Oboe was listed as “John Oboe Mack” in the Cleveland Heights phone book. Mr. Mack made sure to mention right off he played in the Orchestra. When you say “Orchestra” around here, it’s like “Harvard.”

I don’t need a clarinet on my headstone. I checked out Park Synagogue’s cemetery — about $2,100 a plop. And very crowded, plus right across from a BP station. My cousin said she had unused plots at Hillcrest Cemetery, where my parents are buried. Hillcrest is a grassy field with a couple trees. They mow that place. No vertical headstones. I once put a tennis ball on my dad’s marker. The ball got eaten up by a machine. My cousin’s plots are from  1977, when her parents bought the slots. But her parents are buried in Kansas City. I don’t think they’re moving back. The plots were bought for $270 total. Now they’re worth $1500 each.

The plots are now mine. Transferred. My cousin gave me the OK. I paid Temple Emanu El (Cleveland), the cemetery overseer. Hey, I’m getting 1970s plots! I’m going into the ground with Greatest Generation folk — yidn who died in the 1980s. I’ll get some sleep. And if not, I’ll dig the swinging sounds of Benny Goodman.

I had a piece in Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal“I Should Never have Gotten Involved with the MOB.”

shareEmail this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on Twitter


1 Kenneth Goldberg { 11.27.19 at 9:49 am }

The symbols on Lillian’s monument include a treble clef with notes and a ballet dancer.

2 Bill Jones { 11.27.19 at 9:51 am }

FYI. You used two words in this weeks blog. Not sure whether you meant to or not. Works either way. One was Park Synagogues “$2100 a plop” Plot or plop?
Lastly same paragraph “…parents bought the slots…” Slots of plots. English offers so many options, I know.

3 TXCOMT { 12.04.19 at 4:31 pm }

Loved your piece in the Journal re: MOBs…as a middle-aged white guy considering a career change for real estate, it was perfectly timed. I thought commercial would be the way to go, but after reading your column, perhaps not. Anyway, keep up the good work!

4 Dave Rowe { 12.07.19 at 2:42 pm }

Wherever you end up the view’s gonna be the same.

Leave a Comment