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.



An employee showed a lot of butt cleft when he waxed floors, alienating some of the more fastidious tenants.

I hired a building manager who drove too often to Detroit. This was before cell phones. I couldn’t reach him half the time.

Another building manager grew up in Hough, back when that neighborhood was classy. Her family had boarded Nap Lajoie, the Hall of Fame baseball player. She said to me, “We had the elite in my neighborhood. No mongrels, like from PA.” Her husband was from PA.

There was a manager who rarely cleaned the building. A tenant taped a note up in the vestibule: “This building is a mess.” Other tenants added to the note: “Vacuum the halls” . . . “Take the tree down, Christmas is over!” . . . “Trim the shrubs.”

There was a building manager whose vacuum sweeper was always outside her door but she never vacuumed.

An employee threatened to kill me. He dated a tenant, a problem tenant — a transvestite prostitute. When I fired him, he said he would hunt me down. Luckily, he didn’t know his way around the East Side, where I live. (The East Side has curved streets.)

One employee regularly asked for loans because her husband took her money and blew it at the racetrack. He was a hard worker, but a gambler.

There was a building manager whose kids were thieves. One day I asked the manager where her son was, and she said, “He stepped out to shop.”

“Where to?”

“Marion.” The Marion (Ohio) Correctional Institution. When her son returned from Marion, he burglarized an apartment in the building.

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1 mg { 08.26.20 at 9:30 am }

This is deeply essentializing and transphobic language: “a problem tenant — a transvestite prostitute.” I hope you would be more sensitive, though I guess that wasn’t the point of this post.

2 David Korn { 08.26.20 at 9:44 am }

Nap Lajoie — gone but not forgotten.

3 Ken Goldberg { 08.26.20 at 11:00 pm }

What can one say, Bert? “You sure know how to pick ’em!”

4 Mark Schilling { 08.27.20 at 2:48 am }

Try “a problem tenant who happened to be a cross-dressing sex worker” and watch your hate mail (see above) drop to zero. Your call…

5 joel feuer { 09.02.20 at 9:30 am }

I remember one of your stories, from a few years ago, of a building superintendent whose wife insisted on vacuuming everyday, and your comment was “Who was I to object?”! Ha ha ha ha ha

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