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.



The storefront was vacant a couple years, and then suddenly two people wanted it. 1.) Jim, a tailor and dry cleaner  2.) Kim, who sold bridal gowns. Jim said he had 20 years experience running a dry cleaners down the street. The shop went out of business in the middle of the night. Twenty years was good, but closing in the middle of the night wasn’t. As for Kim, the bridal-gown woman, she was picky, like “this door isn’t secure” and “what’s with the stain in the ceiling?”

I said, “Stuff leaks. There are people living above.”

“How often does it leak?” she said.

“Maybe once a year. You should have insurance on your gowns.”

Jim, the dry cleaner, wanted month to month. And he wanted paint jobs — extra work. That was strange — the paint-job request. You need at least $10,000 to start a business, and Jim wanted odd jobs on the side? And what was with the month to month? “Month to month is common,” he said.

No, it’s not, not for commercial leases. I told him if he gave me a security deposit by Sunday, we’d do a  one-year lease. But he didn’t come up with the money. I called Kim. She wanted to look over the lease. I said, “Jim might want the store. I’m at the show-me-the-money phase.”

Jim needed more documents, whatever that meant. Kim said she’d be by at 3 p.m. with the money.

At noon, Ron, my maintenance guy, called and said there was a flood in the store. “Water is coming in from the ceiling. Two inches. Build an Ark. It’s just flooding like crazy.”

“Ron, she’s due in three hours. She won’t rent if she sees a flood. She’s picky. Make the ceiling white. I don’t care if you use toothpaste.”

“I can’t paint wet plaster.”

“Maybe I can get her to come tomorrow,” I said.

I got Kim to show at 8 a.m. the next morning, and she rented the place. (The leak was from a hole in the gutter in back, plus the downspout was out of alignment. We fixed all that.)

Kim rented for nine years. The dry cleaner, who knows what happened to him.

My latest essay in the Wall Street Journal is “My Dad Escaped Taxes, but Not Death.”

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1 comment

1 Seth B. Marks { 05.03.23 at 11:16 am }

This essay deserves a decent comment. Consider it done.

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