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.



I shopped at all the right stores and was somewhat stylish. But then, around ninth grade, I slipped up. I couldn’t keep up with the fads. A friend of my father was a rep for Farah pants. I liked Farah, but Farah wasn’t Lee and Lee wasn’t Levi’s. Farah was mostly the iridescent sharkskin look — the greaser look. I was not a greaser.

Greasers — at least at my school — clung to the Farah “Continental” greaser look for many years. “Collegiates” was  my crowd. Collegiates wore Lee jeans. Blue jeans weren’t permitted, but colored Lee jeans were. (Aside: greaser wasn’t a word when I was dealing with greasers. Greasers were “racks,” short for racketeers.)

I shopped at Cedar Center, at both Mister Jr. and Skall’s Men’s Wear. Ben Skall was dapper and ultimately became a state senator. I gave up white socks just so I could enter Skall’s. I bought black socks with gray rings around the top (Adler brand) at Skall’s. Cleveland Indians players Sam McDowell and Hawk Harrelson shopped at Skall’s.

I failed in fashion. I occasionally got “mocked out” at school for dressing wrong. I once wore a spread-collar shirt. That was strictly verboten. It had to be button down.

Wrong (L) / Right (R). Bert Stratton, early 1960s. junior high.

I also wore homemade clothes, such as a sweater my mom knitted. Homemade was also verboten, but a girl complimented me, so I kept wearing the sweater. The peak of my fashion phase was when I wore a shirt jac and light-blue denim pants. The shirt jac didn’t tuck in.

Sweaters, generally, weren’t my thing. Note: the alpaca sweater was the true Continental statement. Not for me. Alpaca was very itchy. A cashmere V-neck collegiate sweater suited me. I had a comfy one, the color was “summer wheat.”

I exited the fashion world about the time I started hanging out almost exclusively with grade-grubbing nerds. Tenth grade. (Nerds wasn’t a word yet. We were “dips,” probably short for dipshits.)

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1 Ken Goldberg { 09.20.23 at 10:20 am }

Uh, oh – this almost started me off about clothes in my high school year…. I WAS into the fashion world, but I didn’t know too much about it and really nothing compared with what I know in recent decades…. I’ll just say: I wonder if “racks” was a Brush thing; Lillian used to refer to certain kids with that term. “Mock” was big where I was and, unfortunately, I didn’t hear it in a positive way…. I particularly got into sweaters in 11th grade, and a big experience would be going Thurs. evening to a shopping center (like Pittsford Plaza), the evening when my Mother would super market shop after the coupons were in the “Democrat” on Thursdays, and buy a sweater. Sometimes I could wear it at the assemblies on Fridays (for seniors it was usually a “dress-up” occasion). I was always very aware almost all the boys on “Mr. Novak” (one of my favorite tv shows at the time) wore sweaters. I don’t know where they were supposed to be; I don’t recall snow but they did wear them sweaters….

2 Marc { 09.20.23 at 2:29 pm }

We had the mondo’s and collegiates when I was in
Junior High in the early 60’s. The Mondo’s wore black leather jackets and black shoes that came to a point.
Ironically Yeshiva boys where them today. The Mondo’s had greaser hair and would later become car mechanics etc. We had a friend who was a Lee rep. My Dad had the
army navy store that sold Lee blue jeans, jackets, etc.
In high school when hippy bacame the fashion I wore a
army navy field jacket to school. My math teacher teased me about it in front of the class. He was also the wrestling coach and went easy on the atheletes in class.
He later became mayor. He went easy on me because I was one of the 2 kids in class that did homework.

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