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.



Last week Ms. Seif, a tenant of mine, claimed she needed to move out because she’s allergic to the smell of Indian food, which was coming from the restaurant below her apartment. She is on the second floor, above the restaurant. Her text to me read: “I am allergic to the Indian restaurant spices. I keep smell it everywhere especially in the toilet.” She also said she went to her doctor, “and he asked me if I can leave my apartment.”

She phoned me:,“I’ve been stuck in bed for a month. It smells in the toilet.” She’s a foreigner and her English is bit peculiar.

I said, “There are a billion Indians in India and they’re not allergic. One-eighth of the world! You were aware there was a restaurant when you moved in. We have a good venting system here.”

Ms. Seif has been a tenant for only three months, and she has been late with her rent twice, and she tried to install a bidet herself and ruined the coupling, so the toilet leaked into the Indian restaurant.

Four years ago, when the Indian restaurant opened, I was concerned about possible odors coming from the restaurant. That’s why we have a good exhaust fan. Nobody else has complained so far. Just her.

How can you be allergic to a smell? Don’t you have to eat something to be allergic to something? Or at least have particles in the air, like hay fever. Strange: Indian spices make you sneeze and put you in bed for a month.

Ms. Seif is 27. I’m probably going to let her out of her lease, but she definitely is not getting her security deposit back, and I’ll try to get an extra month’s rent from her. She’s got nine months to go on her lease!

. . . A relative of hers just called. He said she is recently divorced and has a kid, and he feels sorry for her.

I just stopped by her apartment. She seems friendly enough. I said, “Ms. Seif, to change the subject, you sound like you have a Spanish accent but have an Arabic name.” I was hoping she was Lebanese from South America, so I could practice Spanish with her. She’s Egyptian.

 . . . She moved. She left the place “pristine,” says the on-site building manager. She left the bidet. Our new rental ad will read “toilet has bidet attachment.” Maybe that’ll help rent the apartment.

I didn’t get the extra month’s rent.

What smells?

Seif is a pseudonym.

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1 comment

1 Mark Schilling { 05.22.24 at 10:05 pm }

Given my experience in the Middle East (Turkey, Jordan, Dubai), I imagine that bazaars in Cairo are hardly odor-free zones. But your mouth-watering aroma is someone else’s stomach-turning stench. She has my (limited) sympathy.

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