By Anessa Cohen

There are times when you experience unusual situations that leave you in wonder about just how different people’s lifestyles can be. Sometimes an event is so unique that it remains an unforgettable story.

Several years ago, I visited a woman living alone in a fourth-floor walk-up apartment in Israel. In Israel, most buildings have windows without screens, so when someone opens their window, there is nothing filtering what comes in and out of the room. Anyway, I walked into this woman’s apartment and was offered a seat in her living room where the window was wide open, with laundry hanging from different lines right below the ledge.

Opposite the sofa where I sat were two very large birdcages containing several parakeets along with large blocks of birdseed suspended within the cages. We had just started to relax and pass the time when a sparrow flew in the open window and, without any hesitation, flew directly for that block of birdseed within one of the cages. It grabbed some seed and hightailed it back out the window. My initial reaction was, “Wow, this is surreal!”

Just as I finished thinking that, another bird came flying into the house in the same manner, went right to the birdseed, grabbed a beak-full, and then circled back out the window. I was so shocked I just stared out the window, while the parakeets in the cages were chirping and squawking and jumping all over the cages, trying to peck at the birds as they flew in.

Next, a series of sparrows began flying in and out, performing the same routine. Meanwhile, the woman I was visiting was nonchalantly continuing our conversation without missing a beat. Finally, I could not contain myself and had to ask her what this was all about. Her answer was that the parakeets were jealous since she would regularly open the window so all the birds could fly in and out, and it was all wonderfully friendly and leibedik. I stood up, looked out the window down at her laundry, and then I suggested that she strongly consider hanging her laundry near a different window.

Well, my friends, this is not the end of the story, as unusual as it may seem. Recently, I made an appointment to visit a new client first thing one morning. She welcomed me at the door wearing a robe and a rimmed cloth hat and invited me into the kitchen to join her for a cup of coffee. As I entered the kitchen, there were two parakeets flying around the kitchen, perching at various places. I sat down and decided to tell her the story of my visit to this woman in Israel and what had transpired.

As I finished telling my story, she giggled a little and then said to me, “I can really relate to that. Every morning I put this robe on over my clothes and this old hat on my head so I can have breakfast with my birds. Then I just take them off and I’m basically clean before I leave for work.”

I sat there stunned. Not only had I never thought I would ever experience anything remotely close to what I had seen in that woman’s apartment in Israel, I had never thought I would encounter someone of the same mindset who thought she had found the solution for the side effects of having birds flying all over the place. My mind just kept thinking, “How can I delicately explain to her that although the robe protects her clothes, customers seeing her house are not going to be as sympathetic about how the birds affect everything else?”

I realized that, short of diapering the birds, there was really no perfect solution that a bird lover would consider, so I finally said to her, “Have you ever thought of disposable drop cloths that we can remove when we show your house?” Her answer was, “Hey, great idea, but forget the idea of disposable. I have plenty of old sheets, and I will leave them here, draped around the kitchen, and then throw them in the washing machine when I wash my old robe and old hat. That should solve the problem.”

I realized then and there that it was going to be a long day — and a long listing.

Anessa Cohen lives in Cedarhurst and is a licensed real-estate broker (Anessa V Cohen Realty) and a licensed N.Y.S. loan officer (FM Home Loans) with over 20 years of experience offering full-service residential, commercial, and management real-estate services as well as mortgage services. She can be reached at 516-569-5007 or via her website, Readers are encouraged to send questions or comments to


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