“I’m a very calm person…low key…I connect well with people.”
Morty Pertiz is a New Yorker through and through. But don’t let his thick accent fool you. Behind the distinct intonation and rhythm of a speech developed while growing up in the mean streets of New York lies a gentle soul. A soft spoken intellectual who remembers a life full of good times and great opportunities.
“I grew up in Jamaica, Queens. My father owned a newspaper stand on the street corner. He sold newspapers, candy….whatever you wanted. The weekends were always busy. People would go out to the theatre, pick up the papers and just hang out. It was a social thing back then. This was just before television became popular…I would sometimes help my father sell papers and hope none of the girls I knew from school would catch me working.”
Morty graduated from Jamaica High School and decided to further his education; eventually earning a degree in accounting by way of City College and Queens College. Morty enjoyed his life and career as a professional CPA and has no regrets about the career path he chose.
The life of a CPA for Morty started by working his way up through small firms to finally partnering with a major firm based in Manhattan. But no matter how big or small the account Morty always remained the same personable and charming person – ready to close the deal.
“I had a few staff members who were Indian. So when we would try and get clients from India I would order out from the local Indian restaurant and prepare a large meal for them while while they were in town. At that time I had a secretary who was an amateur belly dancer and we would arrange the tables and chairs in the conference room so she could have a stage….and she would dance while the clients ate. I was always able to ingratiate myself to the client….Being a CPA was a good life. I got to travel. My wife (Susan) and I went to Russia, Italy…she kept me company. I had it very good. ”
Susan was Morty’s second wife and the two traveled the world together and raised 3 children between them.
“The kids are very smart.” Morty boasts. “They are all very even tempered.”
Not only did Susan and Morty have three children to raise, eventually they would share custody of a building.
“We bought a 5 story building near Central Park. The building was unique in that it had a small yard with a high fence, so nobody could see in…We would have barbeques and parties out there. One time we rented the yard to a private party who wanted to use it to host an event. I was standing in the kitchen and I look at out at the party and notice about 30 naked women walking around. They picked our yard because of the high walls. I didn’t mind.”
When Morty wasn’t traveling with Susan or “looking in” on his property he always made time for his other love, sports.
“During the Yankee’s Spring training I would get seats next to the dugout and get to know the players. One time I was trying to get Joe DiMaggio’s autograph and my wife turns to me and says, ‘Are you infantile? Why do you want his autograph?’ She didn’t know who he was.” Morty shared with a smile. “I went in with some guys at work on season tickets to Madison Square Garden. One time we were at a game and I turned around in my seat and saw Donald Trump sitting a few rows back. I turned back around and thought to myself, wow!, I have better seats than Donald Trump…We had a good life.”
From selling newspapers on the street corner with his father to landing a partnership with a major CPA firm in Manhattan, Morty kept reassuring me that he has lived and continues to live a great life surrounded by positive memories, great friends, and family.
When I asked Morty if he, as an accountant, was ever put in a position in which he had to “work a little magic” for a client to hide some expenses, without hesitation he shared with me.
“If you came to me with a $30,000 yacht you needed me to take care of….I could make it go away.”
Morty may be soft spoken, but underneath it all he’s still a true New Yorker.
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