Joe Ades, New York City's "Peeler Man" dead at 75
February 3, 2009 6:55 AM Subscribe
posted by GilloD (45 comments total)
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, New York City's "Peeler Man"
is dead at the age of 75
If you lived in New York anytime in the last, oh, two decades and you frequented New York City's Union Square Greenmarket, you probably know Joe Ades. He was the guy almost hiding in the corners. He looked like a bit of a lunatic, peeling carrots in a polyester suit, sweating like a track star in the 80 degree summer heat. He'd shout and howl and you'd think, "How good can that vegetable peeler really be?" and almost as if on cue some passerby would note, "I have one and it's just like he advertises".
After watching that spiel 5 or 6 times, I finally got one of Joe Ades' mystery peelers. I have never owned a better kitchen tool in my whole life.
It is the king of peelers, it may as well be forged from Damascus Steel. It came with no identifying information, a little bit of magic in a brand saturated world. I had promised my mother I'd pick her up a peeler next time I ran into Joe- Now what?
He was the last of the real salesmen. An honest to god working man, a consummate showman and a living treasure of the city. The city is a less well off place without a man like Joe. In the low tide of the global economy, Joe has some good advice:
“I’ve sold things for far less than the peeler,” Joe says. “People say, ‘How can you make any money selling something for a dollar?’ You sell a lot, that’s how. There was a fellow in Trafalgar Square who sold packets of birdseed to the tourists. They were a shilling a packet—to feed the pigeons. He owned blocks of flats, so the story goes.”
Even if you've never heard of Joe, give the above few links a view. He is a captivating person, like someone out of a storybook. It'll be a nice way to spend the morning hours.