Gothamist reports that a small memorial service was held for beloved NYC veggie peeler salesman Joe Ades on Saturday afternoon in Union Square.
As an answer to questions of how Joe’s legacy of unique salesmanship would be carried on, Ruth answered “My father always told me that my inheritance would be forty cartons of peelers, and it was. He left them all to me. I’m going to go home and practice on some potatoes, and then come out to his old spot on 17th and Union Square West and show all of you.”
His children also said that two days before he died, Joe received his US Citizenship.
Joe Ades, the gentleman vegetable peeler salesman familiar to all who roamed the streets of Manhattan, died on Sunday. He was 75.
Ms. Laurent said she sometimes went to look for him at the end of the day, but he would have packed up and left after selling out. She could tell where he had been. “He cleaned up really well,” she said, “but still there were these little shreds of carrots that said, ‘I was here.’”
Ades was such a fixture on the streets of New York that it never occurred to me that one day he might not be there. :( David Galbraith posted a tribute and correction to the Times piece.
None of this myth busting denigrates the fact that Ades was a charming and charismatic New York character. But if, in future, Ades is remembered as an aristocratic, fancy suited, upper-class English dandy that hawked vegetable peelers as an ironic hobby, that would be wrong and actually less interesting.
If you’ve spent any time at all walking around Manhattan, you’ve likely run across Joe Ades, the English gent hawking vegetable peelers at the top of his lungs on a bit of sidewalk. An occasional part of his current routine is a laminated copy of a profile of him that Vanity Fair published in May 2006. No surprise: Ades is a character.
Mayhew and the patterers might have been surprised at just how far Joe has taken this gent thing. At the end of each day he returns with his gear to a commodious three-bedroom apartment on Park Avenue, the home that he shares with his present wife, Estelle. (In spite of the polished ways of the patterers, their typical abode was the “vagrant hovel.”) Then it’s out again for an early dinner in a style unheard of in London Labour. Six nights a week, accompanied by Estelle, he hits some of the biggest-name restaurants in town-Elio’s, Jean Georges, Milos, Centolire. He never has trouble getting a table. In the soft light his hands glow pink from the half-hour hot-water-and-nailbrush treatment he performs as part of his evening toilette.
Update: Watch Ades in action on YouTube.