Wednesday, February 4, 2009

RIP Joseph Ades -- The Man Who Made Selling Peelers An Art

Joseph Ades, the man who could sell anything -- but especially vegetable peelers -- died Sunday at the age of 75.

Born in England but with a voice that recalled Australia, Joseph Ades was a legend in New York City. He was featured in the Daily News, Vanity Fair and other publications which he displayed next to the little table where he sold vegetable peelers. The peelers flew out of his hands like magic.

The New York Times wrote a fitting obituary of this man who appeared to be many things to many people -- "The white-haired man with the British accent, the expensive European suits and shirts — the man selling the $5 peeler. For carrots. Or potatoes."

According to the Times, he was a regular at expensive East Side restaurants, where no one believed his answer to the “So what do you do?” question: “I sell potato peelers on the street.”

Gawker picked him as one of the grand eccentrics of New York; The New York Press said, "No finer peddler exists in New York."

Joseph Ades was a regular on Court Street in Downtown Brooklyn, and in front of the fountain at Brooklyn Borough Hall during the farmer's market.

McBrooklyn shot the above video of this amazing salesman at work on Court Street in July of 2007.

Now we wish we had one of the peelers. We just thought he'd always be there.

- Joseph Ades -- NYC's Most Successful Street Vendor -- In Brooklyn Now

Video Copyright 2007, 2008, 2009 MK Metz

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.


Anonymous said...

"Now we wish we had one of the peelers. We just thought he'd always be there."

I was thinking the same thing. What sad news.

I saw the story one of those 20/20 or Dateline NBC-type shows did on him, made me like him even more.

Katia said...

How very sad. I saw him the last time in the fall.
I, too, thought that he would forever
be part of downtown Brooklyn.
He will be missed.

JesseJack said...

I have a lot of vivid memories of this guy peeling carrots at a feverish pace on Court Street, orange ribbons of vegetable all around him. What a shame he is gone.

Stephanie said...

I was in NY last summer, and i took a great picture of him without knowing anything of him... Today, i've learned about him because this B&W picture will be the main one of my next photo exhibit in Vancouver... I've learned about his name and his death on the same day.. I'm just in shock... It was definitely my favorite picture.. (

Brouhaha said...

I loved watching this guy... Here's my video of him, taken in Union Square in 2007: