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Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Death of a Salesman, one of New York's best. Joe Ades.

Click to read obituary.
Joe Ades Obituary NY TIMES

I wrote the following article in November of this past year when I was fortunate to find Joe Ades preparing his craft of selling peelers outside my day job. I talked with him, learned a bit about him and am really happy I photographed and videotaped his entire pitch. He was a sales icon of the city streets for many years and he will be missed. I found out he passed on from an email that The New York Times sent me requesting a picture from my sight , however I didn't get the email until late last night and there were plenty of other photos on the net. This is a repost of my article in tribute to Mr. Ades who was what New York is all about. If you have not read it before, you will enjoy it, and if you have, enjoy it again. I'm glad I have a peeler from Joe, I will think of him often, just as I did the day before I found out he passed on while I peeled carrots with it. Life. Always playing tricks on us. My condolences to the Ades family.

From November 2008:

Joe Ades is an infamous moving landmark who traverses the city streets pitching his one product, a potato peeler. Yes, you heard me, a potato peeler. He refers to himself as a "grafter" and not a salesman, he pointed out to me that he learned his trade in impromptu markets over in England where people would be hawking their own items like shoelaces to cough medicine. There is a reason he sits down which is how all the grafters did it in England he says because you can have a crowd around you and by passers can't see what's going on and therefore will be so curious that they will join the audience and watch Joe's brilliant performance.

He is 74 years old and this is him set up on Wall St Monday morning when I got to my day job. I spoke to him briefly as he ate his early lunch preparing for a busy day he told me. I then saw him later on my own lunch break and video taped this New York legend. He is supercool and does what he does better than anyone I've ever seen pitch a product on the streets of New York. Joe lives on Park Avenue and frequents The Hotel Pierre bar where he is known to polish off bottles of Veuve Cliquot champagne along with the regulars who know him very well there as I learned later. Read on, check out his work and enjoy the videos I took of him on my lunch break.

As you can see he decided to turn around and face Trinity Church when I returned on my lunch.

This is the bucketful of the product he sells, Star peeler.

He also shows off on his cart all the notoriety he has gotten in the past from Vanity Fair, The Daily News and the New York Post and others. Surely my article will be on there as well if Joe wants to make even more money.
Definitely a slice of the action, he just sits there and creates a buzz. Wherever he goes.
Joe on the Post.
More media publicity.
The Perfect Pitch man begins his routine, no one around, he just starts talking and showing how the peeler works and slowly people stop and listen. Cool stuff.
Now he's getting them hooked.
Showing off his Iron Chef skills.
I wonder if he is a Guinness book candidate for most carrots peeled ever?
Hook....Line....and BUYER !!!! She looks quite happy with her purchase !!

In the following videos you can hear a guy trying to ask him about the books he sold ten years ago to which he ignores, stays professional and continues on, also in the second video which shows his full show. The bells of Trinity Church are ringing but Joe can drown them out with his passion for the peeler.

And yes indeed......The King had to buy a few too, thats my hand holding this AMAZING product that you know you want to have now.

So in closing, Joe Ades was a character that gave New York that special pulse and New York has certainly lost its pulse for a moment, but that's where new people like Mike Alaska The Drummer, Otis Houston The Black Cherokee, ALL my fellow NYC taxi bloggers, ALL my blog readers, New Yorkers, and I come in to bring the pulse back to a proper rhythm. Thanks for being a vein in the heart of the city pumping for so long Joe. It's the people who make up the arteries of this city to make it the great city it is, not greedy executives, unscrupulous politicians, billionaire socialites whose husband was pardoned by Clinton, lying brokers,crooked cops who shake down bars in Staten Island or the Mayor who pays them so little that they are driven to these acts of desperation and crime. Damn shame that it is.

Its us ....The People.

Joe worked hard, kept it simple and REAL.

Today Joe Ades, you are The King of New York, and one day I will help you peel some potatoes where you are in peace, as I will be one day too. Thanks for the memories Joe. Peace out peelers.