Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Goodby to the Peeler Man

"Joe Ades demonstrating peeler," Chad Schneider, All rights reserved

Nice piece in the Times (with pic by Chad Schneider) today on Joe Ades, whose theatrical pitch & fast hands drew large crowds to watch him demonstrate vegetable peelers at the Union Square Greenmarket. I sometimes used to stop & watch on my afternoon walk from work to the subway. The guy was beyond street-selling patter; he was pure performance.

RIP, Mr. Peeler Man. (Thanks to Andrew Thielen).


Walter Dufresne said...

Joe Ades sold peelers at the corner of Joralemon and Court Streets in downtown Brooklyn for a couple of years, including last December. His pitch outside Starbucks was the second most remarkable thing I ever heard at that bustling corner.

The most remarkable was the snowy Valentine's Day wedding party from 2007, white stretch limousines parked alongside the Municipal Building: a young bridesmaid slugged the groom, the veiled bride slapped the maid and yelled for him to hit back, the best man in tails stepped in and exchanged punches with the groom, losing his top hat. The groomsmen yelled and grabbed at the bride and bridesmaids, who slapped and shouted. The bride jumped the best man's back and eight characters in formal wear tussled in the slush. Three cops converged on the shouting wedding party, the bride yelled at the groom, the groomsmen demanded revenge, the wedding party divided up between the two limousines. The bride's piercing voice insisted the groom wasn't going with her and yelled at him to get lost.

Minutes later as I boarded the crowded Number Four to Utica a young man in a tuxedo squeezed through the doors, tears streaming down his face.

Tim Connor said...

Walter, What an amazing story! I wonder why the bridesmaid smacked him? And then the best man went after the groom? Wow. Maybe the bridesmaid was his sister. It sounds like the fight was maybe a continuation of trouble that had been building up.What's your theory?

Walter Dufresne said...

No real theories here, only the lesson of seeing and hearing something that, at a glance, might be slapstick, and then clearly devolved into heartbreaking personal tragedy. By contrast, watching Joe and the crowds, hearing him speak, was pure pleasure, a gift of urban life. With Joe, I got to hear a voice descended from Elizabethan England.

Photographers know that wonderful thing about many great photographs: How they're so evocative they make us think hard -- and feel really strongly -- about what might've happened before or after that little time when the shutter opened. The wedding party reminded me of that: what happened? what happens next?