This life does take us to different places. Two years ago Flickr featured Joe Ades, “the gentleman carrot peeler”, who was one of New York’s landmark characters, selling $5 vegetable peelers in Union Square by day and sipping champagne at the Pierre’s by night.
The comments on Gothamist (the site for all things New York City) reveal that Joe was an important part of many people’s lives. The two videos there also showcase his masterful preparation of vegetables, and commenters uphold Joe’s own view that his peelers were the finest ever made.
Joe, however, was a proper Englishman in New York, to quote Sting’s song; moreover, he was a Mancunian in New York. At a glance, it even looks like he was a rather happy and well-off Mancunian. Although some thought he was faking the English accent to sell the peelers, this turns out to have belonged to him.
Joe Ades passed away earlier this February, thus oddly putting Manchester on the map as the birthplace of this much-missed New Yorker. There is apparently a Facebook group in memoriam Joe Ades. Somehow, though, the final words in Sting’s videoclip may well be an epitaph to this business-savvy and hard-working Mancunian expat: “My ambition… would be to meet everybody in the world before I die“. Selling his famous vegetable peelers all over The Big Apple, Joe Ades must have been doing just that…
Photo is courtesy of Flickr.com