Saturday afternoon, on the South steps of Union Square, a crowd gathered amid wreaths of carrot peelings and tiny cups of champagne for a memorial in honor of Joe Ades, the famous peeler salesman who passed away last Sunday.
Among the large group of friends and old customers that came to reminisce, pay their respects and peel away were Greenmarket founder Barry Benepe and Reverend Billy with the choir from The Church of Stop Shopping. “We feel in our bodies the echo of Joe's persuasion,” said The Reverend, amid a background chorus of "Oh what a peeler, Joe-ellujah." “He was a practitioner of a kind of abundance rhetoric, that a resurrection of our souls might take place as a result of the purchase of his peeler. I've seen people come over and buy a peeler because they weren't feeling so good that day.”
Also present were Ades' daughter Ruth and son David, who announced that their father had just received his U.S. Citizenship last Friday, fulfilling a lifelong dream. 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.” David, who had flown in this week from his home in Australia, closed the ceremony by saying “Thank you, New York, for falling in love with my dad.”