No ID, no sale

Confrontation“You got ID, sir?” the NYPD officer said.

The man in the brown tweed suit continued peeling a potato, oblivious to the scowling officer standing over him.

“Sir,” the officer repeated. “You got ID? You gotta have ID to sell here.”

The man continued talking in an English accent about the benefits of the peeler he was using to nude up the potato. It was as if the police officer was nowhere to be seen.

“Sir,’ the officer repeated. It was obvious he was irritated, but did not want to call attention to himself, to the interaction, especially not with all the other people around. It was a crisply sunny Saturday at the Union Square Greenmarket, and the place was crawling with foodies interesting in hearing the brown-suited man prattle on about the peeler.

“Sir, I need to see…”

Joseph AdesWithout a word, the brown-suited man reached next to him and pulled out his vendor license. Then my friend and I were past him and across the street.

“That was hilarious,” I said. “Did you see that?”

“See what?” she said, looking back over her shoulder. “Oh, that guy? I just figured he was another crazy person. They’re all over New York.”

Behind us, the English man continued his spiel about the peeler. I glanced back one last time and saw someone hand him a $5 bill. He took it and handed them a peeler in exchange, without even missing a beat in his sales pitch.

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11 Responses to “No ID, no sale”


  1. 1 steven December 3, 2007 at 8:43 am

    Mr. Ades is a tourist attraction in New York, shame on the cops for not knowing who he is!

  2. 2 kate smudges December 3, 2007 at 4:01 pm

    I bet he makes a good living selling these!

  3. 3 inadvertentgardener December 3, 2007 at 8:53 pm

    Steven, now that I’ve read more about him, I would have to agree — I can’t believe they didn’t know who he was!

    Kate, from what I’ve read, he has a Park Avenue apartment, purchased on the proceeds of the peelers!

  4. 4 chigiy December 4, 2007 at 12:36 am

    yeah,
    I can leave a comment without jumping through hoops.

    Is that guy in the brown suit really famous?
    Did he invent the peeler? Is he this weird Howard Hughs character of the vegetable world? That’s great. I love him. Does he have a website?

  5. 5 Katie December 4, 2007 at 3:56 pm

    I love it that he never missed a beat. A true professional! Must have been a new cop.

  6. 6 Jeanne December 5, 2007 at 12:35 pm

    This guy is outside my building at least once a week! My husband bought his product – he really gets a kick out of him.

  7. 7 Carolyn December 5, 2007 at 7:54 pm

    He’s very endearing and quite persuasive. We bought the peeler from him and it’s a great tool. Glad he knew how to handle New York’s finest.

  8. 8 inadvertentgardener December 5, 2007 at 11:37 pm

    Katie, that’s quite possible about the cop. From the number of commenters alone who know exactly who he is, I can’t believe the cops didn’t know, too!

    Jeanne, I’m glad to know you’re using the product — how cool!

    Carolyn, you know…if I see him on my next NYC trip, I’m buying the peeler. I mean, how could I not?

  9. 9 bloglily December 6, 2007 at 3:34 pm

    I want to go to New York! I want to buy a peeler from that guy. Ours is a piece of crap. I feel if I could have this one, so many things would just go better. If only he had a website.

  10. 10 Valerie December 6, 2007 at 6:15 pm

    I have seen that guy many times. He is a consummate professional. He is so entertaining that I have watched him while on dates with no objection from the guy. I am interested to find out that his peeler really works – he sells so well I don’t think it would matter. Last saw him near Union Square but that was last year; don’t know where he is performing now.

  11. 11 inadvertentgardener December 8, 2007 at 1:28 pm

    Bloglily, my peeler’s pretty good, but I’d still buy the one from this guy. I don’t think a web site would do the trick, honestly…I think the in-person experience is the key.

    Valerie, I’m determined to go find him again — he’s awesome!


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