round and round...

Thursday, February 05, 2009

$5 for each, madame, or 5 for $20 if you'd like

I used to see this man a lot. He sold vegetable peelers in Union Square on days when the Greenmarket was open. Last year I bought 5 of them ($5 each or 5 for $20) as stocking stuffers for my family. Sounds like a goofy gift, but these particular peelers are magic. You should see the things you can do with one of these peelers!

He gave demonstrations. His hands were rough and always a bit red, especially in the cold. He wore nice suits (always a suit) and called everyone "madame" and "sir". His classy British accent made his pitch all the more compelling. His voice was deep and strong and you couldn't help but stand and listen to him awhile, even on days when you weren't going to buy a peeler.

I dropped the peeler I bought for myself behind our sink a few months back and it's hopelessly lost. Last month I was passing through Union Square and the peeler man was there. I bought a replacement. He asked me to be careful with this one and then wished me good luck with the baby. It was a brief, kind exchange.

He passed away on Sunday. He was a fixture in my personal New York City. Every person has their own version of NYC, you know. The peeler man was always part of mine. He'll continue to be part of it. Every time I peel a potato or julienne a carrot (it juliennes!) I'll think of him. I already do that. Now I'll just add a knowing smile to my little routine and he'll live on in my personal NYC forever.

"This is not your average vegetable peeler, ladies and gentlemen, I assure you. You've not seen anything like this in your homegoods shops or your corner stores. This peeler is not your typical made in China waste of money that will break on you or become dull after one use. This peeler is Swiss-crafted from stainless steel that will never go dull or leave you disappointed." Now picture him saying all of that while he peeled a potato and made a carrot garnish on the board in front of him.

5 What people are saying:

Blogger Lynilu rambles...

Awww, sad ending stories tear me up. Those "characters" that make up a city (or a county)are special losses. My condolences. :')

2/05/2009 02:20:00 PM

Blogger Melissa rambles...

Lyn - Thanks. It's funny how sad the passing of someone you only knew in passing can make you. I'm sure this man never thought of me because he saw so many people every day. But, I thought of him and will remember him for a long time. That's a pretty cool thing.

2/06/2009 12:17:00 AM

Blogger Monogram Queen rambles...

May the dear man rest in peace. I love how he made such an impact on you.

2/06/2009 03:00:00 PM

Blogger Retro Girl rambles...

That's SO sad. It's nice to see a heart-felt sort-of-tribute paid to someone that some people might otherwise "not see" in their haste and rush every day. Reminds us to stop and make human connections with the people we meet in life.

You're so sweet. You will someday be remembered by someone just like this.

2/06/2009 05:31:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous rambles...

In honor of the peeler, though you would appreciate this article in Vanity Fair:

He was actually living pretty large!

3/27/2009 12:25:00 AM


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