Saturday, November 15, 2008
Hard to believe, but roving knife-grinders still exist in New York, giving you the opportunity (if you've got a street-facing apartment and can hear the clangs) to gather your Wusthofs and hurry down to the street (probably giving your neighbors a fright in the elevator) and have them restored to their glittering, fresh-from-Williams-Sonoma state while u wait.
I always seem to miss Del Re when he makes his rounds. His truck appears on no particular schedule. He doesn't make appointments. According to a New York Times profile (of course, he'd have a New York Times profile): "I'm like the fisherman. He doesn't make an appointment with the fish."
His unfettered work life contrasts sharply with his former job as Wall Street commodities trader. The firm he was working for went bust in the 1987 crash and, to support his family on Staten Island, he bought a truck from his retiring uncle and gladly threw off his suit and commute and has been working without a dayplanner ever since.
His only advertising (isn't it refreshing?) are illustrations on his truck that look like they were painted by Grandma Moses, announcing that he services not just your knives, but your scissors, your hatchet, your ice skates, your lawnmower (lawnmower?)
Today, I was sorry to see him driving away, just when I was tempted to run up to the apartment and haul out my butcher block full of dullards. But later, trawling the web for info about him before writing this, I came across conflicting assessments of his work.
So, given the need for cuts these days (sorry), maybe instead I'll finally learn how to sharpen a knife myself.