Every few months on Saturday mornings, I hear this sort of irregular syncopated bell clanging outside my apartment. It sounds almost like a church bell, but it’s not. It’s the signature sound of Mike Pallotta’s green knife grinding truck coming up the block.
Pallotta has been sharpening New York’s knives for decades and has gained a loyal following in the process. While he apparently used to work the UWS, I now see him in Brooklyn most often. On Yelp he’s got straight five star reviews and he’s also known for doing house calls (718) 576-4669). Check out this video of him demonstrating how sharp he gets the knives.
In 2006, The Times published a profile of him and the obvious challenges of the business. Then, they estimated that there were a half dozen mobile knife sharpeners left in the city. Certainly less now. Is Pallotta the last mobile knife grinder in NYC? Maybe.
In New York it’s easy to lament change and get nostalgic for the past. Reminiscing with friends about old bars that have shut down and blocks that have changed is a frequent pastime. So it’s always refreshing to catch the rare glimpse of old-school New York. In this case, it sounds like a single church bell, but it’s not. It’s a quiet guy in a green truck coming to make your knives sharp as hell.