The Seltzer man

August 24, 2010 3:01:52 PM PDT
Walter Backerman is the son of a a seltzer man.

His father was also the son of a seltzer man, but back in 1919, grandpa Backerman delivered with a horse and wagon. Al Backerman upgraded to a truck, which Walter upgraded. to a van.

"Have van will travel," he said.

One hundred years ago, there were hundreds of guys doing this, but now, it's just Walter and a few others.

"Fortunately people still want what I have," he said.

What he has is carbonated New York City tap water, also known as seltzer. Something Paul Rosenthal has a thirst for.

"The glass bottle makes a big difference. The amount of pressure in there. The bubbles Big difference," he said.

So Rosenthal depends on these bi-monthly deliveries.

I've been getting this for 30 years and it's what I drink everyday," he said.

A case sells for 35 bucks or $3.50 a bottle.

"The fact is I do work and I know a lot of people out of work. Never been affected in any means by the recession," Backerman said.

They crave their bubbles and enjoy sprtizing and swigging a little history, straight up or in an egg cream.

"There's so much more behind a bottle of seltzer besides the taste. It evokes memories," Backerman said.

Speaking of bottles, Walter's got 7000 of them in his Queens basement.

"Because I can fix and fill and deliver the bottles. I imbue life in them," he said.

He stores his favorites in a curio case.

"It transcends time. It's an incredible thing besides it being an object to enjoy," Backerman explained.

They hold stories for Walters' own sons, a connection those who went before.

"It's almost like you're the last of the Mohicans. You're a survivor," he said. "I feel very fortunate to be wanted."

For more information about getting seltzer water delivered, e-mail or call 718-468-4047.