Thursday, November 29, 2007

Day 117 - Briney! Preserving local manufacturing.

Hundreds of jars, mint leaf waiting quietly at the bottom, ready to receive champagne vinegar spears...

As many of you know, I have, over the past year, joined Jon Orren of Wheelhouse Pickles on occasion for an evening of slow, artisanal foodmaking. He makes fantastic pickles. I have gotten to slice pears for his tangy, slightly sweet Irma's Pears, to quarter cucumbers for his champagne vinegar spears, and to roast and peel with my hands a couple hundred pounds of beets. He also makes peppers, wax beans okra and, occasionally, turnips. His "whim" line includes some of his most fun experiments including very, very fresh horseradish and, most recently, a chutney made with Red Hook's own Six Points Ale.

Jon makes his pickles at the Artisan Baking Center's kitchen incubator for nascent food businesses. For a nightly rental fee, Jon gets to use ABC's industrially equipped kitchen after hours for a night or two a week. This saves his young, growing business the cost of leasing a space that he isn't yet big enough to use fully. It also saves him the cost of buying a lot of equipment. For the challenge of not always having exactly what he needs at hand in the kitchen, he is saving himself a lot of money. More to the point, since he might not have been able to raise the kind of money needed to buy all that space and equipment, ABC has allowed him be in business when he otherwise might not have been able to thrive.

While I was at the Mayor's Office for Industrial & Manufacturing Businesses, we commissioned a study by the New York Industrial Retention Network and the Fiscal Policy Institute--More Than A Link In The Food Chain--to explore how to take advantage of New York's already vibrant food manufacturing sector and make it even more so. One key recommendation is to find more large, industrial or institutional kitchens that, with some effort at programming, can be turned into incubators for New York's food entrepreneurs--many of whom are immigrants and women.

On the nights I've worked with Jon and his team, we've been side-by-side with an organic, small-batch granola maker, an organic dog treat maker (better ingredients than are likely to be in your typical ham, egg & cheese sandwich at your local bodega), a high-end fat-free dessert maker, and another who serves exclusively airlines traveling between New York City and east Asia. And that's one night a week. It's open all seven for similar businesses.

Access to affordable space that allows for manufacturers to craft products that are locally demanded and supplied, and which take advantage of its talented pool of skilled labor, is the single biggest challenge for many businesses anxious to set up shop in New York City. Many of the City's most successful industrial areas have vacancy rates, conservatively, below 5% with waiting lists for spaces that are becoming more and more expensive as the specter of rezonings and the allowance of non-manufacturing uses bids up rent levels. A land use policy that incorporates a balanced approach to mixing uses (scroll down)--light industrial activities like pickle making and appropriate densities of residential units--could help ensure that these jobs and activities remain in New York City. And in a town that is more than two-thirds foreign born, having good paying jobs that provide opportunities for folks with limited education and English proficiency--not to mention a much more interesting urban landscape--couldn't be more important.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Day 115 - Hena Coffee Roasters

I spent a pretty spectacular 3 hours today with Lanie Tauber, one of the duo of brothers running Hena Coffee Roasters out in very industrial East New York. They are the third generation of coffee roasters in their family. Their grandfather Harry H. Wolfe was a roaster for then-ubiquitous Martinson before setting up his own shop with his son. Harry H. Wolfe & Son was a roasting house that worked under contract to other coffee companies, commissioned to render the art that is roasting their coffees for their labels.

Cutting out a lot of details (for a change), Hena is the latest incarnation of the family's coffee roasting heritage. Lanie and brother Scott operate in the specialty coffee market--higher end products for fancy restaurants and gourmet shops.

I'm a fairly recent coffee drinker, so I assume almost everyone else in the world knows more about coffee than I do. But Lanie was gracious enough to give me a crash course in the art of buying, blending and roasting proprietary combinations of coffee that give each roasting company their signature tastes and characters. I learned the spectrum of roasts from lighter American City roasts, through Vienna roast, French roast and, finally, Italian roast. All the same coffee--just a matter of how long it's in the roaster. And the difference between the different roasters can be a matter of seconds in small batches. That's part of the art, too.

Lanie and I mixed together a few handfuls of green coffee beans from Kenya, Uganda, Guatemala and Columbia and then tossed them into his vintage Jabez Burns & Sons sample roaster. This is an ingeniously efficient machine that is--for nerds like me--perhaps more of a highlight to witness than the magic of roasting coffee itself. Gas jets are lit beneath a pair of small rotating drums that, to me, evoke clothes dryers except each is about he size of, well, a can of coffee on its side.

A small amount of our green beens are funneled into the roasters where they are kept in constant motion above the flame. Bafflers line the drum to ensure the beans flip and are not just running along the smooth sides of the drum. With only 1/4 lb of beans in the roaster, it doesn't take more than a few minutes for roasting to begin. Lanie likes to say coffee is a food. And as he talked I went a step further and thought of it as wine. The terms used for the aromas that are released at different points of the roasting are widely discussed at coffee samplings. Like wine, the terms seem to be as precise as they are subjective. Smelling the grassy, earthy bouquet of coffee beans taking on heat and just beginning to give off some aroma was straightforward enough. But when I went a step further and said I thought I detected a nuttiness, I got a frown from Lanie who explained that that would bad. He smelled it and detected no nuttiness. What do I know?

Over the next 3 or so minutes, the beans quickly moved through the American family of roasting shades and into the espresso family: Vienna, then French, then Italian. Lanie took a scoop out every few seconds not so much for him to check progress (he can do this blindfolded) than to show me how quickly the beans progress through stages. Different oils come to the surface at different temperatures, producing a popping sound at two distinct points along the way. He'd put the scoop beneath my nose, I'd inhale and immediately recognize lovely, familiar notes which, when I offered them aloud, caused Lanie to furrow his brow again in worry, check it himself and gently correct me. (This is why, while fascinated by and a lover of good food, I'll never be a proper foodie. Secretly, I want to be. But I'll never know how.)

A few seconds more and we dumped the hot beans into the trough in front of the roasting drum which quickly passes cool air over them to arrest the roasting process. If this wasn't done, they'd continue to cook. Another minute and we ground our VERY fresh coffee. We placed a tablespoon into some sampling cups and poured boiling water on top and let it steep.

Who samples coffee? While they can be retail events in the way that wine tastings have become, they don't seem to have caught on. Most roasting houses have sampling rooms in order to test the quality and characteristics of the green coffee beans they're purchasing from growers and brokers. Wholesale customers can also arrange to come and taste different blends and products.

After a minute or two of steeping, each cup developed a crust of oils on top called the crema. This is key. The best time to smell brewed coffee's aroma is as soon as that crema is broken with a spoon. That is the point at which they are the most concentrated. After that, sampling would proceed with several coffees of different blends or different roasts, or both. A spoon is used to take a sample, it is slurped into the mouth to aspirate it, and then sloshed around all parts of the tongue and palate to trigger all of the taste sensors. And then there is a big old spittoon-like vessel into which it is to be spat, not swallowed.

UPDATE
It turns out that you can roast coffee at home either in a hot-air popcorn popper or in a good pan on a medium-high heat on the stove. My friends and I did the latter to great effect this past weekend with a bunch of green coffee beans Lanie was kind enough to send me away with. I'm now a convert!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Day 107 - Hang Gliding School


For much of the last 10 years, I've been spending Thanksgivings with family in a decidedly non-NYC way: on the Outer Banks. In the wonders of modern family, I have the benefit of a dozen or so step-aunts and -cousins to carouse with for several days each year on a wind-whipped beach during a season when it might be 75 degrees or 35. While it is decidedly a destination and resort area, there is a great deal of history along this 100-mile strip of barrier island. And when not in the high season, it's a lovely place to spend a few days exploring in addition to relaxing.

Most people will undoubtedly know the Outer Banks as the site of humans' first heavier-than-air flight. On December 17, 1903, the Wright Brothers succeeded in powered flight from a natural sand dune in the village of Kill Devil Hills. News of their success was transmitted from the telegraph station in nearby Kitty Hawk, forever linking--erroneously--that community's name in millions of school children's minds with the actual event.

A wonderful Art Deco granite monument was erected atop the dune in 1927 to commemorate the event. Only problem? As sand dunes tend to do when nature is interrupted, they slowly migrate in the direction of prevailing winds. The smaller granite markers that were placed in the ground to show the distance of three successive flights are now much further away from the apex of the dune than they were 104 years ago. In the quarter century between the inaugural flight and the dedication of the memorial, the dune had migrated south more than 100 yards. It was stabilized, to some degree, with vegetation when the monument was erected. Nature will, undoubtedly, have her way at some point.

A little further south in Nags Head, the same dune system continues as part of Jockey's Ridge State Park. After years of passing it by on the highway and ignoring the sign "HANG GLIDING SCHOOL," I could wait no longer. I signed up for a lesson which included five "accompanied" flights. You fly solo (there are tandem flights from higher altitudes) but are tethered to a couple of instructors running along on the ground with long nylon cables that don't let you get much more than 40' off the ground--at least until you've had a few lessons.


It was both easier than I would have thought and trickier to actually manipulate the glider. My first flight landed me face-first in the sand and I have a great big bruise on my thigh as a war wound. But the next four flights went really well. I got high enough to be able to steer a bit. It was exhilarating! This is not normally the type of things I'd do, but I'm really, really glad I did. Notice any similarities?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Day 102 - The Last of the World's Fair


I was fortunate enough to be a guest at the Long Island City Business Development Corporation's annual luncheon today. It was held at Terrace on the Park in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. This was a noteworthy event for me. Yes, I was pleased to have been invited by LICBDC. But there was something else. This was the only relic of any import remaining from the 1964/65 World's Fair that I had not been in.

In its current incarnation, Terrace in the Park is an event space and catering hall--with panoramic views of that glorious borough that is Queens. But the structure is also the former Port Authority Pavilion from the Fair. From outside, it looks vaguely like one of the Space Invaders (second row from the bottom, I'd say) in the futuristic style of the fair and of the day. But there is reason for the high-top, flat-top look. It was the Fair's heliport. Helicopters ferrying the city's business titans (and Port Authority executives, no doubt) to and from the fair would alight and take off from here.

Despite still being open to the public--Terrace on the Park is the scene of an endless parade of retiring city officials' sendups and a not insignificant number of my friends' and colleagues' weddings--I somehow had not been in there yet. (I have even been able to climb to the top of the nearby off-limits NYS Pavilion--what most folks think of as the flying saucers or the things from Men In Black.) Other than scaling the outside of the Unisphere, I think I've conquered the Fair's main extant sites now.

Many thanks to LICBDC for the opportunity!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Day 101 - Midtown Modernism to Manganaro's


Had some time to kill today between a talk at the MAS and a food meeting at the Cornell Cooperative Extension on 34th Street. So I headed to B&H Photo on foot to get a new mic stand. This hazy late morning was perhaps the last mild day before the bitterness of autumn finally settles in on the City. I love the seasons--every one of them--but there is a bit of cruelty to offering a snap of springtime when it is likely to be followed immediately by autumn in earnest. Like an aperitif at the end of a meal.

As I wandered westward in the fifties past the Rockefeller tree enshrouded in scaffolding--like every other new or newly gussied edifice in the city these days--the monoliths of modernism along 6th Avenue yielded to lower-slung old taxpayers lining 8th and 9th Avenues. They're filled with modest businesses along the street that, in the old days, helped to subsidize the residential apartments in the 3 or 4 floors above. But they're all leaving. Ground floor shops and watering holes of long standing if questionable quality are closing up as their leases end and the buildings' owners realize the value that can be unlocked beneath their stately, if soot-smudged, brick facades. These are buildings from turn of the century New York when stone masons arrived by the hodful in steerage from Italy to erect handsomely clad buildings with decorative window lintels and pressed-tin-covered parapets that, on my of these old-timers, still cling to the top edges.

But now their time is past. Entrepreneurs rarely own, develop and run a business--or a building--on a single lot anymore. Aside from the odd sliver building that bucks this trend (see picture) most of these properties are being emptied, sold, and assembled by developers who are aggregating air rights and awaiting (or presaging) the transformation of the far west side. The most recent casualty close enough to me in my extended family of neighborhood joints for me to mourn a bit was the Collins Bar on the east side of 8th Ave, just north of 46th. Don't misunderstand: while this was a relatively young concern--less than 10 years--it was in a space that had all of the charms of a local gin mill for generations: darkness (true darkness, not loungy, candleflicker dark); dankness; improbably narrow with barely enough space to edge your way behind barstool patrons to the small dumbbell nook of tables at the back; tall, pressed tin ceilings; and a popcorn maker. Despite the cajun spiced salt and the high-end beers, this was still pure localism.

A little further down, a few relics which have hung on so long they're in danger of becoming, first, campy and, eventually, a kitschy throwback to yesteryear: Manganaro's Grosseria. Click here to read about the longstanding feud between it and the neighboring, not quite related, Manganero's Heroboy.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Day 98 - Urban Detective In Training

I spent this chilly autumn morning with my buddy James (above) who was interested in becoming an Urban Detective Trainee. We met a group of other UDTs beneath the arch in Washington Square. There, the Municipal Art Society was hosting a tour geared at teaching young people about Jane Jacobs and her virtuous life in her neighborhood.

Before we set out we were given a map of the park and ambled around as a group looking at where people were gathered in the park and what they were doing. Some folks were playing with their dogs in the dog walk. One group was taking a tour, just like us, but not with as many young people. Some people were just sitting and talking on the benches (even though it was so cold!) and a lot of people were using the bathroom to wash themselves. (It turns out we learned some people live in the park.) Afterward, we came back as a group and completed two exercises. We filled out a grid with what things we thought a good park should have in it and, then, did the same thing for a good neighborhood. Here's some of what James came up with:

in a Park:
  • bathroom
  • flagpole
  • paths
  • dog area and dog fountain
  • people fountain
  • trash cans & ashtrays (so people don't throw cigarettes on the ground)
  • trees
  • benches
  • good lighting
  • play grounds

and in a Neighborhood:
  • a school
  • card store
  • arcade (didn't know kids James age knew what these were!)
  • entertainment
  • bowling
  • museum
  • clean stores
  • food store
  • theatre
  • subway station
  • firehouse
  • police station
  • army (oy...)
Good lists!

Then we set out with our guide from MAS and began walking around the neighborhood outside of the park to see some other strands of the urban fabric. We walked up to Washington Mews to see a quiet little enclave in the busier, bustling city outside its gates. It's a lovely space, a gem of a row of residences in old carriage houses. James and I saw something really cool: a tree or vine that had grown through the iron gates in front of one of the doors. We wondered how long the people had been stuck inside! And I was tickled that, incredibly, I had not been here myself, yet. But I wasn't sure this is what I wanted to show off to young Urban Detectives in Training as ideal urban living. (Though I was pleased that we got to go behind a gate and poke around in a place that otherwise seemed off-limits. Learning similarly at a young age has led to many, many years of me poking around in places I shouldn't have been. Including some subway tunnels. Sorry James' mom!)

We learned that the apartment buildings across the street at 2 Fifth Avenue has a fountain in its lobby that supposedly liberates water from the hidden watercourse below ground that used to be Minetta Brook and is now covered (UDTs take note!) by all of the streets and buildings and parks and trees-growing-through-doors that people have all built in New York in the last 400 years.

Unfortunately, after that the tour got a little boring. There was a lot of interesting adult stuff being talked about, but not so much for younger folks. Plus it was cold. We decided we'd head off to a bookstore a few blocks away to warm up and wait for James' mom. (Oh, and pore over Japanese graphic novels--James had a lot to teach me!)

On the way we thought we'd make the most of the rest of our times outdoors to polish our Urban Detective skills. (I always like to keep mine sharp as an Adult Urban Detective.) We saw some really cool things. First of all, walking back through the park we saw what must have been a discarded piece of fruit on the cobblestones beneath the arch that looked suspiciously like phosphorescent alien brain.

Then, just because we happened to be looking up in the air, we found what must have been the vestiges of an old tree house! There, about part-way up a tree in the park was--a mailbox! What a strange, fun thing to see!

Given the style of the mailbox, I think we assumed it was from the late-Levittown Suburban era, possibly early McMansion period. It was particularly odd to see an example of that style kitty-corner from the Federal style just a few yards away along Washington Sq. North.

I've been on a manhole cover kick lately and spending a lot of time paying close attention to the markings on steel castings that are either covers or sewer grates. (The Times scooped my story idea which I am in the middle of researching--about why so many of them are made in India now. Dispiriting, I tell you...) But this cover was one that I hadn't seen before. My guess is you won't find too many of them around the City. Note James' feet added in order to appreciate the scale...


Then it was time to learn about terra cotta. On the southwest corner of Washington Square Park is a fancy-pants apartment building over whose brass and copper awning is some prettily-colored baked tiles framing the window lintels and encircling the faux columns beneath some of them. James was more interested in splashing in puddles by this point. And given the temperature (and now the wet feet) we decided we'd proceed directly to the bookstore with now more boring distractions below our feet or above our heads.

But I'm really sad James wasn't with me just a couple of hours later when, after I left him with his mom, I found the most curious discovery of the entire day. And it made me feel good. Like an angel--or at least someone with special powers--was looking over us, every single day, in this busy, hazard-riddled city of ours.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Day 95 - Lunch in a Loading Dock

My friend Dory took me out to lunch for my birthday. I was asked if I could meet her near her office in the Garment District and given the choice of a Japanese curry joint or falafel in a loading dock.

As if she had to ask.

Pick-A-Pita does a brisk business in the back of a loading dock that you get to from the north side of West 38th Street. It looks like it was built out from where the old mailroom in this old garment building was. Florescent light banks line the ceiling like an office. The Snapple refrigerator competes with space for the 4 or 5 tables on asbestos tiles. "Garish" is an apt word. "Perfect," too. Falafel was excellently spiced (not too much cumin) if a little overcooked for my taste. But the ample, endless sides and condiments make it an even bigger treat.

Walking back to the subway, we passed the curry joint Dory had also suggested. Go! Go! Curry is just a few doors down. The Japanese owner is described as an obsessive fan of #55 on the Yankees, Hideki Matsui. How much so? Consider the shop's hours of operation:

Friday, November 2, 2007

Days Afield: Day 88 - Lost Between Pizza, Ploughshares & Pitchers


The lure of a rental car that was one-third the price of a Manhattan rental was just one thing that drew me to Philadelphia on Halloween. In fact, it was just one-third of the lure. The other two-thirds? A pizza pie from Tacconelli's before setting off on a road trip to see family down south.

Tacconelli's is a neighborhood joint tucked into the ground floor of a rowhouse in a working class neighborhood lined with three-flats. A little further east, down a gentle slope, Sommerset Street passes under I-95 before it stub-ends onto the old port's piers which reach arthritically into the Delaware River. The waterfront is still lined with industrial concerns but few, if any, seem still to rely on the river for much other than buffering them from development. The modest brick and woodframe houses up on the hill were home for the Polish and Italian dockworkers. And based on who I saw and heard sitting out on front stairs in the straining daylight, patiently waiting for trick-or-treaters with candy supplies in hand, easily calling to neighbors on the next set of stairs or across the narrow street, they're the same folks. It's their kids' kids now scampering from stoop to stoop filling bags with goodies.

Tacconelli's is unpretentious: pizzeria meets red-sauce sit-down joint, only without anything but pizza. It's a few steps up from the sidewalk into a faux-paneled vestibule and then into a 1980s era dining room with booths beneath a drop ceiling. Along one wall is a soda fountain and ice chest with a plastic rolling cart holding paper cups and plastic lids. It reminds me a bit of what a finished basement would look like if you turned it into a pizzeria.

Despite (or maybe because of) the lack of pretension, Tacconelli's is sometimes hard to get into. But reservations are needed not so much to hold a seat as to reserve a dough. They make only enough dough each day as is needed for the number of pizzas folks have reserved. Reserve 3 doughs for your party of seven and decide you want just one more gorgeous tomato pie? Sorry. Unless, of course, someone before you committed the treasonable act of taking fewer pies than they reserved. The menu and website both admonish diners to take what they've ordered and warn them not expect an extra.

Belied by the d├ęcor are brick oven masterpieces of exceeding simplicity. Each pie, individually made, has some combination of the following: dough, oil, cheese, tomato sauce. A “white pie” will be just oil and cheese on the dough with salt, pepper and liberal handfuls of garlic. The tomato pie, probably my favorite with a few anchovies added, is sauce on dough done to perfection. There are a couple of other equally simple combinations—and the standard toppings. But few, if any, are needed.

The brick oven into which the current pizza maker slips his works of simple artistry into is do deep that his wooden spatula has a handle that is nearly 20 feet long--so long that when it's at rest just outside the mouth of the oven the tip-end rests on a standing roller ten feet behind him to keep it from snapping. When feeding the spatula in to the oven to slip a pie in or retrieve a perfectly crusty one from it, the roller supports the handle gliding along behind the oven master. It's a beautiful one-man pizza operation. Stop by for a pie (call ahead!) and ask them if you can peek into the kitchen. If it's not busy, they'll simply step aside and let you ogle the place for awhile. Heaven on earth—in Philadelphia.

* * *

Most of you know how tickled I am by maps. And gadgets. So it's with some curiosity that I haven't embraced the advent of GPS and, for instance, chosen a cell phone with one if only for plotting my bicycle rides. But I also don't use them when I'm driving. I dunno.. seems a little like cheating. I pride myself in being able to find my way around just about anywhere with an admittedly keen sense of direction and a good, old-fashioned paper map. But I have to say that I was mesmerized by my friend Lucinda's on-board navigation system while we were making our way around Philly and its environs. For a little while after dinner, I really thought that it might be fun to be navigating my cross-country journeys with a dash-mounted map instead of having to pull over and consult a bound volume to double-check a coordinate or confirm a missed turn.

But then the next morning I got lost in central PA. Not the first time, frankly, and I hope it’s not the last.

I was cruising west along the Pennsylvania Turnpike waiting for my exit for I-81 south. A combination of insufficient caffeine levels and a rather robust two-fer of Bryan Adams on the radio is the likely reason that I realized I was zooming past my exit only as it was happening, doing 70. But, being unemployed and on a vacation within my vacation, there was little I could do to justify being angry. After all, what was my rush? I’d simply get off at the next exit and get back on in the other direction and get back on track. Ten miles passed. Then 10 more. Despite my best efforts, I was getting annoyed. Mostly it was this: I had no idea how far it was until the next exit—and I didn’t have a paper map; I forgot to take my road atlas from home. A keen sense of direction is a gift (as well as a developable skill) I’m proud to have, but it’s only part of what makes a successful trekker. I didn’t know if the exit was in 5 more miles or 25 more miles. Then when you add on the distance back to 81, it’d be double that. Two-x, x being an unknown value. Luckily it was only 5 more.

I scooted off the turnpike and found a gas station with a set of maps. I snuck a perusal and put back on the rack. Rather than go all the way back I found a route that let me triangulate to I-81 from where I was now. It required wending through some small roads but it was mostly a straight shot. And, secretly, I was pleased to be off the highway and tooling around in a new place.

Penna. Route 997 twists southward from the Turnpike through the great, fertile Cumberland Valley. It passes through a few small farming villages that seem like period pieces—further reinforced by Amish and Mennonite farmers who were out tilling their maize stalks into the ground for the winter on sled-plows drawn by small teams of 2 or 3 horses. Route 997 eventually merges with old US Route 11—one of the original Federal highways from the 1920s that picks a route from north to south from the Canadian border to New Orleans, largely through the north-south valleys paralleling the ridges of the Appalachians. I-81 runs nearly parallel to it for hundreds of miles, taking advantage of the same geographic advantages US 11 does.

Through these parts, US 11 is known as Molly Pitcher Highway. It was the nickname given to a Pennsylvania woman reported to have fought in the Revolutionary War beside her husband. In late June of 1778 in searing 100-degree heat, the Battle of Monmouth took place on the Jersey shore as the Continental Army attacked the evacuating British troops as they tacked north from Freehold. Molly’s husband was manning a gun or cannon was either wounded or felled by the heat as nearly half of the fighting force was that hot day. She took up his position and began firing on the British without missing much of a beat.

Historians seem to differ on whether or not Molly Pitcher actually existed or was, rather, a folklore composite of many women who contributed in heroic ways to the war effort. Whether real or apocryphal, Molly is memorialized along this section of Route 11 here in south-central Pennsylvania. There is also a rest stop on the New Jersey Turnpike, closer to the site of the battle, named for her. One woman with better documented contributions of heroism—Margaret Corbin—took position at her mortally wounded husband’s cannon against the British at Fort Washington two Novembers earlier. She herself was apparently wounded by enemy fire and became, after much haranguing, a pensioned invalid soldier—as a woman. Corbin’s contribution is similarly commemorated near the former site Fort Washington, just south of the Cloisters, at Margaret Corbin Circle. God help me if I ever do something important enough to name a road or rest stop after me.

The things you can learn from getting lost.