Last week I was walking down Woodhaven Boulevard along Saint John's Cemetery, and I came across a food truck selling Italian sausage heros.
Google Maps tells me that this is on the edge of Middle Village, but it's kind of Forest Hills and kind of Rego Park and maybe a little Glendale. In any case, there were a lot of guys (yes, all guys, mostly working class guys like plumbers) getting heros. I got one. It was good.
It's only now that I discover that D'Angelo's Sausage and Pepper Truck is actually pretty famous, serving those heros from the same spot for forty-three years. Victor Mimoni called it "The Peter Luger's of Sausage Wagons." I saw a hot dog truck a block north, and it's owned by the same family. D'Angelo's sausage was named one of the Best of New York by the Daily News in December.
The odd thing about it was that there was nowhere for me to eat my hero. It would have been really messy to eat standing up, but there were no benches. There was a bus stop a couple of blocks away, but it was only local buses, and nobody had used it. The trucks weren't all that close to the cemetery gates, and none of the guys went inside. Instead they walked to their cars and sat inside and ate. I was the only one who had arrived on foot.
I didn't have a car to sit in, so I kept walking. Eventually I came to a little triangle park and ate there, but I've been thinking about this place ever since. There is always a space for the D'Angelos to park their trucks. As you can see in the picture, there is no standing allowed overnight. I'm so used to people complaining about not being able to park that at first I was surprised to see so many spaces empty. Then I realized that these spaces are a long walk from anywhere.
This side of Saint John's cemetery is a half mile long. Woodhaven Boulevard is ten lanes wide here, and there is only one crosswalk in the whole stretch. There's really nothing much interesting on the east side of the boulevard in this section either: a bunch of gas stations and car washes, and single-family houses behind them. In other words, only a handful of people live or work within walking distance. Hence, nobody cares if the parking spaces sit empty all night, and all of D'Angelo's customers drive.
It all adds up to a strange little island off the coast of the cemetery, a place that nobody walks to. People drive there, walk to the sausage truck, eat in their cars and drive away.