“Mama Flan, Mama Flan, free samples!”

mama flan

Along with my most recent walk in Fort Tryon Park, today’s errand-running on Dyckman Street may become a favorite memory of the neighborhood. I was heading home, crossing Dyckman at Sherman, when I heard voices calling “Mama Flan, Mama Flan, free samples!” At first I didn’t believe my ears, since flan is one of my favorite desserts. I don’t think I’ve ever been offered a free flan sample out on the street before. But when I turned my head, I saw two young men sitting behind what looked like a flan stand. I walked up to them, and yes indeed, they were giving away free samples. One taste (or even the preceding hunch), and I knew that wouldn’t be enough, so I got a small flan, pictured above, to be savored and finished within the next two days.

This is the first time that I heard that sweet singsong here in Inwood/Washington Heights, the melody of people selling food and other goods outdoors, usually at a market, but sometimes just out on the street. It brings back memories I’m not sure I have–but sometimes those are the best because of their dreaminess. Whether or not the memories are of real things (and they may well be), the flan is real and delicious, and I may go back for more, if there’s time before I leave the country.

After turning the bend, I took a photo of Arden Street (my street for ten more days, but really six, since I’ll be at the ALSCW Conference for four of them). Fort Tryon Park is ahead, my building to the left, and Sherman Street behind. A little girl was skipping down the sidewalk, but she’s out of sight by now.

arden street


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