Sam Hodgson for The New York Times

Sam Hodgson for The New York Times

"Four years ago, Lucas Denton was shopping at the Scratchbread Bakery in Bedford-Stuyvesant when he noticed a large man, seemingly unfamiliar with that part of Brooklyn, gesticulating and speaking loudly on the sidewalk in what Mr. Denton described as “an Elven language.” His impulse was to welcome him to the neighborhood, he recounted recently, “and maybe calm him down a touch.” Mr. Denton, then in his late 20s, had developed an appreciation for fashion but food culture remained alien to him; so it signified nothing when the man said that his name was Claus Meyer."

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