Astoria Characters: The No-Sit Guy

To stay fit, you can’t sit. This is the mantra that Daniel Berrios lives by, body and soul. He doesn’t really have to worry, for as the owner and manager of Unlimited Body NY, he has a schedule that never lets him quit, much less sit. Right now, he’s taking down the punching bags and the exercise barres to get the space ready for the too-early-morning tai chi class. He’s also running back and forth to the front desk to check students in. This is only the beginning; later, he’ll…

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Astoria Characters: The Widow Who’s Starting Over

When Molly Gelb’s husband died early last year, she didn’t break down. She tore down. She removed nearly every wall in the living room and kitchen of their apartment, which also serves as the nerve center of their business, LL Overhead Garage Doors, so she could build herself up again. She also removed her wedding band, replacing it with the gold and onyx ring her soul mate always wore. “It’s my way of taking him with me wherever I go,” she says, looking at the oval stone…

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Astoria Characters: The Actress Going Through Stages

“I’ve been a ham since day one,” declares Mara Jill Herman. “I’ve always liked to be the center of attention.” What, you don’t believe her?   Mara makes a series of funny faces – she sticks out her tongue, she bulges her eyes out bug-like, she pouts and even tries to look like a mean girl. Then she reaches out for a street sign and makes it her dance partner, twirling around it like Gene Kelly in the musical . This is New York City; nobody notices. This is…

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Astoria Characters: The Little Young Lady Driving the Hummer

“I L-O-V-E life,” purrs Connie Arroyo. “Every day is a gift.” Smiling, she wraps herself in her white mink (it’s second-hand from Buffalo Exchange), slips her bare feet into a pair of white ankle boots with 3-inch heels and heads for her white Hummer. She’s 4-foot-10, and the Hummer’s 6-foot-5. It’s no contest: She conquers the behemoth, climbing behind the wheel like a mountaineer scaling Everest. “I’ve had a lot of practice,” she says. “And I know where…

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Astoria Characters: The Puppet Masters

There’s a lot going on. The pet rats, Softee and Gray Spot Star Sword, are climbing their cage. The children, 5-year-old Leif and 3-year-old Finn, are tucked into a corner hovering over a smartphone. The adults, Chad Williams and Lindsey “Z” Briggs, are playing with puppets. Z literally has her hands full with Grandma Ellie and Grandma Nancy, while Chad is armed with Mystery Max and Finn the Fox. The husband-and-wife duo make funny faces and say silly stuff. They’ve…

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