Astoria Characters: The Guy Who Loves Pi and Pizza Pie

“Not all pizza is created equal,” says Walid Idriss as he sprinkles flour on the countertop and places a roll of dough in the center. Walid is the owner of Macoletta. The crust may be a little thicker or thinner. The toppings may be arranged slightly differently. Or in the case of the one he’s making, the pie may not form a perfect circle. Macoletta, the pizzeria and beer/wine bar, is at 28-15 24th Ave. And that’s OK by him. In fact, it’s kind of the point. When Walid opened Macoletta,…

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Astoria Characters: The Bakers Who Are Sweet on Each Other

It is pouring down rain, but Michael Dellapolla, the owner of Gian Piero Bakery, doesn’t notice the deluge. Gian Piero is at 44-17 30th Ave. What he sees are the customers pouring in. Sure, he wishes the sun were out, but in the 23 years the bakery has been in business, he’s weathered far worse weather. He goes out to do some errands, leaving his wife, Anna, in charge. When he returns, the rain has eased and there’s a line outside his door. Michael and his family came to America when he was…

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Astoria Characters: Vinny and Suzy and the Harley

“Wanna go for a ride?” Suzy runs circles around the living room coffee table, yes, yes, YES! Vinny and Suzy get ready to ride. Satisfied with her enthusiastic answer, Vinny Ombres grabs his black leather vest and helmet and heads out the front door, Suzy prancing at his heels. As he takes the protective cover off his cherry red Harley Road Glide Ultra, Suzy sits patiently on the sidewalk. Suzy, who is named for Vinny’s grandmother, in her biker doggie basket. Once the bike is road ready,…

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Astoria Characters: The Smiler Behind Sorriso’s

Standing behind the shiny stainless-steel counter at Sorriso Italian Pork Store, Frank DePaola is all smiles. Frank came to America from Italy in 1966 when he was 9. His is a big, broad, toothy grin, the kind people break into when a photographer asks them to “Say cheese!” It’s a habit Frank can’t break: He’s been doing it all 60 years of his life, and he has practiced it on a daily basis since he opened Sorriso nearly 40 years ago. Sorriso Italian Pork Store is at 44-16 30th Ave. “I…

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Astoria Characters: Miss Edie of Broadway Dance Studio

As the little leotarded girls arrive for the 10 a.m. tap class at Broadway Dance Studio, Edie Bongiovi greets them at the front desk, a semicircular structure surrounded by pint-size four-legged stools. Miss Edie started tap lessons at Broadway Dance Studio when she was 3. Watching the parents helping the 2- and 3-year-olds put on their shiny black patent leather shoes, she smiles. This routine act brings back a lot of memories. Miss Edie, as her students call her, began dancing at Broadway when…

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