Astoria Characters: The Renaissance Man

The sunlight, streaming into the studio like a spotlight, focuses its beam upon a bright red chair. Empty, it’s sitting next to a couple of lutes and an electric guitar. Roman is from Kiev, Ukraine. Into this eclectic still life walks Roman Turovsky, carrying one painting. Then another. And another and another. The works are as dark and brooding as storm clouds. Melancholy, that’s what Roman calls them as he takes his seat to sit for his portrait. Where should we start? Perhaps with…

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Astoria Characters: The Master of the Art of Business

In Barbara Papantoniou’s office, there’s a domed stained-glass skylight in the center of the ceiling. Barbara is the owner of York Industrial. She designed and fabricated it during her recent renovation of York Industrial, the family commercial/industrial painting business she joined nearly 30 years ago. Three decades is a long time to work for one company, and after that much service, many people would have their minds on retirement. But not Barbara. She’s only 38. The mural…

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Astoria Characters: The Self-Made Woman

Standing solidly with her hands on her hips, Anita Del Greco surveys her garden. Anita’s from Orsogna, Italy. She notes the ripening fruit of the fig and peach trees, the big blooms of the hibiscus and the steady progress of the oregano, parsley and rosemary. Her little piece of paradise fills the empty lot next to the three-family house she owns. She bought the properties for $73,000, which, in 1976, was a considerable sum, especially for an unmarried working woman. The garden’s…

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Astoria Characters: The Woman Working Her Way Through Life

If you add up all the hours Kara McCurdy works each week, you hit the big 8-0. There are the 40 she puts in Mondays through Fridays as a New York City nanny, and there are the 40 she logs in while working on her weekend wedding photography business. Kara, an upbeat woman with baby-bouncy curls who was up until 2 a.m. editing photos of a happy couple, says her schedule isn’t as suicidal as it sounds. “The 2-year-old I’m a nanny for still takes three-hour naps every day,” she…

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Astoria Characters: The Pawfect Pet Pal

Eddie is eager to go for a walk. Jacqueline Rivera puts on his collar and grabs his leash. They’re off. Eddie bounds down the polished granite stairs of the fourth-floor walkup, allowing Jacqueline to follow him at a discrete distance. Eddie, a little dog with a big underbite, is from South Carolina. Seven and a half years ago, he was in a kill shelter when Jacqueline found him online and volunteered to foster him. She succumbed to the canine and his canines in only two days: It seemed…

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