Astoria Characters: The Driver of the Bright Blue Bus

The bright blue school bus lumbers down Ditmars Boulevard like an old elephant, treading slow and steady. Annalisa is the founder of The Blue Bus Project. When it reaches Astoria Park, it eases itself into an ample parking place by the water. The doors open, and the unconventional driver of this unconventional vehicle steps into the sunlight, smiling. Annalisa Iadicicco is an artist, and the bus is what she calls her “living and breathing mobile art gallery.” The blue bus is…

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Astoria Characters: The Guys Who Press for Success

A guy in a baseball cap, oversized eyeglasses and a perfectly trimmed red beard drops a dozen dress shirts on the counter of Whiz French Cleaners on 31st Avenue. Whiz French Cleaners is at 37-02 31st Ave. He’s a regular customer, and when Peter Tummolo steps up to help him, the bearded guy asks him about his SUV, which is parked outside the shop. “You and your brother have the same car,” he says as a looks at the grey Chevy Equinox. “You must really like it.” Peter started…

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Astoria Characters: The Brothers at Sac’s Place

At Sac’s Place, Domenico Sacramone is sipping a cup of coffee at the bar and going through last night’s receipts when his brother, Anthony, comes in. Domenico co-owns Sac’s Place. Anthony, who is older by a decade and shorter by a half foot, didn’t leave the Italian restaurant/bar they’ve owned for three decades until nearly 2 in the morning. It’s barely 10 a.m., which means that he’s only had a couple hours sleep. But it doesn’t matter. He’s glad to be here. Up…

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Astoria Characters: The Happy Household

At the entrance to the basement apartment, there’s a sign that proclaims, in all-capital letters, “LOVE LIVES HERE.” Katrina, Homer and Tiffany. And so do Tiffany Hopkins and Katrina Olson and their cats, 9-year-old Homer and 13-year-old Thursday. In this happy house, homemade biscuits are baking as Tiffany and Katrina set the breakfast table. Their careers keep them busy and sometimes apart, so they do everything together, including the cooking and baking. Homer, who, when…

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Astoria Characters: The Canine Crew

It’s play time! Miro, a 2-year-old Australian Shepherd/hound mix who has a dash of blue in one eye, can’t wait for his pals to arrive at the new dog run. He keeps looking up at his human: “Where are they? Are they here yet? Can I have a treat — or two or three — until they get here? Please, please, please?” Bandit, Miro and Raffi greet each other. Before many treat-less dog seconds pass, Bandit, a 2-year-old Siberian Husky with big blue eyes, barges in with his human…

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