The Cryptic Undertaker

Hands folded reverently over his chest and eyes cast respectfully downward, John Hoey stands guard in the doorway of the O’Shea-Hoey Funeral Home like a linebacker ready to tackle the Grim Reaper. John’s family has been in the business of death since long before he was born, so this poker-face pose comes naturally. His father bought the Ditmars Boulevard funeral home, which laid its first body to rest in 1927, from the O’Shea family in 1967. John joined the business as a part-time John-of-all-errands when he was in high school. Photo by Nancy A. Ruhling John Hoey is the …

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The Yoga Guru

Dressed in her loose-fitting uniform, Hee Jung Jang goes to the head of the class and bows deeply. The dozen yoga students return her greeting then gather in a circle as Hee Jung leads them in warm-ups. Knees bent, they tap their abdomens 1,000 times to get the blood flowing then pace themselves for the intestinal exercises. At her direction, they move their abdomens in and out. It sounds easy, but it’s tough. Try it 1,000 times. You won’t like it. Neither do they. They grunt and groan, but they know the pain will bring gain. This exercise may help&…

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The Frame-O-Phile

“A great frame always excites me,” says Eli Wilner as he holds a gorgeous gilded example up to frame his angelic face. “I’d rather see a great painting with no frame than with the wrong frame.” In Eli’s world, frames are, indeed the big picture. For the nearly three decades that his Astoria-area frame restoration studio …

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The No-Go Gal

When Josephine Todaro walks down Ditmars Boulevard, she makes it a sunnier place even on the coldest day. She has her kids in tow. Putting their feet on pavement gives 7-year-old Stefanie and 5-year-old Joseph a new sense of freedom, because up until recently, Josephine has packed them in the car and driven them everywhere. Now that they’re old enough to walk without wanting to be carried, the sights and sounds of this whole new world so excite them that they charge ahead of her like shiny new subway cars, stopping every few feet to greet and gawk. Josephine …

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