The Pigeon Parents

There’s a pigeon flying overhead when Eugene and Kaori Oda open the front door. And another. And another. Three in all. They land in the living room, where they’re sitting in a row on the sofa, which is protected by a pair of plastic tablecloths printed with pictures of autumn leaves. Eugene rolls up a desk chair and sets a roll of toilet paper on the glass-topped coffee table. You never know when or where Troy, Nini and Lucky are going to let one fly. Pigeon poop, Eugene explains, isn’t the squishy stuff you see smeared on …

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The Peace Broker

Moustafa Elshiekh places a color photo reverently on his desk. It was taken this year, on the 11th anniversary of 9/11, and in it, he’s standing between Mayor Mike Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. U.S. Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand also are in the official lineup at the Manhattan memorial. This picture marks a milestone for Moustafa, a longtime leader of the city’s Arab Muslim community, for it was when the terrorist planes struck the Twin Towers in 2001 that his lifelong civic and political activism took on a new meaning and urgency. Photo by Nancy A. …

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The Lucky-Strike Bowler

BOWLING. That’s what the big illuminated sign screams in red-apple letters that look as though they should be shining on a Times Square marquee. It’s a striking announcement on a middle-of-nowhere block filled with warehouses hemmed in by houses, all the more so because Elaine Poulos, the face of the place, is such an unassuming woman. She’s small and spare with long, brown hair. It’s hard to imagine her doing something so harsh as throwing a bowling ball. It’s easier to see her patting it along its path, pleading with it, pretty please, to knock …

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The Greek Dancer

Anastasia Tsantes stands on her feet all day. She’s a waitress who’s used to pulling 12- and 13-hour shifts. Yeah, working leaves her dog tired, but she’s never too worn out to dance in the footsteps of her …

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