The Man Hard-Wired to History

It’s a funny thing, but Cliff Straus doesn’t remember exactly when he started working for Straus Paint & Hardware Co. He just knows that he’s never wanted to quit. Cliff, a benevolent bulldog with a buzz cut, walks through the door to the back office and pauses. There, scrawled in fading lead pencil on the wooden jamb, it says “40” Cliff age 4, 64.” Photo by Nancy A. Ruhling Cliff’s the man behind Straus Paint & Hardware Co. Below it, there are a half dozen notches sans notations, presumably measuring his height until he hit the 40 inches. Cliff’s convinced…

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The Violinist

Why the violin? Marina Fragoulis isn’t quite sure why she chose it. She was 10, and all she knew was that, for no particular reason, she didn’t want to play the saxophone. Photo by Nancy A. Ruhling Marina’s from Crete. She and the wind instrument were almost paired because Marina had taken an aptitude test at school and scored so high that her teachers recommended she embrace the brash brass. Marina might well have followed their advice because she was new not only to the school but also to the state and the United States. It was a …

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The Woman Who Illustrates Life

As cats are wont to do at the approach of strangers, Mimosa has fled under the bed. It’s a shame because Mimosa, a 4-year-old, nine-lived tabby, is the meow muse for Widad Franco‘s art-illustration company. Photo by Nancy A. Ruhling Widad’s a journalist and artist. “She’s the real creative genius of the operation,” Widad says. “She’s my sidekick and most trusted advisor.” To coax a creative opinion, Widad brings out a bunch of cute cat-centric greeting cards and sets them on her desk. Photo by Nancy A. Ruhling Widad’s whimsical dragon. But Mimosa remains …

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The Got-Game(s) Players

From the top shelf of The Geekery HQ’s lending library, Syrus Gabales brings forth an orange box. Photo by Nancy A. Ruhling The Geekery HQ is on Broadway at 42nd Street. Syrus, who prefers card games, has never played The Settlers of Catan, but Wendy Chua, his romantic and business partner, knows it like the back of her card-playing hand. When they opened the store in fall 2015 and she was running it full time, she made it her business to learn all the games; Catan was one of them. Photo by Nancy A. Ruhling Wendy’s from Manila. She …

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