The Guy Who’s At Your Service

It was a driver’s license that determined Jaime Jinete’s future. Jaime, the owner of Nicole’s Cleaners, didn’t know much English when he came to America, but he was fluent when it came to the language of cars. Before he can elaborate, a man in a suit comes in to drop off six dress shirts. Jaime and his father, Jairo Blanco, greet him by name and tag the garments. This gives us time to look around. The storefront, a walk-in closet sandwiched between a barber shop and a computer emergency room, consists of a front counter just …

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The Guy Who Wants To Help You Succeed

Please, whatever you do, don’t say “project.” Andre T. Stith (that’s Smith with a T instead of an M, he says) doesn’t object to the word in and of itself. He grew up in and lives in Astoria Houses. He wants to make it as clear as a bright blue sky without clouds that it’s his home, not a housing project. Project? What does that word mean anyway? I’m not a project, he declares, I’m a person. “If you have to call it something, call it a development,” he says. “I had a wonderful …

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The Motorcycle Men

A biker-black Dodge RAM pickup pulls up outside SL NYC, and motorcycle man Sasha Alexander Lerner steps out onto the sidewalk. Sasha, a tall and lean man in black, has three bikes at home – two SL customs and a modified Harley FXR – but the early-morning spring breeze was brisk and biting, so he took the truck. He knows how disappointing this looks so he quickly adds, “It has manual transmission.” Before I can comment, he raises the shop’s metal gate, revealing a herd of Harleys in various states of repair. They are angle-parked, side by side, like dominoes. A 3…

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