Astoria Characters: The 99-Year-Old Holocaust Survivor

After she settles herself into her favorite chair, Margot Karp puts on her spectacles. The lenses, big and round, are rose-colored. Margot was born in Dresden. Margot, elegant in a black dress, stockings and dress shoes, lips a subtle shade of rose red, just turned 99. She’s a sparrow of a woman. When asked how tall she is, she deftly answers, “You mean how short am I; I’m 4 foot 11. In my heyday, I was five feet and one-half inch.” Ninety-nine is a very long time to live,…

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Astoria Characters: The Paper Engineer

From the stack of books on his desk, Gene Vosough brings forth a gold-tooled tome that’s the color of red henna. Gene is a paper engineer/graphic designer/illustrator. He opens it and tucks in a tab or two, transforming it into a six-sided sculpture that looks like a lantern-style lampshade. The book, which served as a wedding invitation for a couple in India and took six months to complete, is one of the many carefully choreographed cutouts that Gene spends his time creating. Gene’s…

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Astoria Characters: The Guy Who Saved the Cat That Fell From the Sky

By now, most of you probably have heard the story. Phil Cappadora was on his bicycle making a Postmates food delivery at noon on July 25 on 27th Street and Hoyt Avenue when he heard about an injured cat lying on the sidewalk nearby. Phil’s an actor: His role on July 25 was saving Ava. When Phil arrived at the scene, people were standing around and staring at the unfortunate feline, discussing whether it had been thrown from the roof of the four-story building that was under renovation…

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Astoria Characters: The Green-Juice Gardener

“Try this.” Robert Urban plucks a little leaf off the sorrel next to his feet. The herb tastes tantalizingly tart. Like a lemon. Robert is the founder of the juice business The Highest Good. Next, he offers a stevia leaf, a sweet counterpoint. Nearly everything in Robert’s 2,000-square-foot garden, which has 100 varieties of vegetables and herbs, is edible. Much of what Robert grows, in a rented plot behind an attached row house and in a smaller space that are right by his…

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