Astoria Characters: The Creators of Art Bites

It was a couple of cups of coffee at Mike’s Diner that got the creativity flowing. Astoria Art Bites setting up at Mike’s Diner at 22-37 31st St. Vendula Kalinova, a fashion designer and artist, is a regular at the mammoth-menu eatery, which is a neighborhood fixture at the Ditmars stop. It just so happens that Idania Flores, who designs jewelry for animal-rescue organizations to sell at fund-raisers, is generally the server who takes her order. Vendula shows her paintings. As…

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Astoria Characters: The Elvis Impersonator

Gregg Peters isn’t wearing a white jumpsuit. This is a startling fashion statement from a guy who has made his living impersonating Elvis for 43 years – one longer than the King of Rock and Roll was on this planet. Elvis has entered the building. The jumpsuit, even by Elvis standards, is a little flashy for a Saturday morning interview in New York City Bagel & Coffee House at Astoria’s Broadway stop, so Gregg has come conservatively costumed. He’s wearing a jet black “Viva…

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Astoria Characters: The Full-Circle Artist

The sunlight streams through the windows, illuminating Karen Fitzgerald’s studio, shining a spotlight on her circular paintings. The works, rimmed in gold, silver or copper halos, glitter like celestial coins as Karen, a petite presence who possesses a profound, positive energy, rocks rhythmically in a chair below. Karen’s colorful studio. Their roundness, their wholeness, is a reminder that we are all connected, we are all part of the circle and cycle of life in the cosmos. Karen’s…

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Astoria Characters: The Paw Partners

There is a kitten in the window. Wait – there are two kittens in the window. Which is a curious thing given that the pet-supply shop is called The Regal Beagle. The feisty snowshoe Siamese, who is called Conchita, is climbing up a potted palm, and the torpid tuxedo, who was named Jameson for the whiskey, is lazily lounging in the bed after a raucous romp, petite paws pointing into the air. When the shop bell rings and Daisy, the first customer of the day, pulls her owner in to buy a treat,…

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Astoria Characters: The Multicultural Cook

To understand why Tenzing Ghama can’t wait to get up at 4 in the morning to start cooking, you have to believe in dreams. She’s always wanted to open a restaurant, but she’s never had the money or the opportunity to do so. But time is something she does have a little bit of. So six months ago, she joined the Shef app to see what would happen. Since then, she’s been preparing Tibetan, Indian and Nepalese-influenced meals three days a week, sometimes making 30 to 40 dishes at…

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