The Itinerant Romantic

This is a love story. You know, boy meets girl. Boy gets girl. Girl gets boy. To follow her to New York. Fumihisa Matsueda pulls a white plastic milk carton up to the coffee table and flops two pancake-thin black and white cushions on it to make a makeshift chair. He pours himself a glass of orange juice, rolls what will be the first of several cigarettes and begins his tale. Fumi — that’s his nickname so we might as well go with it — was 3. The talking of his parents woke him,…

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The Big-Hearted Restaurateur

“You must have lunch,” declares Joanna Nana Loiselle. The owner of Telly’s Taverna, a ferociously vivacious blonde whose eyes change color from green to blue to hazel with her outfits and her moods, is drill-sergeant decisive on this matter. “Let me make you a nice fish, I got a red snapper fresh last night, and you MUST try it.” In Greek, she tells the waitress what she wants: Nana’s green salad. Kefalograviera. Oh, you can’t have lunch without the dip platter…

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The By-The-Book Librarian

Laurel Hicklin is standing in the stacks at the Steinway Library. She takes a deep breath. “There’s nothing like the smell of books,” she says in delight. “It’s so exciting to be surrounded by all kinds of books that are just waiting to be read.” She’s felt this way ever since she was a girl growing up on the Thumb of Michigan. “I went to the library all the time,” says Laurel, the branch’s assistant community library manager. “I always…

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The Iconic Artist

It’s on the top floor. To get there, you must pass through a spiral of boring hallways whose numbing palette is grey upon grey upon grey. The door to the dollhouse of an apartment opens straight into the cubby of a kitchen, whose table is spread with crystal, silverplate platters and a pretty pink and yellow chintzware tea set edged in gold. There’s a sleeping area off to the side, and the bed’s done up in frilly bridal white. Straight ahead, in the living room, where the flat-screen…

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The Self-Made CEO

It came about, when Edith O’Donnell was in her late 40s, that she found herself without a husband and without a job. And with two daughters to put through college. Most people would panic, whine or curse. Not Edith. She simply squared her small-boned shoulders, pulled herself up to her full flat-heel height of 5-foot-4 and got down to the business of reinventing herself. In short order, she had co-founded Lyons, the friendliest mortgage and insurance services company in Astoria. “It’s…

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