Astoria Characters: The Garage Philosopher

René Georg Vasicek, who declares himself a “writer, garage philosopher and cosmic thinker,” is sitting in a supersize leather chair and sipping cold coffee from a ceramic mug. René’s the author of “The Defectors.” While he’s expounding upon the big reality-shattering ideas that zig and zag through his existential dystopian novel, , like an errant self-driving automobile, he experiences a profound Proustian madeleine moment. It’s the first book he’s had published,…

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Astoria Characters: The Calmness Creator

“It’s all about the energy,” says Kim Alexandrescu as she opens the front door to Sacred Space Astoria. Sacred Space Astoria is at 29-05 21st Ave. Come with her into the calmness. Lose yourself in the tranquillity of the snow-white walls, the silky smooth crystals and the velvety purple phalaenopsis. “When you come into Sacred Space, I want you to feel like you’re being held,” she says placidly as she welcomes people to the day’s first yoga class. Sacred Space is new –…

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Astoria Characters: The New Taco Chef in Town

“What would you like me to make?” Astoriana Diosa del Taco is at 22-35 31st St. Sebastian Royo, the executive chef of Astoriana Diosa del Taco, is standing in the kitchen, pan in hand. It’s early – especially if, like Sebastian, you were up working until 3 a.m. – but he can’t wait to start cooking again. Should he fix breakfast or lunch? The Coliflor. He settles on a medley of taco favorites – the Astorianos chicken, the Al Pastor, the Carne Asada and two vegetarian…

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Astoria Characters: The Writer Soaring on the Wings of His Words

It never really occurred to Seanie Sugrue to write things down. Seanie began writing in New York. For many years, he was content to let word after word take up residence in his head, where they started stringing themselves into sentences that begat a series of siblings that swirled into stories striving to be released. “I always had a very active imagination, but I didn’t know what to do with it,” he says. This was not much of a difficulty for him when he was a working-class lad…

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Astoria Characters: The Guy Who Saved the Pet Store

After Tom Odermatt flips on the fluorescent overhead lights, he heads to the aquariums, where he jokes around with the jocularly striped clownfish, who swim rapidly to the top of the tank to greet him. Tom opened Tom’s Pet Supply in July. He pokes his finger into the water, which, thanks to artificial lighting, is deep blue like the sea, and attracts a cleaner shrimp who goes by the name of Jacques. Thecrustacean clings to Tom’s appendage, stripping it of parasites. Next, Tom…

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