The Bouzouki Balladeer

Near the end of a residential street of attached row houses, there’s a small storefront whose plate-glass window proclaims “ALPHA SCHOOL OF MUSIC” in bright gold letters that are surrounded by a melody of dancing musical notes. The front door is adorned with a golden treble clef. In the waiting room, whose walls are lilac with dark purple trim, an eclectic variety of stringed instruments that range from the oud to the electric guitar are suspended from the ceiling like clothes in…

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The Hi-Tech Twins

“I’m Dom,” says the twin wearing the black T-shirt. “I’m Tom,” says the twin wearing the blue T-shirt. They answer the door in that order — Dom Tancredi, Tom Tancredi. They have their routine down to a T. In this case, Dom’s T has a bright blue pyramidal design that matches the color of Tom’s T. Different yet just enough alike to declare their common identity. There’s a reason the Tancredi twins go by Dom and Tom: It’s the rhyme. “We…

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The Starry-Eyed Tailor

It started in Cyprus with a little girl and a big dream. “I used to climb out on the balcony of our house and close my eyes and open my arms and say, ‘I’m going to fly away.'” Panayiota Pelengaris is used to putting her time to good use, so as she talks, she threads a needle. The beautiful buttercream cashmere sweater, soft as chick fluff, has a half dozen moth holes she needs to repair before the morrow. By the way, before we go any further, Panayiota says it’s best…

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The Sicilian Saint

It happens every June: St. Antonio Abate makes a four-night appearance on Ditmars Boulevard at his namesake feast. He’s easy to spot. He wears a chocolate-brown robe covered with red, white and green ribbons that stream to his sandals. And he stands statue silent in a bower of fresh flowers topped by an illuminated cross that has as much firepower as the Star of Bethlehem. (More photos.) St. Antonio Abate, in case you don’t know, is the patron of Sicily’s Castrofilippo, which is…

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The World-Wise Window Washer

The secret’s in the squeegee. That’s what gets windows streak-free, squeaky clean. So says Barry Feirstein, the guy who does windows for a living. “Years ago, when I first started and people asked how I got the windows so clean, I used to say, ‘It’s a secret.'” Barry, a mountainous man with legs of steel and an impish twinkle in his eye, chuckles. He’ll never in a million years figure out how he got away with that subterfuge. There’s nothing magic…

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