Astoria Characters: The Purloined Plant

The day I moved into my house, 17 years ago, I signed up for a street tree. The block was barren – the two trees on the corner were half dead – and I longed for sidewalk shade. Have you seen Purple Stem? Two years later, almost to the day, a small ornamental cherry tree appeared when I wasn’t paying attention. Its slender trunk was held high by a pair of robust wooden stakes. A while later, a crew came and planted a row of Belgian blocks around it. You’re lucky, they told…

Continue Reading →

Astoria Characters: The Woman Who’s Passionate About Parrots

You can’t miss Kar Red Roses. As colorful as her name, she’s standing in her floral Dr. Martens on the sidewalk outside Trinity Lutheran Church on 37th Street, clutching a chic carrying case, her red hair like a flickering flame in the whipping wind. Kar Red Roses with her carrying case. Long and lean and wearing jeans and a wide-brimmed straw hat, she looks like a model or at least someone who looks like a model or a celebrity. She sits on the church steps and opens her case, liberating…

Continue Reading →

Astoria Characters: The Real Estate Agent With the Key to Success

A silver BMW pulls to the curb. A smiling Devin Navarro, classic blue suit, crisp white dress shirt, rose-gold Hublot on his left wrist, emerges, ready to seal yet another deal. Devin’s a real estate agent in NYSpace Finders’ Astoria office. Devin’s only been a real estate agent for two years, but he’s already way ahead of the game. He completed the 90-hour licensure course in only two weeks, and it took him only a year to rack up the 3,000 points needed to make him…

Continue Reading →

Astoria Characters: The Bargain-Basement Buyer

Digging through the big, brimming bins, Sam Kirby – “that’s Kirby like the pink Nintendo character,” he likes to say — unearths a treasure. Sam’s the manager of Bingers Bargain Bins. It’s the Funko Pops doll modeled after Pam Beesley, the level-headed receptionist at Dunder Mifflin on the iconic TV comedy series, . He thrusts it aloft like a trophy.  Would you buy it for $10.99? How about $8.49? Bingers Bargain Bins is at 19-49 42nd St. Or better…

Continue Reading →

Astoria Characters: The Self-Styled Shopkeeper

Flavio Bessah is setting a style scene on the sidewalk. Flavio’s the owner of Flash 16 Botik. He carries a petite light-blue side chair out the front door of his shop, Flash 16 Botik, and places it on the time-worn Turkish rug atop the concrete. He follows that with another chair, this one upholstered in a light floral pattern. Flash 16 Botik is at 22-04 33rd St. Flavio, tall and dark and shy, adds a small wooden cabinet and a half dozen empty frames and artworks to the smart…

Continue Reading →