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Nancy Ruhling
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Nancy A. Ruhling is a freelance journalist who has had bylines in more than 50 online and print publications, including The New York Times. Her latest postings are on NancyRuhling.com. She has lived in Astoria long enough to be an “Astoria Character.” She may be reached at Nruhling@gmail.com, nruhling on Instagram.

Entries by Nancy Ruhling

Astoria Characters: The Old-Timer You Won't See Any More

(0) Comments | Posted July 28, 2015 | 5:02 AM

Madeleine's Hosiery, which has been on Steinway Street forever, or at least for as long as anyone can remember, probably won't be there the next time you pass by.

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Photo by Nancy A. Ruhling
Madeleine's Hosiery on Steinway Street at 30th...

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Astoria Characters: The Flamenco Dancer

(5) Comments | Posted July 21, 2015 | 5:01 AM

If there's one steady thing that can be said of Gabriela Granados, it's that she can't sit still.

A woman of fluid movement, Gabriela bends her body into a stiff office chair.

2015-06-21-1434900332-3598987-Gabriela18.jpg Photo by Nancy A. Ruhling Gabriela is the founder...
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Astoria Characters: The Music Mama

(0) Comments | Posted July 14, 2015 | 5:03 AM

Singer. Songwriter. Musician. Performer. Wife. Mother. Worker.

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Photo by Nancy A. Ruhling
Shelly strives for balance.

Shelly Bhushan lists these labels -- she doesn't think she has left any out -- and adds juggler. That's the one word...

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Astoria Characters: The Wedding Photographer

(0) Comments | Posted July 7, 2015 | 5:07 AM

Casey Fatchett picks up his camera. Now he feels more at ease.

2015-06-07-1433676993-2614038-Casey9.jpg Photo by Nancy A. Ruhling Casey's an award-winning wedding photographer.

He's always the one taking the pictures, and he doesn't know what to do when the eye of the...

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Astoria Characters: The Souvlaki Lady

(1) Comments | Posted June 30, 2015 | 5:01 AM

The smoke swells as the souvlakis sizzle.

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Photo by Nancy A. Ruhling
Elpida pushes her pushcart onto her corner.



They sear swiftly, so Elpida Vasiliadis has to turn them promptly while she's serving the people who...

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Astoria Characters: The Newborn Doula

(0) Comments | Posted June 23, 2015 | 4:53 AM

The call came at 10 at night. Annie LeVasseur had been eagerly expecting it, but, still, it made her nervous.

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Photo by Nancy A. Ruhling
Annie grew up in the South.

It meant that a baby and Annie's new...

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Astoria Characters: The Woman Wiping Tears From Her Eyes

(0) Comments | Posted June 16, 2015 | 5:01 AM

Ann Kos cannot meet you at the front door. She lives on the middle floor of her three-family house, and she can't go up and down the stairs any more without a chaperone.

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Photo by Nancy A. Ruhling
Ann was born...

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Astoria Characters: The Cerebral Cowboy

(0) Comments | Posted June 9, 2015 | 5:05 AM

Does it smell like cigarette smoke?

Jim Ruchalski, a pack-a-day guy, has gone to a lot of trouble to clear the stale-smoke scent out of his apartment. That's why the candles are burning and the fans are humming on high.

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Photo...

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Astoria Characters: The Fairy Godmother

(0) Comments | Posted June 2, 2015 | 5:10 AM

In between a boisterous bar and a game's-over gambling den, the Arabesque Couture Boutique opened its single plate-glass door, elevating the end of the block from gritty to glittery.

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Photo by Nancy A. Ruhling
Shireen owns Arabesque Couture Boutique.

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Astoria Characters: The Lover Left Holding the Daffodils

(0) Comments | Posted May 26, 2015 | 5:23 AM

When I first saw him, he was sitting on the stoop.

I wouldn't have noticed him except he was clutching a bunch of daffodils.

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Photo by Nancy A. Ruhling
Daffodils are symbols of unrequited love.

The flowers, which were...

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Astoria Characters: The Friends and Family Fellow

(0) Comments | Posted May 19, 2015 | 5:08 AM

"Good morning, Jerry!"

George Kavadias follows this wake-up-and-smell-the-coffee greeting with a hale-and-hearty handshake.

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Photo by Nancy A. Ruhling
George at his command post.

He performs the same ritual when Super Dave and Kathy and all the other regulars...

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Astoria Characters: The Be-Positive Being

(2) Comments | Posted May 12, 2015 | 5:13 AM

Fast and furious, the rain falls. Brianna Mercado, wearing a shirt the color of sunshine, is intently watching it through the living room window. There's not a tear in her eyes. In fact, there's a serene smile on her face.

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Photo by...

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Astoria Characters: The Novel Teen

(0) Comments | Posted May 5, 2015 | 5:08 AM

The bedroom, painted bright blue, looks like a little girl's idea of a fairy tale.

The fantasy furniture is covered with curlicues, and pictures of Disney's Beauty and the Beast and Cinderella hang next to Broadway's Les Miserables and Phantom of the Opera.

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Astoria Characters: The Editor of Eating

(0) Comments | Posted April 28, 2015 | 5:09 AM

Picky. It's not a word that Stacey Ornstein usually uses, but it's one that makes her plate too full.

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Photo by Nancy A. Ruhling
Stacey is the founder of Allergic to Salad.

Picky. Stacey, who teaches after-school healthy-cooking classes...

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Astoria Characters: The Grammy Guy

(0) Comments | Posted April 21, 2015 | 5:16 AM

The sound of silence in James Cruz' apartment is deafening.

"Do you mind if I put on some music?" he pleads rather than asks.

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Photo by Nancy A. Ruhling
James fine-tunes the sounds on recordings.

His apartment -- home...

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Astoria Characters: The Man at the End of the Line

(0) Comments | Posted April 13, 2015 | 6:44 AM

The rush-hour regulars are lined up when John Zizzo steps behind the deli counter at Andrew & Frank's Catering.


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Photo by Nancy A. Ruhling
John is the owner of Andrew & Frank's Catering.

...

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Astoria Characters: The Sneakers in the Sky

(0) Comments | Posted April 7, 2015 | 5:13 AM

I live around the corner from a private high school. If I ever need to be reminded of this fact, all I have to do is look up in the sky.

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Photo by Nancy A. Ruhling
Are they lonely at the...

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Astoria Characters: The Rememberer

(1) Comments | Posted March 30, 2015 | 8:34 AM

If you don't know anything about Pedro Fernandez de Unamuno, and most of the world doesn't, look at his hat.

He's wearing it so you'll ask him about it.

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Photo by Nancy A. Ruhling
Ask Pedro about his Boina.

...
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Astoria Characters: The Cat Guy

(0) Comments | Posted March 24, 2015 | 5:14 AM

The cats didn't do it. Paul Santell wants that to be perfectly clear before he bares his left arm.

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Photo by Nancy A. Ruhling
The cat didn't scratch Paul.

It is covered in a river of red ruts....

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Astoria Characters: The Woman Who's Counting on 90

(0) Comments | Posted March 17, 2015 | 8:58 AM

Minnie Daddario places a plate of pizzelle on the table. There aren't many people who make the Italian snowflake-shaped cookies any more. Minnie thinks that's a shame.

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Photo by Nancy A. Ruhling
Minnie is a very young 89.

Because...

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