Archives For photos

For the sixth consecutive year, I covered the start of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on the Upper West Side by the talent trailers, starting my morning with a Starbucks hot chocolate on 82 and Columbus and ending with a photo of Santa before returning to my apartment for video editing.

But for the first time, that trip to-and-from my perch involved more than a walk two avenues over. Sure, the commute time from the Financial District to my old hood affected my alarm clock, but it didn’t stop me from feeling the holiday spirit and enjoying the time-honored tradition of the parade.

A lot of things felt different about my latest trip out to Los Angeles for The 2017 American Music Awards. I think a lot of that was rooted back in New York; I didn’t book my flight until about two weeks out and it was my first cross-country trek since I packed up and moved downtown in to my new apartment. The move, along with a change in schedule at work and my marathon training/completion have all hindered me from settling in to a new routine. That’s fine; I am flexible and can work around life events. But it doesn’t mean it comes easy; especially relative to my prior routine.

For example: my dry cleaners and wash-and-fold also handle my alterations. Most of their services could be turned around in 24 hours and they are located a block away from my old apartment on the route I’d walk to take the subway to-and-from the studio. The woman who cuts my hair is also still on the Upper West Side and was a five minute cab ride from my prior place.

I now live 30-40 minutes away from both. Grocery shopping? Still haven’t found a one-stop-shop in the hood. Cobbler or computer repair technician? Probably will still go to my old stomping grounds uptown for those.

Before I moved, I had trip preparation down to a science; it actually got to the point where my getaway day (24 hours before my flight) because rather relaxing because I was able to accomplish every errand necessary the prior weekend. On this trip, my getaway day was jam-packed and there were at least two or three tasks I didn’t complete.

When I landed in LA, I had to drop off dry cleaning (which I forgot to pickup), shop for clothes and buy a wireless keyboard from Target because my laptop’s enter button is broken (need to find a new computer guy). Then, I attempted to compensate for the craziness of the lead-in to the long weekend by not going out as much during my trip. The positive from this is that I was able to both publish all of the content I hoped for while also getting a little bit of sleep; the negative is that socializing with colleagues can be one of the more important and enjoyable parts of the experience.

A post shared by Ralphie Aversa (@ralphieaversa) on


Friday and Saturday went as planned with one caveat: I feel like for whatever reason, perhaps one aforementioned, I was focused more on the content and my radio show than myself. For example, I don’t think I stressed as much about my wardrobe this time around. I also never really went out of my way to get good photos of me on each day in front of the step-and-repeat. But I encountered another curveball on Sunday: my job responsibilities changed. For the first time in my five years of covering the AMAs, I did not have a red carpet or one-on-one room assignment. Heck, I didn’t even have a credential; rather a VIP ticket in the orchestra level of the Microsoft Theater. So I used my free time during the day to get a little more work done and check out my Buffalo Bills, who happened to be in town and playing the Los Angeles Chargers in StubHub Center.

A post shared by Ralphie Aversa (@ralphieaversa) on


The positive? I got to experience my first live NFL game on the west coast, support my hometown team and check out a new venue.

The negative? I’m a Buffalo sports fan, and sadly nothing has felt different about that since I was a kid.

It was the day before The 2017 American Music Awards and we were very, very busy at our backstage perch by Microsoft Theater. The day started with a visit from K-Pop boy band BTS. Demi Lovato, Bebe Rexha and many more swung through as well to talk about the AMAs, holiday plans and more. Watch and listen below!



A number of familiar faces stopped by day one of our backstage broadcast from the American Music Awards in downtown Los Angeles. We caught up with Kelly Clarkson, Julia Michaels, Walk The Moon and many more artists – watch and listen below.




Almost a week separated from crossing the finish line and I’m still wrapping my head around the fact that I ran 26.2 miles through my favorite city in the world only to learn that it’s an even better place than I originally thought.

And trust me; I was already head-over-heels in love.

Back in August my friend Kerry presented me with an opportunity I couldn’t refuse: a chance to run in the TCS New York City Marathon without having to qualify, win a lottery or raise any money. I joined #TeamULTRA and represented Michelob Ultra amongst 50,000 other marathoners scampering across the five boroughs.

Despite my love of running and my consistent schedule of hitting the trails, I knew this wouldn’t be easy; when I started training, I never ran more than 7 miles at a time. Furthermore, I have an erratic work/life schedule and I knew that eventually I’d be moving – a task that in itself is a full-time job here.

But running the marathon here was something I’ve always wanted to do. This was too good to pass up and short of a severe injury or traumatic life event, there was nothing that could stop me from pursuing this.

I could go on to document the training schedule I created for myself, the run itself and the aftermath but instead, here are a few frequently asked questions that I’ve fielded since crossing the finish line on Sunday.


“So, how was it?”
Physically and emotionally overwhelming in the best way possible. The experience far exceeded my expectations and is something I’d recommend to anyone.

“What was your favorite part?”
As far as overall, having my family there to cheer me on was special but I sobbed like a child after I finished as a result of the love I felt throughout the five boroughs. People cheering, making noise, offering food and drinks, holding signs… it was incredible. And Sunday wasn’t the nicest day weather-wise; it was colder than expected and the rain really never let-up. You wouldn’t have known that based on the crowd’s spirit.

I have to mention as well that multiple people told me I’d hate the Bronx. If you look at my mile-by-mile breakdown, I ran some of my fastest miles up there. My playlist synced to my run perfectly so that just as I was crossing the Willis Ave. Bridge I heard The Tramps’ “Disco Inferno.” Of course, it was on my playlist because I’m a diehard Yankees fan and those overtures of “Bern, baby bern!” brought back a lot of great memories from Yankee legend Bernie Williams.


“What was the most difficult part?”
Overall the mental game you play as you attempt to overcome physical shortcomings. I cramped and tightened up quite a bit during the run; while it slowed me down once I never stopped and I escaped injury-free.

“How are you feeling?”
Great, thanks! I bought a new pair of running shoes and should be back on a treadmill this weekend. I think not over-training and eating clean helped me to recover quickly.


“Will you do it again?”
Never say never but probably not. It’d be tough to top this experience, one which despite still attempting to fully process I am extremely grateful for.

Now this is a story all about how my Saturday got flipped-turned upside down. Royalty and the west coast are not involved but Philadelphia serves as one of the backdrops.

The plan was simple: take an early afternoon Amtrak to Philadelphia, attend the wedding of friend/former intern/past-contributor Jessie Holeva, enjoy the reception and catch a train back to Penn Station that would return me to New York well before either last call.

Things went awry from the get-go. What should’ve been a 20 minute commute on the subway to Penn took over double that thanks to weekend construction. I missed my 2:05 train and rebooked for 3:07. But I wasn’t fazed; I figured I’d use the time to run upstairs to our studio, use the restroom, take a deep breath and then head back downstairs.

Right before I did, I went to the men’s room one more time. Our private restroom by the studio appeared occupied so I used the bathroom that the entire floor has access to. Everything was fine until I flushed the toilet. They’re brand new and so the flusher is electric. But it malfunctioned and wouldn’t stop flushing.

Thankfully I bolted out of the stall before any damage was done to me, but that’s not to say that by the time the toilet shut off the restroom wasn’t filled with a few inches of sitting water. I took the appropriate measure of alerting our chief engineer, put myself back together and made it just in the nick of time to my departing train.

The ride down was smooth, pleasant and scenic. If you’re wondering, Amtrak does have Bloody Mary mix; the food cart offers the serviceable Mr. and Mrs. T’s.

A post shared by Ralphie Aversa (@ralphieaversa) on


Upon arrival at the 30th Street Station I was pleased to find out that the convenience store sells greeting cards, a perfect look for the single bachelor en route to a wedding without one. A few minutes after checking out I met my Uber driver, who drove me 20 minutes north of Philly to Cabrini University.

This was my first time on campus and I have to say, I was impressed. It is scenic and close to the big city yet feels somewhat secluded and tucked away, which I enjoyed. The ceremony and reception were fantastic; it was great to reconnect with a few old friends and meet a few more new ones. Jessie looked stunning and of course I’m very happy for her and Justin who fun fact, once put me up for the night after I covered a Young The Giant/Grouplove show in the City of Brotherly Love (another story for another blog).

A post shared by Ralphie Aversa (@ralphieaversa) on


The reception wrapped at 11 and so I grabbed another Uber to head back to 30th Street for my 12:05 am departure. Upon my arrival I was greeted by a closed bar inside the station and then just before I thought we were boarding… a delay.

A two-hour delay.

So where did I go? Following a failed attempt to drink a pint next door inside a Irish pub, I ordered another Uber en route to The Franklin Bar, a speakeasy downtown. There I met a patron from Long Island City who was keeping the bartender, her on-and-off again boyfriend, company. I ended up becoming friends with everyone in the place, stayed until last call and eventually Uber’d back to the station where I encountered almost no food options and… you guessed it, another delay.

My train back to New York eventually left after 3 am. I arrived at Penn Station at quarter to 5 am. Following two Uber drivers cancelling on me and a random guy throwing water on me, I hailed a cab.

And I yelled to the cabbie “Yo homes smell ya later!” I walked in to my bodega; I was finally there. Turkey on a whole wheat wrap; Philly can’t compare.

Just two weeks ago, my new roommate and I were standing in center field for game 3 of the American League Division Series in the Bronx when Greg Bird took former-Yankee Andrew Miller deep. Yankee Stadium went ballistic. The home run broke a zero –zero tie and propelled the Yankees to a victory that night and an eventual series win over the Indians.

The following week, the Bronx Bombers found themselves within one win of the World Series against the Astros. I scored tickets to Game 5 of the Fall Classic, which was to be played at the Stadium this Sunday night. My friends and I were all-set to watch the Yankees battle the Dodgers.

And then, last weekend happened. The Yanks traveled to Houston and didn’t bring the offense along. Game 6 went to the Astros and the momentum swing in to the vaunted game 7 was too much for the Baby Bombers to handle.

It also marked the end of an era: this week the team announced that after 10 seasons at the helm, the contract of manager Joe Girardi would not be renewed. Now, the annual “hot stove” talks center on not if the Yankees will make a free agency splash but who will be the skipper of a team poised for another run at the World Series next season.

If you didn’t know any better, you would have no idea that just last week we were planning on hosting the World Series. Now, I’m looking in to a return trip to Bear Mountain this weekend so I can take-in some of the fall foliage.

In the words of a-many great philosophers that frequent bars in Murray Hill, and that Nationwide commercial, “Life comes at you fast (bro).”

A post shared by 95.5 PLJ (@955plj) on

I am a month separated from leaving my first apartment in New York City, and I’m still having withdrawals. Just yesterday I was speaking at a conference and I jumped at the chance to reminisce with two attendees who live in my old neighborhood about how wonderful it is and how much I miss it.

Like most people I would assume, the process of apartment hunting in the city was overwhelming. Thankfully I had help from a current resident (and ex-girlfriend) who one day found one of those too-good-to-be-true Craigslist ads. But the open house was on a Sunday and so we figured it couldn’t hurt to go check the place out.

A few weeks later, I would call that place on 83rd and Amsterdam home. It was a one-bedroom on the second-floor of a walk-up. I had every grocery store I could desire within 10 blocks, the best bodega in the city across the street and two amazing parks on each side of me.

I could spend days recalling all of the memories created in that apartment and neighborhood – from entertaining friends and family to having a (relatively) quiet place that I could spend time in with my own thoughts. I couldn’t have practically scripted my introduction to Manhattan any better.

Sadly, good things come to an end and rent prices aren’t getting cheaper. When the opportunity arose to move-in with my best friend from high school in a brand new high-rise downtown and actually save a few dollars, I jumped.

This is far from a “cry-for-me” tale; life down in the Financial District isn’t too shabby. I traded my Central Park runs for new routes that take me past the Seaport, the Statue of Liberty and One World Trade Center. I’ve already found two, new reliable bodegas. And the grocery shopping is a work-in-progress but progressing nonetheless.

Rather this is an ode to my old hood, which is kind of funny because it’s only a few miles from my new spot. But that’s the beauty of this city; you only need to travel a couple of subway stops to find a brand new experience and create a whole new story.

That said, I’m only a month in on a two-year lease. Maybe it won’t stack up to the five I spent on the Upper West Side, but I can say with certainty that I can’t wait to find out

A post shared by Ralphie Aversa (@ralphieaversa) on

I can’t believe we’re less than a month away from Pumpkin Spice Lattes and football weekends. I detest humidity and absolutely love fall (not necessarily for the PSLs though; do you know what they put in those things?) but still am taken aback at how quick summer flew by.

Yes, I have no probably saying “flew” as opposed to “flying” because I’m not a beach person and the Yankees are giving me a reason to anticipate competitive September and October baseball. I do love summer weekends up in the Bronx though, and that’s where I spent the majority of my final July weekend. The Yanks won in walk-off fashion on that Saturday; a perfect, cool day to catch a game in Center Field, even if I didn’t score a Yankees camouflage cap (free giveaway to the first 18,000 fans that were age 21 or older). Then Sunday, I drove with a buddy up to Riverdale so I could check out a few apartments. I fell in love with the neighborhood: family-friendly, beautiful Van Cortlandt Park, plenty of bars and restaurants and easy access to Manhattan via Metro North.

A post shared by Ralphie Aversa (@ralphieaversa) on


With my lease up on the Upper West Side October 1, that may be perhaps the one reason I definitely don’t want summer to pass much quicker. Short of a miracle, a change in location looks imminent, but I really love this neighborhood. Hopefully I don’t move but if so, it has been a fantastic five-year run on the UWS. Catching Sunday sunsets from the Boat Basin Café is just one of the many reasons why.

A post shared by Ralphie Aversa (@ralphieaversa) on

It was quite appropriate that before I made my third trip back to Niagara Falls, New York in six weeks (yes that’s every-other-weekend for those keeping score at home), I ran a 5K.

Of course, the reason I returned home is for my Mother’s church’s picnic, which I attend annually. The 5K, held inside Yankee Stadium, benefitted Damon Runyon for cancer research. For those unaware, my Mom is a two-time breast cancer survivor.

So after a late night at work and only about an hour or so of sleep, I woke up and chugged a coffee before wrapping myself in Yankees Dri-Fit paraphernalia and hopping in an Uber. I made it up to the Bronx in near-record time thanks to the lack-of-traffic on the Westside Highway. The heat I signed up for was 9:50 am.

Overall, the event was fantastic. This was my second Runyon 5K but the feeling of stepping on to the hallowed field of Yankee Stadium was just as exciting as the first time. What made this year’s installment even cooler was that the route brought you around the warning track twice; in 2014 you only were able to run one lap on the field.

A post shared by Ralphie Aversa (@ralphieaversa) on


Not as cool: the two trips you make up the steps at Yankee Stadium, from the Great Hall to the 300 level, but we don’t need to dwell on that.

As I ran through the opening in center field and on to the dirt, I began to feel like a little kid agian. I wasn’t trying to hit a certain finish time (although I still finished sub-30 minutes) so I took it all in: the grass, the dugouts, the view from the infield. I stopped to take selfies, posed behind home plate and even “robbed a home-run” out in right field.


Some participate as a part of a team while others raise money individually. I decided not to tell anyone about my decision to run or solicit donations ahead of time for a couple of reasons. First, with the quick turnaround time, I wanted to make sure that I made the race! Second, there are a lot of people and organizations that are constantly trying to raise funds, and I just didn’t feel comfortable asking for any money.

With that said, I still felt that it was important to participate and share my experience. Events like these are critical to nonprofit organizations, and hopefully this can serve as an example that not donating or raising money isn’t an excuse to sit on the sidelines.

A post shared by Ralphie Aversa (@ralphieaversa) on


Or perhaps better stated for this story, in the dugout.