Archives For ralphie aversa

I don’t even know where to start with this past weekend, so let’s try the beginning. Here are five things I was thankful for.

– My go-to when booking hotels is Hotwire. Most of the time if I’m traveling for work the hotel is booked for me; but when I’m on my own I use that website for hotel deals. Hotwire has never led me astray and so when I decided late Friday night that I was going to travel to Detroit this past Sunday, I knew how to book my hotel. I ended up at The Westin Downtown and when I told some friends in The D my rate, they were stunned at how inexpensive it was.

– I wrapped up what felt like a month of celebrating St. Patrick’s Day by partaking in a beverage at Blarney Stone, followed by a few more beverages and some food at Mustang Harry’s. A big thanks to Marzi, Sarah and the crew at Mustang’s for the hospitality. It was a beautiful day weather-wise and a lot of fun to hang with some old and new friends while watching the tournament games.

– To say I’m thankful for Syracuse Orange basketball would be an understatement. To quickly rewind: I had a thought in the back of my mind heading in to Friday night’s game that if we won, I might try to fly to Detroit for Sunday’s Round-of-32 match. Once we completed the victory against TCU, I started looking at flights. Less than an hour later, my plans were set. To see that game, from those seats, amongst that squad was a memory I will tell my grandkids about (carriage before the horse there but you get the idea). I get to experience a lot of “once-in-a-lifetime” moments and I never take them for granted. On to the Sweet 16!


– I received a few odd looks like I was some-type-of-crazy when I told people this weekend that I was heading to Detroit. I think part of that was they couldn’t believe I booked a trip on Friday night for Sunday. But surely the other part was that they were skeptical of why I’d be so eager to travel to the Motor City. After Sunday’s initial visit, I’m already planning a return trip. Downtown Detroit is beautiful, the new Little Caesars Arena is gorgeous, there is plenty to experience and perhaps most importantly – the people are amazing. I was in dive bars and hotel bars, pizzerias and Coney shops, Ubers and shuttle buses. And I need to return because I only visited one spot in Greektown, I need to catch a game at Comerica and I never made it to a single casino. Thank you, Detroit.

– Last but certainly not least… I am beyond thankful for my friends. I got to day-drink with my roommate Rafael on Saturday. Marzi came through clutch with the invite to Mustang Harry’s. JAG scooped me from the airport in Detroit Sunday, showed me around and grabbed brunch. My buddy Ed snagged me that amazing seat for Sunday’s game. I had the chance to see Matt and meet his wife. My colleague Robby picked up a nice dinner on Sunday evening. And countless others checked in via text and social media throughout the weekend. I love you all.

A post shared by Ralphie Aversa (@ralphieaversa) on

A post shared by Robby Bridges (@robbybridges) on

To be honest, it took my body a few days to recover from one of the more hectic weekends in recent memory. Nonetheless, my busy schedule offered me plenty of reasons to be thankful throughout my travels. Here are five of them.

– I’m thankful for Daylight Saving Time. Like pretty much everything these days, it’s become a bit of a lightening rod as to whether we should participate in it or not. Naturally, the state of Florida has its own idea on this as well. But regardless, I enjoy the extra hour of daylight, especially considering I now live on the east side amongst high rises and the sun isn’t as plentiful as my old neighborhood.

– Wow, Morristown, New Jersey – I am thankful for you! My colleagues at 95.5 PLJ and I had a great time at the Morris County St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Saturday. The hospitality was as fantastic as the company. I still have no idea why Vegas-style showgirls were dancing at Horseshoe Tavern but perhaps some things in life just shouldn’t be questioned. Our dinner at Urban Table was pretty fantastic and I really enjoyed hanging with my buddy Kerry, who I hadn’t seen in a while. She took me to a neighborhood spot in Bayonne for a quick nightcap before I Uber’d back to the city. Hopefully I’ll be in Morristown sooner rather than later (I keep hearing rave reviews of Jockey Hollow).

– I was awake super-early on Sunday morning so I could rent a car and drive to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. A big thank you to everyone in NEPA who showed love, along with my co-workers at 97.1/95.7 BHT, during the city’s St. Patty’s Parade. The 570 is probably best-known for Scranton’s parade but I always enjoyed WB’s more (I also hear Pittston’s the weekend prior has become quite the scene).

– By the way, the parade didn’t start until 2 pm, but I had a 5K to run in Wilkes-Barre at 10 am, thus the early alarm. A longtime colleague of mine in Pennsylvania, Barry Brown, is battling kidney cancer. The 5K was The Renal Race, which aims to raise funds and awareness for kidney disease. I really loved seeing everyone at Cumulus Wilkes-Barre rally around one of our own.

– The weekend ended with a drive down 80 that I’m all-too-familiar with… that is, until I took a detour to Wegmans in Hanover, New Jersey. It was the perfect pit-stop to not only stock-up on groceries but also celebrate my Syracuse Orange getting in to the NCAA Tournament. ‘Cuse!

A post shared by Ralphie Aversa (@ralphieaversa) on

It was another weekend filled with friends, travels and a few cocktails so let me tell you five things that I was thankful for during it.

– For the second time in three weekends I made it back to Syracuse: this time for the annual WJPZ Alumni Banquet/Reunion. Some of the highlights included watching the Orange beat Clemson in the Carrier Dome, seeing my old professor Dr. Rick Wright and his son Rubin and hanging with both alumni and students at the after party.


I always leave the banquet thankful and motivated; this year was no different.


– I flew back and forth to Syracuse and between the flights, Uber rides and hotel check-in I had zero interruptions. That is always a welcome footnote for a weekend.

– Despite going one stretch where I slept about six hours over a two day period, I still managed to run 4 miles this weekend. If I didn’t take good care of my body, minding both how I use it and what I put in it, I wouldn’t have been able to pull that off.

– It was so great to stop by MetroPCS with Team PLJ on Sunday afternoon. Thankfully with my lack of travel disruptions I had no issues landing at LaGuardia, getting back to my apartment to drop off my bags and making the trek to the Midwood neighborhood. Thanks for having us!


– Speaking of neighborhoods, Sunday night I ended up back in my old stomping grounds on the Upper West Side. I grabbed dinner with Ryan and watched The Oscars at Fred’s, then continued to e’s for a night cap before shopping at Fairway and heading back to the Financial District. Any weekend that can end with a trip to one of my favorite bars and a grocery store is usually a good weekend in my book.

Just because I waited until Friday, it doesn’t mean there are not five things I’m thankful for from last weekend.

– I not only returned to my yoga practice but then ran 6 miles outside. Yoga has been great to not only improve my pliability but also refocus my mind. Some would pick between the class or the run, others would opt for neither because it’s Saturday morning; I choose both because I’m thankful for the physical ability I have to take part in them – that’s something I don’t take for granted.

– My closet can now fully close for the first time since I moved to my new apartment. In addition to carving out time to clean it out and then actually following through, I’m thankful that I was able to donate a large bag to Goodwill.

– Syracuse lost at Duke on Saturday but I’m still thankful that I was able to watch the game at the local SU watch bar, Beer Authority, with my buddy Ryan. We grabbed a few more drinks afterwards before I met up with a colleague in town, Barbi Jo. Always nice to see friends!

– Speaking of Saturday night – a quick shout-out to Delta and the airline’s 48 hour cancellation policy. While looking up flights to Las Vegas for the first weekend of the college basketball tournament (another story for a different time), I accidentally booked a flight to Vegas. Whoops!

– On Sunday I ended up at Irving Plaza to see Quinn XCII live. I interviewed Quinn before the show, got to see my friend Matt who works for his label and then was introduced to Two Dollar Steve. Yes, he gave me a $2 bill. More on him here.

By the way, Steve wasn’t at the show alone. He brought along his friend to the VIP area where we were standing… Chelsea Clinton.

Rihanna turned 30 on Tuesday and to celebrate the superstar’s birthday, I threw it back on the radio show to one of the most embarrassing moments of my career. It was May 2008; my program was only airing in Scranton, Pennsylvania at the time. Good ‘ole Cousin Tony was in town visiting and we had a lot planned – a trip to New York on Saturday to see the Yankees and then a doubleheader on Sunday: PNC Field for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees game against the Pawtucket Red Sox and then up the road to The Pavilion At Montage Mountain for Kanye West’s “Glow In The Dark Tour” featuring N.E.R.D., Lupe Fiasco and Rihanna.

I was also scheduled to interview the “Pon De Replay” singer before she took the stage. Our record label rep, Nicki, brought me and my colleague Adam backstage for our chat. I had a five minute window.

The interview started on a great note; Rihanna was in a fantastic mood. But the worst thing possible happened after one question: the MiniDisc I was using died. I brought backup batteries and extra discs. After I replaced each I attempted to restart the interview. And by the fourth restart, sitting across from *Rihanna,* I made the call that we would just film and use the audio from Adam’s digital camera, which he thankfully brought.

There are a few things I’ll always remember about that experience: how kind Rihanna was, how patient Nicki was, using MiniDisc for the final time in my career and taking up so much time in the process that Rihanna couldn’t do another interview scheduled after mine. She went right from our photo-op to the stage, and slayed it.

The last noteworthy moment came as I walked out of Rihanna’s dressing room. We saw and snapped a photo with her boyfriend, who happened to be there… Chris Brown.

I woke up Monday pretty hungover. My roommate had President’s Day off; I did not but of course I don’t need to be at work first thing in the morning. And with our opposite schedules and my weekend travels, I hadn’t seen much of him. So on Sunday night we decided to go out as if it was a Saturday.

Of course for me, it was still Sunday. And I was reminded of that Monday morning… OK, afternoon. I checked my phone, gathered a few belongings and made my way out the door so I could run a few errands. Before I left, I grabbed the jeans from the previous night so I could retrieve my wallet.

It wasn’t there.

As I began retracing my steps from Sunday night, I remembered something: when I first looked at my phone, there was a missed call from Soho House. I definitely didn’t end up there; my hazy evening was contained to our apartment and the East Village. So why did Soho House call me? Did someone find my wallet and attempt to use my membership card? Did my Uber see the wallet in the backseat and return it there?

I called the front desk but none of the staff working at the moment were there the following night and no notes were left. The missed call was chalked up to a mistake.

Something didn’t seem right about this but I continued on with my day as best I could; thank goodness for phone apps, mobile pay and a couple of friends. By about 4 pm though, nothing panned out, so I began the process of replacing cards that were in the wallet. I emailed our HR representative for a new building swipe tag and then emailed Soho House to inform them that I would need my membership card replaced.

I think that email jogged someone’s memory. At about 5 pm I received a voicemail from Soho House. A woman named Dolores had been calling since last night claiming she found my wallet and wanted to return it. The person left her number and advised me to get in touch with her as soon as possible.

Turns out Dolores works the night shift around the corner from my apartment at a hotel. She was walking to work Sunday night and happened to look down at the intersection where I live; there was my wallet on the ground. She saw my Driver’s License and the Soho House card and went to work.

After my show Monday night, I went to the hotel and met Dolores, and boy did she lay in to me (and with good reason). She interrogated me as to what I was doing the night before and gave a stern warning to be more careful with my belongings.

If you’re wondering, yes I did reward Dolores for her good deed.

Sure, it’s nice to have my wallet. But it’s nicer to know that there are still kind, genuine people in the world like Dolores. I hope you get a chance to meet someone like her too, but hopefully under better circumstances.

My new habit is reflecting back on the weekend and noting five things I was thankful for. I truly feel that if you look closely enough, finding those moments can be relatively easy. With my trip back to Syracuse last weekend, this was a breeze. I returned to my alma mater, Syracuse University, and spoke on a panel comprised of talent for the New York State Broadcasters Association.

– I got to reconnect with a number of friends during the trip. I grabbed a coffee downtown with my old roommate Sam, who is the Chief Information Officer for the city. Afterwards I caught up with another SU alum, Chris, who recently started working for the University in Alumni Engagement. And prior to all of that, I spent some quality time with my old professor, the great Dr. Roosevelt “Rick” Wright II. Doc was the first tenured African-American professor at The Newhouse School and has been a great source of inspiration, education and friendship over the time we’ve known each other. I even got to see Mylinda and their son, Rubin, for a bit.

– I also had the chance to see family. My Aunt Becky still lives in Liverpool. She was working Saturday, but her sons Nick and Andrew met me at Tully’s to watch the Syracuse/Miami game and of course, eat chicken tenders. A rather competitive air hockey tournament followed, with the older brother Nick emerging victorious before he dropped me off at the airport. Oh, and the Orange picked up a big win on the road.


– As I mentioned, my main reason for returning to the ‘Cuse was to speak on a panel. I was joined on it by a number of talented individuals, including the play-by-play voice of my New York Yankees, John Sterling! In addition to being a NYSBA Hall-Of-Famer, Sterling’s daughter actually attends Syracuse. It was an honor to share the stage with him at Newhouse. A small group of us grabbed dinner downtown following the busy day, so I was able to get this photo with John and share a few stories. It was definitely a day I won’t forget anytime soon, and I have to thank Ed Levine along with his daughter Lauren for the invites and for organizing everything.

A post shared by Ralphie Aversa (@ralphieaversa) on


– There were zero hiccups in my travels this past weekend; no delays, no missed flights, no hotel problems… I’ll take it!

– I lost my wallet. Why am I thankful for this? For one, it’s a reminder that I need to be more careful with my belongings. Secondly, it’s nice to be jarred from your routine every now and then because you realize certain aspects of your day-to-day that you might take for granted. Third, as I’ll talk about in a separate post, experiencing a negative can sometimes allow you to see the positive in the world – a woman found my wallet and returned it to me the following evening.

– I returned to my yoga practice. My building offers classes on Saturday morning and so I decided to not go out on Friday night, opting to work until 1:30 am. This positioned me to wake up without a hangover and with the desire to head upstairs so I could work on my tree pose and warrior two. Namaste.

– I finally visited the new Wegmans in Montvale. Oh, my, goodness. From the Burger Bar to the cookie bar to the sheer expansiveness of the store, it was worth the trip and then some. For those who don’t know, my first ever job was Front End Cashier at the Wegmans in the Town of Niagara, 17 years ago. Wow, that makes me feel old. Anyways, I stocked up on everything, including alcohol because Wegmans’ adjacent wine, beer and liquor store is equally fantastic.

– I had my second appearance of the year with 95.5 PLJ at T-Mobile in Mohegan Lake, New York. I loved visiting the northern part of Westchester County and hope to return soon; some of the mom-and-pop restaurants along the way looked like they served up some delicious food.


– I surprised my friend Ashley at a comedy show she was added to Sunday night in the East Village. I hadn’t seen her since she moved from Los Angeles almost a year ago to continue pursuing stand-up. She was fantastic and it was also pretty cool that I got to introduce her to Kelly’s – a Buffalo Bills and Sabres bar but also a Chicago Cubs and Bulls watering hole (she’s originally from Chicago and is a diehard Cubs fan).

– As for that aforementioned warm weather, it afforded me the opportunity to run outside Sunday, and I am beyond grateful for that. From the physical ability to run, to living in Manhattan where we have a plethora of amazing routes, to the fact that I didn’t have to bundle up because by the time I finished it was 60 (!) outside – it was a nice way to lead in to Sunday night and close out what was a great weekend.

It was my first weekend without work or travel in over a month, however it was not a weekend without responsibility… or rather, “responsibility.”

My buddy Danny, one of my best friends from Pennsylvania, came in to town for his annual birthday celebration (his actual birthday was the previous Tuesday). What this weekend usually amounts to is three straight days of debauchery. This year wasn’t quite the 5 am-a-night marathon of prior years… at least for three straight nights. Danny had work early Monday.

But all bets were off Friday and Saturday. We met up with my friend Ryan at a private club downtown Friday night where we hung out until last call, then dialed up the venerable West Village dive WXOU Bar for a night cap, followed by a trip to my bodega for sandwiches and wings.

Saturday started with an excellent brunch at Westville’s Financial District location and continued with a few more Bloody Marys at Beckett’s while I screamed at the TV over the Syracuse game (they lost).

After a quick reset at my apartment, we grabbed dinner at Village Yokocho, an awesome Japanese restaurant in the East Village that also contains a speakeasy. From there we ordered a round at Tompkins Square Bar (there was a line at Niagara!) and then met friends at Rockwood Music Hall Stage 1. The live set wrapped at 2 am so we walked back to Avenue A and one of my favorite watering holes, Kelly’s, for some late night wings and Blue Lights. Night cap? You bet; it happened up the street at Sophie’s. Danny was craving pizza, so we made that happen at Little Italy Pizza, which is open 24 hours.


Now Sunday started a little differently; I Uber-ed round-trip to Whole Foods to buy the ingredients for my vegan Buffalo Chicken Dip, which I then promptly cooked before hitting the road. We had tickets for the noon Knicks game (they are awful), watching it at The Garden with a round of double-shot Bloody Marys (they are fantastic).

A post shared by Ralphie Aversa (@ralphieaversa) on


We bar-hopped a little, with a stop at my old neighborhood standby, The Dead Poet, before hailing an Uber to Ryan’s place so we could watch the Big Game and I could tweet out gems like this.


After the game, none of us could turn away from the live streams of the celebrations (or, rioting) in Philadelphia. Finally at about 1:20 am, we called it and returned downtown.


After all, it was Monday. Danny had work in the morning.

Now that I’ve had a few days to process everything, some news and notes from my first ever GRAMMYs red carpet…

– The GRAMMYs red carpet is reminiscent of one for a big movie premiere in that it’s quite expansive, filled with top level stars, chaotic in spurts and covered by outlets of all shapes and sizes. Jayde Donovan and I were holding down the fort for our radio network, Westwood One. We were towards the end of the media lineup – to our left were The Garden social media team and WWD.com. To our right? A Japanese TV outlet that is clearly big across the Pacific because seemingly everyone stopped or attempted to stop and say hi to them.

– Always appreciate Scott Borchetta, the head of Big Machine Label Group, making a few minutes for us. He joked that NARAS had quite the wildcard on their hands sitting country group Midland in the front row. On a more serious note, he thought Taylor Swift had a good chance in both categories she was nominated, especially Best Country Song for writing Little Big Town’s “Better Man.” She came up empty for that along with “I Don’t Want To Live Forever” from “Fifty Shades Darker” in the Visual Media category, one that Borchetta believed is a “flip of the coin.”

– When we flagged Victor Cruz over and he revealed to Jayde that he was presenting the “Despacito” performance, my first thought was, “Oh, the irony!” Of course, it was two seasons ago that Cruz along with Odell Beckham Jr. and other Giants players flew to Miami the week before a playoff game to hang with Justin Bieber in Miami. Not only would the G-Men lose to the Packers, but some would point to the incident as the reason why Cruz wasn’t brought back to the team.

A post shared by Westwood One (@westwoodoneinc) on


– Speaking of “Despacito,” I think anyone and everyone who had anything to do with that song and wasn’t named Justin Bieber was on the red carpet. The producers, the artists, the principle songwriter, the guy who opened the studio door… it was incredible!

– The white roses Jayde and I wore were donated by 1800Flowers.com and the whole movement was championed in part by one of our colleagues, Melony Torres – very cool.

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


– It always amazes me that sometime the biggest stars are the ones most generous with their time. With that said, it was cool to see Tony Bennett spend a few minutes chatting with Jayde.

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


– Loved catching up with Long Island’s own Hoodie Allen, who told me he knew about his buddy Ed Sheeran’s engagement for a whole and to him and those around Ed it came as no surprise. I wonder if Hoodie is in charge of the bachelor party…

– Mayor Bill de Blasio and his wife told us that city officials worked hard to get The GRAMMYs to The Garden. Later, when I asked Recording Academy President Neil Portnow about New York as a host city, he went out of his way to mention the administration sang a rather different tune, stating tonight wasn’t the time to address the challenges working with them.

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


Although for me, the best part of our interaction with Mr. Mayor was after I shook his hand, when I told the Boston-born lifelong Red Sox fan, “Let’s go Yankees.”

I’m sure the Mayor appreciated it as much as Mr. Portnow’s comments.