Archives For Barclays Center

The week of Thanksgiving has turned in to one of my favorite times of the year. It starts in Los Angeles, covering the American Music Awards. A trip to In-N-Out Burger and red-eye flight later, I’m back east and for the next two days, my show airs at its normal time. Then Thursday morning, I’m up at 6 am so I can shower, grab a hot chocolate and walk over to the start of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. I stay on the parade route until Santa passes me, which is usually about 10 am. Then I head back to my apartment, edit all of the celebrity interviews and videos I recorded from the morning and begin to figure out what the rest of my evening looks like.


Clearly, this week isn’t busy enough, so this year I added a new wrinkle: after the parade, I was going to fly home to Niagara Falls to see my family for Thanksgiving. It would be the first time in nine years that I was eating turkey in Western New York for the holiday.

This wasn’t my idea; my Mom was adamant on me returning home for the holiday. I think part of the reason is because she felt bad that for the first time in three years she and/or the rest of my squad wasn’t trekking to New York for Thanksgiving.


Back to my now-crazier day: I settled back in to my apartment and started to edit, (temporarily) wrapped at 11, finished packing at 11:30 and called a car to take me to LaGuardia.

There would be no editing at 30,000 feet because our Wifi wasn’t working. But there was this!


My sister picked me up from Buffalo-Niagara International Airport and drove me home. I spent the rest of the evening (sans a break for turkey) finishing the social media updates and editing necessary for both 95.5 PLJ and our sister station, NASH FM 94.7. A coffee and amaretto or three later and I was done for the night.

On Friday I slept in before running 5 miles through my old neighborhood and linking up with my cousin Anthony for some drinks and leftover antipasto at my house. Then I headed down to Buffalo, where I met some old high school friends at a spot called Buffalo Proper. It’s a dimly-lit cocktail lounge with a full kitchen and pretty fantastic vibe. I would recommend the Tatanka and this, the Smoke Break, served on an ash tray.


The trip home was a quick one, as I flew out Saturday morning because I wanted to catch Syracuse play South Carolina at Barclays Center, a game they would lose. But with friends in town for the weekend, I ended up having a fun Saturday night (slash Sunday morning) out, along with a solid Football Sunday that saw my Bills notch a win.

A photo posted by Ralphie Aversa (@ralphieaversa) on


And then, in a new Thanksgiving week tradition (because it’s the second year it happened), my Christmas tree went up.


After all, I clearly didn’t have enough going on this week.

The weekend was such a whirlwind that it spilled in to Monday.

It started Friday when I decided to celebrate the birthday of the Pumpkin Spice Latte. Yes, everyone’s favorite seasonal beverage turned 13 according to Starbucks, who I envision still counting up the sales from that day as I type this. Was it basic? Of course it was! Why else would so many people double-tap it?


To be fair, it’s also an excellent photo that my super-patient colleague Mia took for me on our way back from the Starbucks a block over from the studio.

After Friday night’s show, I headed right home to sleep because I had an early and long Saturday afternoon ahead. The fine folks at the John Lennon Songwriting Contest and John Lennon Educational Bus were holding a block party in Jackson Heights, Queens. Sunday would have been Lennon’s 76th birthday and so the non-profit decided to throw the party on Saturday in what has been dubbed, “the most diverse neighborhood in the world.”


That isn’t just a tagline, either. It was beautiful to see all ages, all ethnicities, all colors come out on a gloomy Saturday to tour the bus, listen to live music and enjoy each other’s company.


I showed up to Queens a little after 11 am and left just before 6. I had enough time to get back to my apartment, change and meet a colleague who was in town and staying near Times Square. I thought we were going to dinner.

Well, we were. But first, we were sitting fifth row at Blake Shelton’s show inside Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.


Dinner did follow at my favorite restaurant, the West Village’s Monument Lane, before drinks and obligatory late-night pizza ensued.

On Sunday I brunched and watched the 1 o’clock game with a friend, went back home to change and then met another friend for drinks at his hotel before heading to Kettle of Fish – the NYC Packers Backers bar – for the Sunday night game.


Look, the colleague is a Packers fan and while I don’t mind the Giants, my Bills won earlier so I was rather indifferent.

Green Bay cruised to victory and shortly thereafter, I cruised back uptown so I could grab some shuteye before interviewing Rachel Platten and Joe Jonas at “Good Morning America.”


Trust me, whirlwinds become much less fun on Monday mornings with short sleep.

It was a Sunday Funday for the books.

First stop: The World’s Most Famous Arena. I’ve been to countless Knicks games, Syracuse University basketball matchups, concerts and press opportunities at Madison Square Garden. But from my earliest visit (1998, WWE Summerslam) to this weekend, I had never attended a Rangers game.

On Friday night, I knew that was going to change as soon as I mentioned to my friend who is from Pittsburgh that the Penguins were playing the Blueshirts in Sunday matinee matchup. We purchased two tickets in 308 about 40 minutes before the puck dropped, and I raced down to MSG.

Section 308 is in an area that The Garden calls “The Lounges.” It’s like a suite, built for groups with inclusive food and non-alcoholic beverages, but it isn’t enclosed by walls. It’s on the same level as the equally-new Chase Bridge and offers a nice view of the rink. We were behind the net that the Pens shot on twice, so we had a nice vantage point as Sidney Crosby banged home an empty-netter to seal a 5-3 victory for the bad guys.

A photo posted by Ralphie Aversa (@ralphieaversa) on


The assorted sandwiches and couple Bloody Marys did not slow me down; I headed back uptown, fit in a 4 mile run in Central Park and hopped back on StubHub. The Nets were home in Brooklyn against the Milwaukee Bucks. I really don’t care for either team but two former Syracuse stars, Tyler Ennis and Michael Carter-Williams, play on the Bucks. Not to mention, despite the countless events I have attended at Barclays Center including the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards and a New York Islanders game, I had never been to see the Nets!

That changed as well.

My buddy and I scored lower sideline tickets for this game but what really stood out besides our nice view and the padded seats were the extra amenities. As part of our ticket, we had access to the “Happy Half-Hour,” which commences an hour before tip-off and wraps up 30 minutes before game time.


The special? Free domestic beer and wine in the Honda Club. Deal!

Our tickets also included a special pre-game buffet on the suite level and an all-access pass to the food vendors: we could buy anything we wanted from any stand. The cashier simply scanned our ticket and it was free.

Brooklyn played a good game but Barclays Center played a better host. The Nets fell to the Bucks; to be honest, I was a bit too full to notice.

Remember when Selena Gomez broke down in tears on stage during her “Stars Dance” tour stop at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn last year?

Do you think that’s what she is addressing at the start of her new music video for “The Heart Wants What It Wants”?

Fashion and music collided at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Tuesday September 9 for “Fashion Rocks.” Ralphie Aversa covered red carpet arrivals and had a chance to speak with a number of celebrities, from artists and DJs to designers and models.

The trend with the MTV “Video Music Awards” is that the show is short on awards, moderate on music, and heavy on moments that the blogosphere will be writing about for weeks to come. Last Sunday night proved no different, as the only memorable award belonged to the man responsible for the evening’s biggest performance.

Justin Timberlake received the “Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award” from a breathless Jimmy Fallon. The presentation followed a 15 minute trip down memory lane which showcased the star’s extensive library, impressive choreography, and the reason why we came to know Timberlake in the first place.

In possibly the worst kept secret of the evening, J.C. Chasez, Chris Kirkpatrick, Lance Bass, and Joey Fatone reunited with Justin; for about two minutes, but reunited albeit. ‘NSYNC elicited the loudest response of the show from the sold out crowd inside Brooklyn’s Barclays Center – entering to “Gone,” segueing to “Girlfriend,” and bringing it home with “Bye, Bye, Bye”; dance moves and all.

Still, the night belong to Timberlake alone, who also took home Moonmen for “Best Direction,” “Best Editing,” and the top “Video of the Year” honor thanks to “Mirrors,” which the entertainer accepted with a heartwarming speech about how his grandparents inspired the piece.

The second-most talked about event of the evening, or first if you’re using Twitter statistics, was Miley Cyrus’ performance with Robin Thicke, and the gyrating that followed. A source inside the Barclays Center during rehearsals, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that Cyrus had practiced all of her raunchy moves with Thicke prior to Sunday’s award show. That could make the whole situation better or worse, depending on your perspective.

Regardless, the incident broke the Twitter record for most tweets per minute, surpassing 300,000 updates every 60 seconds.

While Katy Perry’s closing of the show provided awesome visuals of the Brooklyn Bridge as she pranced around a boxing ring to her new smash “Roar,” it was Kanye West, Macklemore, and Bruno Mars who turned in other noteworthy performances. Lady Gaga kicked off the evening to a loud ovation with “Applause,” but the show fell in to disarray before Timberlake got things back on track midway through.

While the show itself is now one of the biggest nights in music, the awards carry little to no weight. The arena booed audibly when One Direction’s “Best Song Ever” won a fan vote for “Song of the Summer,” a title that any person with common sense will tell you belongs to Thicke’s “Blurred Lines.”

Still, the award show continues to be an annual staple for the network no longer known for its music. Ratings this year were up 66 percent from last year’s Thursday night broadcast from the STAPLES Center in Los Angeles.