Archives For Bayonne

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!

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Chuck Wepner told me he is just happy to still be alive so that he can tell his story – and now it will be shown on the silver screen for all to see.

Wepner is a former professional heavyweight boxer who was known as “The Bayonne Bleeder” because he had one of the sport’s bloodiest faces. Most notably to that point, there was a fight between Wepner and Sonny Liston in which the New Jersey heavyweight required 72 stitches to his face.

But the match that changed Wepner’s life was his 15 round battle with the Heavyweight Champion of the World, Muhammad Ali. That fight yielded a $100,000 payday for the Marine Corps veteran (the biggest check of his career, although Wepner insisted to me that he would’ve fought Ali for free) and inspired a young man named Sylvester Stallone to write a screenplay called “Rocky.”

And in the new film “Chuck,” out Friday, the world gets to see not only the real-life fighter who inspired the iconic movie series but also the effect that it all had on his personal life – filled with ups and downs that were fueled by sex, alcohol and drugs and led to marital issues and a stint in jail.

However at Wepner’s insistence, the film needed to be family-friendly. He attributes that characteristic along with the task of finding a good lead character in why it took 12 years to make. And it wasn’t until Liev Schreiber that Wepner knew they had their man.

“It was actually (Liev) who asked to play the part,” recalled Wepner on the second floor of the Loews Regency on New York City’s Upper East Side. “Taking no money up-front, everything on the other end. That’s how much he loves the movie.”

Wepner also revealed that Naomi Watts, who plays his third wife, signed up for the same deal.

“They wanted to do this movie,” he said. “They put their heart and soul in it and that’s why the movie is good.”

Schreiber’s acting chops impressed the boxer, right down to his in-ring dialect. Wepner even allowed that the “Ray Donovan” star has a little New Jersey in him.

“He’ll use a little slang now and then, if you know what I mean,” the boxer joked. “He likes to drink. He likes to party. He likes the girls.

“Yunno, that’s me!”