Archives For Instagram

– 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.

I love how the weekend after I visited Toronto, Drake just drops two songs out of nowhere!

Anyways, I was listening to his album “More Life” as my plane made the descent in to Pearson International Airport. After a quick trip through Customs and to the Uber pick-up area, I hopped in an “Uber Select” (nicer than X but not as nice as Black) and headed 20 minutes towards downtown.

I was in Toronto last weekend because of my cousin Shawn. He’s a shooting guard on amateur basketball team called Healthy Buffalo and a couple times throughout the season they play on a NBA court, typically Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland or Air Canada Centre in Toronto. When I was home for Thanksgiving, Shawn and his older brother Chris told me about the Canada date and asked if I was interested in attending. I booked my flight a few weeks later.

Thanks to my plane taxiing on the runway for an hour, Chris (along with his wife, sister-and-law and two kids) and Shawn beat me to the hotel. I met them there, dropped off my bags and we left for the ACC. It was certainly different watching basketball in a nearly-empty, half-lit arena, not to mention it was my first time in this particular venue. Still, it was awesome to see Shawn ballin’ on the same court where later in the evening the Raptors would be taking on Steph Curry, Kevin Durant and the Warriors.

Shawn played great and his team won the round-robin tournament.

A post shared by Ralphie Aversa (@ralphieaversa) on


After a late lunch and a quick nap, the three men headed back to the arena for the game. Chris and Shawn had 100 level seats; I was late to the party so I ended up with a seat in 317 that I sat in for player introductions and the first quarter. I spent the rest of the evening in an area called the Draught Deck – full bar, tons of seating and multiple TVs to watch both the game on the court and other sports (Patriots/Titans were on as well).

Oh, then there was the Coors Light virtual reality game that I figured it was necessary to partake in.

Golden State edged out Toronto, I almost drank the arena out of Crown and the three of us headed across the street to this fantastic sports bar called Real Sports. More Crown (for me at least), some appetizers and a check later and we retired to the hotel room.

Rather, Chris and Shawn retired. I had made arrangements to check out Soho House Toronto and I didn’t want to flake on that. Obviously what happens there isn’t for public consumption but I had a great time. The nightcap to the nightcap took place at Cactus Club Café before I wrapped the night in the fashion that every great Canadian night should end.

Poutine, of course.

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


Sunday I drove with my family home to see the parents, get one last taste of my Mom’s homecooking and grab a few things I left over the holidays. I flew back early Monday morning, knowingly dreaming of that poutine and unknowingly awaiting new music from Drake.

I’ll never forget one particular time when I was walking up an emergency path in Times Square towards 47th Street. I saw two bottles, a regular water and a Vitamin Water, at the feet of a reveler. I asked if they were his and he nodded. I then looked closer and realized that they were both frozen solid – that was a first.

It was my fourth consecutive time ringing in the New Year while standing in the Crossroads of the World and there were a couple of firsts throughout the evening. In addition to the frozen beverages, I finally interviewed a bystander who at least said that he wore diapers to the ball drop in case he had to go to the bathroom; I had heard for years that people did this but no one ever admitted it to me.

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


The reveler took it a step further and offered to show me; I took him for his word.

This was also the first year I ended up inside a bar on New Year’s Eve in Times Square. A big thanks to O’Donoghues Pub on 44th, right next to the ABC studios, for allowing me to pop-in during the final hour of our broadcast for a bit and interview some of the patrons on the air.

Most important, thanks to Vic on site, Scotty Bones back in the studio, dick clark productions for providing us with access to and space in the aforementioned ABC studios and the great folks at Times Square Alliance for credentialing us to be there.

I tell people all the time – my job is comprised of many “once-in-a-lifetime” events that I have the chance to experience on an annual basis, and this is one of them. I hope you get the chance to do the same one year. Have a safe and successful 2018 and check out my chats with Nick Jonas, Andy Grammer and some of those revelers below.

The holidays went well, thanks, but they were different. For the first time in a few years, I decided to spend an entire week at home around Christmas. This wasn’t my first option but it ended up as the most practical for a couple of reasons.

First off, I was heading in to the first of the year with a bunch of vacation days. Use ‘em or lose ‘em! I didn’t want to lose them so regardless of where I was going to spend the week, it definitely wasn’t going to be in the studio.

Second, the weather this time of year can be dicey-at-best in the northeast, and so the idea of flying to multiple locations can not only become pricey, but simply impossible thanks to Mother Nature.

And that leads me to point number three: I needed to be home for not only Christmas but the following Saturday, when my cousin Anthony would be sworn in as Town Justice for the Town of Niagara. Anthony is my best friend and he won in such convincing fashion during the primary that by the general election, he was the only candidate on the ballot. I’m extremely proud of him and wouldn’t have missed the day for anything.

A post shared by Ralphie Aversa (@ralphieaversa) on


The idea of flying back-and-forth twice between Buffalo and New York around the two weekends crossed my mind. I eventually decided against it due to reason number two and it worked out because it afforded me a chance mid-week to return to my alma mater and see family there as well (in addition to watching my Syracuse Orange win against Eastern Michigan).

A post shared by Ralphie Aversa (@ralphieaversa) on


That was the other nice part of staying back in Western New York for an entire week – I had the opportunity to visit with a lot of family and friends while still taking a few days to do absolutely nothing. I needed it more than I knew.

A post shared by Ralphie Aversa (@ralphieaversa) on


Do I wish I wouldn’t have packed on a few extra pounds and would’ve been able to run outside a little more? Of course, but my Mom’s home-cooked meals were worth it.

A post shared by Ralphie Aversa (@ralphieaversa) on

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.

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’m not sure where to begin on this one.

Yunno what? Let’s start at the beginning. It was August 1, 2007. I was living in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Everything was new: the city (a college town that was slow to evolve because of local traditions), the state (running the gamut from the bad: ‘Wait, the state runs the liquor stores and I can’t buy a six-pack at the gas station?’ to the good: ‘Sheetz! Wawa!’) and of course the job.

Probably one of the most frequently asked questions I field, followed by “Who was your favorite celebrity to interview?” and “Which celebrity was a jerk?” is, “Why would you move to Wilkes-Barre for a Top 40 radio show?”

First, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton metro is a top 80 market for radio and top 50 for television. Second, the cost of living is low. Third, there’s a venue in the area to host almost any size show. Fourth, you’re pretty close to both New York and Philadelphia.

And so in the summer of 2007, a kid fresh out of Syracuse University with a fake tan, curly afro and questionable soul patch packed up his Kia Rav 4 and drove with his father to Wilkes-Barre. My Dad bought me new furniture and helped me find a studio apartment in downtown (excuse me, Center City) Wilkes-Barre, right by a new movie theater that the locals seemed pretty excited about.

I could have never imagined what would transpire over the following 10 years, and I wouldn’t change it for anything.

Look, 10 years at any company let alone the first one you work for out of college, is a long time. But 10 years at the same media company… on the same radio station? That’s practically an eternity.

So a few weeks ago, I returned to Scranton and spent a weekend celebrating the accomplishment: a decade on 97.1/95.7 BHT and 10 years with Cumulus Media.

It’s been an incredible journey. Here’s to it not ending anytime soon.