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Yes, I have been taking what seems to be a lot of time off lately. Maybe I’m the only one who feels like it’s a lot because I can’t remember a stretch in my career when I went so many consecutive weeks without working a full one. But the perfect storm of my “American Music Awards” trip followed by Thanksgiving and combined with 10 vacation days created a rather unusual situation for me.

Hey, use ‘em or lose ‘em right? And I’m not in the business of losing… certainly not to the extent of two weeks’ worth of vacation.


So last weekend was another of the long variety, but what I found interesting about it is that I ended up at the studio every single day. On Friday I met colleagues in midtown before joining them at Kelsea Ballerini’s Irving Plaza show. I had to buy Syracuse/UConn tickets from the Madison Square Garden box office on Saturday, so eventually I went upstairs to use the restroom and check something on my computer.

Then on Sunday I was asked by our sister station NASH FM 94.7 if I could fill-in from 3-7 pm. Sure!


I had a lot of fun over the four hours and to be honest, didn’t realize how much I would enjoy the music. That Luke Bryan sings a catchy tune.

Then Monday I was back at the studio before heading downstairs to watch my Syracuse Orange lose… again… this time to former arch rival UConn.


Some other weekend highlights: family made their now annual trip to the city. I took them to see the Radio City Christmas Spectacular starring The Rockettes. The show, as usual, was fantastic.

We followed up our trip to Radio City Music Hall with a trek up to my neighborhood for grab dinner at Carmine’s – the first time I had visited that particular location. The carbs were both plentiful and delicious.


Sunday night after my show on NASH FM I brought the fam to Snack Taverna in the West Village. I wanted them to experience what a typical New York City dining experience is like: dim lighting, close tables, small and large plates you order for everyone to share.

I enjoyed it but I don’t think that will be making the family’s annual itinerary. It was a rather unusual experience for them… and not the kind that leaves you with 10 vacation days to burn before the end of the year.

The common thread between my last two weekends lies in the spectacular, breathtaking views I took in. It’s one of the many benefits living in the world’s greatest city, with so many great places to travel to an hour or two away.

But that’s where the similarities begin and end. When I drove up the Hudson Valley a few weeks ago, it was part of a free-and-open weekend I had following a party that was cancelled. This past weekend, it was a 9 am wake-up call to get down to Battery Park City by 10 am so that I could interview Charlie Huston, a star in Netflix’s “Stranger Things” and the new Naomi Watts thriller “Shut In.”

Like I said though, the view… still fantastic.


I attempted to get a quick jog in afterwards but my body was a bit worse-for-the-wear given my early call time and lack-of-sleep. Plus, I had to meet my friend Shaina at The Pennsy for a 3 p.m. lunch. We munched on delicious vegan sandwiches from The Cinnamon Snail before setting off on an impromptu walk. We started in midtown, went through Chelsea to the West Village, over to Greenwich Village and in to NoHo, then down to SoHo and back to Battery Park City. On my second trip downtown of the day, I actually walked the park in addition to seeing Brookfield Place Mall and The Oculus for my first time.


And, that sunset… the final one before Daylight Saving Time kicked in. My goodness.


Shaina was off to screen the new Harry Potter spinoff, and I ended up at a couple of my favorite downtown sports bars: Warren 77 in TriBeCa and Kelly’s in the East Village, drinking a few Blue Lights and cheering my Sabres on to victory.

The sports-theme poured in to Sunday, when John Foxx and I hopped over the George Washington Bridge and over to MetLife Stadium. The tailgate in the non-permit lot awaited us, followed by a long walk to the Stadium, where we watched the Giants beat the Eagles in a pivotal division game.


It was a great game… and the view wasn’t so bad either.

Labor Day weekend has become a weekend that I really, really look forward to.

I’ve always enjoyed the holiday because it serves as a nice bridge between a hot-and-humid summer and a busy fall. Autumn is usually the most hectic time of year for me; ratings are most important this time of year, many artists are on promotional runs gearing up for holiday releases and there are a number of big events to cover – ranging from The Rockettes to the American Music Awards to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (the latter two usually fall in the same week on different coasts).

Fall is also my favorite time of year, and no it’s not because of UGGs or Pumpkin Spice Lattes. We have the start of football, meaningful baseball, great fashion, scenic views and the best weather of the year.

OK, I like pumpkin beers as well. Sue me.

Anyways, LDW serves as a chance to rest, relax and reset before the busy season. In what has now become an annual tradition, I take a bus to Scranton on Saturday and drive with my buddy Danny to Niagara Falls. Brews, barbecues and pool time are a-plenty over the three days.

We usually throw a wrinkle or two in to that mix as well. Last year, it was clubbing in downtown Buffalo and attending the Chicken Wing Festival. This year, it was hanging with my cousin Anthony at his engagement party, which was catered by the venerable Niagara Falls restaurant The Como. From there, we went to the Seneca Niagara Casino downtown where I lost a little bit of money in Blackjack, and then made it back ten-fold by learning to play Craps! If you know what you’re doing (and you’re winning), it’s a really fun game.


But like I mentioned, the trip is really centered on the beer and the pool, both of which were prominently featured on my Instagram that weekend.


God bless Niagara Falls. And Western New York. And Labor Day Weekend.


And, fall.

I think a number of factors contributed to it: missing Opening Day, the excitement for the new season, the fact that I’m single and my renewed quest at constantly trying new things, pushing myself outside of my comfort zone.

For the second straight weekend, I attended two baseball games in two days at Yankee Stadium. Last weekend also marked consecutive Saturdays that I decided to jog the 4.3 miles from my apartment to the ballpark in the Bronx. I traveled my now normal route, which takes me up Columbus in to Harlem, over the Macombs Dam Bridge and through to The House That George Built.

Saturday was fun for a couple of reasons. For starters, my ticket was in 203, where the infamous Bleacher Creatures sit. The fans are equal parts intelligent and raucous when it comes to supporting the Yanks. Of course, they also are known for a ritual called “Roll Call.” The section starts with the Center Fielder, then moves left and right before going around the infield, starting with the First Baseman.

In each instance, the section chants the players’ name until he acknowledges the section. The signal from the field can be as subtle as a quick point with the glove hand (Chase Headley) to the more deliberate stop-turn-muscle flex (Brett Gardner).

Speaking of Gardy, his bottom-of-the-ninth walk-off home run certainly sent me home happy. OK, it didn’t send me home. It sent me to Stan’s on River Ave. to meet my friend Kathryn and watch as her Rangers were eliminated in the playoffs by the Penguins.


I walked back over the bridge, snapped a beautiful photo of the Stadium, and hailed a yellow cab home. After a quick shower, I met my buddy Ryan at the nearby Boat Basin Café, marking my first visit to the watering hole and first sunset seen there of the season.


On Sunday I entertained Ryan along with my friend Craig and his better half Ilana at my apartment for a little “pre-game” before we took the subway back uptown. Once there, we headed to the now too-familiar Stan’s to meet a bunch of people (including my man John Foxx) for a few beverages and then back inside Yankee Stadium.


This game went so far south so quickly that I never even made it to my seat. I did discover that Yankee Stadium has a rooftop bar. It was my first and last appearance there.

Sunday wrapped with me, John and his wife grabbing dinner in our hood at a restaurant I’ve been dying to try since I moved here: Vai. I’d say it was worth the wait but I shouldn’t have waited so long in the first place!

With DJ Khaled in New York ahead of a “major announcement” Monday (me thinks it might have something to do with the Billboard Music Awards finalists reveal on “Good Morning America”), let me drop two major keys on you from my weekend.

First key came Friday night. I signed off the radio after a show that I was pretty happy with, thus I was feeling good. But I decided not to go out (major key alert!). Instead I grabbed food from my bodega, strolled in to my apartment and caught up on work. I needed to do this for a plethora of reasons: didn’t feel like spending money on drinks, was too behind on said work and have too busy of a week ahead.


The second key came throughout the weekend: no traveling (major key alert!)! After spending the past three weekends in the air (Buffalo, Florida, Syracuse) I kept it local and it felt fantastic. The farthest I traveled was to Newark, where I caught the Devils’ final home game of the season. Prudential Center is a favorite venue of mine and it was nice to see Jersey go out with a win – not to mention veteran Patrick Elias had himself quite a game.

My sleep schedule was a bit off Sunday but that did not prevent me from running errands, finally getting a bagel from Upper West Side-institution Barney Greengrass (whole wheat toasted with Sturgeon, capers, tomato, scallion cream cheese) and knocking out a 5.6 mile run in Central Park.


Even made a rare-appearance at Whole Foods to search for wine (grabbed a Chianti), McClure’s Bloody Mary Mix (out of stock) and naturally a wife (no luck).

Hey, there’s always next weekend. And thankfully, I’ll be spending it right here.

On a normal year I spend the first weekend of the NCAA Basketball Tournament in Las Vegas. I traditionally travel alone but upon landing west, am greeted by a group of guys that I grew up with in Niagara Falls, NY. Now what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, but specifics withheld, the three days are usually filled with lots of sports, casino chips and the occasional alcoholic beverage (read: bottle).

However, 2016 would prove to not be a normal year. I’m 30 and most of the fellas in my group are at least a year or two older than me. They also all live back in Western New York. So while I’m still single and relatively care-free, my boys are now proposing, closing on houses, having kids or taking care of their young ones.

And this year, essentially all of those things happened at once, creating the perfect storm to cancel our annual Vegas excursion.

But, I’ve grown so accustomed hanging with the guys for March Madness, and we’re so used to seeing each other that we quickly decided something had to serve as a placeholder for Vegas until 2017. With a founding trip member and their wife was expecting a baby that weekend it was decided that we’d rent out a suite in North Buffalo, set-up three TVs, stock up the kitchen and bar and enjoy all of the Cinderella stories and buzzer beaters we could handle.

Perhaps keeping with the Vegas spirit, not many details of this trip will be publicized either; however I documented a modicum of it on Instagram. The fun began after an all-nighter Wednesday night, with a first-class Delta flight to the 716.


Of course I represented for my Syracuse Orange – who advanced to the Sweet 16 after thumping both Dayton and Middle Tennessee State.

And when in Rome… well, you know. On Thursday’s menu: La Nova pizza and char-grilled barbecue hot chicken wings.


Friday’s menu: Breakfast pizza from La Nova (highly recommend) along with spicy Bloody Marys that lasted until our early dinner: a huge fish fry with the fixings from WNY-staple Wegmans.


On Friday night, the trip’s itinerary took a turn: snow and rain were projected to hit New York on Sunday, the day I was supposed to fly back. I’ve become all-too-familiar with delays in-and-out of the tri-state area. In the interest of not spending all day Sunday at the airport or getting stranded in Niagara Falls, I proactively called Delta to have my flight bumped earlier. The airline was not as accommodating as they should have been but they did switch me to a Saturday flight.

That plane departed at 5:45 am. I found this out at about 1 am. So, I did what anyone else on vacation would do: I called my buddy Shawn who was working downtown at a nightclub, took a cab to meet him with my luggage in tow, hung out, grabbed food at Elmwood Taco and Subs (ETS!) and then Shawn drove me to Buffalo Niagara International Airport.


Sure my weekend wasn’t spent in Vegas, but most importantly it was spent with my friends. And besides, with the eating, drinking and sleeping habits that ensued, I don’t think my body could tell the difference anyways.

When I signed off the radio Friday night, I felt like I was in a bit of a funk. Why? Well, nothing really of significance bothered me; I think I was yearning to just unwind for a few days. For the weekend, I thought the perfect way to accomplish this would be by “unplugging” – staying off of my phone and social networks for 48 hours, beginning at Saturday morning at midnight.

The only exception I made was to periodically check the networks (only Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) for direct messages, in case something was urgent. I did monitor email on my laptop but didn’t respond to anything. Of course, I also turned on my phone occasionally to see if I had any voicemails or text messages, Heaven forbid there be an emergency.

Thankfully, there was not. The plan worked flawlessly and here are 10 things that happened directly because of my absence from social media and text messaging this weekend.

– I ran seven miles.

Now from one perspective, I have to admit that I probably would have run seven miles anyways. But on the other hand, I definitely enjoyed running outside in the park a little more because it was one of the few times I escaped my apartment this weekend. Also, I ran Sunday evening despite a late start, one that could have been prolonged even more had I fallen in to a hole on one of the various social networks.

– I felt less stressed.

There was less clutter in my brain, and I think this contributed to my stress level lowering. Especially with Twitter, I have a tendency to become caught up in every moment, whether that is needed from me or not. It was nice to just watch a sporting event and not feel the need to also watch it along with everyone who has a Smartphone. And contrary to what you may believe, managing personal or brand social networks can be both difficult and time consuming, so it was nice to relieve myself of that stress for the weekend.

– I valued human interaction more.

I broke the “no phone rule” once when I called my buddy Dan because there was a timely piece of information I needed to tell him. Technically the rule stayed intact because I called from my Google number on my laptop but regardless, the 48 hours from my social networks and phone gave me a new appreciation for talking and texting with my friends.

– I prepped my taxes.

This is always on the to-do list after the first of the year, and I finally completed it this weekend, in part because I was distraction free. It was a big undertaking but I’m all-set for my Tuesday appointment at good ‘ole H&R Block.

– I grocery shopped.

First of all, you need to understand that I love grocery shopping. Second of all, you should also know that on Saturday I grabbed items from all three places in the city that I normally use for food: Fairway because of its organic section and snacks, Westside Market which has the best hummus in the city and Amazon Prime Now for water, almond milk and other produce items.
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– I cooked!

And while this follows grocery shopping, I actually did not use anything I bought Saturday for the meal I cooked Sunday; rather I had purchased some penne weeks ago and had a lovely red sauce from Marconi Hot Pots on the Upper East Side that I finally threw in a pan. My stove normally serves as the countertop for my Keurig because… single bachelor.
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– I barely drank.

This was a big one, especially after last weekend. I made a Bloody Mary while watching Syracuse Saturday, had a few beers while putting my tax materials together that evening and had a glass of wine with Sunday dinner. That’s it. No whiskey. No bar tabs. No late nights of drinking only to be followed by order a copious amount of gluttonous food from my bodega.

– I cleaned my apartment.

A person’s living space is definitely a reflection of their head space. And now that my taxes are prepped, the stray receipts on the coffee table and dresser are to a bare minimum, the clothes are folded and put away and the garbage is outside. Namaste.

– I played a fair amount of Playstation 4.

And I can finally beat the computer in NHL ’16 when playing on the pro level. I’m sure you were reading this whole article just for that piece of information.

– I didn’t miss it.

As I type this, I’m going on 50 hours of not checking Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat. I haven’t texted a soul and sans one person, haven’t called anyone.

Am I curious to see why I have 50 notifications on Twitter? Do I have an urge to respond to some of the text messages I’ve received? Not really. It has nothing to do with the importance of those interactions, but rather the realization that sometimes there is more in life than refreshing Twitter every 2 minutes.

Besides, you should have seen the amount of clean laundry that piled up on my bed…

Model Heide Lindgren and REBUILD Globally founder Julie Colombino stopped by 95.5 to talk about the “Impact Garden” event happening at Madison Square Garden on Monday, March 7. A yoga class will take place on the court at MSG for the first time ever, with shopping, eating, drinking and some hoops to follow. Participants will even have the chance to shoot for a free cruise.
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Use the code WELLNESS for BOGO tickets. For more info, click here.

Did Winter Storm Jonas slow me down last weekend? You’re talking to someone who grew up in Western New York and went to school at Syracuse University. A few scenes from Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

A photo posted by Ralphie Aversa (@ralphieaversa) on


And the snow was far from finished when I snapped that Saturday afternoon. By Saturday evening, people were literally sledding down Amsterdam.


On Monday, the cleanup struggle was still real.

There are a number of goals I’ve set for 2016; two include writing more for this blog and posting higher quality and quantity to social media, specifically Instagram. So Friday night, when I was in the studio I decided to take a second and enjoy the view.


Post-show Friday turned from a late night to an early morning. I retreated to the Upper West Side, only to head back down to Penn Station a few hours later as I had a train to catch for Providence, R.I. I love many things about Amtrak, including but not limited to the view.


My radio show has aired in Providence since 2009 and has always done well there. This certainly has endeared me to the area. Nothing but love for the Ocean State.


Oh – so I traveled up to Rhode Island for the Cumulus Providence Holiday Party. I liked that it was on a Saturday and after the craziness of Christmas and New Year’s. The party was held in scenic Newport, a town I had never visited. Thankfully my colleague Jay (who usually is with me covering award shows) picked me up from the train station and showed me around. It doesn’t matter what time of year – witnessing something as powerful as the Atlantic Ocean in person is pretty spectacular.


Extra point for me because the caption of that post read, “I keep on hoping we’ll eat cake by the ocean.” Love DNCE. Anyways, Saturday night in Newport was much fun. But alas, another early morning and early train ride awaited me. Returning to the greatest city in the world makes it all worth it though.