Archives For Penn Station

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.

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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).

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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 love tradition and routine but it was time for a break from both this past weekend: for the first time in recent memory, I took Memorial Day weekend off.

I remember spending Memorial Day weekend in 2010 at a Yankees game and I can’t recall how I spent the holiday in 2011. But I do remember 2012 because Syracuse was in the NCAA Lacrosse Final Four and I drove to Camden, New Jersey where I interviewed Niall Horan of then a burgeoning pop outfit called One Direction.

In 2013 I attended a wedding but on Memorial Day Monday and every subsequent one until this year, I would host my show in New York at its normal time.

And this year wasn’t a complete departure from work: I woke up early Friday morning and drove down the Shore for 95.5’s Pepsi Summer Kick-Off, chatting with Andy Grammer before driving back and doing my show Friday night.

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On Saturday I slept in, grabbed the new Jordan 11’s and met a friend for a drink in midtown. Then my buddy Danny visited for the weekend – we bar-hopped in the hood before hitting the East Village and calling it a late night/early morning.

Then Sunday it was up to the Bronx to watch the Yankees beat the A’s and witness Aaron Judge’s first career grand slam. We followed that up with a celebratory drink at Stan’s and then a trip to hang in Yonkers with John Foxx for dinner and drinks.

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The bad news for Monday is that I had to set an alarm for 8 am. The good news was that Danny and I were up early because we were driving to Baltimore to see the Yankees and Orioles face off at Camden Yards. The weather was dreary until we reached the DMV area. First pitch was 75 and sunny. The Yanks lost (although Judge hit another homer; he leads the league) but we linked up with friends old and new in the stadium, across the street at Pickles and across town around the Inner Harbor.

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By the way – the people of Baltimore are fantastic. We ate dinner with our buddy Rob at the Oyster House Sunday night. The lobster gnocchi and lobster mac and cheese were out of this world. Everything was super-fresh.

We wrapped up the night with a trip to Horseshoe Casino where I left with a few extra dollars in my pocket and retired to the Hilton by Camden. It was an early-ish night because I had a 10 am train back to New York on Tuesday morning.

And of course, it should come as little surprise that I missed it by about 10 minutes because I accidentally typed in “Penn Street” in to Google Maps as opposed to “Baltimore Penn Station.” But the good news was that 20 minutes later, an Acela departed and dropped me off at New York Penn just before 1.

The timing was perfect: I arrived at the studio with just enough time to interview an old friend… Niall Horan.

The following was written while I waited Sunday morning for my plane leaving Syracuse and headed to JFK to be de-iced. I had missed my flight to LaGuardia by about 60 seconds; thankfully the saints that work for Delta got me on the next flight to the city which thankfully was departing from the gate next door a few minutes after. It was originally posted to my Instagram and this version has been edited lightly for grammar and spelling.

Greetings from my ✈ back to the city. Let me tell you about my past 30 hours.

I snapped this selfie on AirTrain headed to JFK Saturday morning. The plan was to take-off at 9:30, land around 10:15 and make the noon tip of yesterday’s Syracuse/Georgetown game at the Dome. My cousin Anthony (who for those that don’t know is my best friend; I have the honor of standing as his best man next year when he takes the ole plunge) was riding the train in from Niagara Falls. He had never visited the Cuse so we were going to do it up – tickets at the game (thanks L) followed by a tour de force through my old stomping grounds: Marshall Street, Chuck’s, Faegan’s, Varsity – the whole thing.

And then my flight was delayed until it was canceled. Anthony ended up rolling to the Dome and subsequent venerable campus locations solo. I caught the first few minutes of the game from the bar at the LIRR Jamaica station (and yes they’ll make your cocktail to-go). Then I hopped back on a train towards Penn and checked the Amtrak schedule. There was a 1:20 Empire Service departure that could get me to ‘Cuse by 6:40. Should I go?

Stupid question.

I grabbed another cocktail from the Friday’s in Penn (no they will not make it to-go) and hopped aboard.
I had a great night in Syracuse. Ate dinner at an awesome spot called The York. Ran in to an old friend and his wife. Got to relive a bit of my college days with my best friend.

If I’ve learned anything this year it’s that family and friends have to come first in my life. It’s cliché but true and sadly, I haven’t always had my priorities straight. But I’m thankful for those around me who have always understood and supported me regardless.

I’m also thankful that I realized this now as opposed to never because that would be unfortunate… much more so than a canceled flight.

I wanted to see more than one date on Coldplay’s “A Head Full Of Dreams” tour. I was looking for a reason to travel back up I-95 to Rhode Island. And, I had never been to Gillette Stadium before.

So last weekend on Saturday, the last Saturday of July, I booked a train at midnight to Providence. I then reserved a one-way rental car from the T.F. Green Airport to Manhattan for Sunday. Then, via the Hotwire app, I grabbed a room at The Omni in downtown Providence.


A few hours of sleep, some quick packing and a shower later and I was on the subway to Penn Station and off to Southern New England for a quick but exciting jaunt.

I arrived before 11 a.m. to a sun-soaked downtown Providence. The weather was simply fantastic; so much so that I had to stop and document the moment as I walked from the train station to my hotel.


After dropping off my bags, I walked from the hotel to the Providence Place Mall, which is actually connected to The Omni via a walk-way. Like other shopping centers, the mall is a bit antiquated (i.e. the H&M does not sell men’s clothing) but I welcomed a trip in to suburbia, even if only for an hour or so.

I snagged a new Yankees snapback, a couple jackets from Zara and a venti coffee from the Starbucks kiosk before returning to The Omni and checking in to my room. Wait, I have a fridge? Perfect. Even if for only 24 hours, one of my go-to moves when traveling is stocking up on essentials from a grocery store or convenience mart for my room so that I’m not left to pay coffee house or room service prices the following day.

But before I addressed that, I dressed in to my workout clothes and went for a fantastic five mile run downtown – through the square, up College Hill and across the campus of Brown University, over to the Newport Ferry and back.

I then grabbed those essentials from CVS (no grocery store downtown!) and showered. My colleague Barbi Jo picked me up around 4 and we made the 40 minute drive up to Foxborough. We parked and walk to “Patriot Place,” the surrounding area outside of the stadium which is lined with outdoor shopping, bars and restaurants. Barbi and I met Jess (and Jess) inside Toby Keith’s “I Love This Bar and Grill.”

Again, a bit of suburbia but I didn’t mind one bit. We chatted, drank and eventually grabbed a table so we could eat before heading inside Gillette for the concert.

The lineup: Foxes (she sang on Zedd’s “Clarity” and won a GRAMMY for it), Alessia Cara (who is fantastic) followed by Coldplay a little after 9 pm. We made our way to the gate and attempted to get in but ran in to a small issue: Barbi’s purse BARELY didn’t fit inside this grey container that security provides you, so they wouldn’t allow her inside.

So, back to the car, dropped off some belongings and back to the gate.

Now inside, we grabbed our light-up wristbands and “LOVE” buttons and walked up to the 300 level where we were seated. As we attempted to walk around the upper bowl of the stadium we were met again by security. A portion of the stadium behind the stage was blocked off until the first three songs of the set were finished due to (spoiler alert) Coldplay’s fireworks. The issue was that this happened about 20 minutes before they took the stage and with no warning. So we either wait in place or walk all the way around the other part of this massive football stadium, probably not reaching our seats until the third song anyways.

Then our fortunes, albeit briefly, changed. We were approached by Live Nation and told that they were upgrading people from the 300 level to unsold floor seats.

Boom.

We grabbed our new tickets and wristbands and flew downstairs just in time for the opening notes of “A Head Full of Dreams.”


The only other issue: by the time we reached our seats and attempted to buy drinks, alcohol sales were cut off. It was only 9:30 and Coldplay had just taken the stage!

Whatever. Beautiful night, fantastic concert and a lovely impromptu after-party/night cap at Bar Louie in Patriot Place all occurred before I retired to my room in Providence around 2 am.

The next morning, I checked out of my hotel at 11 am and was on the go non-stop. I took an Uber to the airport, picked up my rental, drove to Eli’s On The Hill in Branford to grab lunch with my colleague Bartley, hit up both the Clinton Crossings Outlets and Stew Leonard’s in Norwalk and visited a friend in Bronxville before dropping off the car and plopping on my couch around 9:30 am.

It was a busy weekend, which probably explains why I am writing this, a week later, in the midst of a lazy Saturday on the aforementioned couch.