Archives For Syracuse Orange

I don’t even know where to start with this past weekend, so let’s try the beginning. Here are five things I was thankful for.

– My go-to when booking hotels is Hotwire. Most of the time if I’m traveling for work the hotel is booked for me; but when I’m on my own I use that website for hotel deals. Hotwire has never led me astray and so when I decided late Friday night that I was going to travel to Detroit this past Sunday, I knew how to book my hotel. I ended up at The Westin Downtown and when I told some friends in The D my rate, they were stunned at how inexpensive it was.

– I wrapped up what felt like a month of celebrating St. Patrick’s Day by partaking in a beverage at Blarney Stone, followed by a few more beverages and some food at Mustang Harry’s. A big thanks to Marzi, Sarah and the crew at Mustang’s for the hospitality. It was a beautiful day weather-wise and a lot of fun to hang with some old and new friends while watching the tournament games.

– To say I’m thankful for Syracuse Orange basketball would be an understatement. To quickly rewind: I had a thought in the back of my mind heading in to Friday night’s game that if we won, I might try to fly to Detroit for Sunday’s Round-of-32 match. Once we completed the victory against TCU, I started looking at flights. Less than an hour later, my plans were set. To see that game, from those seats, amongst that squad was a memory I will tell my grandkids about (carriage before the horse there but you get the idea). I get to experience a lot of “once-in-a-lifetime” moments and I never take them for granted. On to the Sweet 16!


– I received a few odd looks like I was some-type-of-crazy when I told people this weekend that I was heading to Detroit. I think part of that was they couldn’t believe I booked a trip on Friday night for Sunday. But surely the other part was that they were skeptical of why I’d be so eager to travel to the Motor City. After Sunday’s initial visit, I’m already planning a return trip. Downtown Detroit is beautiful, the new Little Caesars Arena is gorgeous, there is plenty to experience and perhaps most importantly – the people are amazing. I was in dive bars and hotel bars, pizzerias and Coney shops, Ubers and shuttle buses. And I need to return because I only visited one spot in Greektown, I need to catch a game at Comerica and I never made it to a single casino. Thank you, Detroit.

– Last but certainly not least… I am beyond thankful for my friends. I got to day-drink with my roommate Rafael on Saturday. Marzi came through clutch with the invite to Mustang Harry’s. JAG scooped me from the airport in Detroit Sunday, showed me around and grabbed brunch. My buddy Ed snagged me that amazing seat for Sunday’s game. I had the chance to see Matt and meet his wife. My colleague Robby picked up a nice dinner on Sunday evening. And countless others checked in via text and social media throughout the weekend. I love you all.

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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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It was another weekend filled with friends, travels and a few cocktails so let me tell you five things that I was thankful for during it.

– For the second time in three weekends I made it back to Syracuse: this time for the annual WJPZ Alumni Banquet/Reunion. Some of the highlights included watching the Orange beat Clemson in the Carrier Dome, seeing my old professor Dr. Rick Wright and his son Rubin and hanging with both alumni and students at the after party.


I always leave the banquet thankful and motivated; this year was no different.


– I flew back and forth to Syracuse and between the flights, Uber rides and hotel check-in I had zero interruptions. That is always a welcome footnote for a weekend.

– Despite going one stretch where I slept about six hours over a two day period, I still managed to run 4 miles this weekend. If I didn’t take good care of my body, minding both how I use it and what I put in it, I wouldn’t have been able to pull that off.

– It was so great to stop by MetroPCS with Team PLJ on Sunday afternoon. Thankfully with my lack of travel disruptions I had no issues landing at LaGuardia, getting back to my apartment to drop off my bags and making the trek to the Midwood neighborhood. Thanks for having us!


– Speaking of neighborhoods, Sunday night I ended up back in my old stomping grounds on the Upper West Side. I grabbed dinner with Ryan and watched The Oscars at Fred’s, then continued to e’s for a night cap before shopping at Fairway and heading back to the Financial District. Any weekend that can end with a trip to one of my favorite bars and a grocery store is usually a good weekend in my book.

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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

Wow, what a run.

My alma mater, Syracuse University, gave us fans quite a March to remember. Entering “Selection Sunday,” me and other members of Orange Nation weren’t quite sure if the team would make the field of 64 or not. Would we play in a “First Four” game? Would we be one of the first four out of the tourney, relegated to the NIT?

The NCAA Selection Committee gifted Syracuse a 10-seed and a first round match-up against a team that had beat us in tournament a few years ago, Dayton. That game took place in 2014 at Buffalo’s First Niagara Center. Coincidentally this year, due to circumstances beyond my control, I would be watching the game with my friends back in Western New York.

#TBT: #MarchMadness Wardrobe Edition. #BeatDayton #BeatEveryone #CuseMode #OrangeNation

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SU took care of Dayton with ease and hung around for a second game in St. Louis, against 15-seed Middle Tennessee State. This team had for sure busted brackets across the country with its upset of Michigan State, a two-seed.

Lighting did not strike twice. The ‘Cuse manhandled the Blue Raiders and moved on to the Sweet 16. I caught the game with my buddy Ryan on the Upper West Side. In the process, I found out that there is a Syracuse-supporters bar blocks away from my apartment!

This was the beauty of the run for me. I had little to no expectations for the Orange this March. The team’s march to the Final Four served not only a pleasant surprise but also as a wonderful opportunity to create memories with family and friends.

Easy wardrobe selection for #NationalOrangeDay. #BeatGonzaga #BeatEveryone #MarchMadness #Sweet16 @syracuseu

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And for that matter, former March legends who continued on to have successful NBA careers. Syracuse’s Sweet 16 matchup pitted the Orange against Gonzaga in Chicago. The game was on a Friday night and tipped around 9:40 pm, meaning I would have to watch the first-half in studio and then hustle to that neighborhood bar for the second.

I arrived at Firehouse to a room full of ‘Cuse faithful, an empty spot at the bar and former UNLV and Knicks standout Larry Johnson… cheering on SU.

Of course, we overcame a second-half deficit to beat the Bulldogs and move on to the Elite 8. I was elated… and as I write this, I still can’t believe I was telling “L.J.” that yes, Trevor Cooney was in-bounds and that the ref blew the call. After he saw the replay, Johnson agreed with me.

Start spreading the news. #Elite8 #OrangeNation #CuseMode #BeatEveryone #BeatGonzaga

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Syracuse’s victory over Gonzaga meant that we would play top-seeded Virginia on Easter Sunday. I had 6:30 reservations for Easter Dinner with my family… in Hollywood, Florida. I immediately alerted my Mom that we’d have to eat early or I would probably not be at the restaurant.

Our 4:30 dinner was excellent and afterwards, my Mom and sister dropped me and my Dad off at a sports bar in Fort Lauderdale to watch the game. At first, it wasn’t fun; Syracuse trailed by double-digits at the half and at one point after halftime, the lead swelled to 16. My Dad, who for the record didn’t give us a chance from the tip, was ready to call it an evening and move along.

#HappyEaster #BeatVirginia #BeatEveryone #Elite8

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And for the record, my Dad as a witness, I can state that I never lost faith. I knew Syracuse had one more big run in them and figured that a number of players the team relied on were due for a hot streak. Thank goodness I was right, and the game turned in to an instant classic. Down went the number-one seed Cavaliers and off went the Orange to another Final Four.


Fittingly, I watched the semifinal game against North Carolina back at Syracuse. The trip was pre-planned; our annual WJPZ Alumni Birthday Banquet was pushed back a month this year to April. So I sat (stood) in the Sheraton on campus with classmates and other alumni, along with my professor Dr. Rick Wright, and watched SU’s season end.

What a time to be on campus. What a time to #BeatUNC. What a time to be alive. #FinalFour #BeatEveryone #CuseMode

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For the record, I expected Syracuse to upend the Tar Heels and had requested Monday off from work to fly to Houston for the National Championship. But as Saturday night wound down, instead of sulking over a change of plans, I grabbed Pita Pit on Marshall Street and reflected back on all of the great times the Orange gave me this March.

All I could think was simply, “Wow. What a run.”