Archives For Upper West Side

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.

For the sixth consecutive year, I covered the start of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on the Upper West Side by the talent trailers, starting my morning with a Starbucks hot chocolate on 82 and Columbus and ending with a photo of Santa before returning to my apartment for video editing.

But for the first time, that trip to-and-from my perch involved more than a walk two avenues over. Sure, the commute time from the Financial District to my old hood affected my alarm clock, but it didn’t stop me from feeling the holiday spirit and enjoying the time-honored tradition of the parade.

A lot of things felt different about my latest trip out to Los Angeles for The 2017 American Music Awards. I think a lot of that was rooted back in New York; I didn’t book my flight until about two weeks out and it was my first cross-country trek since I packed up and moved downtown in to my new apartment. The move, along with a change in schedule at work and my marathon training/completion have all hindered me from settling in to a new routine. That’s fine; I am flexible and can work around life events. But it doesn’t mean it comes easy; especially relative to my prior routine.

For example: my dry cleaners and wash-and-fold also handle my alterations. Most of their services could be turned around in 24 hours and they are located a block away from my old apartment on the route I’d walk to take the subway to-and-from the studio. The woman who cuts my hair is also still on the Upper West Side and was a five minute cab ride from my prior place.

I now live 30-40 minutes away from both. Grocery shopping? Still haven’t found a one-stop-shop in the hood. Cobbler or computer repair technician? Probably will still go to my old stomping grounds uptown for those.

Before I moved, I had trip preparation down to a science; it actually got to the point where my getaway day (24 hours before my flight) because rather relaxing because I was able to accomplish every errand necessary the prior weekend. On this trip, my getaway day was jam-packed and there were at least two or three tasks I didn’t complete.

When I landed in LA, I had to drop off dry cleaning (which I forgot to pickup), shop for clothes and buy a wireless keyboard from Target because my laptop’s enter button is broken (need to find a new computer guy). Then, I attempted to compensate for the craziness of the lead-in to the long weekend by not going out as much during my trip. The positive from this is that I was able to both publish all of the content I hoped for while also getting a little bit of sleep; the negative is that socializing with colleagues can be one of the more important and enjoyable parts of the experience.

A post shared by Ralphie Aversa (@ralphieaversa) on


Friday and Saturday went as planned with one caveat: I feel like for whatever reason, perhaps one aforementioned, I was focused more on the content and my radio show than myself. For example, I don’t think I stressed as much about my wardrobe this time around. I also never really went out of my way to get good photos of me on each day in front of the step-and-repeat. But I encountered another curveball on Sunday: my job responsibilities changed. For the first time in my five years of covering the AMAs, I did not have a red carpet or one-on-one room assignment. Heck, I didn’t even have a credential; rather a VIP ticket in the orchestra level of the Microsoft Theater. So I used my free time during the day to get a little more work done and check out my Buffalo Bills, who happened to be in town and playing the Los Angeles Chargers in StubHub Center.

A post shared by Ralphie Aversa (@ralphieaversa) on


The positive? I got to experience my first live NFL game on the west coast, support my hometown team and check out a new venue.

The negative? I’m a Buffalo sports fan, and sadly nothing has felt different about that since I was a kid.

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 can’t believe we’re less than a month away from Pumpkin Spice Lattes and football weekends. I detest humidity and absolutely love fall (not necessarily for the PSLs though; do you know what they put in those things?) but still am taken aback at how quick summer flew by.

Yes, I have no probably saying “flew” as opposed to “flying” because I’m not a beach person and the Yankees are giving me a reason to anticipate competitive September and October baseball. I do love summer weekends up in the Bronx though, and that’s where I spent the majority of my final July weekend. The Yanks won in walk-off fashion on that Saturday; a perfect, cool day to catch a game in Center Field, even if I didn’t score a Yankees camouflage cap (free giveaway to the first 18,000 fans that were age 21 or older). Then Sunday, I drove with a buddy up to Riverdale so I could check out a few apartments. I fell in love with the neighborhood: family-friendly, beautiful Van Cortlandt Park, plenty of bars and restaurants and easy access to Manhattan via Metro North.

A post shared by Ralphie Aversa (@ralphieaversa) on


With my lease up on the Upper West Side October 1, that may be perhaps the one reason I definitely don’t want summer to pass much quicker. Short of a miracle, a change in location looks imminent, but I really love this neighborhood. Hopefully I don’t move but if so, it has been a fantastic five-year run on the UWS. Catching Sunday sunsets from the Boat Basin Café is just one of the many reasons why.

A post shared by Ralphie Aversa (@ralphieaversa) on

Not only is Rita Ora in a good place, it sounds like her peers are as well.

“Everyone’s just being really nice to each other and it feels really good,” the “Your Song” singer said in an interview that aired on my show Monday. “Everyone just shows so much support. It feels like we have a little community going on, which I like.”

The comments were a response to my observation of watching Ora’s interaction with Vanessa Hudgens and Drake backstage at the Billboard Music Awards in May. There were no cameras around as the entertainers exchanged pleasantries.

“I mean I’ve known some people in this industry since I was like 18, so it’s nice to just see people do their ‘thang,’” Ora continued. “My mom always taught me to be nice, to be respectful, and then you’ll get it back.

“And if not, then we can take it outside!” the 26 year-old joked.

With the way in which tabloids cover the London-native across the pond, it’s inevitable that Ora sometimes finds her name linked to stories that aren’t so respectful. That does not seem to have affected her disposition negatively; but she’s clearly cognizant of the coverage. This was evident in Ora’s reaction when I mentioned that she spent last summer filming “America’s Next Top Model” down the street from me.

“So I was annoying you then basically,” she retorted, semi-kidding I think. “There were loads of paparazzi. You must have been so angry at me.”

For the record, I wasn’t inconvenienced at all; however the same can’t be said for the people who lived next door to the models’ townhouse. Regardless of its downfalls, Ora is still thankful that she gets to do what she loves.

“I’m an entertainer, yunno?” she responded when I asked about her venture in to TV hosting. She’s currently the host of ABC’s competition “Boy Band.” “I think every time I’ve done a TV (show) it’s been the right timing; like the opportunity came the same time as my music coming out and I just felt like it was perfect to be visible on multiple platforms.”

Ora’s new single, co-written by Ed Sheeran, is called “Your Song” and is available now. Her new album is slated for a fall release. She revealed that the LP is “kind of done” and is in the mastering and mixing phase.

Ocean Park Standoff is comprised of an unlikely but talented group. You have drummer Pete Nappi, who was born on Long Island. Then there’s the lead singer Ethan Thompson who is from Montana. And rounding-out the group, the British-born and Upper West Side-raised Samantha Ronson. The three linked up through writing sessions, although they first got a kick out of responding to that question by “Tinder” and then categorizing the aforementioned sessions as “playdates.” A self-titled EP later and break-out single later and the trio finds themselves on late-night TV and as a supporting act for Third Eye Blind’s upcoming tour.

“We were talking about what was going on in our lives and in the world,” Thompson recalled regarding the creating of that single, “Good News.” “Samantha had a chord progression and then pretty much we just started off with the chorus right away and it just took off from there.”

Certainly Thompson was alluding to the country’s political climate; Ronson was a staunch supporter of Hillary Clinton, DJ-ing rallies and using her influence on social media to get the vote out for her. The twin sister of fashion designer Charlotte and younger sister of GRAMMY Award-winning producer Mark, Samantha is no stranger to the spotlight both through her own work and by relation. Her step-father is founding Foreigner member Mick Jones, who she casually mentioned during a recent performance with the band.

“This is my dad’s guitar that I borrowed, actually,” she told me. I asked if it was a last-second move and she quickly replied, “No, last night. I planned it ahead of time!”

What’s funny is that it’s not the first time I’ve seen this group fly by the seam of their pants in the city. During the band’s first ever New York City performance inside the Lower East Side’s Rockwood Music Hall, Nappi’s drum kit broke during the set. But the band said it never affected their show, or their mood. And it’s probably that disposition, along with their individual talent, that will yield a bit more good news for 2017.

Sure I was in Los Angeles covering The 59th GRAMMYs, but that didn’t stop me from making some headlines in my local neighborhood’s blog.

I’m a big fan of Westside Rag if for nothing else, it keeps me updated on the latest openings and closings in the area, and that alone is a lot to track in this day-and-age of Gotham. Recently, I read on the site about complaints regarding noisy neighbors just blocks from my apartment.

These weren’t just any neighbors though; they were cast members from the latest season of “America’s Next Top Model.”

So when recently-eliminated contestant Paige Mobley stopped by our backstage broadcast inside LA’s Staples Center, well I felt compelled to bring these rumors to her. And I was surprised to hear her response.

Check the interview below and the WSR write-up here.

So great to see a couple of current and possibly future GRAMMY nominees on my second day here in Los Angeles and our first day inside Staples Center for Westwood One’s Backstage at The GRAMMYs. I asked Mike Posner and Daya about the big day plus met Dua Lipa. Also, we chatted about a couple neighborhoods in Manhattan when “America’s Next Top Model” contestant Paige Mobley and singer/songwriter Max stopped by.




For my fifth consecutive year, I made the long (a couple blocks) trek to the Upper West Side and covered the start of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, taking in the sights and talking with some of the parade’s performers and special guests. Hear from Fitz & The Tantrums, Laurie Hernandez, Daya, Jacob Whitesides, Aloe Blacc, Ben Rector, Brett Eldredge and more!