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Row Home Christmas

December 20th to the 31st
Players Club of Swarthmore

614 Fairview Rd
Swarthmore, PA 19081




If you are a music lover and you haven't been listening to BIG DADDY'S CLASSIC ROCK THROWDOWN with Spins Nitely, then check it out!

Every THURSDAY at 8 PM. Listen live at http://wildfireradio.com/big-daddy-graham. By the way, all you have to do is click on that wildfire blue line and the most current show will AUTOMATICALLY begin to play,  Just give it a moment



Salute to Robert Fripp!

Check out last week’s 10 Spooky Songs
Don’t miss!



Check out Ava's podcast THE AVA GRAHAM HOUR on Wildfire Radio live every Thursday at 5:30 PM.  It's really funny and of course being a podcast you can listen to it anytime you want.  Just click here to check it out




THURSDAY ~ Red Star Craft House in Exton PA at 8 PM

EVERY Eagles game at Blue Bell PJ Whelihans


My daughter Ava is running a Quizzo nite at CHICKIE & PETE'S in Drexel Hill every Tuesday at 7 PM! Plus every Wednesday night at 8PM at PJ WHELIHANS in Haddonfield. Don't forget Thursday night at 7pm at CHICKIE & PETE'S in South Philly! That's a busy schedule!

Big Daddy Graham-Marc Farzetta & Joe Conklin taking a stab at Sinatra's "Summer Wind!" Click Here

Because of all the fuss that Joel Embiid and Carson Wentz have stirred up in Philly,
 I thought we would take a look at every city and see just who has had


We are going to go in alphabetical order.  We are not looking for the greatest of that franchise, but in that particular state or city.


CARDINALS... Anquan Boldin
SUNS... Walter Davis (Winner!)
COYOTES... Max Domi


BRAVES... Earl Williams
FALCONS...  Tommy Nobis (Winner!)
HAWKS... John Drew
THRASHERS... Dany Heatley 


DUCKS... Bobby Ryan (Winner!)


ORIOLES... Eddie Murray
RAVENS... Jamal Lewis (Winner!)
COLTS... Curtis Dickey
BULLETS... Earl Monroe


RED SOX... Ted Williams (Winner!)
BRAVES... Sam Jethroe
PATRIOTS... Curtis Martin
CELTICS... Bill Russell
BRUINS... Joe Juneau


DODGERS~MLB... Jackie Robinson (Winner!)
DODGERS~NFL... Glen Dodds
NETS... Bojan Bogdanovic


FLAMES... Joe Nieuwendyk
(Winner... obviously)


PANTHERS... Cam Newton (Winner!)
HURRICANES... Jeff Skinner


HORNETS & BOBCATS combined...
Alonzo Mourning (Winner!~duh)


CUBS... King Cole
WHITE SOX... Jose Abreau
BEARS... Gayle Sayers
CARDINALS... Ollie Matson
BULLS... Michael Jordan (Winner!)
BLACKHAWKS... Ed Belfour


BILLS... Cookie Gilchrist
BRAVES... Elmore Smith
SABRES... Danny Gare (Winner!)


REDS... Frank Robinson
BENGALS... Ickey Woods
ROYALS... Oscar Robertson (Winner!)


INDIANS... Shoeless Joe Jackson (Winner!)
BROWNS... Joe Thomas
CAVS... Ron Harper


ROCKIES... Trevor Story
BRONCOS (DENVER)... Clinton Portis
NUGGETS(DENVER)...David Thompson (winner!)
AVALANCHE... Paul Statny


BLUE JACKETS... Steve Mason


RANGERS... Yu Darvish
COWBOYS... Ezekiel Elliot (winner!)
MAVERICKS... Jay Vincent
STARS... Jussi Jokinen


TIGERS... Mark Fidrych (winner!)
LIONS... Billy Simms
PISTONS... Grant Hill
RED WINGS... Terry Sawchuk


OILERS... Wayne Gretsky (winner!)


PANTHERS... Aaron Ekbald (winner!)



PACKERS... Eddie Lacy (winner!)


ASTROS... Jeff Bagwell
OILERS... Earl Campbell
TEXANS...Steve Slaton
ROCKETS... Akeem  Olajuwon (winner!)


PACERS... Clark Kellogg


JAGUARS... Fred Taylor


ROYALS... Kevin Seitzer   (winner!)
CHIEFS... Marcus Peters
KINGS... Phil Ford
A’s... Jim Nash


DODGERS... MIke PIazza
ANGELS... MIke Trout
RAMS... Eric Dickerson
RAIDERS... Marcus Allen
LAKERS... Magic Johnson (Winner!)
CLIPPERS... Blake Griffin
KINGS... Larry Murphy


GRIZZLIES... Pao Gasol


MARLINS... Jose Fernandez
DOLPHINS... Dan Marino
HEAT...  Dwayne Wade (Winner!)



BRAVES... Rico Carty
BREWERS... Ryan Braun
BUCKS... Lew Alcindor (winner!)



TWINS... Tony Oliva
VIKINGS... Randy Moss
LAKERS... Elgin Baylor (Winner!)
TIMBERWOLVES... Karl Anthony Townes
WILD... Marian Gaborik



EXPOS... Steve Rodgers
CANADIANS... Ken Dryden (Winner!)



PREDATORS... Filip Forsberg


NETS... Bernard King  (Winner!)
DEVILS... Scott Gomez


SAINTS... George Rogers (Winner!)
JAZZ... Aaron James



YANKEES... Aaron Judge (Winner!)
METS... Dwight Gooden
FOOTBALL GIANTS... Odell Beckham Jr.
JETS... Eric McMillen
NEW YORK NETS...Larry Kenon
KNICKS... Willis Reed
AMERICANS (NY’s 1st NHL team)... Sweeney Shriner
RANGERS...Brian Leetch
ISLANDERS... Mike Bossy



A’s... Mark McGwire (winner!)
G.S. WARRIORS... Mitch Richmond
RAIDERS... Charles Woodson
GOLDEN SEALS... Norm Furgeson


THUNDER... Russell Westbrook


MAGIC... Shaquille O’Neil



SENATORS... Alexi Yashin



PHILLIES... Dick Allen
A'S... Scott Perry
EAGLES... Reggie White
SIXERS... Allen Iverson
WARRIORS... Wilt Chamberlain (WINNER!)
FLYERS... Eric Lindros






libertybellbank-logoHey! If you need any mortgage work done whatsoever
get hold of my main man Ken Miller at
856-830-1131 or 609-238-3293
NMLS #152270




Here's my latest article for the South Jersey Mag...

Dr DonnLIES!

By the time you are holding this mag in your hands it is November and you have been subjected (via print, social media, radio, television, your Uncle Fred) 476, 342 election lies. 

“Senator Fullofit will stand up to the Washington DC corporate fatcats and stand for the working man.”

“State Assemblyman Mary Pickanose ran her last election promising no new taxes and we all know how that worked out.”

“Mayor Rick Lazy will stop the flow of New Jersey jobs leaving for overseas.”

“President Big Daddy Graham promises more jelly in the jelly donuts.” 

That last promise?  I will see to it personally that it's kept.  But seriously, how much more of this can we take? Watch the 1976 Robert DeNiro film, “Taxi Driver.”  One of the plots of this classic is a politician running for office and the rhetoric he spouts is exactly the same baloney you hear today and the movie is forty-one years old.

So being that we are now living in the age of fake news, here are some lies that drive me out of my mind.

LISTEN CAREFULLY AS OUR MENU OPTIONS HAVE RECENTLY CHANGE... Like when?   A minute ago?  How can every single time I call can the menu items recently change?  Here I am simply trying to make an appointment to see a doctor.  Now I have been to this doctor’s office countless times and they appear to have a full-time staff of roughly ten to fifteen or so.

But that's whom you are actually seeing at the outer lobby.  Apparently there is a huge warehouse behind the office manned with a thousand staffers whose sole job is to keep those menu items constantly changing. 

One other observation.  Do you ever wonder that when someone living in the Philippines calls his cable company with a question, the phone is answered by some guy in Gloucester City?  "Hey, I got your cable bill right here.  Why you calling me?  I'm in Gloucester City?!"

bdg armen pink caddy smallWE NEED BEACH TAGS TO KEEP THE BEACHES CLEAN... I was sitting on the beach this summer when a beach tag checker approached a woman in her eighties and asked her to show him her beach tag.  Now I'm thinking this was rude and a little outrageous.  ""Geez, buddy," I thought to myself, " have the stones to go after some college jocks who just might hurl some crap right back at you.”

But it turned out this senior could handle herself just fine.   "Yes, I have a beach tag.  I already showed it once to the beach tag Gestapo at the entrance back at the top of the dunes or I wouldn't be sitting here.  Do I look like someone slept on the beach all night so I could avoid paying you?”  (Again, remember, this woman is in her eighties and as it turned out, she did have a beach tag)

And then the beach tag checker dude says to her, "Just trying to keep the beach clean, ma'am. "

And the woman went ballistic   "Stop it with that baloney!  I've been sitting on this beach since the late forties and no one charged me to sit on it then and the beach was every bit as beautiful as it is today.  And you didn't start with this beach tag malarkey till the 70's.  And you wouldn't even know what the beach looked like in the forties or the seventies because you weren't even born yet.  So get out of my face."

This woman is my hero.

I'VE BEEN TRYING TO GET HOLD OF YOU... No, you haven't.  Let me check my voicemail.  No, nothing there.  Let me check my "recent calls."  Nope, nothing there either.  Email?  Twitter?  Facebook?  Zilch.  Nada.  Zero.  So unless you were sending me smoke signals and I missed them while I was sleeping, you're lying!  Now folks under thirty don't even attempt this lie anymore, but there's still some oldhead clinging to it.

YOUR BUTT LOOKS TERRIFIC IN THOSE JEANS... Why does a woman ever ask this question?!  What man in his right mind would ever reply, “well, as a matter of fact, your keister should have a license plate and an inspection sticker hanging on it.

big daddy dinerIT’S THE SENTIMENT OF THE CARD THAT MATTERS... Really?  That's a lie.  To this day, unless the card is outrageously funny, I don't even read the prose.  I immediately look for the cold hard cash that should come in every birthday card.  In fact, other than "get well" and sympathy cards, I put cash in every card that I give, even if it's just a buck, and people always get a kick out of it.  And spend it.

I’M NOT YELLING, YOU’RE YELLING!... Go to the video.  I’m pretty sure you’ll see that both of you are yelling.

SHUT THE DOOR, YOU'RE HEATING HADDON AVENUE!... I used to think this was a lie that 's been perpetuated on us for centuries by every parent who ever lived.   But then one freezing January night I came home and there were a couple families huddled around the front door just waiting for someone to leave the front door open to catch that sliver of heat.  One kid was attempting to toast marshmallows.  So I was wrong.

WE’LL SEE... This line delivered by a man means exactly that.  He’s not sure whether or you’re going to be allowed to go to that ballgame or not.  But “we’ll see” delivered by every Mother who ever existed?  It means NO!

OH YOU DON’T HAVE TO GET ME ANYTHING FOR CHRISTMAS... Go ahead.  Call their bluff.  Get them nothing and watch their reaction.

My old man was a cheapskate who was constantly complaining about how much money was spent during the holidays.  “All I ever got for Christmas was an orange and a piece of coal.”  Every year, the same rhetoric. 

Then one year, that’s what my Mom got him.  Wrapped them up in little boxes with a ribbon, stuck them in a Macy’s decorative bag,  and put it under the tree.

Never heard my old man riff on that “orange and piece of coal” bit again.

THERE'S TWO MINUTES LEFT IN THE GAME!...  The lie that is heard the most on Turkey Day.  At some point, Mom will yell out "C'mon everybody, sit down, dinner's ready!"  And some man from the TV room will yell back, "hold up, there's only two minutes left in the game!"  And Mom (or some other woman) will scream back, "but you said that twenty minutes ago!"  And on and on.

Some things never change.


Here's my latest article for the South Jersey Mag...


As you can tell from my articles over the years, I was born and raised in the rowhome streets of Southwest Philly.  How did I end up in Mullica Hill?

I also try to line up my articles based on what time of the year it is, and one aspect about the fall is returning to school.

So I’m about to (and I’ve never quite understood this expression) kill two birds with one stone.  Or at least one article, by telling a story of four West Catholic High School buddies who all end up in South Jersey and who are all still best friends today.  What makes this story extra cool is that I never knew any of these guys before I met them all in high school.  Let’s see if you can relate to this story with any of your friends.


Billy and I became close our junior year.  We were polar opposites of each other with me the longhaired hippie hanging at Electric Factory, and Billy, although possessed of a tremendous sense of humor, being the more straight-laced of the two.  We we both had was this huge energy level and we came to know each other when we usually ended up boylebeing the last two guys up at a party looking for a can of Ortliebs beer that didn’t have a cigarette butt in it.  He was from a different parish, which in a rowhome community, means you might as well be from Utah.    Then we ended up being elected the president and vice-president of our class.  (With me as President, a fact that I have never let Billy forget.)

During the summer between Junior and Senior year, Billy’s family moved to Collingswood becoming the first family I personally knew that moved out of the neighborhood.  Billy completed his senior year at West via the recently built High Speed Line.  I became sweet on a Collingswood girl that I met through Billy’s sister, and that’s when my love affair with that town began.

His home on Franklin Avenue was a mansion to me.  I had never been in such a vast home.   Looking back on it, I don’t know if a home can be referred to as a “mansion” when it’s selling price was $10,000 and the third floor, which is where Billy and I would sleep when I would often spend the night, had no heat.  We spent hours shooting the breeze on that third floor where it was so frigid you could see your breath during the winter.

We ended up going in on countless summer shore house rentals together and later served as best men at each other’s weddings.  He built a career for himself in construction and I ended up in show biz.  Again, polar opposites.  But we have never gone a week without talking or seeing each other.  And I’m still Mr. President to you.


nestorLike Billy, I didn’t meet Jimmy till high school.  He was an All-Catholic middle linebacker and one of my roles as President was to organize the pep rallies and Jimmy was always in my face.  “This rally’s got to top them all!” he would scream at me.  (This whole scenario sounds very “Happy Days,” doesn’t it?) 

Billy Boyle’s sister, Eileen, was in on a Wildwood summer rental with a bunch of girls and she made the mistake of inviting us down for Memorial Day weekend and we ended up crashing there the entire season.  And it’s there that we all start to get really tight.

Jimmy ends up serving in the Army and when he returns to the states he falls in love and marries another one of Billy’s five sisters, Jody.  (I did say their last name was “Boyle,” right)  Jimmy begins an amazing 25-year career as a top counselor for the New Jersey State Troopers. 

After also living in Collingswood for over a decade, his wife Jody ends up managing the Acme in Woodbury and together they buy a home in Mullica Hill in the mid-nineties.

Which leads to . . . . . . . . . .


I encountered Tommy Bristow during my junior year at West sitting next to me in history class.  Our teacher, Brother Marbles, is giving a dissertation on Abraham Lincoln, but Tommy is talking the whole time to be about Eric Clapton in the back of the room.  Brother Marbles gets annoyed at Tommy and says to him, “Mr. Bristow, maybe you would like to share your thoughts on President Lincoln with the rest of the class?”  Tommy stands up and replies, “He was a big fan of the theatre?”  Although this landed Tommy in detention, I knew I had met a kindred soul.

bristowThe following summer I drop in on Tommy at his boarding house room in Wildwood and to my surprise he was playing a banged up acoustic guitar.  And wailing on it, I might add

That was all I needed.  Like right out of a movie, I exclaim, “let’s form a band!”  And even though I had never picked up a drumstick (other than Thanksgiving) in my life, the next thing you know I was his drummer in a band we called Dewey St.  We never made any dough to speak of, but boy did we have a blast.  Great times.

Well, Tommy ends up morphing into “Spins Nitely” and by now I’m sure you’ve seen him at a comedy club or performing “regular” music at clubs in the tri-state area.  He’s a tremendous talent.  That’s him singing “The Overlap Show” theme song, which has been heard on 94WIP for close to twenty years.  We perform on the same bills together often and have been sharing stages for, get ready for this, 42 years.

But wait, the story gets cooler.  When Jimmy Nestor throws a big party at his new home in Mullica Hill, Spins falls in love with the area (particularly how close it is to the shore) and moves there with his family.

And guess who ends up following the two of them?  That’s right, me!  And now I have been proud to call Mullica Hill my home for close to 25 years.
So four guys who grow up in Southwest Philly now live within 10 minutes of each other in South Jersey and still see each other all the time.   So think of your high school pals and see if you can draw similar paths from school to your neighborhood.  It’s fun and proof that high school memories aren’t about books or SAT’s.  It’s the people you meet that truly matters.


Here's my latest article for the Sea Isle Times...


A tad rainy, a bit windy, but another great summer for the books.  Here’s what stood out for me.

GEORGIE LIGHT... Georgie has been a Sea Isle bartending fixture for close to forty years.  The MBS and West Catholic alum retired a couple summers ago.  Besides making a mean drink, Georgie enjoyed a second career as a crooner during the Juliano Brothers afternoon jam sessions at the Springfield.  Your summer vacation was not complete without hearing Georgie’s legendary take on Garth Brook’s  “Friends In Low Places.”  (Recently, when Brooks was in town performing at the Wells Fargo, fans repeatedly yelled out “Do the Georgie Light song!”)
Well, Georgie was out of circulation recently with pulmonary hypertension when Greg Juliano announced from onstage that they had a special guest in the audience that afternoon and then the band broke into “Friends.”  My first thought was “no, for real?” and singing right from his barstool was Georgie.  He sang it like there was no tomorrow and when he was through there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.  Welcome back!

SIXERS/EAGLES... Because I work at 94WIP, guys usually approach me with a sports question to break the conversation ice when I’m out and about in town.  Over the years those questions (with the exceptions of those five straight glorious postseason Phillies seasons), have 95% of the time been Eagles related.  The other sports are not even close.

But until the first pre-season game against the Packers, virtually every query was Sixer related and that was the first time that ever happened.  So Sea Isle is definitely ready for the Sixers in a big, big way.

TRUMP... I’m actually proud (not that I would pretend to speak for the whole city) of how Sea Isle handled this situation.  In all my life I had never seen an election lead to so many heated arguments.  As we saw, as the summer heated up the streets of America worsened nationally.  But although I was at many parties and bars and was present at many such arguments, I never saw a fist go flying or anybody have to be separated.    I think, in the end, people respected the beauty of this great island and calmed down.

GAME OF THRONES... In all my summers writing for this magazine I never saw a TV show shut down a town for an hour like “Game of Thrones” did every Sunday night at nine.   In fact, I think it would be so cool if the show was shown on the big screen at Exhibition Park.  And who here would not like one of Daenery’s dragons to fly over the Garden State Parkway and the Atlantic City Expressway traffic and tolls on Sundays?

AUDRA MCLAUGHLIN... Here’s a cool small world story.  Audra once sang at a “Sea’s Isle’s Got Talent” competition that I was a judge at.    The Glenolden native has a beautiful, amazing voice with a confident style and I gave her very high marks.

dagA couple years go by and I get a phone call from a friend of mine telling me to watch “The Voice” because his cousin is on the show.  I’m watching for a minute and it’s driving me nuts.  “I know this girl,” I keep saying to myself.

And it’s Audra.  Working and belting it out with Blake Shelton.  How cool is that?  You may have seen her sing the anthem before Eagles and Phillies games and she performed before the recent Tim McGraw and Faith Hill concert in Philly.

And this summer she came back to Sea Isle and headlined her own excellent show at the bandshell.  Welcome back, thanks for making us proud. 

Making the night even more enjoyable was Jess Zimmerman, a terrific county singer from the King of Prussia area. 

CHRISTMAS IN JULY... I have never received more compliments over any piece I have ever written for this paper than when I saluted my buddy Rick Steffa who passed a few summers ago.  And these comments were coming from readers who had never even met this great man. 

Rick loved “Christmas in July” like no one I had ever met.  His influence was so strong that our street followed his lead and for one weekend every summer our street looked liked one of those classic South Philly streets where the holiday lights swung from one side of the street to the other.

Out of respect, when Rick passed,  the tradition came to a halt, but I thrilled to announce that the twenty-something youngheads of our street have brought it back and not a minute too soon.  Rick is beaming from up above.    Merry Christmas to all!

CELEBRITIES... Renowned chef George Perrier and virtually every Big 5 coach were seen dining at Doc Magrogans.  Vince Papale was spotted at the Lobster Loft.  Jason Kelce of the Eagles was seen at Kixx and many other spots around town.  OD Ralph waited in line behind Dustin “Screech” Diamond from  “Saved By The Bell” who was buying a shorti hoagie.  

But you hung with many bigshots if you played trivia with me on Monday nights at the Pour House.  Every week I would grab someone from the crowd and pretend they were someone famous and acknowledge him to the crowd and the crowd would erupt with applause.    Joe Conklin’s brother-in-law John was in there one night and I introduced him as Kevin Millwood who once pitched a no hitter for the Phils.  John spent the next half hour signing autographs and posing for IPhone photo’s and I never had the heart to let the crowd know the whole thing was a ruse. 

“HUNKY”... A couple years ago one of the summer highlights was the “Woman in The Black Bikini” that me and the rest of my beach men salivated over.  She was a thirtyish woman that spent a week vacationing on our beach that we never saw again.  (Not that we ever stopped hoping for her return.)

Well, a group of college dudes rented on our street this summer and I must admit one of them was built like “The Rock.”   All I can say is that if you think guys have the market cornered on eyeing out girls, I would not be able to print nine-tenths of the comments that I overheard from the women and girls on the beach over this muscle bound lout.  He made the rest of us weekend warriors look pathetic and even 84 year old Patsy got in the swing of things by nicknaming him “Hunky.”  The women insisted that I wouldn’t give them equal time in this paper, so here he is.  “Hunky?”   Drop dead!

TWINS... On August 9th, my daughter Keely gave birth to two beautiful babies, Jameson and Lucy.  With the last name Boyle they’ll have no problem fitting in on this island.  Jameson (who I am already calling “Whiskey”) clocks in at one minute older and 9 ounces heavier to Lucy’s six pounds.  My daughter’s husband Matt couldn’t be more proud as are both families and Jimmy Bennett has already given the twins LaCosta VIP cards.

See you next summer!


Here's my latest article for the Sea Isle Times...


People come to Sea Isle for many reasons.  The glorious smell of suntan lotion on the beach.  Eating at one of our many fine restaurants.  Playing ball.  Fishing.  Belting out “Sweet Caroline” for the 167, 456 time.  (And that’s just this summer.)

But let’s be honest here.  All those events are a distant second to the real reason you start coming down here when you’re single.  It’s for that special chance that you might be leaning against the back wall of your favorite bar when he or she walks in and you get to turn to your friend and exclaim “Who the heck is that?”

Some of us may be looking for true love.  Some may be simply looking to hook up.  (Did you know that 40% of one night stands occur during vacation?  And the stats haven’t even come in yet from the Ocean Drive and Kix yet) 

Love (and uh, lust) drives the city.  It always has and always will.  While my wife and I didn’t meet here, we did kiss here for the first time on the 66th Street beach.  And now we’ve been married 35 years.  31 of them very happy.  (I’ll pay the price for that joke later)  So when my man Irish Kevin, suggested this column topic, I ran with it.

Couples who met in Sea Isle who are still married today:

JOE AND DENISE WEACHTER... Joe, 94WIP’s Morning Show producer, had been renting houses on Central for years with his buddies and now was 30 years old and still single.  (Maybe it was the Johnny Unitas crewcut?)

FLASHBACK WITH WILDGOOSE CHASEJoe and his boys were jamming to Secret Service’s rendition of The Beatles “I Want To Hold Your Hand” when Joe spotted Denise.  She and her friends had rented the month of August and it was her first day down when their eyes met. 

Now for any of you who have ever have had tried to call in to the Morning Show only to have Producer Joe slam the phone on you screaming “Call back when you have something worthwhile to say, moron!”, you might find this next part hard to believe.  Joe spotted the beautiful Denise and immediately swept in and asked her to dance.  They didn’t kiss that night, but they did hug and get ready, Joe said to her “hugs are underrated.”  “Hugs are underated!”  Sounds like the title of a romance novel or a Jason Mraz song.

The he immediately asked her out for the following weekend where he showed up at Denise’s rental with flowers!  Like a prom date!  Then it was on to a Deauville dinner and surprise, back to the OD.  Who knew that Joe was a sentimental softie?

Today, Joe and Denise have been married for 16 years, with two great kids, Zach and Grace, and guess who their wedding band was?  Secret Service.  Where it was believed Dom shouted out to the wedding party. “put your hands in the air like you just don’t care!”

JOANIE AND MIKE DONOHUE... They say that hunger is good for you.  Motivates you.  Hunger makes you work harder.  But sometimes it just means that you haven’t eaten and you’re hungry.  Such was the case when Mike strolled into the old Vince’s Restaurant on JFK to get a meatball sandwhich and fries when the waitress Joanie put down his water and Mike looked up at and was hit with Joanie’s love thunderbolt.  Joanie was only 18 at the time and Mike (who was renting the cottage next to Vince’s) was 23, so it took a couple years, but eventually Mike got up the nerve to ask her out.  To a wedding no less.   Now they have been married years for 23 years with two talented kids, Sean and Lauren.  BTW, that first meeting at Vince’s?  Mike left a $20 tip on a $11 tab.  So you see, overtipping does pay off.

JOE AND LISA MAGARITY... I know it’s a common expression for folks to say that when they first met it was “like fireworks going off.”  That expression is also used to . . uh . . . describe . . . .uh . . . .the feeling . . . ah shoot, I think you know where I’m going with that. 

But in the case of Lisa and Joe?  When they first met, the 1971 Sea Isle fireworks were literally going off when they kissed for the first time on a mutual friends deck.  Now that’s romantic and dramatic!  41years, 4 kids, 7 grandkids later, and they have kissed during every July 4th firework celebration since.  Who says Roman Candles are dangerous?

PETE AND RITA DONATA... When I decided I was going to write this article, I simply posted on my Twitter account that I was looking for couples who first met in Sea Isle who were still married today.  I got all sorts of interesting responses, but this one takes the cake.  Pete meets Rita at the Pentagon where they really hit it off and danced all night.  Rita pulls a switcheroo and asks if Pete would like to meet up in Philly for a date sometime.  Pete says he would love to, but that he was going to prison the next day.  Prison! The next day.  Some sort of tax issue (As in not paying them).  Ten months later he gets out and immediately starts searching for Rita and guess where he finds her?  The Pentagon.  They elope three weeks later and are still married today 42 years later with fifteen grandchildren, none of who have served time in the slammer.

CAITLYN AND NICK D’AMICO... Let’s interject some youth here with a couple who just got married in November.  Caitlyn, a brilliant artist by the way, was meeting some girlfriends at Excursion Park for the “Beatlemania” show.  Then the unexpected happened.  A mutual friend by the name of Tim Koons, showed up with his buddy Nick in tow.   Now I’m convinced that Tim (who it seems like the entire town knows) will someday either be the President of the United States or in jail.  Maybe both.  They had just returned from a drunken round of mini-golf and with the concert over Nick jumped onstage and serenaded them all (but particularly Cait, who he had sized up immediately) with what was surely was the worst rendition of “Rocky Raccoon” of all time.

They proceeded on to the Koons Castle (which is right next door to me) where the legendary matchmaker Paul Koons, worked his magic and bingo.   Love was in the air!  (By the way, in typical macho style, Nick claims they kissed that very first night, and Cait remembers her saying “not to you get me a cheesesteak from Welshies.”)

When Nick decided to propose, he went old school and asked Cait’s parents, Gail and Angelo, first.  After Angelo put Nick through a grueling six hour session going over his financial background (And charged Nick for the accountants), permission was granted and today?  Nick and Caitlyn have been married  . . uh . . all of nine months.

So screw Las Vegas as the wedding capitol of the world.  It’s right here.  The Coolest Chapel in the USA, Sea Isle!






There is this amazing talent in the New York area by the name of Rachelle Garniez.  She's an versatile singer who accompanies herself on piano, guitar, and, yes, accordion.  She's a gifted songwriter with a tremendous sense of humor.  She often performs at a really cool Village venue Pangea that seats maybe fifty that itself is worth checking out.  Go to these sites for more info: www.rachellegarniezcom.virb.com & www.pangeanyc.com

You can take an inexpensive tour  of RADIO CITY MUSIC HALL that's well worth it.

Check out MASH ARMY & NAVY on 8th Ave between 45 & 46th streets.  A blast from the past!

Folks are always asking me about piano bars in Manhattan.  There's two I would recommend and they couldn't be any bit different.  DON'T TELL MAMA is on 46th St between 8 & 9th Avenues.  It's a comfortable narrow long bar where you either sit at thee bar or at a table.  They have a singing piano player and every fourth song or so a member of the bar or serving staff will get up and sing a three song set.  And sometimes a member of the audience will get up at the mic and sing. And they have awesome food also. It's a really fun joint, but completely different from MARIE'S CRISIS CAFE which is at 59 Grove St in the Village.  (Make sure you have the address handy before you get in the cab.)  MARIE'S is a tiny hole in the wall basement club where there is a piano player but no professional singer.  YOU are the singer.  It's insane.  People (like my nutty wife) go there TO sing.  There's no microphone and literally 150 people or so will be singing at the top of their lungs to some Broadway tune  Which, by the way, IS ALL Marie's does.  They don't mix in pop tunes like MAMA does.  The two couldn't be any different from each other and any more fun if a piano bar is your bag.

A HOTEL TO STAY AT?   We always use some hotel site and often stay at one of these two hotels which I would both recommend.  THE BELVEDERE on West 48th St is clean with a nice lobby and it's very convenient to Broadway and many clubs and bars.  THE WARWICK is pricier, but still affordable when you go through Expedia.  It's at 54th & 6th and many famous folks (like the Beatles and Liz Taylor have stayed there.

As obvious as this sounds, you can spend a couple hours exploring Central Park and never get bored.

LEXINGTON CANDY SHOP on Lexington between 82 & 83rd St. has been opened since 1925 and is a don't miss trip.

BIG ONION WALKING TOURS are a lot of fun and reasonably priced.  I have taken many of them and they never disappoint.

54 BELOW on 54th St. is literally the basement of the famous Studio 54 disco. It's a terrific place to see anybody. Top notch club.

Finally made it to BIRDLAND for one of those CAST PARTY shows. What a great time and the sight lines are excellent.  Legendary jazz artists perform there and if you ever thought about seeing one of them at BIRDLAND, do it.

A BRONX TALE the musical is really good.  I wasn't expecting much and I was very entertained.

You can get a really good cheese steak at 99 MILES TO PHILLY at 94 3rd Avenue.  The owner is from Philly.





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Philly wins 56 to 45!
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