Westchester Magazine caught up with veteran disc jockey Craig Carton of the Boomer and Carton Show on New York’s WFAN 660. Carton co-hosts the sports show with former NFL quarterback and CBS analyst Boomer Esiason from 6 to 10 am, Mondays to Fridays. Whether he’s ranting about the latest New York Jet debacle or raving about the next top model to break onto the scene, Carton can be counted on to have an opinion, as he does here about life in our county.
WM: What was it like growing up in Westchester?
CC: I lived in the Wykagyl section of New Rochelle, and I loved it. I was your natural, normal American kid growing up in Westchester County, with the screen door being open, the milkman delivering milk back in the day, us kids riding our bicycles all over town. Now I live in Manhattan. But my brother and parents still live in Westchester.
WM: What was your favorite hangout spot?
CC: When we were teenagers, we’d all go to Gary’s on North Avenue near Iona, because that was the easiest place to go to if you were underage to drink. We’d go to the Donut World for donuts, Uncle Milty’s [Poultry Time] for chicken, and The Bagel Shop for bagels. We also used to hop the fence a lot at local country clubs.
WM: When you visit now, where do you like to go?
CC: I go to Greasy Nick’s [Leno’s Clam Bar] throughout the summer. It’s basically nothing more than a hamburger stand where you get burgers and clams.
WM: Would you ever move back?
CC: Yeah, I would. But I’ve got a wife and three kids, so I’m not moving back anytime soon.
WM: Growing up, what sports did you play?
CC: We played everything other than hockey. We had more football games than I care to remember. Wiffle ball, kickball, basketball. We used to play pick-up softball games on fields in Quaker Ridge.
WM: Did you play in high school?
CC: I played for the tennis team. For a short time, I played soccer until my parents, who wanted me to concentrate on academics, pulled me off the team. The year they pulled me off the team was the year our team won the states.
WM: Who were your rivals?
CC: Mount Vernon and Iona Prep. I mean, there was a New Rochelle versus Mount Vernon basketball game when we were arguably two of the best teams in the state, and there was a brawl, like a gang war that broke out. And they had to play the next day in an empty gym with police and German shepherds guarding the place.
WM: Do you have advice for those aspiring to be radio personalities?
CC: Don’t let anyone tell you no. I was an intern here nearly twenty-five years ago. So if I can go from being an intern to hosting a morning show, and then carry a guy like Boomer Esiason, anybody can. I mean, my back hurts.
WM: You have worked in a variety of spots around the country. Is working in New York like a homecoming for you?
CC: That’s the best way to describe it. If I ever work at another radio station, I must’ve done something terribly wrong.
WM: Were you nervous replacing Don Imus?
CC: The thought process was, “Don’t f— it up.”