The “dance floor” was packed with revelers from ages 2 to 80 as the Bronx Wanderers played a blazing set on Boulevard East in Guttenberg on Thursday, Aug. 6. It was the second show of Guttenberg’s annual Free Summer Concert series, and the first to take place without a hitch, after two earlier events were rescheduled due to unforeseen circumstances.
Residents from surrounding towns joined locals to pack the hundreds of seats or bring their own, kicking up a storm in the aisles and in the open space in front of the stage.
“This is my favorite band that plays here,” said Galaxy resident Joe Purcell, attending with his wife Joan and their “whopping 3.5 pound watch dog,” Daisy. “They come every year. I just like the variety of music they play. They’ve got something for everybody. It’s a perfect night, too.”
Launched about 10 years ago, The Bronx Wanderers are led by Vinny “Yo’ Vinny” Adinolfi on vocals, guitar, and keyboard, and feature his sons Vinny “The Kid” on guitar and Nicky “Stix” on drums among the members. They play an eclectic mix of everything from the Ventures to the Village People, Temptations to Trammps, Neil Diamond and Dion to an ambitious and crowd-pleasing rendition of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
John Barletti and Sheryl Farina live in North Bergen and wandered down for the show. “Our friend saw them last year and told us to come,” said Barletti. “These guys are really good. They can play anything. This is a great crowd.”
“Bronx Wanderers are always excellent,” said Public Safety Director Michael Caliguiro about the regulars on the Guttenberg stage. “They play all over and have a very good following.”
John and Francine Palumbo live in Bergen County and come regularly to the concerts in Guttenberg. “This is our third or fourth time,” said John, a former resident of Union City.
“Where we are, they don’t have this stuff,” added Francine. “They get really good groups here. It’s a night out.”
Indeed it was. The pair had brought comfortable chairs and refreshments, making themselves at home toward the back of the audience. “We’ve even got a table,” laughed Francine.
Suniti Srivastava had a much quicker trip. A Galaxy resident for 12 years, she sauntered over with her daughter Khushbu, who spent the night dancing in front of the stage. “Every year we come here,” said Suniti. “It’s very convenient for us. My daughter enjoys it a lot.”
Hundreds of residents and neighbors crowded the streets for the popular Bronx Wanderers.
Uras and her daughter look forward to attending the free concerts whenever they can. “My mom is going to visit us from Turkey on the 22nd so hopefully there will be another one,” said Uras.
Mom is in luck. Two more shows are upcoming this season. Originally scheduled for July 29 and rescheduled due to county road construction, the David Cedeno Latin Orchestra will play on Wednesday, Aug. 19, and The Infernos will play on Wednesday, Aug. 26.
“I’m coming to the Latin one,” said West New York resident Belinda Rodriguez, still exhausted from dancing in the street with strangers to the Bronx Wanderers. “I like everything.”
Great balls of fire
The county provides the stage that goes up near 71st Street on Boulevard East for the concerts. The town blocks off the Boulevard from 71st to 72nd for the evening.
Retired former Police Chief Joel Magenheimer books the annual shows, relying on popular favorites that bring out the crowds.
Opening up the show for the Bronx Wanderers were numerous local residents singing karaoke, as well as an unusual act: fire performer Frankie Armandariz.
“I dance with it. I spin it around my back, under my legs,” said Armandariz, who lives just a few blocks away and performs regularly in New York. “It’s on a chain with a wick. They’re called poi and they’re part of the flow arts. That’s a huge array of performance arts that incorporate dance movements. This is my first time performing here for the Town of Guttenberg.”
But not his last. Armandariz said he was invited to come back as an opening act at the upcoming Latin concert on Aug. 19.
Art Schwartz may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.