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New Kids on the Block to play at Nassau Coliseum

Studio Portrait of New Kids On The Block

Studio Portrait of New Kids On The Block super fans (left to right) Lisa Butto, Mary Dirosse, Kristina Sedita, Michele Caminas, and Sue Battaglia. Photo Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

Putting five New Kids on the Block fans in one room creates a unique energy. As "You Got It (The Right Stuff)" plays in the background, these women -- some in their mid-30s, others in their 40s -- start harmonizing on the chorus, snapping their fingers as they sway side to side. Here, the friends unite for a photo shoot with all their collective NKOTB memorabilia in homage to the band's concert at Nassau Coliseum Saturday night. The frenzy begins when it's time to pair each of them up with a vintage New Kids doll.

"Wait a minute! I want to hold Jordan!" says Michele Caminas, 36, of Sayville.

"Where's Donnie?" shouts Kristina Sedita, 40, of Sayville.

"I get Danny!" claims Sue Battaglia, 49, of Bayport.

This fivesome is part of the New Kids superfan community that has loved the band since they were young and now carries their fandom into adulthood.

"There's a massive nostalgia factor," says Jennifer Morales, 40, of Commack. "New Kids always had loyal fans who they stuck by; therefore, I have a soft spot for them."


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When the band appeared at Walmart in East Meadow in 2008, Sedita and her cousin Mary Dirosse cleared their schedules to go see their old high school crushes in person.

"Jonathan [Knight] walked by me, grabbed my hand and just smiled," says Dirosse, 41, of Islip, who owns a massive NKOTB memorabilia collection that includes everything from bedding to big buttons. "It was like being 13 all over again."

This movement is not simply about going to see their favorite band whenever it comes to town. It means going to multiple shows in various states and paying up to $500 per ticket for the VIP experience, which includes a band meet-and-greet plus seating in the first few rows.

"Once you do VIP, you can't go back," says Battaglia. "I can't sit in the boondocks. I need to be in the front so I can see them."


Caminas, who caught the new tour in Bethlehem, Pennsvlvania, on Saturday, will be at the Coliseum show, then at Madison Square Garden on Monday before following the tour to Buffalo on July 2.

"I can't just go to one concert. It's not enough," says Caminas, who named her business, New Kids on the Block Day Care center in Sayville, after the band. "It's the same show, but I never get tired of it."

Kimber Medina, who grew up in Coram, is flying up from Fort Lauderdale so she can go to the Coliseum, which is one of seven shows she'll catch on this tour.

"New Kids are almost like a security blanket," says Medina. "Getting to see a show is a night out where you get to go back to your happy place before life got complicated."

Two years ago, Brenda Schwartz, 40, of Centereach missed her own daughter's fifth-grade graduation to see NKOTB in Charlotte, North Carolina, where she got to meet the band before and after the concert.

"My daughter still mentions it to this day," says Schwartz, who had booked and paid for the trip far in advance. "I felt guilty, but I still went. She gets it, because she follows her own band, R5."


Besides live shows, the superfans have shelled out up to $2,800 each to set sail on the annual New Kids on the Block Cruise. The band is on board performing shows, hosting parties, playing games, posing for photos and signing autographs.

"There are 3,000 women on the boat trying to get near them. It gets crazy," says Caminas. "They walk all over the place. There's so much interaction."

Although it's been over 25 years since New Kids on the Block debuted, they still fill arenas around the country. Many fans say that this continued success is based on the band's close relationship with its fans.

"They make you feel like you're the reason they are there," says Dirosse. "They really appreciate us."


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