They call him Gary Dell'Abate - unless, of course, they're fans of Howard Stern, the radio shock jock whose show he produces. In that case, as the title of the Uniondale native's new autobiography says, "They Call Me Baba Booey."
An amiable guy, Dell'Abate, 49, probably will sign your copy of his book any way you want Saturday at Book Revue in Huntington, where he's also doing a reading and a Q&A. Until then, here are some thoughts he shared with Newsday on a variety of hometown topics.
ON NASSAU COLISEUM, WHERE HE SAW HIS FIRST CONCERT
It was walking distance from my house in Uniondale. I was probably 9 or 10 when it opened. It was brand-new and amazing, and instead of having to go into Madison Square Garden to see a Knicks game with my dad, now all of these amazing things were right at my fingertips. I remember seeing 1972 Olympic boxing trials there. I remember Long Island Wrestling Day, because I wrestled. I saw President Nixon there in 1972. There wasn't an empty seat in the place.
I've been with the show for 27 years, and I love it. It's different every day. . . . I've been fired several times in that time, but never sent packing out the door. [Howard and I] have a great relationship off the air - sometimes on the air, it can be volatile and fun. Ultimately, he represents the boss and I represent the worker. I've been out to his house - my wife and I have been out there four summers in a row. I built a house in Connecticut, and he's been up. We do sort of pal around.
ON DOING A LONG ISLAND SIGNING
I've done plenty of personal appearances, but not a book signing. It appears to me this is gonna be the craziest of any I do, since it'll be the only one on Long Island, where I'm from. I got e-mails from all these friends from years ago, saying they're showing up. All the guys I grew up with in Uniondale, all the people I work with. I'm dying to know who's gonna show up that I haven't spoken to in 25 or 30 years!