Nicole Davniero, 43, of Levittown, remembers the day in eighth grade when she came home from school, turned on the Video Music Box TV channel, and was mesmerized by a boy band called New Kids on the Block singing “Please Don’t Go Girl.”
“From that moment on, I was hooked. I used to say, ‘They’ll be bigger than The Beatles.’ My dad used to laugh at me,” Davniero said. She plastered posters of her favorite band member, Joey McIntyre, all over her bedroom in Woodside, Queens. “I loved his blue eyes,” she said.
Fast forward 30 years, and Davniero’s middle child, Ilaria, 12, has become a New Kids groupie along with mom, with a poster of band member Donnie Wahlberg in her bedroom. Ilaria will be going with Davniero, a preschool teacher, to the New Kids on the Block Mixtape Tour concert on June 30 in Uniondale, N.Y.
“When we heard they were coming out with the Mixtape Tour, she said, ‘Mom, can I please go with you?’ I said, ‘Absolutely,’” Davniero said.
“I really like their music,” Ilaria said. “My mom started playing it in the car one day and I thought, ‘Ohh, this is really, really good. My favorite is ‘Cover Girl.’”
NKOTB, as the band is called for short, was an American boy band phenomenon in the late 1980s and early ‘90s that reunited in 2007. Members include McIntyre and Wahlberg as well as Danny Wood and brothers Jordan and Jonathan Knight; the group has sold more than 80 million records.
It’s not surprising that parents want to pass on their love of NKOTB to the next generation, said Lauren Bochicchio, owner of Deep End of the Sandbox, a vintage store in Lake Ronkonkoma, N.Y., that specializes in ‘80s and ‘90s nostalgia.
“I think nostalgia is a really powerful emotion,” Bochicchio said. “When people have kids and they are able to review their childhood through their child ... it’s a huge win. It’s the ultimate bonding experience for a parent and a child.”
Jessica Brewer, 42, of Merrick, would agree. “My kids grew up on New Kids on the Block. I brought it to them,” said Brewer, a middle school guidance counselor who is taking all three of her children, Sydney, 13, Samara, 10, and Noah, 8 to the June 30 concert. “It was a piece of my childhood. It symbolized fun. It brought me closer with my sister; we would go to concerts together. Who doesn’t want to rewind, flash back to a fun time in their life? Why wouldn’t I want to share that with my kids?”
Said Sydney: “I’ve been to a lot of New Kids concerts, and every one has been better than the last.” At one concert, the family talked their way to the front of the arena, up against the stage, with Mom leading the way, and they were so close that they made contact with band members.
“John pulled me up on the edge of the stage and took a picture,” said Sydney, referring to band member Jonathan Knight. “Donnie gave me a high five, and Joey waved at me.” Her mom was thrilled, Sydney said. “She was happy for me,” Sydney said. “But I bet she was a little jealous.”