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N is for New Kids on the Block

What's left of the NKOTB merchandise empire I had amassed in the early '90s.

My husband and I used Spring Break to tackle the monumental project of cleaning out our basement. It probably wouldn’t take so long if I didn’t keep unearthing forgotten treasures–like my New Kids on the Block memorabilia.

NKOTB was my first boy band obsession. I’ve been a Rick Springfield fan since I was 7, but he’s old enough to be my father and his music was much less innocent. NKOTB was the epitome of teeny-bopper-ness. They were just soooo cute! And they were from Massachusetts, just a stone’s throw from my hometown in Connecticut, so it was almost like they were from my block.

Donnie was my favorite. I even named my cat “Cheese”, because that was Donnie’s nickname (according to Super Teen magazine). I wore peace signs and funky hats like he did. My family indulged my obsession, especially my aunt Linda, who accompanied me to their concerts and helped me acquire my vast NKOTB empire of merchandise. Including the REALLY BIG BUTTONS you could get at the mall.

Not everyone loved the NKOTB. In fact, they were the object of scorn and derision among the junior high boys. My husband admits that he hated them so much, he bought a t-shirt with their likeness on it just so he could deface it. Critics dismissed their music as bubble-gum pop. By the time the mid-90s rolled around, even I had moved on.

I think I should keep wearing my big Donnie button on my Sweet Valley High tee.

Nowadays, there’s no shortage of boy bands and pop princesses. And like the adults in my life did when I was at the height of my New Kids on the Block fanaticism, I roll my eyes at the likes of Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus, The Jonas Brothers, and Big Time Rush. Just like my grandparents rolled their eyes at mom’s Andy Gibb and Shaun Cassidy devotion.

But getting back to New Kids on the Block… yes, they were a cheesy boy band. And unlike quite a few of my friends who are living the dreams of my 13-year-old self by going on their fan cruises and getting wild at their comeback concerts, I don’t really have a desire to revisit that adulation. (Now Rick Springfield… that’s another story.) Though I still get a thrill seeing Donnie Wahlberg on TV and I will forever envy my friend Leslie, who received a personal Tweet from him!

Still, it was a lot of fun to revisit the old memories. My poor husband thought I might want to Goodwill the box of memorabilia, or eBay it, but I don’t know if I could ever get rid of it. Maybe 100 years from now it can fund my great-grandchildren’s college educations. Until then, it stays in the basement, a happy part of my childhood stored away until it’s re-discovered again.

What time is it? "It's a quarter past a freckle, cuz I left my watch at home, sittin' on the dresser all alone, next to my underwear & my socks--that's right boy, I'm down with New Kids on the Block."


About Cate Tayler

Mom, Wife, Writer, Catholic, Thinker, Reader, Amateur Gourmand, 'Phins Fan, Superwoman--not always in that order. Fueled by passion and too much caffeine. Lost my cape--it's buried somewhere under that mountain of laundry. Once I find it, look out world!


12 thoughts on “N is for New Kids on the Block

  1. Just hangin’ tough! Joey McIntyre singing Please Don’t Go Girl still melts my heart. His voice was just breaking then too….awwww!

    Posted by mel | April 16, 2012, 20:44
  2. Wow! You’re so lucky to have all that room in your cellar. We could never leave anything to the grandkids. Our flat’s hall cupboard and shed are way too small. Isn’t it wonderful to revisit the things of your youth?

    Posted by Francene | April 17, 2012, 09:33
    • The only problem with having so much space is that you take it for granted. That’s why ours was filled with lots of stuff we just didn’t need to keep. If you are short on space, you are forced to really evaluate what is special to you and what is worth hanging on.


      Posted by A Common Sea | April 18, 2012, 09:10
  3. HaHa! What a fun find. Nothing better than cleaning and finding great old memories. Im sad that I never got into New Kids on the Block, I feel that I totally missed out!

    Posted by threeloudkids | April 17, 2012, 09:58


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