I grew up in East New York and Howard Beach. We played punchball in both neighborhoods,but not as Peter B. described above. Punchball, which we prefered the Pensie Pinkie for due to it’s being softer was basically played the same as baseball (on the street, in parking lot, even a driveway between houses when we were younger (in this version if you hit the wall on the fly you were out). The “batter” punched the ball (anyway he pleased), but overhand produced longer hits. In H.B. we played a game called “slapball” which was similar to Peter’s version of punchball, but played with out 2nd base. The field was a small triangle, the pitcher who stood in the center of the triangle had to pitch the ball over the plate, underhanded, on one bounce. The batter could wait for a pich he like, when the ball was hit, openhanded, it could not pass the line between 1st and 3rd or the batter was out. All other rules were the same as baseball (no stealing). The Spaldeen was our preferred ball for stickball since it was more durable. Of course most of the time we played with any ball we could fish out of a sewer, or pull out of a drainpipe that we’d climb up to.
Original author: tinman