On our Queens street in the ’60s and ’70s we played both the baseball version of stoopball, which I think we called Single-Double-Triple, as well as what Joe H. described, which we called 5-10-20. I’m surprised no one mentioned the problem of the spaldeen going forward over the roof rather than bouncing back. In Single-Double-Triple we’d often aim for the edge of the step in order to get the powerful return, but this also meant we’d sometime miss the edge slightly high, resulting in a ball that would go up but also continue forward and either bounce off the house or go up on the roof. With luck the spaldeen would continue to bounce on the roof, and go completely over, so we could retrieve it from the backyard. The balls that didn’t make it to the backyard were bad news. Not only did they end the game, but also it meant they’d gotten stuck in the roof’s gutter, from which they’d eventually go into the downspout and then clog our house’s drainage plumbing. For some reason this would upset my otherwise patient Dad. 😉
I played in Queens in the 80’s. It was mostly a summer game and we would play from morning until night. Often taking a mid-afternoon break as the summer sun would start melting everyone’s cap filler to some degree. My favorite all time cap is the grey cap of the bottle of 35mm film filled with clay. Other good caps we the cover from babersol Shaving cream(with clay) and the white Tropicana bottle cap with coins. I love to here how this is such NYC game. Gives a certain nostalgia to childhood in NYC. I would love to play again. Need to draw a board somewhere.
I used to play stoopball in Rochdale Village. there were these small little areas where the maintenance crew could access the building. you would go down this small flight of stairs which was partially enclosed and played up against the stairs. I remember if you hit the edge of the stair and caught the ball you would get extra points. this was in the mid to late sixties. We would also play off the wall against the buildings. What great days.
I am from Flushing Queens, where we would usually buy Pensie Pinkies and Spaldeens from Joe’s, which was the nearest candy store. Sometimes when I had no money, I ‘d swipe a Pensie from my sister, who, along with her friends, used them mostly in an activity that involved keeping the ball in bounce while reciting different rhymes that were punctuated by passing their legs over the ball before it would bounce back up. I lived on a hill where many of these balls ended up in the sewer at the end of the block. You could retrieve them using a garden rake, but if they remained in the water too long, they almost certainly went dead. We used to play stick ball, box ball, Chinese handball, catch a fly and you’re up, and many, many more games using them. As I recall, the favored brand for stickball at least, was Spalding, but I never observed too much difference between the two.
Played it in Glen oaks/Bellerose,Queens 50’60;s.It just started all by itself,no reason,someone wanted something back. And that was the start of it,often leading into another game,MONKEY IN THE MIDDLE! In those years seems like we had extended childhoods,playing into our teens.Probably the only years of bieng kids to the extreme,and we did it all,all day long.No children these days can ever come close to the days we had,and thats a shame.
WOOLWORTH 5 AND 10,in the 1950/60’s in queens had tanks of turtles and BABY ALLIGATORS, anyone remember these? I would run past the bras and undees to the rear of the store,as you got close you could smell that wonderful pet shop smell! I still love the smell of parakeet seed and turtle food,they smell the same as they did when i was 6! Also,Easter time,stores sold, baby chicks and rabbits.
1954-65 Bellerose/glen oaks,queens. Garden apartments are nice,we where spoiled,we had large grass courtyards,sidewalks,garages behind the apartments,apple trees everywhere.We kids sat on the stoops,some buildings had stoops some didnt.But all the adults sat on beach chairs in the courtyards,in the shade or the sun,with large silver tanning reflectors.The women played a game,mahjon,and always yelled at anyones kids if they where bad.I still have my moms old beach chairs.Everyone had a beach chair,they sold replacement weaving for them,so they all lasted for years.Seems like adults had more spare time for family and relaxing in those years.Now im lucky to see a beach chair at all even on the beach,i really miss those days,im getting that beach chair out,now!
Called a sliding pond in queens too.Also we had big kid swings, they had slippery stainless steel seats and no chains,just long bars with loops on them,hooked together,and these where really long swings ,very high. They were on cement,and remember kids slipping off them all the time. And kids walking past and getting clobbered when a swing came down on them. Monkey bars on cement too!Thank god city parks had first aid then.Cement pools with sprinklers in them,the pool never filled up,you ran into each other,everyone closed there eyes running into the strong water spraying.When the water wasnt on it was a dodgeball area,more first aid!!!!We all made it through these cement parks.