I use to play Johnny on the pony on Arnow avenue in the Bronx in the Early Seventees along with Ring o Levio in the courtyard between the 2 buildings. In Johnny, One team would have a guy standing with his back against the wall Called the Pillow while his team members all crouched down in the opposite direction one after the other with the first guys head in the pillows stomach. The object of the game was for the other team one by one would leap on to the backs of the crouched team and scooch up towards the pillow. They would win if they could get the crouched team to buckle and fall. If the crouched team held them then the teams would switch and the other team had the chance to leap and break the pony. I had a great innner city child hood. Things were so much simpler then.
70th street between 14th & 15th Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. I got so tired of re drawing the board every day, I decided to carve it into the asphault. It probably took me two days, but it was soo hot in mid July that the street was like butter. Mid to late 70ies we played all day long, we had to mark where our caps were with a penny or pebble when an occasional car came down the block. Evenings we played Buck Buck & Manhunt until Mr. Softee & then sit on the stoop & tell stories. Not the same anymore. I’m gonna draw a board on the driveway & teach my sons…they probably wont get it.
It was Cornelia Street between bushwick and Broadway. Stickball was king unless Mrs. Grillo (2nd floor #24 on the block) called the cops at the 81st Precinct. Mostly they just told us to quit. a few mean ones would drop the bats down the manholes. if they did that, we’d just swich to punchball. Do something about that, Mrs Grillo! When it wasn’t stickbasll or punchball it was triangl;e, stoopball, Ace-King-Queen, zig-sag-tag, johnny on the pony or ringelevio. Boxball was also popular and every so often someone would get those wooden paddles with the little ball attached. When the rubber string broke, we’d use the paddles to play a sort of tennis. Lots of fun until the guy who was losing took his paddle and hit the ball as far awy as possible. Oh well, time to play stickball again. Bill Mahan
Grew up in S/W Schuylkill (56th & Paschall ave) We played all the street games listed back in the 50’s and early 60’s. Hide and seek was referred to as “Ring up” wall ball was referred to on some corners as “chink” Loved them all! We also nailed the broken bats, taped the ball playing Hard ball, Buck-Buck, baby in the air and alot of half ball in the summer and “two hand touch” in the winter. Great era and a great time! They actually had “box ball leagues” in the summer at the Mitchell school yard at 56th and kingsessing ave!
I grew up in SW Philly near 68th and Woodland Avenues. We played Buck-Buck, but the first person on the team being jumped on wrapped his arms around a telephone pole. Once, one of the guys on the jumping team jumped so far he knocked himself out when he slammed into the pole. My friend’s brother broke his instep when he was the last guy bending over and the last jumper missed the stack and landed on his foot, which had the toes to the ground and heel up in the air. Ouch! The younger kids in our neighborhood played “shadow tag” at night. If you were “it”, instead of tagging someone you had to step on their shadow. Another game for younger kids was “Red Light, Green Light”. We also played various forms of “chicken”, which usually involved running in front of a car and seeing how close you could get without getting run over. In the winter if there was snow on the ground, we’d “ski” on the streets by grabbing hold of the back of a bus when it stopped and getting pulled along when it started to move.
Hey does anyone remember JOhnny On The Pony. I grew up in The Bronx. It would usually take 4 or 5 players on each side. One team would line up against the wall. One player would face the others with back against wall and the rest of team would face him and would bend from the waist one behind the other holding the waist of the one in front of them. The other team would run and jump on the backs of the team trying to land as far forward as he could. The object was to make the team holding them to break under the weight of the jumpers.
OK, well, I’ll stand up for West Oak Lane and for girls, ’cause we played chink (OMG–I shudder at that name now!), wallball, pimpleball (broomstick and whole ball), halfball, and, oh Lord, who could forget Buck, Buck–a totally terrifying game if you were a girl. Also dodgeball, baby in the air, kickball. If anybody still plays any of these or other “playground” games as an adult, anywhere in the U.S., please let me know ’cause I’m writing an article on the subject (deadline: Dec. 31, 2008) We played in the streets of West Oak Lane(Tulpehocken, Rodney, Thouron, Wynsam), at the corner store, in the rowhouse driveways, in the schoolyard (Pennypacker) and at Simons Playground (where we also ice skated). The owner of the Flyers (Ed Snider) just saved Simons and 2 other rinks that were gonna close due to budget cuts. The smell of a pimpleball is like the smell of bright yellow mustard and a fresh pretzel–you can never get it out of your soul!
I lived on 10th st between Dickinson & Tasker until I left Philly in 1976 at the age of 13. Played everything up Wilder st and Greenwhich st. I completely forgot about Manhunt and Hide the Belt. We could think of anything even if nobody had a ball. Love trying to explain Buck Buck to people. I remember between 5 kids nobody had 35 cents for a pimple ball. I used to be able to climb the alleys up 3 story buildings onto the roof. I’d collect all the “roofed” balls and come to the edge and yell “Jackpot!” throwing down a half a dozen pimple balls and halfballs. Would love to get my hands on a pimple ball now just to feel it. I remember it was soft enough to pinch with your middle finger so when you pitched it for slapball it would take a crazy bounce right before the other guy could hit it. Great website. Thank you for the memories.