I’m Tony from Astoria Queens. We used to play with Spalding Balls and played stick Ball, Strike Box (AKA Alley ball), Stoop Ball, Box Ball, Handball, and all the others mentioned. One thing I haven’t heard about the spalding’s were the types or classes of each. I can remember there being four to choose from numbered 1-4. They went from #4 being softer (less air) to #1 being the hardest (most air). When you bounced the #1 you could hear the p’ing’ or ‘ting’ sound it made from it being so tight. In stickball, I could hit that ball for two blocks in the air and it would bounce for about five more blocks! Telling my kids this seems unbelievable to them; and if you really think about it, you start to second- quess yourself about being able to hit it that far–but you know you could. I think we (ALL) were the true superheroes of NYC and the Tri-State area. Never forget where you came from is my moto!!!
What some people call Box Ball, we on Cabrini Blvd. between 177th & 178th Streets in Washington Hights, NY we called SLUG. Slug was played on a street bldg. wall and the expansion joints on the street was the dividing line to the curb. Also, baseball was played in the Court Yards to the entrance of buildings (somewhat confining, but you played a good quick game..
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 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.
Oh, the memories. Spaldeens ruled, anything else was second rate. I keep one in my car to this day. In the Dyker Heights section we used the Spaldeen for everything,slap ball, punch ball , handball, cather-flyers-up, stoop ball, box ball, stickball. Didn’t know pensies existed till we moved to Nassau County. We would use them if local candy store was out of spaldeens or we couldn’t put together the 25 cents for the real deal.
I grew up in Gravesend, Brooklyn (West Street and Ave. U) in the 50’s. I remember Spaldeens being our ball of choice for almost all street games. I also remember using Pensie Pinkey’s but I dont remember them being more expensive than a Spaldeen. We would only use a Pensie for box ball or in situations where a Spaldeen ball could be easily lost or stolen. By the way, does anyone remember 4-box baseball and War?
I grew up in Olney in the late 70’s through the 80’s at 2nd and Albanus. We played tons of street games such as; -Wire ball -Step ball -Light ball -Homicide -Suicide -Dead box or bottle caps -Wall ball -Box ball -Stick ball -Halfies -Hose ball -Wiffle ball -Hide the belt -Kick the can -Spring -Catch one catch all -Keep warm -Pile on the rabbitt -King of the hill Those were the days!