I grew up in Crown Heights. I’m from a family of 7 children, 5 boys and 2 girls. My brothers would never let me hang out and play stickball, probably because i was really and I could beat them. They wouldn’t let me play – but I played anyway. i plaed hopscotch, stoopball, all those games you have. Some of my best times was doing that. I enjoyed being a Tom boy.
My brothers John and Tim and I always played stickball in our native Canarsie, the center of Brooklyn and the world, to us. Charlie Stella always bragged about his ability to consistently whack a two sewer hit and was usually willing to back up the brag with a bet in which the loser had to spring for a slice of pizza and an Italian Ices at Joe’s Pizzeria. Now and then errant balls would hit cars and windows which would lead to the local beat cop ambling along. He’d collect our sticks and break them in half in the very sewer in which Charlie’s best shots would bounce off of. We would then resort to stoop ball, until we got our hands on more broomsticks and black tape. There wasn’t a house on our block that contained a broom that was more than two feet long!
Here is an unbelievable curb ball story. As i reported earlier we still play this game once a year (30 something gang). About 5 years ago the dept of public works were going around the city replacing the curbs with handicap ramps. We got out city councilman to stop the rennovation on ‘our curb’ so now 1st 2nd and 3rd are handicap ramps while home plate remains a curb .
1 day a year a few friends meet the game they play is in the street a ball is hit against a curb so you can;t play it in the burbs everyone aims for the perfect point if you dont hit it – there is always a joint games are hot out on the black top but no one ever wants to stop sometimes balls fly on the roof when that happens you feel like a goof the game is played extremly hard its more intense than Camden Yard players fight and playesrs swear but you wont find bad blood anywhere so as you can see curb ball is wild just keep on playing it like a child.
The Highlandtown (Balt) version is called curb ball. It is played in the intersection with the 4 corners as bases. We still play this game once a year. If anyone wants more details let me know.
Absolutely! I was very excited to hear recently that Spalding is going to make and sell those wonderful pink balls again. I have not seen NY kids play stickball ( only adults in organized leagues),stoopball and many other creative outdoor games. I hope that will change.
In East Cambridge MA. we called it “Outs”. There was a mini-slide in the middle of the stairs with the o/o bounds marked on either side by a driveway/curb. Like anonymous above, only “errors ” caused a dispute on runner advances. A homerun was rare but doable- down the driveway. Hit the window in right field foul territory and the scary old man’d start swearing and rapping on the window… We used the same location for street hockey before there was enough of us to take over the BBall courts.
Like “stairball” and “pinners,” our baseball-style version of stoopball was called “off-the-point.” We played it on the granite step in front of the girls room of the parkhouse on Van Cortlandt Park South in the Bronx. There were always negotiations and clarifications on the rules, such as which fence posts were the foul posts, before the game began. Hitting the sweet spot–the corner of the granite step–with a new Spalding resulted in that “ping” sound that sent a rush through us and usually meant a hit.
anyone remember our dads blocking off the streets so we could play … boys and girls… high point of the after school day… unstructured and everyone’s parents were involved by sitting on the stoops and on the chairs in the street…. Knew we were part of a community… we belonged and because of that we learned to care about ourselves and other people…Lots of that is missing today for young people…. Our dads used to block off the street so we could play Stoop Ball and Ringalevio…. and yes, the lamp posts were the goals and some of the stoops were safe places… We all looked forward to coming home from school and “going out to play”…boys and girls together… first dating experiences came out of those games…. fun times