On more than one occasion I remember opening manhole covers in the middle of the street to look inside. We would see some water flowing at the bottom and “hope” to see some raw sewage floating by. (Boys will be boys) Of course some parent would happen to look out their window and find us doing it and either call our parents or come outside and tell us to put it back.
I grew up in a cluster of garden apts in Ridgefield, NJ and recall the ice cream man, the milk man who brought bottled milk with cream on the top to the wooden (and later aluminum boxes) outside our back doors, the Fuller brush men who came by once in a while, the bakery guy (can’t remember the name) who had fantastic cupcakes (you could roll off the top chocolate icing and eat it separately) and also the guy who sharpened knifes and scissors who came by periodically.
I was surprised that in the discussion of “balls” no mention was made of the fact that that wonderful pink ball with the nice script “Spalding” on it, was pronounced, at least where I grew up, as a “Spaldeen.” I also wish that someone would post some of the “girl” games: jump rope along with the chants/songs; hopscotch (lots of different rules), etc.
I grew up on the Lower East side of Manhattan — or at least that was what WE called it. Now the section I grew up in is called “the East Village”. Sigh. Anyway, I remember three different ice cream trucks (Mr. Frostee; some other company I can’t remember; and then eventually, Good Humor) in the summer. I remember the “knish man” in the winter. He was a large, grungy-looking individual wrapped in about ten layers of clothing to withstand the cold he had to endure eight hours a day. When I saw the movie, “Fiddler On the Roof” years later, I remember thinking that Tevye looked just like the knish man! Funny how, as an adult, you think about things like where street vendors go to the bathroom and/or wash their hands. As a child, you couldn’t have cared less.
I loved sitting on the stoop. It was the perfect bench – placing you close to but above the “field” so you could see all the action on the block. When we moved into the big apartment buildings, stoop sitting got more difficult, but even then, we’d usually congregate around some side entrance that had one.