I grew up in the projects on Staten Island, South Beach Houses to be exact and we had games for every season especially spring when the weather was warming up. First it would be kite flying time and we’d go to the corner store known as Ma’s or Pa’s or Boff’s for the “second store” and buy our 10-25 cent kite, put it together with rags for a tail and go fly it at the “big park’s” field. Every kid did this, the sky was filled with all different color and shapes of kites! It was awesome. Then came yo-yo season right on the heels of kite flying. We got our Duncan’s out and could do all the tricks; cats cradle, around the world, you name it; we could do it with a little practice. Next came summer and bee catching, yes, bee catching. We would get a glass jar or a coffee can, put some holes in the top for air and go out to the bushes and catch as many bees as we could, there was a hierarchy to the bees too; workers (lowest), queenies (bumble bees) and Shiny hineys (largest bumble bees and the highest) we all kept clear of wasps, those suckers hurt if you got strung…I never got strung, not until I was an adult camping in California by a yellow jacket (damn wasps!). This was followed by the long days and as soon as dusk came we were playing “ringalerio” or “caw, caw”…this can be looked up on this site so you get the rules and the fun! During the day we played skully (also on this site), assball, softball, rode our bikes for 100’s of miles (without helmets and all day with no adults); skated (remember skate keys) played with our spaldeens…one, two, three aleary…”three feet over Germany” (whomever knows about this game please answer, I want to know the history)…Fall arrived and we gathered all the fallen leaves and jumped into the biggest piles of leaves you’ve ever seen, we got cardboard boxes and jumped on the bushes and fell off in heaps…Winter brought sleigh riding near the park and at the cemeteries (we were bordered on 2 sides)…ice skating at Cameron’s pond (watch the thin ice…someone always fell thru)…snow ball fights…oops I forgot about Halloween and egging, shaving cream, and flour socks…little did we know that our hair styles after this would eventually become stylish in the 90’s and 2000’s!!!! Who knew! sorry to go on and on but growing up in the 70’s in New York City projects was the BEST! What about you? Mary
Does anyone remember “PUSH-O’S”? A wooden milk crate with a 2X4 nailed as a “runner” with the front end of roller skates on the front and the back half was nailed to the rear of the 2X4. Then you would customize it by carefully nailing bottle caps that could spell your initials, or your street. Sometimes you could get the speed up and crawl inside the milk crate givig the imression that no one was on the PUSH-O. No brakes, no helmet, no elbow pads…just lotsa fun!!
Of course the spaldeen (especially the much-beloved #4, although #2 was also good) was always better than the pinky, although that pinky could really fly when hit with a bat! Most of you can probably relate, but I wish I could explain to my friends here in the Midwest what it was like growing up on E. 15th St. near Kings Highway in the ’70s. Our street was full of kids and we played all the time: johnny on the pony, stoopball, stickball, hockey on roller skates, scully, red rover, i declare war (losers always “went under the moon”), wiffle ball, ringaleavio. And the games in the schoolyards, like handball, off the wall, paddleball. There’s got to be a million spaldeens on the roof at PS 199 where I went and all the other schools, too. It was like a soap opera, too.
Now;do you remember the lead bottom can you had to scrath off before you could pick up the johnny pump water,Chaulk was a given,to be used on sidewalks or placed in an old sock to hit somebody with.(now)this is all illegal—————Roof top tag many a friend died missing that roof,Parachuting across the tops of elevators in buildings,hitching a ride on the back of a city bus with iron roller skates,Tree tag only in the trees not on the ground,OH-BOY thank the Lord we are all alive. Danny Boy
I lived in the Fort Green Projects when it was a family place. One day the housing put tar in the playground area’s which were in a couple of spots. We would all put on our skates and everyone would be skating, their had to be at least 30 of us, all ages. The bigger boys would start the whip game. Almost like a conga line the big boys would be in front and and back of the line and the younger would be in the middle. We would start slow but man it got real fast. I remember I went flying one day I think i was near the end. And we would skate till dinner time and then return all over again. I also found a pair of roller skate with the big clamps in a fleamarket and i have the skate too. I also remember at leat in Fort Greene if a guy gave you a skate key to hold oh man he liked you it was also like having been pined. I love my childhood, my sisters and i are always going back to our childhood, there are four older two years apart and were still hanging out with each other.
How cute to find this site! I grew up playing scully in Brooklyn in the 50’s. I live in CA now and from time to time I’ve tried to describe the game and the caps to friends thinking there must be SOMEONE who would know what I was talking about and share my nostalgic enthousiasm – so now how cute to find you all here. Someone mentioned go carts. What I remember is using the wheels from old roller skates and attaching them to a 2x4ish piece of wood, which then attached to a wooden crate with some kind of handles and we rode them like scooters…
Original author: Barbara Bronson (nostalgia) [e-mail]
I remember how those metal clamp-on skates could suddenly come loose – you’d be skating along and one of them would clunk into the back of your ankle – ouch! Then you had to sit down and fasten it on again with the key. I still have my old skates AND the key!
Here I am, Age 38, born and raised in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, only girl on the block–Still have my skate key–it’s on the same key ring with my Suburban keys. One of my fondest memories, my Dad taking me to Triangle on 5th Ave & 83rd Street for a pair of Chicago Rollers Shoe Skates–black, of course. Mom was pissed, so was my brother. But I played a mean roller derby. Hockey was my forte’. Now, had a great pair of roller blades, 11 year old son trashed them. Now, I am the Mom, and I am pissed.