I grew up in Flatbush during the late 50s early 60s, and I played alot of skelley. What was really nice was that I hung out on a dead end street (E 22) and there wasn’t much traffic to interrupt the game. I do recall a that there were usually a few games going at any given time, There was usualy a fresh board drawn to play on, although most of us took great pride in our ability to lay out “The best” Skelley court. The sale of chalk in my neighborhood was probably up there with milk or newspapers. In my neghborhood, we only used soda or beer caps. It was a blessing when twist-offs came out ’cause then you didn’t have to try and straighten out a bent cap to use it. Before them, opening a soda bottle, to get the cap became an artform. We’d melt crayons into the caps, sometimes trying to mix and swirl the colors before it cooled.
I gotta tell ya, the hair on the back of my neck stood up after reading some of the stories.I grew up in Jamaica, Queens( born in 51 ). The way the world is today, we need more sites like this. Skelly was the best! We would fill the cap ( beer caps ) with melted crayon then rub real hard on the sidewalk ( aerodynamic ):) After going around back and forth and making around center,( if you landed on a line you started over )the thrill of blasting was the best! This is great!!!!! Keep it up. I’m gonna look for pictures right now. Thanks
Kool-Aid stands were big in my neighborhood (upstate New York in the 60’s). But one day my friend and I tried a new angle… We got a hold of a refrigerator box, which we placed upright and decorated (with crayons? markers?) as a “Kool-Aid Machine”, just like a Coke vending machine. We cut a hole for the customers to insert their coins, and an opening from which the Kool-Aid could be dispensed. Then we got inside the box and waited for our customers. When they inserted their coins, we would pour the Kool-Aid (from inside the box), and a little hand emerged from the opening with a glass of Kool-Aid. What a “blast” we had!
In response to a request for the ‘weirdest’ skelly cap, I’d like to add that in Brooklyn, NY during the early ’70s we used the rounded metal feet from the bottom of Catholic school desks. Once we found how well they slid across the street pavement, many of the desks at school (St. Simon and Jude) were imbalanced. It quickly got out of hand and became an unfair advantage for those who were using the standard bottle cap with melted crayons (as the feet were much heavier). I’ll also note that most boards were made in the street with chalk (don’t remember any standard dimensions), but one year we carved a more permanent one into the tar with pocket knives. Thanks for the memories. Makes me think back on other street games like Johnny on the Pony, Ring-o-Leavy-o, Coco-Leavy-o, Slap ball, Box ball, the other game played on a box ball setup (2 adjacent sidewalk boxes) where you had to flip and/or move the popsickle stick or coin -sorry I can’t remember the name…
I grew up on 173 St & St. Nick. in Washington Heights back in the early sixties. Bottle caps with the melted crayons were cool, but for maximum speed and ease of shooting we used to rub the very top of the old glass soda bottles over the sewer covers until they broke off. Of coarse sooner or later someone would hit you hard enough to break it, but those old time bottles were pretty thick! Man this stuff sure brings back the memories!!!
Hello all I grew up on 165th street and the grand concourse in the bronx and we played skulley every day. I’m fairly sure we pronounced it skulley, but skelley could have been it. My favorite caps were made from the bottom of school chairs. It was a real labor prying of those rubber fillers with the nail in the middle, but well worth it. In fact today, I popped open some beer bottles and melted crayons to make some caps to teach my 9 year old son and 5 yr old daughter. I found this sight looking for refresher on the rules. I remember us starting from a start lines outside of the skulley board and then working 1 to 13 forward and then backwards and then we were crowned or something and could really kick butt at that point. I would love to see the full rules posted and variations from different neigborhoods would be cool too. take care all
Here’s how we played in Rochdale Village in Queens circa late 1960’s: We also used bottle caps weighed down with melted crayons. I remember Mom getting pissed when some dripped inside her newly cleaned oven. After awhile, some guys used the plastic caps that came on the “new” plastic milk containers. We quickly outlawed the larger jar caps, especially the Motts Apple Sauce caps. Our box was a prepainted “boxball” court (there’s another great game)that was approx. 6’x6′. Each numbered box, done up in chalk, was about 6″x6″. “Running out of town” was prohibited! If I remember correctly, after running 1 – 13 and then 13 – 1, you had to go around the “Skelly” before you became a Killer. You had to hit a guy three times to get him out. Obviously, you would try to line up that third hit so that you could blast him out of the playground – just to rub it in a little.
I came from South Brooklyn, and we called it skellzees. In our neighborhood, in the late 60s, we only used bottle caps. Nothing larger was allowed. We weighted them down with melted crayons — in all colors. Some of the houses on our street had slate sidewalks, and they were the best to play on. The bottlecaps would just glide across. Makes me want to play again!!