Cypress Hills Projects, East New York Brooklyn. Born there in ’60 and left for the Rockaways in ’82. Used to go to 214, then 260 in Canarsie due to my art talent. Then back again to 218 for JHS. Memories were bittersweet, like most here. The days of penny candy were soon replaced with gang fights, then social unrest, then the drug wars. My kudos to any and all who survived it to relate it here.
I think that was the name of the concrete park we used to hang out in early 70’s It was around Eastern Parkway and broadway We played handball there,and There was a softball Field there. Pretty rough place Sometimes I remember going with a friend to see our girls play softball against another team and as we were entering the park a gang of ruff’s aproached us to jump us I think, after a brief encounter the girls team came running over with there bats in hand and squashed the problem Those brooklyn girls are alright
The BRC (Brownsville Recreation Center) late 1970’s Located on Linden Blvd. in Brownsville Brooklyn, the BRC was the coolest place to swim in the summer. Betsey Head was too crowded and scorching hot. Red Hook’s pool was full of gang violence. We lived six blocks from the indoor pool at the BRC, and the lifeguards knew us well. The place had serious ambiance that is only available in a NY neighborhood pool. Music was played, mandatory WBLS. All of our swimming lessons were executed to top-40 R&B. Our lifeguards were all fit men in their mid 30’s. All races; who though they were the center of the sexual universe. They didn’t wear swim trunks back in those days, men wore those little things that Olympic divers wear. Many a hardheaded kid broke teeth running on the wet tile floors to get to the pool bleachers. You had to swim 10 laps every day to qualify to swim in the deep water (8 ft?). The pool was mid length. Everyone else had to sit in the bleachers until we were finished with our qualification laps. I was one of those kids that became a swimming fanatic, and went on to swim camps upstate and in New Hampshire. It was a serious sport for me. Irish Brian was my instructor at the BRC. He was super strict about lessons. We called him the swim Nazi. He was full of himself, as were the other lifeguards. I miss those guys. The BRC kept so many kids out of trouble. Even the plain bologna sandwiches with school milk cartons kept many kids from starving. We used to keep a stash of rocks and broken glass to throw at the pedophiles that would occasionally drive up to the BRC fenced playground to entice kids with candy and money.
We lived in an apt in Astoria, Queens and as a little girl I use to prop upa blanket like a tent. Me and my siblings would hang out especially on hot summer nights. We had to be in at 8:00 and everyone was still out. So being on the fire escape made us feel we were not missing anything. Also there would be a group of boys from a gang called the Barons and they would harmonize to the tune of Duke of Earl. Oh the days of little wants.
Yes, we used to play Hide and Seek (less the go). The “it” person had to cover his/her eyes and count to 100, the rest of the group went and hid. Ususally a common place or object was used as the “I’m Free or I’m Home” point. This was where all the rest of the gang, when not immediately sought out by the “it” person, could run fast before being seen (we always played this at nite)by the “it” person. If we got to that point without being “tagged” by the “it” person,then we would not have to become the “it” person for hte next game. Ususally the first to be discovered as to where they were hiding was the next “it” person. When nearly all of the kids were “home free” or the “it” person just gave up trying to find them, or if mom yelled for us to come it as it was getting late, the “it” person would call out “Ally, Ally in come free”, over and over several times. When doing this, all the gang had to face the “home or free” point and close their eyes so they could not see where the other good hiders came from so not to show their hiding positions. This came up just recently, so I had to share. Plus, this friend of mine, from down south, says no no no that is the game of Ghost. I had to disagree. We played a game of Ghost which was while traveling in the car. Does anyone have the “correct” definition of what Ghost is. My friend is ademate he is correct and I am wrong. I would like to hear of other versions of “Ghost”. Thank you!
i remember it was rumored back in the 70s that a kid from another neighborhood was hit by a ConED truck while playing stickball…noone knew who or where…but for years thereafter, every time a ConEd truck came down our street (and delayed our game)the whole gang of us would howl “BOOOOOOO CONNNNNNEEEEEDDDDDD” and each one after the other bang on the side of the truck as it drove by…then, like nothing had happened, play would resume…
This is so great!! You’ve opened up a flood of memories that have been locked up for years. Dirt bombs, rock fights, BB-guns, sling shots, carpet guns, snow-ball fights(a piece of ice or a rock inside was optional), “forts” in the lots or behind the billboards, gang fights, “mickie”(potato) roasts on a summer night in the lots… My god, how did we ever survive this “right of passage”??? Those experiences of my youth in good old Flatbush were to prepare me for the tough years that lay ahead both in the military and in the business world. Thanks for the memory….
I grew up in the western suburbs of Minneapolis. There were lots of kids hanging out, as we’d all get kicked out of the house all day. We’d usually play baseball all day in the brief summers, but the rest of the year offered other playtime activities. In the winter could have as many as 30 kids in a giant snowball fight. We’d be running from one block to the other, and build big snowball forts and you’d try to capture from the other gang. There were always these forts in different stagers of repair When we were young teenagers, 13-15, during the warmer weather, we could steal lumber from these new housing construction sites and build tree houses. Sometimes there would be 10 kids involved (there’s nothing you couldn’t do with a critical mass of kids). We would get these big sheets of plywood and cut them around the branches, creating these elaborate multi-storied houses. We wouldn’t have ‘official clubs” and didn’t really hang out as much as just build the things. Still no girls were allowed. The houses would last a couple of years although they might get taken over by gangs from another neighborhood or vandalized by kids who might be mad at you. One time a contractor who got mad at us for stealing the wood sent a bulldozer over. They wrapped a big chain around the house and pulled it right our of the tree. This was the biggest one we had ever created literally 5 stories high, skewed all around the tree to fit in. That house was the culmination of our architectural endeavors. When it was pulled down, we were ready to move on.