I grew up in Woodhaven,Queens during the late 50’s and early 60’s. We used to play a varity of games, including Snake, Redrover, Red Light-Green-Light, but my favorite was Punchinello. Does anyone remeber this game? The person named Punchinello had to come up with some body contortion that no one could copy. The kids that matched the move stayed in and the ones that didn’t were out. Also, do any of the girls out there remember Baby Carraige Racing? My friends and I would find a good hill and let the buggies fly. What fun we had!
I grew up in the Cincy area and would often go to Woolworth’s and Kresge’s and let all of the parakeets out. What a hoot! You could hear the old ladies (they were in they 30’s) screaming as we ran out the doors. I still have to resist the urge to free the parakeets whenever I see them in the malls and I’m over 50.
Sliding pond was the only name we used to called them in Da Bronx. The monkey bars were made of steel and anything else we used to climb on (like the big turtles,the cheese and all the benches) was made of concreat. There was no such thing as rubber mats,wood mulch or any type of padding on the playgrounds in any of the playgrounds I grew up in. It was all concreat or black top. If you fell and got hurt you would run upstairs to your mom. She would patch you up,and you would be back downstairs playing again. Now a days when kids get hurt in the playground, from playing too hard or from there own fault for doing something stupid, like we all used to do. Do you remember hearing this saying in the playground ” Go head I dare you, Chicken” Usually means somebody was going end up getting hurt. Now the kids run inside to there parents. Then the parents take them to the Lawyers office looking to sue somebody for there kids stupidity. Do you remember Johnny Pumps (Fire hydrants)? Thats what we used to call them in my neighbor hood………..
One of the things that makes those old friendships so powerful is that they touch a part of you that you barely remember you still have. I have a few people who I grew up with and am still close to. It’s really a treasure. Speaking of curveballs, my father in law played stickball with me about 10 years ago. I was 35, he was about 50 Anyway, all he threw were these crappy spinning pitches which I’d swing at and hit down into the grass (this was out in the country). He finally threw me one “fast ball” & I knocked deep. The rest of the day were all spinners. He still talks about those spinners, I still think I could’ve knocked one out.
I grew up in New York on the upper West Side, and we played stickball against the Firemen’s Monument at 100th Street and Riverside Drive. We drew a strike box on the side of the monument with chalk, a pitcher’s mound about 50 feet up the street, and a batter’s box on the street. We used a broom handle (usually wrapped with electrical tape on the handle) and pink rubber balls made by the Spaulding Company (which were universally known as Spaldeens). A single was a ball hit past the pitcher’s rubber on the fly, which hit before the doorway of a building about 75 feet up the street; a double had to be hit on the fly between the marker for a single and another building about 150 feet up the street; a triple had to be hit between the end of the marker for a double and the top of the hill; and a home run was a ball hit over the top of the hill on 100th Street. When I went to buy Spaldeens at the candy store, I looked for ones that had a little extra rubber at the seam from the molding process, because I was one of the few guys who could throw a curve ball with a Spaldeen. There was this one guy I played against, who every time I threw curve balls to him and he swung and missed, who would scream at me, “You cheated! You threw a curve ball!” He could never hit a curve ball, and he was a patsy every time he came up to bat against me. I would set him up with pitches low and inside just over the corner of the plate, then strike him out any time I wanted to with a curve ball that started outside, and broke in at his hands. And you could guarantee that he would be yelling that I cheated, because I threw the curve ball he couldn’t hit. The funny thing is that 45 years later I am now a senior scientist at a major corporation, and he is a big-shot Wall Street lawyer pulling in megabucks, and every time I see him (about twice a year), I can still piss him off by reminding him that he could never hit a curve ball. And you can guarantee he will still be complaining that I won because I cheated, throwing him curve balls.
I grew up in the Bronx in the ’40’s and one of the things we did was rollerskate. My friends and I did this for what seems like hours. Those were the days when you could skate on the street because there were not many cars since gasoline was rationed because of the war and driving was saved for Sunday drives with the family. We used to skate down Burke Avenue to Bronx River Parkway which was quite a big hill and we must have climbed it 100X at least as I remember. Also, those were the days when we wore metal skates and wore your skatekey around your neck on a shoelace. I bet lots of you who grew up around that time have some of the same memories. Please add yours here – I’d love to read them.
I was the pogo stick champ of my block. I could pogo down steps, up steps, off stoops, you name it. I sucked at hoola hoops but pogo was my thing. I grew up on 175th Street off MaCoombs Road in the Bronx. I went to PS 104 school. THere was nothing like growing up in those days of the early 60s.