Riverdale @ 256th St. is where I was raised. I lived just up the hill from PS 81 on Riverdale Ave. We had lots of kids my age living there – I can’t imagine growing up anywhere else being better! Later I attended JHS 141. I hung out at the Neighborhood House on Mosholu Ave. and had a pass to the pool every summer. Winters I had a pass to Kelton’s ice skating rink by 234th St. & Broadway – Cortland Park area. If you continued West on 256th toward the Hudson, there was a monastery. They gave me a scapula – many there took a vow of silence. I had a friend, Steve Talerico, and when I met another Talerico years later, I mentioned knowing him. He told me it’s a common name. He said Steven Tyler (Aerosmith) was originally a Talerico. In 1999 when I got my computer I looked up his bio – he lived in the next building. We used to put up signs that there would be a carnival, then we’d make up games of skill where for a small sum you could play and possibly win one of our old toys. We’d also take what appeared to us to be unused & unwanted carriages and dismantle them to make gravity powered go-carts. One day, Robert Kennedy was in a parade on Riverdale Ave. & I followed his vehicle to a retirement home in the rural looking parts down the hill toward the river. I snuck in thru bushes, walked right up to him, handed him my pink, zippered, autograph book, filled with pages of “Yours ’til Niagra Falls” type signatures from my classmates, handed him the book, and he signed it! There were many wooded areas, lots of BIG rocks like the Adirondacks. One such was a 30ft tall (at least) single smooth outcropping on Riverdale Ave. that was dynomited and carted away when I was young to make way for a shopping plaza. And there was a Magic Shop filled with so much stuff you could barely squeeze thru. All the games I’ve read about here I played – seemingly forever. I was outside as much as possible. I now bike & kayak a lot, but I rarely see kids out, it’s mostly people my age doing these things. Geeze, sometimes instead of going to the Neighborhood House pool – I’d walk to the river & swim there. Now even the public pools where I live are almost devoid of life. One by one they’re closing. Nice site this Streetplay – brings me back!
Played the game in the Bedford Park section & Grand Concourse in the Bx. Got our chestnuts from Riverdale, St. James Park (Fordham area)and the Bx. Botanical Gardens. Everybody had their own “secret” formula for hardening them (boiling in vinegar, nail polish, etc.). I don’t think any of them really worked. Never had a real name for the game.
I went to PS 94 off Gun Hill rd and juinor high school 80. My mom and uncles went their too. I went to JFK High school in riverdale. Now I live in the country outside of Buffalo. My favorite teachers in 94 were Mr. Cohen woodshop, My band teacher can’t remember his name. In junior high, My math teacher and softball coach was Don Cutler, Mr. Miranda was my homeroom and spanish teacher. In high school there was a lunch room attendent who sat at the door. He wore cowboy boots and read louis l’mour westerns. I looked forward to seeing him everyday. I even started reading his books. His name is Jim McGlynn. Jerry Cioffi was a dean and my track coach. I wish I could find him, he was my best friend back then. If anyone went to these schools please write.
i played with a stickball bat i used to buy at “welcome” store on johnson avenue in riverdale circa 1960-61. used tennis ball also. i bought one years later on the “island”- i was married and my son was maybe 12-he’s now 27-and had it until a few years ago. i think some statinary stores may still sell them.
off 164th and the concourse, in the mid-late 50’s, we played mostly 1 bounce “fungo” (self hit) stickball with a spaldeen. hits dtermined by distance. in riverdale from 1960-69, we played with a shaved tennis ball (which curved, threw screwballs) against a chalk box in the ps 24 schoolyard. sometimes had an outfielder. that was MY game. also played bench ball, punch ball, stoop ball, and curb ball (back in the old neighborhood-the concourse). and box ball.
Punchball, running bases, kickball, and stickball were the popular games in our parkinglot behind our apartment building. The playing field was an asphalt driveway that was actually wide enough to place bases around the “field”. The driveway was on an incline and homebase was at the bottom of the driveway, so you were always kicking or punching the ball up the hill. The Spaldeen ball was the classic ball for punchball. I would always renew my supply at the candystore, but I would only use my one and only ball until it was forever lost (in the sewer, a car ran over it). My kids are 10 and 12 years old now. At that age I was playing in the street all the time, nothing was organized, no carpools… the housephone rang and someone told you to come outside in the back..We played for hours, going from one game to another, until Rudy, the super, would come chasing after us yelling in his thick German accent, scaring the crap out of us, and breaking up the games.. only for the moment. And then there was Building Tag, where the doorman was base The stories are endless, but I really want to find out where I could buy a Spaldeen ball? Laurie, orginally from Riverdale, the Bronx, now in Shaker Heights, Ohio.