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
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.
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.
I can definitely relate to the “search for the roller skate key” scenario! There were five of us at home (not counting my mother), so we never knew who had it last or where they put it. I loved skating so much on the Lower East Side that I did it well into my adult years when I moved to Brooklyn at the Empire Roller Skating Rink and the Park Circle Roller Skating Rink, dancing to the music on my skates! I think I stopped going when I was around 35. Don’t ask me about roller blades — I put those things on once a few years ago — one ankle went in, the other went out — I took them off and haven’t been skating since. – webdiva
The search for the roller-skate key was always a rite of spring at our house. If I was lucky, it had been carefully placed in my dad’s tool/ hardware cubby-hole. With growing feet, those expandable roller-skates sure were practical. Many knees were skinned, though, when the front clasps slipped off and I tumbled forward. I think that the skating season probably only lasted for me until I had scabs on both my knees.
Wow!! Metal roller skates and roller skate keys worn on a shoelace around my neck. And box scooters, made from nailing the skates to the bottom of a board which also had a large wooden crate nailed to the top front. I’m back in my Brooklyn in the 50s. I’m young again. NOT!! These are such great memories that they make me want to share with my young daughtes. But I haven’t seen metal skates in any yard sale. And scooters gave way to skate boards. And extreme games. And now there’s inline skates. And what is the world coming to?
I actually found a pair of skates at a flea market and my brother came up with a skate key. I am still looking for the big clamps. Wasnt it annoying when your skate came off and the strap was still around your ankle. You had to drag over to a bench or some place to sit to fix it.