I grew up in the Bronx from 1950-1964. For some reasons I thought if you couldn’t afford a Spaldeen you got a Pencie Pinkies. Remember you used to call out a word (maybe tibs) if the ball was yours and it got lost, over a roof or in the sewer, they had to buy you a new one. What a blast those times were. I loved growing up in the Bronx. I lived on Noble Avenue from 1950-1960 and then the Castle Hill Projects from 60-64. On Noble Avenue we had a stoop and we would play stoopball and all the other games you guys mentioned. All great memories.
Going on a treasure hunt (walk fingers up back) X marks the spot (draw X on back) Big circle (draw big circle on back) Little circle (draw smaller circle inside the first) Dot, dot, dot (tap back with each “dot”) Crack an egg on your head (put your left fist, pinky down, on their head then gently tap your left fist with your right fist and let your left flatten out on their head) Let the yolk run down (let hands slide down their head to their shoulders) Stick a knife in your back (thump them fairly hard in the middle of the back with your right fist, pinky down) Let the blood run down (slide hands down back with fingers open) Spiders crawling in your hair (crawl fingers quickly up back to the hair at the top of their neck) Snakes are sliding down your back (slither fingers down back) Cool breeze (blow on neck) Tight squeeze (pinch neck or squeeze shoulders) [Optional] Can’t catch me! (sharp slap on the back of the neck and run away)
I don’t have much to add, so forgive me for repeating anything: Spaldeens cost about 25 cents in the 1960’s in my neighborhood in The Bronx near Morris Avenue and 164th Street. Occasionally Harry’s candy store sold “seconds” for about 15 cents or twenty cents. The Five and Ten on Morris Avenue sold P Pensie Pinkies, which I remember as softer and inferior balls — they were for girls’ games. They were not the ball of choice for the boys. And new Spaldeens had some kind of powder on them — and had a distinctive smell. And some were harder than other — those are the ones you wanted, because they bounced better. We didn’t play stick ball on my block but we played Slug — also known as King Queen Jack on some blocks — who remembers that game? It was played in the boxes on the sidewalk, against the apartment house wall — WHO REMEMBERS SLUG?
I am from Flushing Queens, where we would usually buy Pensie Pinkies and Spaldeens from Joe’s, which was the nearest candy store. Sometimes when I had no money, I ‘d swipe a Pensie from my sister, who, along with her friends, used them mostly in an activity that involved keeping the ball in bounce while reciting different rhymes that were punctuated by passing their legs over the ball before it would bounce back up. I lived on a hill where many of these balls ended up in the sewer at the end of the block. You could retrieve them using a garden rake, but if they remained in the water too long, they almost certainly went dead. We used to play stick ball, box ball, Chinese handball, catch a fly and you’re up, and many, many more games using them. As I recall, the favored brand for stickball at least, was Spalding, but I never observed too much difference between the two.
Oh, the memories. Spaldeens ruled, anything else was second rate. I keep one in my car to this day. In the Dyker Heights section we used the Spaldeen for everything,slap ball, punch ball , handball, cather-flyers-up, stoop ball, box ball, stickball. Didn’t know pensies existed till we moved to Nassau County. We would use them if local candy store was out of spaldeens or we couldn’t put together the 25 cents for the real deal.
Yes, Pensie Pinkies were hollow, pink rubber balls, just like Spaldeens. But Pensie Pinkies were a lot softer, maybe because they had less air in them, or maybe the rubber was thinner. In any case, because they were softer, Pensie Pinkies were easy to “fluke” (put a spin on the ball by squeezing it between thumb and knuckles as you tossed it. (Very good for Box Baseball.) I don’t recall any sponge rubber ball. You’da got kicked out of the neighborhood for that. Steve S.
I grew up in Summerdale (Oxford Circle) in the early-mid 80s. We played: * wireball * suicide (we called it “sooey”) * pitched quarters * flipped baseball cards * stoop ball (no one called it “step ball”) * Deadbox (not in Summerdale, but played with my * older cousins in Harrowgate) * Wall ball * Hand ball * stick ball * halfies * hose ball (my father grew up in kensington and taught us that) * wiffle ball (regular wiffle ball and padded bat with tennis ball — a lawn chair for the strike zone) * Spring * Freedom * Knock Knock Zoom Zoom * King of the Hill * hide and seek in the back alley/cubie holes * kick the can * foot hockey * 2 hand touch/1 hand touch * steal the bacon * straw races (when someone turned on the fire plug and we’d race drinking straws all the way down the street to the sewer) I can’t count how many pinkies, tennis balls and pimple balls I roofed from the age of 5 to 13!