I just finished telling a story about the game to my goddaugter and her cousin. They had a hopscotch board drawn on the driveway. I tried a search for this game many years ago but no luck because I wasn’t sure about the real name. I got lucky today by searching for street games. I thought we used to call it scalesies or loadies. It was painted in most of the project parks. I played all over TAFT, and Foster projects when I was a kid. I lived right in 1694 Madison Ave. I used to go to different bodegas just to find multi-colored poker chips to make caps. I used bubble gum after chewing out all of the sugar. My nickname was Howslinger
Oh, my god!!!!!!! I cannot believe I have found this site. Skelly was my all time favorite street game growing up in the Bronx, though I first learned the game during the short time my family and I lived in the Edgemere projects in Far Rockaway in the mid-60’s. They called it skully there, skelly in Co-op City, but no matter the name, it was so much fun! I moved to Rochester, NY 8 years ago, and no one has ever heard of it, their loss. I am going out as soon as I can, get some sidewalk chalk, and draw a skelly board on my driveway come this spring…….Maybe I can teach these hicks up here what a good game looks like……… Thanks to the webmasters, and the creators of this website, you have brought back a flood of great memories for me, and I am going to pass this along……
I grew up in Long Island City, Queens in the Ravenswood Projects 1960’s. We played “skezie” religiously every day in the summer and after school. I have vivid memories of playing the game with my friends. I had patches on patches on my dungarees. We used beer or soda caps mostly and we didn’t have twist off’s back then. I remember melting crayola crayons into the bottle cap as we tried to come up with what we thought were cool designs. A few of the kids would use heinz ketchup bottle caps or baby food jar lids – we called those kids fagots. The kids across the street called the game skully. I have taught my 11 year old twins to play the game – but they just don’t appreciate it.
Fireworks…by the middle of the afternoon in my neighborhood on Staten Island, South Beach projects you couldn’t even see the smoke was so thick and fireworks were illegal!!!! Actually the fireworks for the 4th usually started going off around June 20th (right after we got out of school) and we’d see all the people coming up from the South (where fireworks were legal) opening up their trunks and selling fireworks to anyone who had money…one summer we bought a mat of firecrackers (144 packs)…I was so tired of them after that!! Blue Angels always few at South Beach every 4th of July and you could see them from the roof of our projects…1976 4th of July was awesome…one of the best other than 1986 when the Statue of Liberty reopened after being renovated…one million people in downtown Manhattan…if you were claustrophobic you would have died! Bud beer being sold out of garbage pails in Chinatown…what a city! I live in California now and would never move back but my childhood was the absolute best! maryfinn
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 grew up in the South Beach projects on Staten Island in the 70’s. We played skully every single summer day. Got soda bottle caps with the crowns, melted our crayolas with matches or on the radiators in our buildings (pronounced rad E a tors, not raid). We always put pennies in the bottom for weight and because we grew up in the projects the skully board was actually official and painted (just like the hopscotch board). Growing up in NYC during this time was just phenomenal, we played what we called “caw, caw A ringalerio” every summer night. I have not heard anyone else call this “caw, caw” which is what we called it for short, anyone else ever hear it referred to like that? Live in California now and feel bad for kids growing up now without all these fantastic city games – anyone remember “errors” or “assball”. We were quite inventive! Thanks for the memories, Mary Finn
yes I remember, we had agame that we fondly called “off the point” played like baseball, where one would strike the ball against the cement curb WE lived in the projects in yhe Bronx where each separate building had their own playground, with each having their own dementions and ground rules. it was exciting when two buildings would battle it out, we even had a all star game and a world series, the playgrond would be packed. We would purchase spaldings for only 25 cents.
Pook, from 1154 Stratford Ave (bet Watson/Westchester) here. Born and raised in the Bronx, lived in the same apt until I was 21 and we moved to Puerto Rico (’65-’87). Son of Sam used to live on my block as a kid. The summers were the best…lots of good memories as a kid, playing all the street games there were. The old Ward Theatre was where we’d go watch all the Bruce Lee flicks (it later became Roller World skating rink then a furniture outlet of some type). Carvel and Hebrew National deli was down the block on Westchester across from the original Yankees Pizza. Man, a slice with extra cheese and a Carvel shake???!!! That was heaven. Went to JHS 123 (or as we called it, “The Rikers Island Annex” heh heh). We’d all go check out Bambaataa at the Zulu Nation jams in Bronx River projects. Hanging out in front of the stoop with all my friends, rapping to all the girls or snapping on each other. I’d bring my box and we’d chill out listening to 98.7 Kiss/92 KTU/BLS. Red Alert/Chuck Chillout/Mr Magic. Then we’d get 25 cents and get a “piragua” down the block (or a “coquito”). It was cool ’til the mid 80’s when crack took over and messed EVERYTHING up. Before that, it was a cool place to live and grow up. After I left, i lost a few friends who were killed in front of my old building. I went back in ’98 and ’04 but everyone I knew (except for a few old ladies like my boy Pedro’s grandmother) was gone. Although a mural of one of my boys that was killed is still there (on Stratford, near Westchester). Very sad going back to the block. Sandra, you said it right, those were the days…peace.
I grew up in the Linden projects, east New York, and we played this game.
Just read the article in the New York Times (Sunday July 1st) Jackson Projects representing: 156 Street and Courtlandt Avenue. Skelsies was the game of the day along with Hot Peas and Butter. Wow, what great times. I’m down for a reunion challenge and make it official, the Bronx Crew are the best! Bottle tops were okay but we in Jacksons knew how to create the best spin top for skelsies. Can’t tell you all our secrets, just set up the games and let the fun began!