I grew up in the early 60’s on Lacombe Avenue in the Castle Hill Avenue projects in the Bronx. We were privilaged enough to have a skully (skelly) board neatly painted in yellow on the playground area outside. We experimented with a myriad of bottle cap types and fillers. The best “shooters” were the little white (soft) plastic prescription bottle tops. (This pre-dates child-proof caps.) Since the precription bottle caps were much lighter than metal bottle caps, we would weight each of them down with a penny and then fill the cap up to the top with candle or crayon wax. When the wax dryed, we would rub the top of the cap on the ground until it was super-smooth. The plastic precription bottle caps were the best shooters. When you would shoot one, it would ride smoothly along the ground, travel farther than a metal bottle cap, and, with the weight of the penny, it had enough weight to smash a competitor’s cap a mile away. I moved to Long Island, NY when I was 12 and miss playing skully.
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.
yeah but the tops at toycrafters aren’t like the one’s we used to play with. As I recall we played with two different types of tops in the Harlem River Projects. We used to buy them at this store on Bradhurst Avenue called the “Peace Store”. None of the tops had any manufacturer’s markings on them and they were red, blue or green. I can’t remember if they came in yellow too. Anyway, most of the tops we played with had steel points. We also played with tops we called “Ball Bearings” because instead of a sharp steel point they had round points on the end. These ball bearing tops were also larger than the other steel point tops. I would be curious to know who actually made these two types of tops in the mid to late 60’s and early 70’s. I’ve seen some of the steel point tops around but I haven’t seen any of the ball bearing tops.
Does anyone remember the type of knock hockey boards that we used to play with in the late 60’s to early 70’s in New York? I could have sworn they were orange and blue, possibly made by AMF. I remember playing knock hockey a lot during summer day camp in the Harlem River projects.
Ok here go’s… there is NOT one mention about all the balls that were split down the seam, right in half. Why is that? How many times can you remember blasting the crap out of either ball & splitting it in half? I also remember before I was old enuff to play with the older guys, I would always pick up the half balls that were laying around the park & squeezing them on my face (cheek), or tricep so that it would form a suction & stay there only to leave quite a red blotch mark, as you can imagine. All in all, there was no better feeling than ripping into a Spaldeen with the whip action of a stickball bat and blasting the ball into orbit over the roof of a building in the GLENWOOD PROJECTS, in Brooklyn NY. PERIOD!!! Ahhhhh, those were the days…………
My Dad, Robert “Lefty” Gregory played on The Presto in the late 30’s early 40’s. His brother Willie Gregory played on the Madision Ave Flashers. Dad went on to play in the Winter Baseball Leagues in Puerto Rico with the San Juan Senators in 47. He returned to Manhattan the following season and went to an open try out for the NY Giants in the old Polo Grounds. He put four consecutive shots in center field which got him a trip to North Carolina to play for the Giants Farm Team. Those were rough days for people of color. I was about five or six and can remember sitting in the stands in center field. Those folks were pretty hostile. Dad was a quiet man and always avoided confrontation. He deceided then to give up his dream of a professional career and we all retuned to live in Brooklyn. Dad played stickball for Home Relief during this time and spent the rest of the decade playing in the great Puertorican baseball leagues in Central Park. Not sure of his team’s name, but I remember the word “GOYA” on his uniform. To say Dad played stickball or baseball at another level was an understatement. When I was about sixteen we were living in the upper Bronx, East Chester Projects. Dad came down one Saturday afternoon to join us while we were playing stickball. We thought we were really good. Dad got up, pointed to each of us in order and said, “This is yours”. Bam! a blur of a warped spaldine would be coming at you at mach 5. BAM! one more for the guy on 2nd and Bam! another for 3rd. My buddies would duck, jump out of the way. To damn hot to handle! For us in the out field he would pop them up so high they come down whistling and dancing the bugaloo! He would place them just where he wanted to, every time. It was a reality check for us young punks! I really miss my Dad and am glad to see this site giving these guys and their generation their due. I was shocked to find out that my Dad was inducted along with my uncle Willie into the hall of fame. This was in the seventies and he never told any of the family. I only found out about it this year when his good friend Hector Arroyo was inducted. That was my Dad! A very humble but unforgetable man.
I used to play a game called “American Eagle” in astoria projects as a kid. One person would be “it” and would stand in the middle of the field with all the other kids on one side of the field. Whoever was it, yelled American Eagle and everyone would try to charge to the other side of the field. The guy that was it would have to tackle someone and say “American Eagle 1,2,3, three times fast while he held his captive down. Then there was two people in the middle, would yell American Eagle again, and they would both try and tackle and capture the other kids running back across the field, until they were down to the last person. We would play until the Housing Authority Police chased us off the grass.
We used to fish the lost spauldeens out of the sewers in astoria projects where I grew up by fashioning a metal coat hanger with a little loop at the bottom enough to lift the ball out of the muck. Someone called “chips” on the ball, 15 cents was couple days of bottle hunting…Yuk…here’s your ball kid.
We played it in the Linden Projects.
I lived in the Linden Projects (185 Cozine Ave and then 225 Wortman Ave.) until around 1970.