What some people call Box Ball, we on Cabrini Blvd. between 177th & 178th Streets in Washington Hights, NY we called SLUG. Slug was played on a street bldg. wall and the expansion joints on the street was the dividing line to the curb. Also, baseball was played in the Court Yards to the entrance of buildings (somewhat confining, but you played a good quick game.. …
I was describing the game to my grandson, telling him how I played the game at the Dyckman Projects in Washington Heights in the 50’s, and how my middle finger would be bleeding and raw all the time because of the ragged edge of the soda bottle caps and how we would rub the bottoms on the sidewalk to smooth them out from the bumps of the soda can opener……he was amazed that they didn’t have screw on bottle tops…..he also didn’t know what a radiator was when I told him that that’s how we melted the crayons into the bottle tops and sometimes the wax would overflow down the sides of the radiator and my mother would yell at me. …
I lived in NYC on 162nd st. in Washington Heights and we played stickball quite a bit during the late 40’s and 50’s. I remember we had a team called the COMETS. It was a rather loose organization and some of us had blue t-shirts with the name in red while others had no team shirt at all. The “Spaldines” spent quite a lot of time on the roof of Jumels Garage, which is still there by the way. Every so often someone had to go up to the roof of an adjoining apartment house and jump from a fire escape to the roof of the garage to retrieve some so games could continue. It’s been 50 years but I can still conjure up the sounds of the bats hitting the ground after a solid hit and the smells of the hot tar street baking on a sultry summer afternoon. Not to mention the occasional sound of breaking glass as someones window became a sacrifice to the game.
I grew up playing this in Washington Heights in the 70’s (160th between Ft. Washington and Riverside Dr.). We used to use specificly Heineken bottles for glassies (we could never get Lowenbrau necks to break off without shattering). At one point we started using two poker chips glued together (the different color combinations helped us keep track). Anyone else use poker chips?
We used to use broom sticks for bats and when someone yelled “chickie, the cops” we hid them…. for fear the cops would take them …. and i was reading somebody was looking for a aluminum bat? the game has changed…. hey i still remember the sewer is second base……sliding into the tire of a car climbing up the six flights of stairs because someone hit a home run up on the roof … we only had one ball…. great memories…. Tom Ryan 188st washington heights new york
In Washington Heights (181st Street)in the late 50’s/early 60’s, you could get both – Spaldeens were harder and cost 25 cents, while the Pennsie Pinky was only 15 cents and a lot softer and smoother. We preferred the Spaldeen for stickball and the Pinkie for punch ball. When they went “dead” and lost their bounce, the game was to “roof” the ball by throwing it onto the roof of a 6 story apartment building. Sid’s candy store on 181st street was the only place in the neighborhood that let you check all of the Spaldeens and Pinkies by giving them the “bounce test” before buying – holding a ball at about chest height and letting it go to see how high up it would bounce. I broke Mrs. Morrison’s living room window with a Spaldeen and hit the super of the building across the street with a Pennsie Pinkie!
I’m also from Washington Heights and we called it “slug.” I think you could hit the ball three times in your own box before you had to send it down the line. It’s awesome to have these memories shared by others.
CarolT’s comments brought back a flood of memories. I grew up on West 65 Street in Manhattan and recall walking from Amsterdam Avenue up to Broadway to get the next day’s Daily News and Daily Mirror. In fact, many times (these days) I pick up a News and a Post, put my money on the counter, and tell the clerk, “I have a News and a Mirror.” Old habits die hard.
I grew up on 172nd Street (145 Audubon Avenue)1948-1966. That was a time when you’d wait for the Daily News and Daily Mirror to “come up” around 9pm, especially on Saturday night. I loved to play jacks while sitting on the stoop. I recently went back to the old neighborhood, the stoops are gone. The parapet on 145 Audubon and some of the other buildings have been removed. Incarnation Convent has stood up well over the years.