: "Back in the Bronx" Brooklyn response

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sun Jan 30 21:11:38 UTC 2000

At 12:27 PM -0800 1/30/00, Peter Farruggio wrote:
>Speaking of the Back in the Bronx word list,  From Vol. III, Issue IX, pg. 10:
>>  num. 21 "Curb Ball"
>What about stoop ball, which was pretty popular in Brooklyn neighborhoods
>ca. 1950s?  I believe Brooklyn had more "private" houses, which were
>usually two-story, two family houses (landlord lived downstairs, rented the
>2nd floor) which had 7 or 8-step front stoops.  Also, there were (still
>are) many neighborhoods with brownstone houses, which also had large
>stoops.  These stoops were usually made of concrete, sometimes stone.  To
>play stoopball, the "batter" threw a rubber "Spaldeen" (Spalding high-
>bounce tennis ball without fuzz covering, also used for playing outdoor,
>one-wall handball) against the steps and the "fielder," who stood behind
>the batter, had to catch the ball on the rebound to get the batter
>out.  Did they not play this in the Bronx?

On the fly = out, one bounce = single, two = double, etc.

>What about punchball?  ( a baseball-style  team game played with a Spaldeen
>on an asphalt baseball court, wherein the batter threw the ball up in the
>air, like a tennis serve, and had to punch it)
>Pete Farruggio

Yeah, we had both Spaldeen-powered stoop ball and punchball in Manhattan
(Washington Heights) too, along with stickball, even though we didn't have
"private" houses (brownstones) in that neighborhood.  A lot of the big
apartment houses had their own stoops.  (And there were walls for regular
and Chinese handball.)


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