Escalator; NYC Street Games

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Fri Sep 28 15:08:48 UTC 2001


   OED has 1900 and Otis.
   From the NEW YORK HERALD TRIBUNE, 3 June 1947, pg. 22, col. 5:

_Jesse W. Reno_
_Dead; Inventor_
_Of Escalator, 85_
_Sold Company to Otis in_
   _1910; Was President of_
   _Marine Salavage Concern_
   He escalator, an inclined endless belt with cleats, was first installed at the Third Evenue Elevated Railway station at Fifty-ninth Street in New York.  The second was in the Bloomingdale store at the same location.
   At the advent of the escalator more than fifty years ago, Mr. Reno formed the Reno Inclined Elevator Company to exploit his invention and was president of the concern fof fifteen years.  In 1910 he sold the organization to the Otis Elevator Company.


   Not in OED.
   From THIS WEEK, NYHT, 22 June 1947, pg. 8, col. 2:

   _How to Go Out of Business_
IF YOU announce a "going-out-of-business" sale, you had better live up to the promise or have a pretty good reason for a change of plans.  Violators may find that the License Commissioner has turned a cheap promotion stunt into a boomerang.

DON'T JUST SIT THERE--DO SOMETHING!--cartoon caption in the NYHT, 6 July 1947, section 2, pg. 7, cols. 4-5.

WELL, LOOK WHO'S TALKING!--cartoon caption in NYHT, 13 July 1947, section 2, pg. 7, cols. 3-4.

FIGHTERS ARE PEOPLE, TOO--Usually "Kids are people, too."  From a breaker in the Red Smith column, NYHT, 18 July 1947, pg. 21, col. 4.

YOU CAN'T LAND THEM ALL--Usually "You can't win them all."  From a Red Smith fishing column, NYHT, 17 June 1947, pg. 21, col. 5.

THE HEAT IS ON--column title in the NYHT, 22 August 1947, pg. 17, cols. 7-8.

MAMMY SINGER--Not in OED.  This is a person in blackface who sings "Mammy" or other songs.  From the obituary of Walter Donaldson (who wrote "Mammy"), NYHT, 16 July 1947, pg. 20, col. 3:  "In 1920 he wrote 'My Mammy,' first introduced by Bill Frawley in vaudeville.  The next year Al Jolson sang it in 'Sinbad' and became known as 'The Mammy Singer.'"


   From "On the SIDEWALKS OF NEW YORK," THIS WEEK, NYHT, 1 June 1947.

Pg. 6 Captions:
SUBWAY STRAPS make wonderful trapeze rings.
ROLLER SKATE HOCKEY is safe--at a distance.
Pg. 7 Captions:
STOOP BALL: An invention born from necessity.
BUCK, BUCK is a carry-over from the athletes of Sparta.
POTSY, alias "Hopscotch," is strictly for the ladies.

Pg. 36, col. 2:
   _Perfect for Potsy_
ANY small firl will tell you that about the most useful things around are the sidewalk "boxes" made by the lines in the cement.  They help in chalking out games of Potsy.
   Balanced on one long, skinny, scarred leg, Penny demonstrates.  "You throw a bottle top, or an old rubber heel, and then you hop, first here, then here..."
   Anywhere else in the United States this would be hopscotch, but New Yorker Penny insists it's Potsy.
   If you listen to lamppost talk around your neighborhood you know about Ringalieveo (DARE?  Not in OED--ed.), or Relieveo, as some call it.  West of the Hudson this is Prisoner's Base, but native New Yorkers still use their own quaint term.
   Then there's Buck-Buck, or Johnny on a Pony.  Here's the way Brooklyn Bill Maguire explains it:
   "Well, the kids in one team line up and bend over.  Each puts his hands on the back of the boy ahead.  The other guys come along one at a time and take a good run and jump on their backs as hard as they can--try to break 'em down, so they'll all fall down onto the sidewalk.
   _"How Many Horns?"_
"IF THEY can't do it, the leader on top holds up two or three fingers and says, 'Buck-buck, how many horns are up?'  The boy below can't see, so he guesses.  If he's right, the teams change 'round.  If he's wrong, they get jumped on again."
   Always, of course, there are little girls jumping ropes and bouncing (Col. 3--ed.) balls and chanting jingles.  Come closer to them and you'll hear--
   _My mother, your mother,_
   _Live across the way_
   _415 West Broadway_
   _This is what they say:_
   _Your old man_
   _Is a dirty old man_
   _Washes his feet_
   _In the drying pan,_
   _Combs his hair_
   _With the leg of a chair,_
   _Your old man_
   _Is a dirty old man._
   A curious postscript to all these local games is something unheard-of here, but known throughout the West as the New York Game.  It starts with this dialogue:
   "Here we come!"
   "Where from?"
   "New York."
   "What's your trade?"
   "Lemonade."  After this, one team acts out a charade which has nothing to do with either New York or lemonade.  _The End_

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