Monday, July 4, 2011


The Fourth of July always reminds me of my street in Brooklyn. This holiday was always the turning point from the school year to our summer vacation. Our summer vacations were always punctuated with some of the best street games that we ever played.

Since the sun set much later at this time of year, we had time to play further on into the night. The game we chose depended on the amount of people. If we had 2 to 4 people, we could play stickball or stoopball. If we had six people, we would go into the parking lot behind our building and play stoopball. All of these games required one important item, the spaldeen (and there were always chips on the ball). Chips on the ball would especially be called when a game of stoopball started. If you caught the stoop just right, it would take a high bounce and land on the second story fire escape and good luck getting Mrs. Metz to throw it back down. We would play all these games with a transistor radio going. Since my friends and I were equally split between the Mets and the Yankees, the transistor radio, that was also an important item to us, was tuned to either the Yankees or the Mets. If it was the Yankees, you could hear Phil Rizzuto, Bill White or Frank Messer and if it was the Mets, you heard, Ralph Kiner or Lindsey Nelson.

In the picture to your left is my apartment building in Brooklyn. The stoop right in front of the doorway was the battleground for many a stoopball game. The second floor was the fire escape that many a spaldeen was lost.

And what Fourth of July didn't include a trip to Nathan's in Coney Island for a hot dog and some of the greasiest fries known to man. The trip always coincided with the annual fireworks show. This fireworks show would continue every Tuesday night through the summer and just past Labor Day. We were always able to watch the show from my grandmother's apartment.

Once we were done at Nathan's, we would walk back to our apartment. We knew it was summertime because Jimmy the Ice Cream Man was always by our house in the evening. My father always told me that Jimmy ran the guns for the mobsters because you never saw him get ice cream out of the back of the truck, only the side. My father was convinced that the back of the truck was not even refrigerated but was a stash spot for the guns. He always said, "Look, you never see those guys buying ice cream from Jimmy but you see them buying from the Good Humor Man. That means that they don't want to be caught talking to their accomplice." I digress.....

Some of my best memories of New York City were during the summer time. The video below captures New York with Billy Joel's, Miami 2017 for the musical background.

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