On a baking summer day all the world of sky and breeze and water pities the poor kids of New York—sidewalk-bound, city-broiled. But the truth is the children of New York are "having wonderful time." They see streets and sidewalks as their playing fields, the cars, cops and people merely as additional hazards and challenges met with special games and special rules. In these pictures they are shown having their own kind of fun. On Sunday, August 16, at 11 a.m. E.D.T. they come to life on Bill Leonard's Eye on New York program ( CBS-TV)—same kids, same games, with Leonard's commentary, which also embellishes these pages.
Stickball is any ball, any stick, any street, any number can play—but it's vaguely baseball. A hydrant may be first base, a parked car third. Passing cars instead of umps call "time." Natural hazards add spice—windows not to break, sewers to shun...but there are also homers to be smacked.
Skelly is typical of the kind of sidewalk battle 9-year-olds fight by the hour. Coke or beer bottle caps are snipped with thumb or finger from spot to spot numbered 1 to 13 on a chalked square. This is a big-city adaptation of marbles, which roll out of control on pavement.
Wolf! In this variation of tag, one of half a dozen kids starts by counting down "Cub scout, you're out!" until one boy is "it." Each player "it" tags becomes his partner until finally only one is left free. Garbage cans, stoops and parking meters are "trees" behind which players duck.
Johnny on the pony is roughhouse for all ages. The attacking team jumps on bent backs of the defenders. When all are piled on, defenders must have strength enough to slay on their feet and yell in unison "Johnny on the pony!" three times, or else attackers get another try.
Potsy is hopscotch almost everywhere else but New York, but in Manhattan it's mostly potsy—and a lass who never steps on a line can draw quite a crowd of admirers.