5 Cool Street Games I Played as a Brooklyn Kid


Oh, the street games we played during my Brooklyn days of yore, makes me wish I was a kid again.

Moreover, I can’t stand hearing today’s kids complaining that there’s nothing to do for fun. They have advanced video games, hightech cellphones with endless amounts of apps, plus all the regular cool stuff that’s been around for ages.

Yet, there’s still the no fun battle cry that still lingers on and on. Oh, the pain.

When I was a child, my buds and I created our own brand of entertainment, and we didn’t need our parents to over-schedule play dates and have us in multiple sports leagues.

Here are some of the cool street game I played as a child, and I’m sure many of you enjoyed the same activities, and then some.

Stickball 

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Stickball Fun.

Stickball was one of my favorite games as a kid growing up in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn.

All my friends and I needed to play was a spaldeen ball and broom handle as the bat. But we graduated to fancy store-bought wooden bats with tape around the handle when we had enough money.

A manhole or sewer cover doubled as home plate and the other manhole cover on the far end of the street would represent second base. We drew first and third bases with chalk and we adopted the rules from baseball and modified them to fit the situation.

If you had a wide street, that was optimal for a great stickball game. But parked cars put a crimp in our games.

However, we persevered all in the name of stickball glory. 

Furthermore, you could either have a pitcher throw the ball on a bounce to home plate or toss the ball up and hit it before it bounced or wait for it to land and take a healthy  cut. You either had two or three swings and misses before you were out.

Kickball 

Similar to other baseball street games, kickball involves kicking a ball, as you probably guessed it.

We drew all the bases in chalk and used a dodgeball type of ball, tossing it to the hitter, who would proceed to kick it with all of his or her might and run as fast as he or she could to first base and so on.

The trick was, you had to wait for the ball to reach near home plate before you could let it rip. Otherwise, you would be called out.

Red Light, Green Light

Red Light, Green Light began with the lead person (traffic cop) with his or her back to the group, yelling out red light, green light 1, 2, 3. Once the count was over, the traffic cop would turn around and hope to catch the participants still running.

If you stopped in your tracks before being caught, you got to continue. But if the lead person saw you still striding, back you went. You were victorious when you crossed the line before the traffic cop busted you.

Freeze Tag 

I’ve heard countless football players say they’ve learned and sharpened their elusive abilities from playing countless games of freeze tag, Freeze tag is a playground game involving two or more players (the more the merrier) chasing other players in an attempt to “tag” and mark them out of play, usually by touching with a hand.

Once a player is tagged, the only way he or she can rejoin the fray is by being tagged by a participant who still hasn’t been tagged and frozen. The game, however, was declared over when all players were frozen. 

Wiffle ball

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Wiffle ball

Wiffle Ball Original Brand Baseballs, Regulation Baseball Size, 24 Count

Wiffle ball was a right of passage for my friends and I. We would play for hours, and we broke our fair share of windows in my day.

Similar to baseball in rules and scope, what a pitcher could do with the plastic ball was nothing short of amazing. 

The holes in the ball allowed the pitcher to throw the best curveballs, similar to the one Bugs Bunny used to frustrate unspecting hitters.

We used a variety of bats, from the typical thin, yellow plastic bat to the bigger barrel slugger bat, with a range of sleek colors, all of which lent itself to long blasts.

— Jerry Del Priore

Note: By clicking one of the affiliated links or photos, I might earn a small commission.

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