Greenpoint’s Great Games

January 14, 2008 by
Filed under: Greenpoint Magic 

Unlike my fellow Americans, I have no fear whatsoever of teenagers. In fact I’d go so far as to say I like them; they have a certain honesty about them I find refreshing. In all my years experience has taught me time and time again to reserve my fear for my fellow adults.

More than anything I am amazed by how creative teenagers can get when it comes to entertaining themselves. Like when I recently encountered a clan of skateboarders who constructed a slalom at the northern terminus of Manhattan Avenue.

Slalom, top of hill

The starting point was at the top of the hill. As they rolled downhill, the objective was to go between the two street cones (as seen below).

slalom 2

Shortly after passing these two cones, the skateboarders crashed-landed into a barrier they had painstaking erected.


When I pointed out to the solitary tweener of the bunch how utterly ingenious this setup was, he cheekily replied:

Those are our safety cones!

Last night as I was poring through the Brooklyn Daily Eagle archives I discovered that Greenpoint’s youth have long has a reputation for coming up with diabolically clever ways of amusing themselves. All that was required to play “pig in the bag” was a group of kids, a large cloth sack and one unwitting adult. What is pig in the bag, you ask? Read the following article from the August 28, 1891 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle and learn for yourself!

Brooklyn Daily Eagle 8/29/1891

It just goes to show that the kinder, gentler days of old were neither kinder nor gentler. Methinks I will have to give this game a whirl, it’s a lot easier than learning how to use a skateboard.

Miss Heather


4 Comments on Greenpoint’s Great Games

  1. Tony From Kent Street on Mon, 14th Jan 2008 8:38 am
  2. I saw eight Greenpoint teenagers beat a homeless person senseless on Greenpoint & Manhattan Avenue on a recent late late Saturday night. Good times. I think the poor guy would have opted for the Pig in the Bag.

  3. rexlic on Mon, 14th Jan 2008 8:50 am
  4. “He was locked up on a charge of lounging:”: Were such an offense to be reinstated today, half of Williamsburg would be clapped in irons.

  5. mingum on Mon, 14th Jan 2008 7:04 pm
  6. My grandfather grew up in Williamsburg/Greenpoint/Bushwick in the 1910-20 era. The only story he ever told us about his childhood was that every kid was in a gang based on their religion (ie the Christian gang, the Catholic gang, the Jewish gang) and they would have these fights where they would hit each other in the head with their mother’s stockings filled with rocks. This is, he claimed, why he was deaf in his right ear.

  7. missheather on Mon, 14th Jan 2008 7:22 pm
  8. Tony (from Kent Street): that is horrible. I hope you (or someone else) called the police. As I understand it, violence against the homeless has been a long-standing phenomenon here (and elsewhere). At the behest of adults and teenagers alike.

    Mingum: I have been reading about the gangs here back in the 19th century. There is an excellent story about them in the New York Times (I think). It is called “Dangertown” and I plan to feature it here on NYS.

    That said, I was pretty envious of those teenagers skateboard slaloming down Manhattan Avenue: it looked like a lot of fun. They certainly were having a lot of fun and they were hurting nobody save perhaps themselves (lest they have a spill). It reminded me of riding shopping carts. Stupid harmless fun. Much better than slugging each other with socks filled with rocks.

    Thank you so much for sharing.

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