A-Rod: Shades of Willie Mays with Bronx kids
| 09/27/2009 | 2:44 pm | Bronx, stickball, video | 2 Comments

Maybe the snide comments we’ve made about today’s baseball players are having a positive effect: we just learned via self-styled Bronx sports reporter “JR” of the “JR Sport Brief” [links on YouTube and Twitter] that Alex Rodriguez recently spent some time in an honest-to-goodness Bronx backlot (along with less-renowned but equally applaudable Jerry Hairston Jr.).

The normal sports news gathering apparatus didn’t seem to be anywhere in sight: just JR, a couple of Yankees, and kids.  I do wish that they were using actual stickball bats, but I’m sure the kids didn’t mind.  Kudos to both players.

Earlier this season, Yankee Mark Teixeira was seen playing some stickball down in Florida during spring training (see a local TV news report below).  Let’s hope this is the start of a trend!


Streetplay.org has been secured!
| 09/22/2009 | 9:09 am | site news | 1 Comment
Streetplay.org

We now own the domain name "Streetplay.org"

Ten years ago, Streetplay started modestly using the domain name “Streetplay.com”. As our success grew, so did that of the Internet, and by the time we realized that we’d maybe like to be known as Streetplay.org (we make no money and our mission is definitely dot-org-ish), the world of domain name brokering had come into being. Long story short, since 2003, Streetplay.org had been squatted upon by overseas entities with no plans but to resell the name–probably to us.

All that has changed.   The previous owner of the name Streetplay.org let the name lapse and our all-out assault to claim it worked (a $64 bid on a domain name backorder service).  So now, it’s official: we own Streetplay.org.  Go ahead… try this link:

http://www.streetplay.org/

We haven’t changed anything about the site itself yet, but just knowing we have the new name is reassuring.

Neither Mick nor myself know what we’re going to do with this name right now.  While we’ve been doing less development of site content in the past years, our recent dabbling into blogging, Facebook, and Twitter have been pretty fun.  It’s nice to know we still have an audience.

So… stay tuned here to keep up on the news of the site… and if anyone has some good ideas on what we should do, please comment on this blog posting below.

Zoe Elizabeth Brand was born 8:17am. 20″ tall, 7lb 9oz.
| 09/14/2009 | 1:36 pm | congratulations, site news | No comments

Great news via Facebook: Streetplay emeritus Alf Brand and his wife Trish have added to their family today (that’s Pacific Time in the title, folks).  Congrats!  We’re sure she’ll be jumping rope in no time.

In memoriam: Steve Mercado, FDNY

Steve was a good man and a friend to Streetplay. His absence is still sorely missed.  His name and memory lives in our hearts and minds at Streetplay as well as legions of people in the NYC stickball community.

Steve Mercado (click for more photos)

Steve Mercado (click for more photos)

Videogame: Go Play City Sports

The ongoing newsfeed search for “stickball” has turned up this gem today: a suite of “street games” for your Wii gaming console!

Go Play City Sports by Majesco Entertainment


Video courtesy of NintendoWorldReport.com; read their review of the game

I’m not sure whether this is great–keeping the games alive for future generations–or whether it’s just more fodder for the oft-heard argument that videogames keep kids indoors getting fat sitting on the couch.  And it’s true: this is at least the second street game-based videogame available (MLB Stickball is the first I know of). I don’t know my take on this yet: maybe this will encourage kids to go outside and play the games they rehearse on the Wii. And I love my Wii, so it would be a little duplicitous to say an ill word against it.  But I do wish that the “handball” depicted here were the Ace-King-Queen version, though (where the ball hits the ground before hitting the wall).  And where’s skully?

I mainly wish the milieu depicted by publisher Majesco Entertainment weren’t so shabby; it’s an insult to people who actually lived (or live) in the city as a child.  The implication is that the street is a dirty, ragtag place that (thankfully) the shiny white Wii box is saving you from having to experience firsthand.  Hey, when I grew up, that setting was my home, and it was the greatest place to be in the world.

Off Topic: Baron Ambrosia / Bronx Flavor
| 08/27/2009 | 2:27 pm | Bronx, fun | 2 Comments
Baron Ambrosia at An Beal Bocht in The Bronx

Baron Ambrosia at An Beal Bocht in The Bronx, in the episode "Corned Beef Confidential"

In much the same way that Streetplay has documented the real-deal of sports in New York for the past ten years, underground filmmaker Justin Fornal, a.k.a. Baron Ambrosia, is documenting the culinary landscape of The Bronx with his hilarious drama/comedy/restaurant review series, Bronx Flavor.  For those like myself not lucky enough to get BronxNet on cable, all the episodes are on The Baron’s site for your viewing pleasure.

According to a story in the NY Times, The Baron grew up in Killingworth, CT.  The irony that now he’s in The Bronx and I’m in CT is not lost… still, it’s great to see The Baron go to all corners of the borough and review all the great food you can find.  And if you’re a Bronx native, it’s fun to try and figure out exactly where all the locales are!

Like Streetplay, The Baron focuses on the real-deal of urban life: just like you won’t read stickball reports on ESPN.com, you probably won’t find most restaurants he visits in your Zagat Guide.

Stickball: The Nostalgia Touchstone
| 08/27/2009 | 10:39 am | nostalgia, stickball | No comments

I’ve been following Streetplay-oriented things for some time now, and have set up various RSS feeds and search alerts for key terms like “stickball,” “skully,” etc., to keep track of media mentions of our beloved topic.  What comes up most with these automagical content creators–aside from actual street game content–is stickball’s relation to youth and urban nostalgia.  Specifically, when an older notable New Yorker publishes a book, or gives a speech referring to his/her youth, or (most commonly) dies, stickball is mentioned, usually in a mythic relation to a carefree childhood filled with Homeric sporting achievement.

Dakota Steakhouse in Latham, NY (from TroyRecord.com)

Dakota Steakhouse in Latham, NY (from TroyRecord.com)

I’m moved to write about this because of today’s unexpected “stickball” story, a review of a restaurant in upstate New York:

Dakota Steakhouse Not As Remembered (Troyrecord.com)

If any of you have seen a reference to stickball that has nothing really to do with playing the game, please comment on this posting!

The Grand Concourse, Boulevard of Bronx Dreams – NYTimes.com
| 08/21/2009 | 10:08 pm | Bronx, nostalgia | No comments

You can see my father’s childhood apartment building from this shot.  Excellent piece!

The Grand Concourse as seen from atop the Bronx County Courthouse(NY Times)

The Grand Concourse, Boulevard of Bronx Dreams – NYTimes.com

Now, the Good Humor man is evil?
Good Humor truck

Good Humor truck

Every time I see something preposterous like this, I’m proud to be a part of Streetplay:

When Parents Scream Against Ice Cream (via the New York Times)

As a metaphysical protest of this 21st century abomination, why not send a Streetplay Postcard to a friend: choose the Good Humor picture for good measure!

Handball in the news: WNYC interview
| 08/18/2009 | 5:10 pm | audio, handball, NPR | No comments

It was nice to hear that handball is still capturing some attention in the media world. Noted NYC handballers Cesar Sala and Satish Jagnandan, along with New York Magazine writer Peter Duffy, were interviewed on WNYC’s Brian Lehrer show on Tuesday, August 4, 2009.  You can listen to the segment in its entirety below.

Longtime Streetplay readers will recognize Cesar as a friend of and contributor to the site. Congrats on the interview!