Every September, the guys and gals come back to the old neighborhood to play a street sport that was once part of the fabric of New York, and certainly Park Slope.
It was a pickup game, but it was a serious one. And it was gritty. The bat would often by a broom handle, and the ball was either a tennis ball or spaldeen.
The Carroll Street Stickball organization is still around, even though a lot of the members have moved away from the old neighborhood. Carroll Street Stickball stages a reunion every year, most often the second Sunday in September.
This year was the 30th Annual Stickball ReunionGame. On the Carroll Street Stickball website (it hasn’t been updated in awhile), the gang speaks about a very different time in Park Slope history:
“In the early 1960’s a group of boys & girls coming from different areas of what was then called South Brooklyn (now Park Slope) started hanging out on Carroll Street between 6th & 7th Avenues. Most of us were still in grade school, St. Francis Xavier, St. Joseph’s, St. Augustine, and P.S. 77. Some were already in high school going to either John Jay or Xavier, just to name a few. The Carroll Street boys & girls didn’t exclude anyone, everyone was welcome. We would all gather together on the block, sitting on a stoop or we would go up to Knippy’s, an ice cream parlor on 7th Avenue to hang out and listen to the juke box.”
Stickballer Wilson Suarez took a photo of this year’s tournament on Carroll Street, featuring Phil Castagna from Union Street.
Suarez took some time to reminisce with us:
“I might be the last of the mohicans but every year 98% of the neighborhood guys get together 2nd Sunday of September for this reunion. From 3rd Street to Union Street every block had their own teams in basketball, football, baseball, stickball, hockey, and boxing. A seasonal sandlot sports teams organized by a handshake. We even dabbled in Rock n’ Roll — most blocks had their own rock band and we battled at John Jay High School.”
Do you have any interesting old photos of Park Slope? Share them with us at [email protected]!