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Rooftop tag: A dangerous game Previous | Next

We had a friend, Michael.... He was playing up on the roof. The boys used to jump from roof to roof. That was a big treat for them... [and] they used to shoot arrows. They had targets and they'd shoot arrows [from] up on the roof. And he was coming to get an arrow and his shoes were untied, and he slipped and was killed.... We didn't see him fall, but we heard him fall, and we went to see him after he was already on the ground.

Rooftop tag
1979: Rooftop tag, Lower East Side, Manhattan
(Photo copyright ©1979 Martha Cooper/City Lore)

And that was like, so horrible we got afraid of going to the backyard, period. We just stopped going to the backyard.... That was really, really bad. He was twelve, I was about ten, and my sister was eight.

- Isabel Alvarez, born 1950, the Bronx

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Taken from City Play, copyright ©1990. Used with permission by

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