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Welcome back to Brooklyn

Police escort for skully game
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Police escort for skully game
The 1998 "Welcome Back to Brooklyn Street Fair" was supposed to take place on a warm sunny June afternoon. Instead we were drenched in cold showers with only a few brief interludes of sunshine.

We got a booth and set out to talk with people to get more stories and a sense of potential interest in our book (which morphed into this website). We laid out some old photos, tops, rubber balls, and set up a skully board. The rain kept the crowd thin, but we had a good time talking with the diehard fair goers and a bunch of cops who had to stay on-duty, regardless of the weather. We're now convinced that making a good skully cap is a prerequisite for joining the force.

Everybody remembered melting the crayons in the bottle caps on the stove or radiator and detailed techniques for making a skully piece from a chunk of glass, were recalled by several officers. Not any broken chunk of glass mind you; no the real way was to scrape the mouthpiece of the bottle against the wired mesh of a metal garbage so you could neatly split it off. The glass was then rubbed on the pavement for a half hour or so. Smoothed to perfection this work of art just glided over the court.

I was particularly struck by one officer's detailed description of other useful materials like the bottom shoes from the school chairs. While heartily recounting the forceful technique he used to break the pieces off, he paused mid-sentence and just laughed. Seems he now spends his time talking with storekeepers and neighborhood residents about the poor attitude displayed by a lot of the kids these days. Caught in his own recollections, he admitted that many of these youngsters are probably not too different than he used to be.

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