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Summer Games: 1938

Summer Games: 1938

Summer 1938. "New York street scene -- boys playing." Photo by Jack Allison for the Resettlement Administration. View full size.


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Kings County

Brownstones with large elaborate stoops like these are more characteristic of Brooklyn than of Manhattan. There's a good chance that the picture is from one of the older Brooklyn neighborhoods such as Park Slope, Prospect Heights or Bedford-Stuyvesant.

Those shoes!

3 of the 4 visible boys appear to be wearing Frye athletic shoes. Founded in 1863, Frye's was the oldest shoe company in America, and one of the most popular. A pair of Frye athletic shoes like the ones these boys are wearing, now cost about $150. The other lad appears to be wearing plain toe dress Oxfords, which also never seem to go out of style.


I grew up in the Bronx in the 50's. Skully was a common summer pastime. We used to draw the box with old plaster we found in the vacant lots and true to the name of the game we would put a skull in the center box which was # 13.

More to the picture

One of the most-fascinating things about Shorpy pictures is that there's always something more to so many scenes than we first visualize.

For instance, I wonder why the center youngster has an eye patch over his left eye? I doubt they treated many kids in this neighborhood for "lazy eye" in 1938. Maybe he suffered an injury.

Plus, the ornateness of the porch stair bannisters shows a true artist's touch. Today, they're molded in a factory and placed, with darn little creativity.

Killer Diller

Those boys are playing Skully or Skelly. A great game. "I am the killer diller of this game!"

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