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A children's game, similar to hopscotch, especially popular in New York.

    The puck used in this game, usually made of a flattened tin can.


I grew up in New York in the 1950s and used to play Potsy. I've seen definitions around the web that say the game is the same as Hopscotch. Not in my neighborhood or any other I knew about.  Although they were similar and we played both of them the layout and the rules were different.  My mother, who grew up in the 20s, never heard of Potsy, but remembered Hopscotch very well and when I was little she would play it with me sometimes.


As for the differences, they may seem trivial to an adult, but to a child of the day they were critical. First, the Potsy grid had 8 squares where the Hopscotch grid had 9 or sometimes 10. The Hopscotch grid was usually laid out in a cross but sometimes alternating 1 square, 2 squares, 1 square, but always ending with one square. Potsy was always laid out in 2, 1, 2 alternating squares with 8 squares (except for expert kids who added additional 9th, 10th and 11th squares to show off their skill in the game) The grid always ended with two squares.


Second, after your toss when you reached the end of the grid you made a two footed jump to turn around. In Hopscotch usually you were expected to hop on one foot to make the turn, although I saw some kids step outside the grid to turn and it was considered acceptable for the 'baby' version.


Third, your definition of the object thrown into the grid being called a potsy is wrong. Nobody used a flattened can. It was too dangerous for slashed fingers. Neither was it called a puck. We used a rock. We called it a rock.


Comment by Danny Jane on Your

The Spaldeen

The spaldeen has been called by some the rosetta stone of urban childhood fun.  But what is it? It's a pink rubber ball, a tennis ball without the fuzz, that was ubiquitously available to children in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s. For unfathomable reasons, the Spalding sporting goods corporation took the spaldeen off the market in the late 70s. Luckily for civilization, they've brought back the spaldeen and you can buy one today!


Why "spaldeen?" The name is a corruption of the pronunciation of "Spalding," probably colored by the New York City dialect. The moniker became so popular that even Spalding now markets it under that name.  Anyone who actually calls a spaldeen a "Spalding Hi-Bounce Ball"... well, we just feel sad for these folks.

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