Say the word “stoop” to a New Yorker of a certain generation and their eyes light up. “Do you remember stoop ball?” our friend Roger used to say. “Or Ring-a-levio?
For Roger, brought up in Brooklyn in the years around World War II, the stoop to his house was the focal point of the neighborhood, a place where he and his buddies could play until sundown. A place where the mothers of the neighborhood would gather for gossip. Sometimes, his father would shoot the breeze while having a cup of coffee—or something stronger. In a city without front porches, the stoop—a steep set of stairs leading to the second floor of a townhouse—served the purpose well.