Friday, December 19, 2014
In the 1940's on weekends, all the kids on my block in the Bronx would get up early and go to the P.S.9 schoolyard looking forward to a day of playing stickball or "off the point" (which was called "stoop-ball" in Brooklyn,) and to just plain having a day of fun.
If you got to the schoolyard before the morning sanitation pick-up truck, you'd have to duck under the cats that had been tortured and set afire the previous night, and had been left hanging by ropes from the overhead section of the schoolyard gate, below the sign that read, "No Bicycling; No Skating; No baby-carriages" etc.
The first few times you saw these tortured cats hanging there it was pretty awful, but after a while you got used to it. Some kids wouldn't come to the schoolyard till after the sanitation truck had come by and the sanitation guys had cut down the cats and tossed them into the hopper. And you knew right away that when you grew up you didn't want to be a garbage man.
Usually, the neighborhood girls wouldn't arrive till late,(possibly because of the cats) which gave us boys total posession of the playground; where the rule was "first come first served." And the girls had to wait until some boys in some section of the playground decided to leave before the girls were able to come in to the schoolyard to play skip-rope or potsy or whatever.
Recently, up here in Albany, someone tortured and killed a cat and left it by the Hudson River. This has been under police investigation for months.