Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Chewing on tar and ice

From the NY Times Metro- politan Diary...

Dear Diary:

As I retired to Amherst, Mass., in 1991, I no longer know what the children do when school is out in Queens, but I vividly remember what the gang of 7-year-olds I belonged to in Richmond Hill would do on our block on many a hot summer day.

Our street, 97th Avenue between 124th and 125th Streets, was paved not with asphalt but with tar, which the hot sun caused to bubble. We would either jump on the bubbles to make them pop, smearing our sneakers to the consternation of our parents, or we would use an old Popsicle stick to gouge out some tar, which we would then chew on, for the older kids on our block had told us that doing this would whiten our teeth.

And when an ice man would stop his horse-drawn wagon on our block, we would wait until he had gone into a house to deliver a block of ice (no one on our block had an electric refrigerator in those days), and then we would chew on the bits of ice that he had created by chipping the block away from a larger block of ice on the floor of his wagon.

On hot days here, I don’t miss the hot tar bubbles, but I do miss the cool bits of ice!

Ted Melnechuk

(And they say kids these days act weird)


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

We used to pop those tar bubbles
like acne zitz pimples when we lived in the Bronx.

Kids are sometimes so perversely creative.

I still don't know why,
but a friend used to call them "sin bubbles".