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Skelzies NYC: Courtesy of
Oh my gosh, talk about reminiscing!  This morning whilst cooking breakfast, I used up the last of the milk. Before opening a new one, I rinsed the empty container and put it in the recycling bin.  I was about to throw out the bottle cap when an image of my brothers and me playing Skelzies came to mind.  Dang, we use to have so much fun with this game!

Skelzies a.k.a Skully is a New York City street game.  It's basically a 6 ft. X 6 ft. square with a bunch of other squares numbering from 1 - 13 in it.  The game pieces are bottle caps, milk caps, checkers, etc. with wax in the middle.  We use to use my mother's candles for  She use to get angry at us, for one because we were dealing with hot wax and fire, and two, because it was from her altar. We were kids, I'm sure the Santos didn't mind!  All we were thinking was having fun.

Anyway, the object of the game is to land in each square (ascending in number), by getting your cap in the square or by hitting an opponent.  You have to get to from 1 to 13.  And then you descend from 13 back to 1, in the same manner.  The first person to do this, usually wins because once you get back to 1 you become a "killer" cap.  When a "killer" hits an opponent, the opponent is automatically out of the game. You can play with many people or just two. With a smaller group you can have more than one cap, but with a large group this is not recommended because the game would just drag out and take too long.  Don't get me wrong, we have played this way too, but at times it wasn't as fun because waiting for your turn took to long.

Skelzies was the shnit!  We would have fun for hours.  It would get so rowdy - there was lots of laughing and horsing around.  Sometimes it would get opinionated and argumentative, hahahaha.  Picture a bunch of Puerto Ricans, Irish, Italians, Dominicans, (etc.) arguing - funny sight!

I got the brilliant idea that I am now going to collect my milk caps and empty some wax into them, and yep, teach my kids how to play Skelzies. Maybe it'll catch on here in the burb...


  1. I remember playing skelzies in Brooklyn in the 60's. But we also used the top glass rings on bottles that we would tap on the ground and break off the round ring and use that.

  2. Playing outside, spending sooo much time outside, mom would turn on the porch light when it was time for all of us kids to come in, and skelzie was 1 of the many games we would play. Lots of fun playing with my brothers and a bunch of kids on our block. We used the beer caps from dads beer bottles and the coke tops from the glass coke bottles. This was back in the 70's in North Massapequa, NY. Most people I've asked, have never heard of skelzie, til I mentioned it to someone I work with that grew up in NY. He knew exactly what I was talking about. Those were the good old days!

  3. Yes, this was a great game. I used to play in Park Slope in the 60's. We used to play with the spinning tops which was also really fun.



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