The stoop was one of the many that lined the street on both sides, you looked out and saw who was playing and where they were playing. It was a final checkpoint for what you needed to bring to the table, a jump rope, a handball, maybe your roller skates.
It served as your ‘office' so to speak, where you met friends and discussed baseball cards, or plans to do mischief. It was often the site of information: "Mommy said to get upstairs for dinner---NOW!" was often the message delivered.
You could pick a slow afternoon and just sit there as the world went by, and wondered what this man or that woman was visiting for.
But the stoop could be converted into a play area, for stoop ball, a game that required no more than 1 person and as many as 5 or 6. Slamming the ball into the steps: 100 points for on a fly and 5 points on a bounce, the universal rule of the block. You aimed for the very edge where the vertical met the horizontal of the step for the Spaldeen to fly for the 100 pointers.
On summer nights, the stoop became a meeting place for residents who had no air conditioning to discuss the current events of the day and get some relief. As the sunset melded into the night-time sky, the ice cream truck would come by and you set about eating your Bungalow Ice Cream Pop, vanilla ice cream with a chocolate skin, a skin that melted away like a glacier becoming undone in the Arctic.
But the stoop was the beginning of the day and the end of the day, it was home.