More Bounce to the Oz

There are thousands of them! In school yards and in city run parks all over New York. In fact, there are 2052 handball courts in New York City, according to the NYC Parks Department. Six-hundred-and-seventy-three in Brooklyn alone.

There are several ways to play this fast and furious talk-a-lot-of-shit game which may or may not have had its origins in antiquity. The sport was depicted on a tombstone carving in Athens, Greece dated 600 BC. As far as the game poppin’ off in the States, some say the Irish introduced it here during the California Gold Rush of the 1840s. One thing is certain, however: handball is a New York thing, so you wouldn’t understand if you’re not from here.

So how do you play handball? Simple: with one or four walls, high or low lobs, with hard or soft balls and with cunning angles that can kill. If you’re good you can be King of The Courts. If you’re wack, you’ll be Scrub of the Playground. For DJ Enuff, Gio Vasquez, Bill Spector and Keir Kramlich, members of the New York City Handball Club, organized by NYC impresario Mike Saes, the game supercedes any other game, organized or otherwise. For these dudes, its all about having fun. It’s fully a part of their lives, the fabric of their experience growing up in and around NYC.

Bill Spector. Orignally from Queens. Party promoter.

I’ve been playing handball since I was a kid in the ‘70s but I took some time off. I started playing again 15 years ago. I played basketball, but I wasn’t very good. While waiting to play basketball, I used to play handball. I was actually good at it even though I wasn’t coordinated.

I grew up in a different New York than it is now. I remember being by the guidos where my father lived, and there was a park with like, mad Italian dudes! They weren’t down with anybody. Yet, when a Spanish kid would pop up and play handball, everybody knew who he was. ‘Oh, that’s the great kid from East New York! He comes up all the time and plays,’ they’d say. I was like, ‘What? He’s not one of the kids you gonna chase with bats?’

Saes and I have been friends since we were kids in the ‘80s–we’ve stayed friends straight through. Keir is just a younger kid from downtown; I’ve known him for years. Enuff used to DJ my parties–we also know each other from when we were teenagers. Gio came into the fold recently, and he’s the number one handball player in the city!

Most of my friends don’t live in New York anymore. It’s funny: when I go to Florida, I have an apartment there, I run into people I grew up with, like random kids who say things like, ‘I haven’t seen you in years, you still play this game?’ We play on two courts in Florida–Flamingo Park in Miami and on a court in Ft. Lauderdale. The difference with playing in Florida is its all New Yorkers! The funny thing I’ve learned about handball, besides a couple places in LA, is that handball is a very indigenous New York game. And there are two places where people play handball: New York and in jail.

I often use the graffiti analogy: as a kid I wrote graffiti and there used to be a lot animosity between the writers and the handball players. I actually got punched in the face by some writer when I was a kid. Some kids did a piece on a wall, which was actually a dope piece, and the kids who played handball were like, “Are these guys your friends? And I said, “Yes, I kinda’ know them.” And they go, “Yeah? Tell them this!” and I got punched in the face! I was on the court leaking!

Pages: 1 2 3 4

Related Articles


Hard in the Paint: Super Fan Michael Hopson


Different Strokes at NYC’s 5th Annual Type-Off


Go Skate Day NYC Recap + Interview w Architecture for Humanity


VIDEO: “Banned from B.E.T.” Black Dave Remix


VIDEO: Shawn Powers’ “Powers Surge” for Palace


Watch Sweden’s Polar Skateboards Invade NYC


Latest News


New Music From Vince Staples, dvsn, Heems and More

The Listening Room (June 23, 2017)
2017 Draft Class Sports

The Major Takeaways from the 2017 NBA Draft

Last night we watched men both younger and way more talented than us become way richer than us. Welp
Sizzla-DJ-Khaled News

The Untold Story Behind DJ Khaled and Sizzla’s “I’m So Grateful”

Khaled and Kalonji go way back
Eric B. & Rakim will reunite to celebrate 30th anniversary of Paid In Full. Music

Eric B. & Rakim Announce First Show Together in Over 20 Years

Finally let the rhythm hit 'em
essex-market-featured Art

‘Market Surplus’ Gives a Building on the L.E.S. One Last Jolt Before Demolition

Mural art show features Faust, Lamour Supreme, ELLE and more
Silicon Valley: The Soundtrack is available now. Music

Stream ‘Silicon Valley: The Soundtrack,’ Featuring Nas, Run the Jewels, Wu-Tang ...

A Mass Appeal and HBO collaboration, streaming now
Jay 305 talks about Suga Free's 'Street Gospel' album. Music

Jay 305 Preaches on Suga Free’s Classic ‘Street Gospel’

Sebastian Gorka News

Trump’s Top Advisor: There’s Only Radical Muslims and Those Soon To Be Radical

Trump's top advisor doesn't confirm he hates Islam, but does tell us he doesn't like hip hop
vince-staples Music Video

Everything’s Up For Interpretation in Vince Staples’ Video for “Rain Come Down”

...except for his feeling about Sprite
Tyler the Creator suggests he may be dropping a project soon. Music

Is It About to Be Tyler SZN?

chance the rapper apologizes to dr. dre News

Chance The Rapper Apologizes to Dr. Dre For Clowning Aftermath

Chance no longer thinks Aftermath "Can't Do Math"
squidnice, trap by my lonely, video, staten island Music Video

Squidnice Drops Sleek New Video for “Trap By My Lonely”

The Craccen gets nice
eto-portrait Music

PREMIERE: Eto “Ritual” prod. by V Don x Kill

That fly or die block shit
Putin/Trump News

Lyin’ Trump: I Don’t Know About Russia Hacking The Election

Everyone Else: They Did
sonic-hedgehog-daily-op Tech/Games

Twenty Six Years Ago, Sonic the Hedgehog Sped Into Our Lives

Gotta go fast!

How Prodigy Changed the Game With ‘Return of the Mac’

Every rapper in the internet age owes a debt to P