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Democrat Photo by Dan Hust

HE'S GOT THE MOVES: As mentor Lou Newman watches, 15-year-old Brad Bolte shows off some of his yo-yo tricks – in this case, the “Eiffel Tower” – at the City Games Saturday in Fosterdale.

City Games Attracts
Those Who Love Them

By Dan Hust
FOSTERDALE — August 29, 2000 – Lou Newman wandered the grounds of the Fosterdale Motor Lodge Saturday, entertaining anyone who would listen with stories of his youth in Brooklyn.
Hanging out with friends in front of the Woolworth’s store on 13th Avenue, the 10-year-old spent hours and hours perfecting (or sometimes even inventing) his “sleeper,” “walk the dog,” “breakaway,” “around the world,” “over the falls,” “three-leaf clover,” “shooting star,” and “around the corner.”
“In Brooklyn, we had contests on every street corner,” said Newman, who eventually became the recognized champ of his sport.
Now 76, the Liberty resident still can’t get enough of his Yomega yo-yo, which he carried and demonstrated with precision at this past weekend’s City Games in Fosterdale.
“It brings back my youth,” said he. “And the kids love it. I used to say, ‘Every schoolteacher should know how to play with yo-yos’.”
Practicing what he preaches, Newman had more to show for his efforts than a yo-yo and half a dozen or so tricks on Saturday. And he watched with pride as 15-year-old Brad Bolte of New Jersey showed off nearly every trick in the book during the City Games’ popular annual yo-yo contest.
Bolte, a summer resident of North Branch, had learned some of those tricks from Newman two years ago when he first attended City Games, motor lodge owner Joe Tinari’s way of bringing cherished street games to the rolling hills of the country.
After that, Bolte was hooked.
“I had the motivation to learn,” he related under sunny, blue skies. “My next-door neighbor and I learned together.”
Though he didn’t win this year, Bolte still managed to wow individuals and families walking the grounds, showing off far more complex moves than Newman learned in his youth.
“As you do it, people stop talking,” said Newman with a knowing grin. “The yo-yo stops them dead in their tracks.”
The 400-600 people who visited the lodge Saturday had more than yo-yos to watch, however. From basketball to stickball, it seemed a contest was happening every moment. Food, vendors and kiddie rides also covered the lodge’s front lawn, making it look like a small circus.
Music was also provided, including a live performance by Delaware Valley Job Corps Center student Arlene “Jada” Williams, one of several Job Corps students helping out with the day’s events.
With a voice rivaling that of many of today’s professionals, Williams – originally from the Virgin Islands – said her goal, though, is not to sing for a living but to get into the travel/tourism business, which is her major currently at Sullivan County Community College.
Still, she obviously enjoyed her “concert” in Fosterdale.
“I’ve been singing since elementary school,” she said.
Job Corps employee Oliver King added that Williams is considered a “high-performance” student at the Callicoon facility.
On another side of the lawn, Donna Grisafi of Lake Huntington was smacking a small rubber ball towards the “second sewer” in a friendly game of stickball.
(Evenly spaced sewer drains in NYC gave rise to their use as stickball measurement markers. In Fosterdale’s case, they were assorted items gathered from Tinari’s collection.)
Winded but smiling, Grisafi took a break to sit down with her daughter on the fresh-cut grass and talk about her love of stickball.
“I grew up in New Jersey with five brothers,” she explained. “I always liked playing it!”
The winners in the official stickball contest included nine-year-old Jesse Ierardi of NYC, 14-year-old Michael Erlwein of Jeffersonville, and grown-up Bobby Dominicus of Brooklyn.
In the yo-yo contest, four-year-old Gabriel Pabon of Long Island copped a win, along with 14-year-old Chris Tinari of Callicoon. (Other results were incomplete at press time.)
Meanwhile, Newman and Bolte were still combing the grounds, talking about their yo-yo passion. But – just for a minute – Bolte was stumped about why he really did like the simple circular gizmo with a string.
“I really don’t know,” he said thoughtfully. “It’s unique. You can take it anywhere.”
Then, with a start of realization:
“It’s just fun!”

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