Double Dutch: a native New Amsterdam game

Double Dutch isn’t just a jump rope game played by city kids; as of this spring, it’s the newest official varsity sport in New York City public schools.

doubledutchstreet And it got its start in Manhattan in the 17th century, supposedly brought  by Dutch settlers. The story goes that British kids living here saw Dutch children playing, so they starting calling it Double Dutch.

The game thrived on playgrounds and sidewalks though World War II. Its popularity dipped until the early 1970s, when a city police detective looking for an activity girls could get involved in revived it as a competitive team sport.

Okay, this video for Double Dutch Bus is only nominally about the game, but it’s got some great shots of New York circa 1980.

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3 Responses to “Double Dutch: a native New Amsterdam game”

  1. Joe R Says:

    Very cool photo. Who did it and what year?

  2. Jill Says:

    Awesome video link, love that song, his voice is HOT.

  3. Johannah Says:

    I remember watching little girls doing “Double Dutch” jump roping when I was a child living on Mott Street in New York’s Little Italy in the late 1940s. They were really tough kids and Double Ditch was a really tough sport. Those kids were experts, artists. They “turned” so fast they made those ropes whistle in the air and slap the ground smartly, and the kids who did the jumping were amazing. They made all kinds of fancy “moves” while jumping, like spinning around in mid-jump, doing it on one leg or alternate legs, and many of them “lasted” a good long time on the double ropes until they finally “missed”. The best ones were equally adept at “turning” rope and jumping, and would alternate between the two. I tried it a few times but never got the hang of it.

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