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If you, S.S.S.S.

If you see something, say something. That sounds like such a great idea.

Many apologies to those who showed up to carry sand down the hill last Wednesday.

Does this seem suspicious to you? It seems odd to me.

Unfortunately, there was over an hour lag between when the sand was dropped off and when I arrived at closer to 7:15 rather than at 6:45 as I had intended. By the time I got there, the police were already there. And for awhile things got very confusing to say the least.

Here’s what happened. The sand was dropped off as scheduled. At that time an old man was sitting on a nearby park bench and thought the delivery of the four large bags of sand seemed suspicious. “Might have been material to make a bomb”, he had thought. So being patriotic and a little bit paranoid and all, he called 911 to report it, just in case.

By the time I arrived, there were 4 policemen gathered around and one of them was poking his nightstick into one of the sand bags. At this point, being a bit naive and previously having only had one or two bad experiences with policemen, I spoke up and said, “Hey, that’s my sand!”  Of course, I immediatly became the focus of attention. “So this is your sand? ” said one of the cops. “How about you prove it,” he said. So, I fumbled in my George Costanza-like wallet and soon produced the receipt.

“Well we think this looks pretty suspicious,” said another one of the cops. So I explained that the sand was for the horseshoe pits, that were just down the hill. “Curiouser and curiouser,” said the third officer. “You expect us to believe that there is a horseshoe pit in the park?” “You expect us to believe that people who live in NYC, actually play horseshoes?” he said. “Isn’t horseshoes something that people play in the rural areas, not sophisticated types like us who live in the big city?”

Despite’s this skepticism,  I stood my ground and explained, that while horseshoe mania had not yet taken off, that in fact, once in awhile, people did show up to play. And I also expressed my deep conviction that city dwellers could someday embrace the sport. And that someday it would be possible for there to be multiple horseshoe leagues in New York and other cities, who might, after sufficient practice garner enough skill to compete against the country folk, sort of what already happens in politics with the city vs. the rural areas.

I continued to argue and the officers continued to be skeptical about every one of my premises. At one point, I thought I had gotten very close to being arrested. But then another officer, who had not previously spoke came forward and said, “So what if we believe you about the horseshoes and all. Is there someone in the park’s department we can contact to verify that you are telling the truth?” I told him that I didn’t have such a contact with park’s department. On the contrary, in fact, the entire horseshoe project had been undertaken by myself and occasionally others, completely without the help or presumably the knowledge of the park’s department. “I was worried,” I said, “that their might be some sort of regulation against throwing heavy metal objects in the park, perhaps for liability reasons this was forbidden. So I hadn’t notified the park’s department for fear that they would shut it down.”

“So you were worried about government intervention in your private activities?”, asked the officer. And I admitted that indeed, this was a concern of mine. At which point, all of the officers lit up and smiled as if now we were all good friends. They explained that even though they were the representatives of law enforcement on the street level, that they all had significant reservations about governmental control particularly in the spheres of economics and personal liberties. They went on to say that they were all members of the Ayn Rand fan club and really believed that the solution to the world’s problems could be found in the application of unfettered capitalism. They also admitted that they were huge Trump fans. But on this last point I managed to stay silent.

“We like your style guy.” “Sort of like, you are sticking it to the man by going behind the backs of the park’s department to start your horseshoe thing.” said one of the officers. I said, “Well I guess, it is sort of like that.” Then everyone smiled. They patted me on the back. It was over. They even let me keep the sand.

Only later did I learn from someone who videotaped the whole thing, that before the police showed up that a few people had gathered around the sand, just looking at it but seeming uncertain of what to do next. But they were soon scared off by the arrival of the police.  And now I’ve figured out that the people who gathered around the sand initially, must have been a few of you who showed up on time to help carry the sand down the hill.

Thanks for your good intentions. Sorry, I showed up late and very sorry for all of the confusion.

This week is round 7 and it’s on Thursday

Just when you thought you could count on something… Due to unavoidable circumstances, tomorrow (Wednesday) our building is having their annual board meeting and I have been hired to videotape it for reality TV. Hence I cannot show up at the pits to provide the much needed horseshoes on Wednesday.

Accordingly, horseshoes this week has been rescheduled to Thursday.

So, this week, it’s Thursday, but the rest of June it’s on for Wednesdays.

Thursday JUNE 15TH
7:00ish PM

Ft. Tryon Park, just North of the volleyball courts as you go down (not up) the steps from the higher elevation A train station at 190th St.

Wednesdays in June

It’s true… It’s really happening! Horseshoes in Ft. Tryon are now on Wednesdays in June.

aerial view of our deluxe playing field (flowers not shown, since they haven’t grown yet)

Show up about 7:00ish at the horseshow pits in Ft. Tryon Park near the A train station at 190th St.

It might rain, but Hey, this is a Rain or Shine event.



Experts can pitch ringers when the stake is under a blanket or when they are blindfolded. You too, can do this, but only if you practice. 

GOOD TO KNOW: Our very own Ron Gustav Müller Jacobson (who has joined in at least twice) was able to make ringers when blindfolded. In his native Mississippi, he used to do blindfolded exhibition games. He had quite a following and was known as the “shoe pitching’ Swede” which was kind of strange since Ron is really Norwegian.

“Mud Shoes”

One bag of sand each was added to two of the pits. Ultimately it was spread around a bit.

Two bags of sand were added to the pits last Thursday. It would seem advisable that an additional 6-8 bags should be added to complete a top-notch job. The sand bags cost about $5 each and they weigh about 50 lbs. making for a decent exercise bringing them down the hill. It could be part of your summer body-building routine. What do you think? Donations are always welcome.

This sand was made for planting and it’s a bit too fine grained. So it got a little messy in the rain.

The combination of the new sand and the rain made for a bit of a muddy mess. I called it “mud shoes.” It would be good to find some sand that’s a bit heavier grained. Probably it’d be cheaper too.


(Nothing But) Flowers

It was fun planting some flowers in the rain last Thursday. Let’s see if these non-native species have a chance against the persistent vines that have called the pits home for the past many years.

Some of the variety planted last Thursday in the rain

(Nothing But) Flowers

Years ago
I was an angry young man
I’d pretend
That I was a billboard
Standing tall
By the side of the road
I fell in love
With a beautiful highway
This used to be real estate
Now it’s only fields and trees
Where, where is the town
Now, it’s nothing but flowers
The highways and cars
Were sacrificed for agriculture
I thought that we’d start over
But I guess I was wrong

(from Talking Heads Naked)


This vine is so long that it can’t fit in one picture

These vines have very deep and hardy roots







There is currently very little weeding to be done on the pits, but many of the “weeds” are very hardy and thrive in bad soil.

Pictured above is the type of vine that had overgrown the whole area last year. Now little remains, but some runners and the roots. I don’t know what this plant is called, but  it has very strong and hardy roots which make raking almost impossible since the rake gets stuck on the roots. So ultimately the roots have to be cut. Not a hard task in itself, but since there are hundreds of these plants in the pit, it needs to be kept up with.


Humans are the only primates that play horseshoes. This is true even though, humans share a majority of the physical traits shown in other primates. It is possible that non-human primates just don’t care about horseshoes, but also just as likely that they have trouble acquiring the necessary equipment. {REFERENCE}

GOOD TO KNOW: Non-human primates, also don’t read web sites about horseshoes, so if you are reading this, there is a good chance that you are human and could play horseshoes. That is, you could, if you wanted to.

ROUND 2 RECAP: Understandable

Thursday’s turnout for horseshoes was less than overwhelming. However, this is understandable, since we all have so many things to do.

That being said, horseshoe pitching will be an ongoing event throughout most of the summer. RIGHT NOW, TWO MORE THURSDAYS IN MAY. (that day may change in June).

No one should feel limited to Thursdays as the pit is open to anyone on any day. That is, if you have your own horseshoes. Horseshoes can be bought HERE and HERE. And I can almost guarantee that owning your own horseshoes will motivate you to get out there and play.


Despite the poor turnout a few positive things did happen last Thursday

  • The ecology initiative of treating vegetation with a live and let live policy, unless trampled by players, was momentarily suspended, as there were not enough players for sufficient trampling. Instead the machetes came out and weeds were mercilessly chopped down.
  • When there was a question of whether to give a particular plant protected status, the usual ruling was to chop it off and ask questions later.
  • However some plants indeed were spared, at least for now.
  • Planting tulip bulbs along the border to be ready for next spring was a matter put up for further discussion.
  • A new player named Ron Gustav Müller Jacobson joined in the play and he is quite a character. Ron is of mixed Dutch/German/Norwegian descent but most recently hails from Mississippi where horse shoes are king. He speaks in a southern drawl and it’s fun to hear him swear in all four languages. More about Ron later.



40 Feet is the regulation distance between horseshoe stakes. The stakes themselves should be made of iron or soft steel and protrude 15 inches from the ground, leaning approximately 3 inches (12 degrees) from vertical toward the opposite stake. {REFERENCE}

GOOD TO KNOW: The horseshoe pit at Ft. Tryon park satisfies all of these requirements, so it’s all set for regulation play.


In a recent e-mail blast, it was incorrectly stated that the place to join the Nabisco Nilla Wafer community was HERE.

Unfortunately, this link is not where to join the Nabisco Nilla Wafer community, but rather a page where you can get ideas about new ways to use Nabisco Nilla Wafers. Sorry for any confusion this may have caused.

Even though the call to action on the box was clear that one should join the Nabisco Nilla Wafer community, exactly where to join this community remains a mystery.

Anyone with more information, please contact the admin (at)

National Horseshoe Pitching Day: Quite a Success

The Inaugural National Horseshoe Pitching Day was quite a success.

That is to say:

  • Weeds were weeded.
  • Horseshoes were pitched.
  • and afterwards, beer was drank.

All this was done in the spirit of national celebration.

Additionally a few decisions were made:

  • We need more stompers (players) who by walking back and forth will help control the recurrence of the undergrowth. This practice is much less labor intensive than having to do the work of cutting and hoeing.
  • Plants not directly in the line of play will usually be spared.
  • Certain plants slightly in the line of play might also gain protected status.
  • Reaffirmation to sponsor Horseshoe Pitching every Thurs. in May and continuing into the summer.

So things are really happening.

May 4th, 2017 is National Horseshoe Pitching Day!

Why we fight!

Northern Manhattan celebrations will take place about 7:00ish at the horseshow pits in Ft. Tryon Park near the A train station at 190th St.

“National Horseshoes Pitching day” began in Northern Manhattan with the awareness that there was already a perfectly good horseshoe area in Ft. Tryon that had long been neglected and just needed to be cleaned up. Once this cleanup was accomplished, a national day of celebration seemed in order.

Be advised the “National Horseshoes Pitching day” is not to be confused with “National Horseshoes Pitching is Fun day” which is sponsored by the National Horseshoe Pitchers Association.

Questions?: admin (at)