A fight breaks out on Gerard Avenue. It is Highbridge against Mott Haven and girls against boys.
Sisi is the leader of the Highbridge gang that has taken cover on the east side of the street.
“Get close to the cars so they can’t hit you,” she tells the rest of the girls.
Carlos – known as Spiderman around the neighborhood for his acrobatic play at shortstop – commands the boys from Mott Haven on the other side of the street.
“Don’t hit ‘em,” he whispers. “Throw at the cars. The noise will scare ‘em and they’ll run.”
He smiles and reaches up to scoop snow off the hood of the car.
Thwack. A snowball whistles over his head and crashes against the building.
“She throws hard,” he says. “Let’s show ‘em what we got.”
Waves of snowballs thump off cars on both sides of the street until someone yells from a building up the block.
“You kids knock that off!”
They scatter up East 153rd Street and across Walton Avenue and up the icy stairs into Franz Sigel Park.
The group totals nine – five girls and four boys – and they are all about 13 years old. Fatoumata is the only one who doesn’t have a Yankee hat.
“My mother made this one,” she says tugging it down over her ears. “It’s nice, but I want one like the Yankees wear.
“I love Derek Jeter,” Fatoumata adds. “He is the best.”
“Hey,” Spiderman shoots. “I’m as great as Jeter.”
“I don’t think so,” Fatoumata says. “You couldn’t even hit a girl with a snowball.”
The fight is back on.