A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeye's fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from November 25, 2004
PSAL (Public Schools Athletic League)
The Public Schools Athletic League (PSAL, at www.psal.org) was formed over 100 years ago. It still holds school athletic competitions, but it now also includes girls.

25 November 1903, New York Times, pg. 10:

The Largest Organization of Ath-
letes in the World.

With 100,000 Members from the Public
Educational Institutions Will Hold
Games in Madison Square Garden.

An athletic league of 100,000 public school boys is an assured fact for this city. The plan is not by any means a new one, for it has long been cherished by Gen. George Albert WIngate of the Board of Education, John Eustace Finley, President of the College of the CIty of New York; Dr. William H. Maxwell, Superintendent of Schools; James E. Sullivan, Secretary of the Amateur Athletic Union, and Dr. Luther Halsey Gulick, Director of Physical Training in the public schools of New York City. It is in a measure the outgrowth of the military organization movement that Gen. Wingate fostered in the schools some years ago as a way of attracting the boys toward physical development, and also inspiring patriotism. With the appointment of Dr. Gulick as Director of Physical Training it was possible for the former movement to b e expanded and made an actual athletic body. This has now actually been accomplished, and the boys of the Boroughs of Manhattan, Bronx, Brooklyn, Richmond, and Queens will form the largest athletic league in the world.

'Activity in arranging the details as the league is launched have not been overlooked, and the first set of games will be held on Saturday, Dec. 26, in the Madison Square Garden. Track events will form a prominent part off the programme that has already been arranged. The High School relay races will also be open to the members of the sub-freshmen classes of the College of the City of New York and High School teams. The distance will be one mile, each boy running a quarter mile. There will also be Elementary School relay races, distance one-half mile. There will also be a special relay race for class teams of the City College, distance one mile.

Two departments of athletic records in the various competitions will be established. The High School division will be open to High School boys, and also to the sub-freshman classes of the City College. This division is for the purpose of establishing records in the following events: Running high jump, putting 12-pound shot, 50-yard run, 220-yard run, quarter-mile run, and half-mile run. The elementary division will establish records in the running high jump, 50-yard run, 220-yard run, and putting 12-pound shot. In both divisions gold, silver, and bronze prizes will be awarded.

Championship basket ball tournaments will be held in both the High School and the elementary divisions. For the High School championship Mr. Cleveland H. Dodge has given $300 for a perpetual trophy for this event, which will be known as the Dodge Trophy. The entries for the basket ball tournament give evidence of being so numerous that preliminary matches will be held prior to the final contest for the championship title, which will be an important feature of the Madison Square Garden games.

It is the aim of the New York Public School Athletic League to co-operate with existing athletic organizations rather than to supplant them. The conditions of the coming competitions will be decided upon at a conference of High School Principals, District Superintendents, and Principals of elementary schools. Altogether the movement is the most ambitious undertaking that has ever been attempted in this country to interest city boys in physical development and out-of-door sports and pastimes.

29 November 1903, New York Times, pg. 15:

Plans Outlined for the Developing of the Boys of
This City and the Men Interested in the New
York Public School Athletic League.

22 December 1904, New York Times, pg. 10:
Walter I. Bardell of Public School 129, Brooklyn holder of 50, 70, 100, and 220 yard Public Schools Athletic League records of 0:06 1-5, 0:08 1-5, 0:12 1-5, and 0:026 3-5, respectively, has entered the 440-yard run for over-age boys at the Public Schools Athletic League indoor championships at Madison Square Garden on the afternoon of Dec. 31, 1904.

This is the first time Bardell has ever endeavored to negotiate the quarter-mile in public and it will not surprise his numerous followers to see him establish a P. S. A. L. record that will equal that of 0:58 2-5 held by the present High School champion, R. A. Gola, of the High School of Commerce.
Posted by Barry Popik
Sports/Games • (0) Comments • Thursday, November 25, 2004 • Permalink