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 April 21, 2006
Salugi (or Saloogie)
"Salugi" (or "saluggi" or "saloogie") was a New York children's game of "keep away" that was popular in the 1950s. The origin of the name is unknown.


(Dictionary of American Regional English)
saluggi n Also s(a)loogie, salugie, salugi,{Etym unknown] NYC Cf monkey-in-the-middle
An unorganized game among children in which an article is snatched away from a victim and tossed back and forth among the tormentors; also used as a call in the game.
1975 Ferretti Gr. Amer. Book Sidewalk Games 169, Saluggi, or Saloogie, is another rather simple game that derives from torment. Two or more players simply take something...virtually anything that can be construed as something of a treasure...from another kid and throw it back and forth...while the owner tries desperately to get back his or her property. The only rules are that whoever catches the item must shout, "Saloogie on Chris's knife!,"...or whatever and that the victim must be angry, which is not at all difficult. It is not necessary to choose up for a game of Saloogie, rather, the predators have to decide on a victim, which is not difficult.
1977 NY Times (NY) 6 July 29, It was a game as valid to him and his friends as stoop-ball, kick the can, ring-a-lievio, red rover and salugi were to an earlier generation.

Urban Dictionary
salugi
Another name for the game of keep away, commonly played on the streets of NY in the 50s
We played salugi when I was a kid.
by prickly pear Oct 2, 2003

Wiktionary
salugi
a 'keep away' game in which children throw around an object with the aim of keeping it away from a particular child (often the owner of the object) or from another group of children; keepings off

Brooklyn Slang
Salugi/Saloogi: A game of "keep away" that kids play, whereby one kid's hat is stolen, and other kids continually taunt him by throwing it past him or over his head to someone else. Usually the same kid is picked on all the time. It is a widely-held theory that mayor Rudy Giuliani was often the victim of salugi. (Mr. John Burke wrote us to say that he heard "salugi" used in the 1940's on his block--115th St. between Amsterdam and Morningside in Manhattan. Thanks for your email John!)

Google Books
The Last Angry Man:
A Novel

By Gerald Green
New York, NY: Scribner
1956
Pg. 193:
They had seized the tan derby of one of their number; three others in sharp suits and silk waistcoats were tossing it around in a wild game of salugi.

Google Books
Six Television Plays
By Reginald Rose
New York, NY: Simon and Schuster
1956
Pg. 272:
HORACE (Fast) : Did you ever play saloogie?

Google Books
The Fireside Treasury of Modern Humor
By Scott Meredith
New York, NY: Simon and Schuster
1963
Pg. 440:
There are always a thousand kids on the block and a hundred games to choose from: stickball, stoopball, skullies, Johnny-on-a-Pony, Kick the Can, Statues, Salugi, Ring-a- Leavio, hundreds of games.

Sports Illustrated
April 20, 1964
Confessions Of A Stoop Ball Champion
Gilbert Rogin
(...)
I don't really know how to spell spaldeen, any more than I know how to spell "salugi" or "scelzi." We never had occasion to write any of them down, much of our language being oral, like the tongues of certain primitive tribes before missionaries enlightened them by putting it all down so the Bible could be translated into yet another language. Salugi, by the way, is more a kind of urban torture than a sport. One kid grabs something—say a hat or a glove—belonging to another kid, hereinafter and with good reason referred to as the victim, and cries, "Salugi!" He then tosses it to a third kid who relays it to a fourth, fifth or sixth—any number can play. While they blithely fling it among themselves, the victim tries to reclaim it. No score is kept, since the success of a game of salugi is measured only by the degree of the victim's humiliation. Scelzi, on the other hand, is benign and sedentary, much like marbles, but played with bottle caps.

Google Books
Found a Peanut
By Donald Margulies
New York, NY: Dramatists Play Service
1984
Pg. 59:
GLOSSARY
"Saloogie!" (pronounced Sa-LOO-jee) is a signal given from one person to a second to be prepared to catch something (like Smolowitz's ball) snatched from an unsuspecting third and to prevent that person from retrieving it.
Posted by Barry Popik
New York CitySports/Games • Friday, April 21, 2006 • Permalink