A little background first. I was planning to write about underage gambling and the State's effort to discourage kids from buying lottery tickets and becoming future gambling addicts. I was thinking about playing black-jack for baseball cards with my brother and our friends as little kids growing up in South Philadelphia. We would play cards on my friend front STEPS. We did a lot of things on the steps. We'd play several forms of baseball on the steps.

We'd watch people from our block and other neighborhoods walk by and we would just hang out on the steps. It wasn't until I was in my twenties that I heard the term "stoop", either from a New Yorker or on TV. I thought, "what the f&%# is a STOOP?!" It must be short for STUPID, because that's how it sounds. Do you mean steps? Yeah, we used to play on the steps. They're steps that lead to the front door of your house in the city.

They're steps!!! You step up each one to get to the front door. I have no idea what a stoop is. Yet all of my friends from any borough of New York says, stoop. Now in New Jersey some of us have a front porch, and some have a back deck, but the stoop or steps are not that common. But if you were to ask the average New Jersey resident, do you call it front steps or stoop, what answer would you get?


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