‘The Cage’ is a chain link fenced, bagel-sized basketball court on Sixth Avenue at 3rd Street, across the street from Joe’s Pizza and the old Waverley movie theater in the Village.
Action takes place on the court, beside the court, on the adjacent handball courts, on the sidewalk, everywhere within eyesight of the court. Better you watch these video links than me try to explain the ‘scene’:
A cool thing about the ‘game video‘ is its soundtrack. Notice in the background a sound like a racquet hitting a tennis ball: whack, whack, whack. It’s is created by the players in the handball court next to the cage. Handball (great video link) is a city game of which tourists might be unaware, and is a citywide spectacle. NYC is home to some major tournaments for both street basketball and handball.
But, the best video is Spike Lee’s 5-episode, self-narrated take on NYC street basketball. Games and players with impressive flash and chip-on-shoulder confidence. The real scene.
So, you’re in the Village. Go to Joe’s, buy a slice, cross the street and watch some basketball, some handball, take some pictures, go to Washington Square park and play some hustle chess, get your fortune told along the way and then apply for your I❤️NY card.
But you don’t get a card until you’ve explored deep Harlem and the Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn. That’s where the soul players come from, says Spike Lee.