Green’s Dictionary of Slang

bricks n.

[1930s+]

1. the city streets, esp. seen from a prison cell.

2. the urban environment in general.

3. a street prostitute’s beat.

In phrases

beat the bricks (v.)

[1920s+] (US) to walk the streets, esp. when in search of work.

hit the bricks (v.) (also pad…, pound…)(orig. US)

1. [20C+] to exit, to leave for the street, to start walking.

2. [1930s+] to be discharged from a prison sentence.

3. [1940s] to go on strike.

4. [1960s+] to be homeless, walking the streets at night.

on the bricks (also on the pavement, on the sidewalk)

1. [1930s+] (US) on the street after being released from prison or hospital.

2. [1960s+] (drugs) walking the streets searching for drugs.

3. [1970s+] working as a street prostitute.

press the bricks (v.) (also press brick) [20C+] (US)

1. to stand around in the street, loafing and gossiping.

2. to walk the streets in search of work.

to the bricks (adv.)

[1920s+] (US black) to the limit, to the furthest extent.

walk the bricks (v.) [metonymy]

1. [20C+] to wander around; to walk up and down.

2. [1980s+] (US police) to patrol on foot.