KINGSTON — Ask people who live on Park Place what they like best about their neighborhood, and they’ll tell you the quiet, seclusion and the friendly neighbors. Many of them know each other or grew up on the street or played here as children with friends who lived here.
It’s the kind of street where parents love to raise their children and adults love to tinker around the house and pamper their yards.
But Park Place also comes with an amenity not found in most neighborhoods — its own grassy, tree-lined park in the middle that runs the length of the street. It has been the scene of picnics, children’s overnight camping, Easter-egg rolls and pickup football games. The street runs on both sides of the park and is lined with mostly well-kept two-story wood-frame homes with trimmed lawns, manicured bushes and bright flowers.
Along the edges of the park where maples are beginning to show their fall colors and evergreens give off a piney scent, small trees planted in recent years stand with plaques and artificial flowers in memory of Park Place residents who have passed on.
And because this street is tucked between Church Street and the sound-barrier wall that hides the Cross Valley Expressway, most motorists do not pass through here on their way to somewhere else.
The residents would like to keep it that way.
“It’s just the serenity,” said George Gavrish, a 48-year-old mail carrier who lives here with his wife, Anne, and their 2-year-old son. “It’s the security of it. Our little guy can come out to the curb and play. People here are wonderful.”
The Plymouth native, who has lived here for almost four years, said the street was one of the first where he delivered mail, and his wife and her sister used to cut through the neighborhood on their way home from school. He said she has wanted to live on the street since then.
“People look out for you,” he said of the neighborhood. “Everybody knows you. Kids camp out in the park. Every Thanksgiving there’s a football game.”
Tim Conway grew up on the street and has lived in his current home across the park with his wife, Diane, since 1972, just before the Agnes Flood. Fortunately, the water came up only as far as their front yard, they recalled as they sat on their front-porch swing on a recent warm afternoon. They raised two daughters here.
Tim is a former president of the Park Place Association, which maintains the park. The borough does not own the park; in fact, there is no clear deed to it, he said. Residents pay an annual fee to the association to keep up the park.
“We’ve maintained it for so long, we should be the owners,” Conway said.
Diane said the couple’s three grandchildren love to play there.
“You don’t find anything like it,” Tim said of the neighborhood, which is quiet, except for rush hour, when some of the traffic noise from Cross Valley Expressway wafts over the sound-barrier wall.
They admitted times have changed — when Tim was a kid, nobody locked their doors — but it’s still the kind of place where, Diane said, “Everybody’s just good friends with everybody.”
Another resident, Jim Murray, likes, among other positives, the convenience of the neighborhood.
“We’re close to everything, ” said Murray, who has lived in his house with his wife, Linda, for 35 years.
“It’s a great neighborhood,” he said. “Kingston has great services. They sweep the street (every week) and pick up the trash in the back so you don’t have to put it out front.”
He said there have been Easter-egg rolls and a picnic for residents in the summer in the park.
“When the kids were little, they could go over there and play, and (we’d) not have to worry about them getting hit by a car,” Murray said.
David Keefer likes the “Leave It to Beaver” neighborhood and would prefer to stay, but he is moving his family because they are downsizing to a smaller home.
“It’s one of the safest parts of Kingston,” he said. “I don’t want to move.”