South of Midtown
Quiet, friendly and a good place for families
Things are changing in the South of Midtown neighborhood: Just take a look at the recently completed Miki's Farm Fresh Market in Alma Plaza or the new houses under construction nearby.
"There's been numerous remodeling of homes and buildings," said Paul Taylor, a resident since the early 1980s when he said he got a good deal on his house.
He describes it as quiet, friendly and a good place for families.
Maria Poloncheck, who moved to the neighborhood with her husband and three kids last April, described it as "busy and friendly."
"It has an old-fashioned feel to it," she said.
Their family moved from Kansas because of her husband's job, and they moved specifically to the area to be close to Fairmeadow Elementary School. She said it is also easy for her husband to bike to work.
It is a place where people take a stroll or walk their dogs in the morning. People ride their bicycles down the roads or rounded sidewalks, passing by one-story tract houses on Emerson or reconstructed two-story modern homes on Cowper. Trees line every street, such as the wide Waverley Street or the narrower South Court.
The friendliness was apparent as soon as they moved in, she said, when they attended a block party.
"I loved the eclectic group of people. There's the young, the old, families, people in all life stages. There's artists, musicians, people in the tech industry." She enjoys how the neighborhood comes together during the holidays, such as Halloween. Neighbors "had a good-spirited competition" and she said "lawns turned into graveyards, houses became haunted, cobwebs and pumpkins were everywhere."
The street was also closed to traffic for the trick-or-treaters. South Court, where they live, is where she said the celebration was particularly big.
"We are close to everything we need. Lots of park space in every direction," Poloncheck said.
Neighbors look out for each other, something she said is common.
When they first moved in, she said that one neighbor's cat, Anakin, roamed the streets and was taken care of by many people. The owners and the cat moved away, and Poloncheck said her family bought a cat soon after, who became a neighborhood cat that is taken care of when they are away.
They also learned about the friendliness of the people around them when their house was burglarized, after they moved in, a rarity in the area.
"The neighbors were really great," she said. "One brought over a cake, others came over to talk and said it was really rare for crime in the neighborhood. It was really nice to have them stop by and talk about it. It's good knowing the neighbors are looking out. We're one of the only houses that happened to in the area."
As time has passed, the typical things have changed since Taylor moved in when he was young.
"There were older people in the neighborhood, now they've moved. I'm one of those people, now," he said with a laugh.
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CHILDCARE AND PRESCHOOLS (nearby): Besse Bolton Kids' Club, 500 E. Meadow Drive; Milestones Preschool, 3864 Middlefield Road; Covenant Children's Center, 670 E. Meadow Drive; El Carmelo Kids' Club, 3024 Bryant St.; Grace Lutheran Preschool, 3149 Waverley St.
FIRE STATION:No. 4, 3600 Middlefield Road
LIBRARY: Mitchell Park branch, 3700 Middlefield Road (to re-open after fall 2013)
LOCATION: bounded by Loma Verde Avenue, East Meadow Drive, Middlefield Road and Alma Street
NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION: part of Midtown Residents Association, Sheri Furman, 650-856-0869
PARKS: Mitchell Park, 600 E. Meadow Drive; Hoover Park, 2901 Cowper St.
POST OFFICE: Cambridge, 265 Cambridge Ave.
PRIVATE SCHOOLS (nearby): International School of the Peninsula, 3233 Cowper St.; Challenger School, 3880 Middlefield Road; Keys School Lower Campus, 2890 Middlefield Road
PUBLIC SCHOOLS: El Carmelo and Fairmeadow elementary schools, J.L. Stanford Middle School, Gunn High School
SHOPPING: Midtown Shopping Center, Middlefield Road and Colorado Avenue; Charleston Center; Alma Plaza
Editorial Intern Rebecca Duran can be emailed at