I’ve driven by the King Kone sign many times on my way up to visiting Harlem Valley State Hospital (now undergoing renovations) but no one would ever stop and let me take a closer look. IDIOTS, because when I went up there by myself a few weeks ago, I finally stopped and discovered an abandoned playground on the property, only slightly visible from the road.
The playground is made entirely of wooden structures in the shape of cars, trucks, trains, airplanes and boats. It’s very aesthetically pleasing, but functionally flawed. You can always tell when adults didn’t really consider the demographic for whom playgrounds are for when designing one, because no kid would ever choose wood as the material they’re gonna spend an afternoon going mental on. I mean, my favorite playground as a kid was all wood, but I haaaated it every time I biffed it and got a million splinters.
It’s possible the playground was only recently abandoned, if the attached Mayfield King Kone restaurant is any indication. It seems to have closed within the last year, as everything inside is still perfectly intact and there are even salt and pepper shakers and menus on some of the tables, but the display cases are unplugged and the kitchen is empty. A few weeks ago, I called the restaurant and the phone rang endlessly, but just this morning I called again and it was disconnected.
The playground and restaurant are sited as operational in May 2012 by some blog post out there on the internet about a family visit to King Kone, but that was the more recent info I could find. It’s entirely possible it’s just temporarily closed and I’m that b-hole who blows into town and is like “ooooh look at this thing I discovered, this relic from a bygone era!” (as if I’d ever say those words) and the locals are like, “yeah, we just didn’t mow the grass this year.”
I was somewhat surprised I couldn’t find anything online about its current status. I always assume small towns like Patterson are similar to the one I grew up in, where everything that happens makes the news. You could fart in church and it’d be on the front page of the paper the next day. Even I was on the front page of the paper once, in a “local girl makes good in the big city,” kinda way. AND I LOVED IT.
FYI: King Kone Treats is not associated with the King Kone Ice Cream Co. When I called the latter company, I was curtly informed they were in no way associated and they weren’t even aware of King Kone Treats. For a second I was like, “oooh scandal!” and then I got lost in some dumb thoughts about Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and how Willy Wonka had a patent for Everlasting Gobstoppers and he was protecting all these CANDY SECRETS and how that’d work if it was all real and then I remembered I was a grown up and I got back to work.
See more photos on the King Kone Playground Flickr set. They all pretty much just look like these ones though.
Disclaimer: If any information on this post is incorrect, if you have more info or would otherwise like to tell me something, feel free to contact me.