“John met Karen at Top of the Park,” they announced in colored chalk. “She lives that way”—here an arrow pointed toward the former Bethel AME Church on Fourth Avenue—“And they are neighbors,” another sidewalk square continued. “Weird, huh?”
Weird, but true: though Beranek was renovating an old house just four doors from Park’s apartment in the renovated church, their paths crossed not on the street but at the Summer Festival’s popular outdoor nightly event in 2004. She was with three gal pals, he with a bachelor friend. The groups eyed each other, and somehow their tables combined.
“It wasn’t like love at first sight,” stresses Park, an anesthesiologist at St. Joe’s. Beranek, an engineer between jobs, nods in agreement. But they were amused to discover they were neighbors, and they found they both liked to run and bike.
Soon afterward, Park saw Beranek working in his yard and stopped to chat. They started biking together, and things began to heat up when Beranek injured his knee biking and had to get around for a while on crutches. “Karen began calling me up [to ask] ‘Do you need me to pick up something for you?’” Beranek recalls.
“I sort of nursed him back to health,” agrees Park, who credits soup from Zingerman’s with hurrying the healing.