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Levittown people: Donna Ryan

Donna Ryan, 70, is a past president of

Donna Ryan, 70, is a past president of the Levittown Chamber of Commerce and a charter member of the Levittown Community Council. (March 14, 2012) Credit: Erin Geismar

Donna Ryan, 70
Community associations: Past president of the Levittown Chamber of Commerce, charter member of the Levittown Community Council

How long have you lived in Levittown?
I’m 70, I moved here when I was 14.

Why did you decide to stay in Levittown as an adult?
We enjoyed it. It was a great place to grow up, with the pools, and back then in the high schools they had recreation night once a week. And during the weekend, kids had something to do.

Have you ever thought of living elsewhere?
We got married and moved out to an apartment in Farmingdale for about eight months, then we found a house here and moved back. We’ve been here every since.
And I don’t want to leave the neighborhood because it’s such a great neighborhood. All of our neighbors have extended their homes rather than move. We do Christmas day brunch together and Mother’s Day brunch and things like that.

How have you seen it change?
It’s gotten much more mixed, thankfully. It was Christian and Jewish when I was young, but color wise it was strictly white. That lasted for a while. There was one family that was black for a few years when I was in school and then they moved.
I think it is a much better place for the kids to grow up in at this point.

Define the character of Levittown:
It’s a friendly place. It’s always been a comparatively safe place. There’s always some little things going on here and there. Basically it’s a very safe place to live. Contrary to ideas, it’s always had a pretty good educational background. If you wanted to learn, you did and you could get much further than you could in the city. They paid more attention to you because classes were smaller.

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