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The towers in a park layout of Parkchester
Parkchester, Bronx is located in Bronx
Location of Parkchester in New York City

Parkchester is a residential neighborhood geographically located in the south central Bronx, New York City. The neighborhood is part of Bronx Community Board 9. Its boundaries, starting from the north and moving clockwise are: East Tremont Avenue to the north, Castle Hill Avenue to the east, the Cross-Bronx Expressway-Westchester Avenue to the south (Westchester Avenue is the southern border east of Metropolitan Avenue), and the Bronx River Parkway to the west. White Plains Road is the primary thoroughfare through Parkchester. The local subway is the 6 line, operating along Westchester Avenue. ZIP codes include 10460 and 10462. The area is patrolled by the 43rd Precinct located at 900 Fteley Avenue in Soundview. New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) property in the area is patrolled by PSA 8 at 2794 Randall Avenue in Throgs Neck.

Contents

History

The housing development has the same origins as Stuyvesant Town, Peter Cooper Village and Riverton Houses in Manhattan, all of which were originally developed and owned by the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company. The name was later applied to the entire neighborhood surrounding the apartment complex. The name "Parkchester" itself was derived from the two neighborhoods on each side of the site of the housing development — Park Versailles[1] and Westchester Heights[2][3]

Metropolitan Life displayed an intricate scale model of the proposed development at the 1939 New York World's Fair. The model showed all of the buildings and facilities, and was accurate down to inclusion of each of the 66,000 windows in the complex. The 51 groups of buildings were planned to house 12,000 families.[4]

The Parkchester housing development was originally designed and operated as a self-contained rental community for middle-class families new to home ownership. To that end, there is an abundance of worker- and family-oriented resources, including access to transportation, nearby schools and churches, retail shopping space, and proximity to a major medical center.

It was built from 1939–42 (despite emergency building restrictions during World War II) on the farmland of the Catholic Protectory, a home for orphaned and troubled boys conducted by the Brothers of the Christian Schools, which relocated to Lincolndale (and still exists in) Westchester County. In 1974, approximately one-third of the complex was converted to condominiums, with the remaining portion, now Parkchester South Condominium converted later, in 1986. The complex is best known for its broad, tree-lined walkways between the distinctive red-brown buildings, and for its Works Progress Administration-style terracotta decorations on the buildings, that represent animal and human figures of many types. Many of these are the work of sculptor Joseph Kiselewski.

It was a welcome affordable haven for returning WWII vets and their burgeoning families in the early 1940s. While racially segregated, it peacefully housed people from all religious backgrounds.

Land use

Parkchester is dominated by the Parkchester apartment complex. Over one hundred, 13 and 8-story buildings. The surrounding area is dominated by multi-unit homes, both detached and semi-detached, along with tenement buildings. Retail is located along Metropolitan Avenue and Unionport Road.

Demographics

As of 2007, the Parkchester apartment complex includes a very large, thriving, well-established South Asian population: Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Indian, including Catholics, Muslims, and Hindus. There are also a number of Italian, Polish, Irish, and Albanian residents. The Asian residents include Thais, Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Filipinos, Burmese, and Cambodians. While the population is approximately over 20% African American and Latino, the complex once had a whites-only policy. The resident population of the Parkchester apartment complex reflects a broad age distribution and the changing ethnic makeup of the Bronx over nearly 70 years of history.

The surrounding Parkchester neighborhood is majority Hispanic and Black. Puerto Ricans are the dominant ethnic group.

Subsections

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Parkchester Apartment Complex

The Parkchester apartment complex is a subsection of Parkchester. Its boundaries, starting from the north and moving clockwise are: East Tremont Avenue to the north, Castle Hill Avenue to the east, McGraw Avenue to the south, and White Plains Road to the west. The apartment complex has recently undergone gut renovations of many of their apartments.[5]

Stratton Park

This neighborhood is west of Parkchester. Its boundaries, starting from the north and moving clockwose are: the Amtrak to the west and north, White Plains Road to the east, and the infamous Cross-Bronx Expressway to the south. Its zip code is 10460. Although it is in that zip code, its residents consider themselves as part of Parkchester.

Transportation

Points of interest

  • Zaro's Bakery established in 1959
  • American Theater established in 1939 - now operated by Bow Tie Cinemas as a seven-screen multiplex, established in 1939
  • Macy's Department Store — the first branch store since 1941
  • American Beauty School (Formerly Bronx Beauty School)- established 1977
  • Castle Hill Middle School is a public middle school situated on East Tremont Avenune and Purdy Street. It educates students in grades 6-8.
  • Tarallo Distributors Inc., The Kitchen Source established in 1966.
  • St. Raymond Elementary School is a Private Elementary school and Middle School situated on Purdy Street. It educates students in grades Pre-Kindergarten to grade 8.
  • St. Raymond Academy for Girls is a Private High School situated on Castle Hill Avenue. It educates students in grade 9 to grade 12.

Popular culture reference

  • Parkchester was the filming location for part of the Sporty Thievz 1998 video "No Pigeons".
  • Featured in the film Doubt during the scene when Sr. Aloysius in walking with Mrs. Miller.

References

  1. ^ Pollak, Michael. "F.Y.I.: A Key to the Past" (section: "Versailles in the Bronx"), The New York Times, January 30, 2009
  2. ^ — Frattini, Dave. The Underground Guide to New York City Subways (Macmillan, 2000) ISBN 0312253842, ISBN 9780312253844, p. 330
  3. ^ The Columbia Gazetteer of North America (Columbia University Press, 2000), via Bartleby.com
  4. ^ "MODEL OF HOUSING DISPLAYED AT FAIR; Metropolitan Life's Project in Bronx to Be Known as 'Parkchester' SITE LINKED TO HISTORY Fifty-one Groups of Apartment Buildings Will House 12,000 Families", The New York Times, May 5, 1939. p. 47
  5. ^ SOR Search Results on 05/30/2008 7:42 am

External links

Coordinates: 40°50′20″N 73°51′37″W / 40.8389893°N 73.8604128°W / 40.8389893; -73.8604128


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