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Vintage New York - Parkchester, Bronx

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Antique scenic post card
Linen era, circa 1940s

Tichnor / Cooper Publications

Parkchester is a planned community developed by the Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. and located in the Bronx, New York City. Its name is derived from the neighborhoods on either side of the site of the development — Park Versailles and Westchester Heights.

MetLife 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. Its 51 groups of buildings were designed to house 12,000 families. It was a welcome affordable haven for returning WWII vets and their burgeoning families in the early 1940s.

The complex is best known for its broad, tree-lined walkways between the distinctive red-brown buildings, and for its WPA-style terracotta decorations on the buildings, that represent animal and human figures of many types. Many of these are the work of award-winning sculptor Joseph Kiselewski.
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Vintage item from my post card and ephemera collections, free stock for yours.
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OfficerMark's avatar
Thank you for posting this. I was so intrigued by this I did a quick google search and brought up current pictures of this community ... and everything is still there - the fountain, the park, the blocky brick apartment buildings of a dozen or so stories, etc. I was born in New York City - Queens to be exact - but I grew up in South Florida. I had relatives still in New York so I am not unfamiliar with it. This housing development aged rather well it has shady sidewalks lined with mature trees and it appears to be rather well maintained - which is not true for many parts of the Bronx. Still the blocky buildings are banal and lacking in charm and character. The development seems to be surrounded by less tidy and shabbier neighborhoods. Personally I would not be happy in such a place.
Yesterdays-Paper's avatar
Thanks for doing that research! I'm glad to know the place is still maintained, so much change happened in NYC during the 1960s and many old buildings came down, whole blocks sections of neighborhoods razed to build safer, cleaner, taller and more profitable. These are/were not pretty but the planning behind it and the applied art and design of the grounds makes them special.