Home to over 42,000 residents, Parkchester celebrated its 75th anniversary in style with a fun, family-friendly event on its North Ball Field.
Sponsored by Parkchester South Condominium, Parkchester North Condominium, Parkchester Preservation Company, Applebees and Optimium-Cablevision, the Saturday, August 8 milestone event featured a concert hosted by Torae of Sirius XM Hip Hop Nation with DJ Reg West of the Foxxhole and starring Mack Wilds, Justine Skye, Sean Fair, JS, Naja Flythe and Grand Daddy I.U.; a premiere screening of ‘Thriving @ 75’, a movie commemorating this anniversary; children’s activities, raffles and food vendors.
All proceeds from the raffle tickets and ‘Thriving @ 75’ DVD sales benefited the Parkchester Boys and Girls Club and Parkchester Scholarship Fund.
The Boys and Girls Club held a competition among 15 local teen members to create a logo for the event.
Kenneth Patteron, 15, won first place for designing the winning logo, a sparkling clean blue diamond, and received an award of $1,000.
Second and third place winners, Tianna Brown and Javier Claxton, were awarded $500 and $250 respectively.
The blue diamond was used for all promotional materials and will also appear on banners displayed across Parkchester throughout the year.
“This was a wonderful event and one of the greatest experiences I’ve ever had,” Abu Shakoor, PSC president said. “I am very fortunate to have been recently appointed president of Parkchester South Condominium and could not be more proud to have this opportunity to help Parkchester and its people.”
“I’ve been living here for 35 years and it’s become more diversified since then. I think this has a great deal to do with Parkchester’s success as everyone gets to learn more about each other’s culture,” Idella Goodman said. “I love living in Parkchester because of how conveniently located everything is here.”
Parkchester was constructed between 1938 and 1941 at a then colossal cost of $50 million by insurer Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, the second largest company in 1939 America.
Designed by a team helmed by Richmond Shreve, celebrated Empire State Building chief architect, Parkchester comprises 171 red-brick buildings between seven and 13 stories high combined in 51 clusters of varying footprints allowing a wide range of layouts and orientations for its 12,271 apartment units.
When completed, the historic residential community located on 129 landscaped acres was the largest integral housing project ever planned or built in the nation and was reported to be the second most valuable NYC property after Rockefeller Center.
Seventy percent of Parkchester’s designated open space includes a baseball field, basketball courts, tetherball courts and over 20 playgrounds, while nearly 40% was designed to accommodate landscaped areas planted with over 4,000 oak, sycamore and maple trees.
Parkchester served as the model for Manhattan’s Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village developed by MetLife and it was considered such a winning example of middle-income urban housing that MetLife displayed a six-by-seven-foot architectural model of Parkchester at their 1939 World’s Fair Exhibit.
The development reached full occupancy in 1943 and residents at the time would have paid about $12 rent for a one-bedroom apartment, ranging from 506 to 705 square feet, which was considered back then too expensive for the development to be labeled as “low rent housing” by the U.S. Housing Authority.
Each apartment was outfitted with amenities such as a Frigidaire refrigerator, bathrooms with non-slip bathtub bottoms and double sinks.
In 1941, Parkchester became home to Macy’s first branch store outside of Manhattan which still operates today and its retail space is comprised of over 100 stores, totalling more than 500,000 square feet.