Without them, Parkchester isn’t, well Parkchester.
Now, several of the iconic terracotta statues that adorn the exterior of the buildings, greeting visitors and residents alike are going missing and in some cases, visibly destroyed.
One of the firemen above Hugh Grant Circle, easily visible from the 6 train station, has been taken down as Parkchester Condominiums performs facade work and no mention has been made whether or not it will be going back up.
Welcome2TheBronx has reached out to their offices on Monday when we visited Parkchester to investigate but no statement has been received as of yet.
One of the charms of Parkchester are the over 500 terracotta statues and plaques that you’ll find above entrances or on building corners and like the fireman, high atop the buildings up in the sky as if guarding or watching over the planned community.
Everywhere you turn you run into one of these magnificent pieces and I recall vividly as a child how much I loved them then as I do now.
According to Sharon Pandolfo-Perez, who runs The Parkchester Project documenting the statues, the disappearances of these statues has been going on for at least a year to her knowledge.
She estimates that about 10 of these statues have been taken down and never replaced although we were not able to verify this.
This is what happens when we don’t pressure the city to landmark our treasures. Once they’re gone, they are gone forever.
Construction began in 1939 and by 1942, what would become the world’s largest condominium development, was complete.
At first, it was a restricted community designated for “whites only” and it wasn’t until 1968 that people of color were allowed to rent in the complex.
Now it’s a diverse community of almost 30,000 residents from all walks of life.
For almost 80 years the statues have been watching over Parkchester and now it may be too late to bring back the ones that have gone missing.
Needless to say, this wouldn’t happen in Manhattan or Brooklyn…
If you have any images of statues that have been taken down, please send them to the Parkchester Project at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact @theparkchesterproject on instagram.