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A Historic Understanding of Parkchester, NY

parkchester personal injury lawyer near zaro bakery

The personal injury lawyers in Parkchester, Bronx, NY, at Banville Law, would like to share this excerpt about the history of the area.

Parkchester is located in the central Bronx, New York City, and is part of Bronx Community District 9. The planned community and neighborhood, mostly located within the ZIP Code 10462 and varying in 10460 and 10461,  were originally developed by the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company and the immediate surrounding area also takes its name from the complex. The privately-owned housing complex is patrolled by the Parkchester Department of Public Safety.

The nearest train operating along Westchester Avenue is the 6 of the New York City Subway.


When MetLife acquired what is now know as Parkchester, they displayed a scale model of the proposed development at the 1939 New York World’s Fair.  The model included all of the buildings and facilities set to house 12,00 families. While MetLife developed and owned the housing development. The name "Parkchester" itself was derived from the two neighborhoods: Park Versailles and Westchester Heights, which rest on each side of the housing development site.

The residential development, designed initially to be a self-contained rental community for middle-class white families new to homeownership, was built from 1939 to 1942 on farmland of the New York Catholic Protector. By 1941, Macy’s had opened their first branch store in Parkchester, and by 1974, one-third of the complex had been converted to condominiums.

The complex is best known for Works Progress Administration-style terracotta decorations on the distinctive red-brown buildings. The decorations, which are majorly the work of sculptor Joseph Kiselewski, represent animal and human figures of various types.

The Parkchester complex has adapted and evolved over time. There are currently retail locations interspersed throughout the neighborhood as well along the backbones of the area which are considered to be Metropolitan Avenue, Tremont Avenue, Unionport Road, and White Plains Road.

Various Points of interest include:

  • American Theater, formerly Loews American, established in 1939, operated by Bow Tie Cinemas as a seven-screen multiplex until it closed in 2013. It was converted to a Marshall's store.
  • Macy's Department Store, opened in October 1941 as the first branch store with 175,000 square feet (16,300 m2) of selling space.
  • Zaro's Bakery, established in 1959, temporarily closed in 2015, reopened its doors in 2017 close to its original location.

Parkchester stands strong today and has grown with the community it serves. In 2015, the Parkchester community celebrated its 75th anniversary with a family event on the Parkchester North Ball Field.


According to the 2010 United States Census, Parkchester’s population is approximately  29,821, which demonstrates an increase of 1.6% from the 29,353 counted in 2000. Parkchester spans over 210,76 areas and shows a population density of 141.5 inhabitants per acre. The median household income of Community District 9, which encompasses Parkchester, is $40,005 USD. In 2018, it was estimated that 26% of Parkchester residents live in poverty. Based on these findings, as of 2018, Parkchester is considered low-income relative to the rest of the city.

The community shows strong diversity with a racial makeup of 42.8% (12,765) African American, 12.4% (3,721) Asian, 3.7% (1,105) Non-Hispanic White, 0.2% (73) Native American, 0.6% (171) from other races, and 2.0% (611) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 38.1% (11,364) of the population. The community also includes a significant South Asian population and many Italian, Polish, Irish, Eritrean, and Albanian residents.

Parkchester also houses a longstanding population of Puerto Ricans. The neighborhood holds one of the highest concentrations of Puerto Ricans in New York City. The racial and ethnic diversity present within the Parkchester complex comes to no surprise as the resident population reflects the changing ethnic makeup of the Bronx.

Community District 9, which comprises Parkchester and Clason Point, holds 184,105 inhabitants with an average life expectancy of 79.7 years relative to the median life expectancy (81.2) for all New York City neighborhoods. The majority of Parkchester community members are youth and middle-aged adults with 25% of the population between the ages of 0–17, 29% between 25–44, 24% between 45–64, and both college-aged and elderly residents at 10% and 12% respectively.

Parkchester has been home to some diverse, incredible individuals. Some notable mentions are:

  • Claudette Colvin (born 1939), Civil Rights Icon
  • Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (born 1989), U.S. Representative
  • George A. Romero (1940–2017), Filmmaker

Continue reading: The History of Throggs Neck, NY

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The Bronx, NY 10462
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Laurence P. Banville
Date Published: May 12, 2021
Laurence P. Banville is the managing partner of Banville Law. As an experienced personal injury attorney, Mr. Banville helps clients recover compensation from those responsible for his clients' injuries. Our firm is located in New York City, serving clients from the five boroughs: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx, and Staten Island.
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