2020 marks the 80th Anniversary of Parkchester, a completely self-contained community within New York City. One of only four communities of its kind in the city, Parkchester is an oasis in the Bronx with 171 buildings located on 129 landscaped acres.
For the past 10 years, Connolly Engineering has been the structural engineering firm to exclusively manage the repairs and renovations for Parkchester.
“Our team has had the pleasure of structurally bringing the unique community of Parkchester into the 21st Century. The original planning for the space began in 1938, and as time has evolved, so has the need to modernize various aspects of its structure,” said Daniel T. Connolly, PE and founder/owner of Connolly Engineering, PLLC.
PARKCHESTER: A LOOK AT A CITY WITHIN A CITY.
Parkchester has a rich history. In 1938, Metropolitan Life Insurance announced that it would begin construction of “a self-contained apartment community.” Richmond H. Shreve, whose firm had designed the Empire State Building, developed the plans for the complex. Parkchester spans across 129 acres and includes commercial, recreational, and residential facilities, along with 66 acres of open landscaped space.
In the area of the community closest to Hugh Grant Circle, developers built a shopping center of over 500,000 square feet, largely integrated into the residential structures. This space included the first branch of retail giant, Macy’s outside the flagship at Herald Square in Manhattan.
Today, despite the hustle and bustle of NYC, Parkchester is quiet and safe, offering spacious, bright, and airy, yet reasonably priced apartments. According to Parkchester Preservation Management LLC this community continues to be special for a variety of reasons including:
- The landscaped acres contain tall shade trees, lawns, flowerbeds, fountains and playgrounds
- More than 100 retail outlets including Macy’s, Applebee’s, Starbucks, medical and dental offices, and most major banks
- Public, private and parochial schools nearby
- Convenient garages and on-street parking
- Easy, 30 minute commute to Midtown Manhattan and direct access to 3 major highways
- Generous living spaces with modern appliances
Additionally, beautiful architectural embellishments like medallions above entryways into the buildings, and statues placed atop the corners of the buildings and below, make Parkchester unique from the other three communities in New York City.
For all these reasons, it’s no surprise that many residents have chosen not to move, but rather “age in place” at Parkchester.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention define aging in place as, “the ability to live in one’s own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income, or ability level.”
“When Parkchester was originally constructed 80 years ago, many of the buildings did not plan for the large number of people who would end up staying. As the people in the community aged, the structural need to accommodate them became more important,” stated Connolly.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) became law in 1990, with the purpose of “making sure that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else.” It guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in public accommodations, employment, transportation, etc.
According to the ADA, “As of 2010, the ADA Standards for Accessible Design set minimum requirements – both scoping and technical – for newly designed and constructed or altered public accommodations and commercial facilities to be readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities.”
Put simply, successful construction must stand the test of time. This means that communities like Parkchester must continue to adapt to meet the needs of its residents while adhering to modern safety standards and laws.
As the exclusive firm overseeing Parkchester, Connolly and his team of skilled and experienced engineers have worked closely with property owners to ensure ADA compliance.
Connolly said, “Easy building access is obviously very important. Entrances can prove challenging for seniors or those with mobility issues. Whether we’ve had to modify building entrances, renovate steps outside, or construct outdoor or indoor ramps, it is our responsibility to make sure residents and guests can easily and safely get into their building at Parkchester.”
In the past decade, Connolly has utilized a number of methods to make the building entrances accessible to the residents:
- Most of the buildings were constructed with steps on the exterior and interior of the main entrance. This required both grade changes on the exterior AND interior of the lobby.
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- In areas where additional space was available in the courtyard, the Connolly team was able to utilize grade changes on the exterior to obviate the need for ramps and steps on the outside of the building. This saved the client almost 90k per entrance.
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ONLY THE BEST FOR THE BEST.
Parkchester remains one of the largest condominium projects in New York City and the country. Only the most skilled and experienced engineering team can be called upon to keep the complex safe for all its residents.
It takes in-depth knowledge and expertise to oversee such an expansive project, and for over 10 years, Connolly Engineering have been the exclusive team to do so.
“Parkchester has been one of the most rewarding properties to work with because it is so unique. It’s a bustling city within the city, and requires a high level of detail, service, and know-how to keep it functioning safely and easily,” said Connolly.
In addition to Parkchester, Connolly Engineering continues to service a wide array of projects in the New York City and the surrounding area. For nearly two decades, they are one of the few local firms to provide both comprehensive civil and structural engineering services and consultation.
No matter the size or scope of your project, the Connolly team will exceed your expectations. With a wide range of knowledge and the ability to adapt to the challenges that may arise with construction, rest assured that our team will always provide you the highest level of service.
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