NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A mystery is unfolding in the Bronx, where some treasured statues are vanishing.
Parkchester residents want to know where they went, and why they’re gone, CBS2’s Ali Bauman reported Wednesday.
They are as iconic as the Yankees are to the borough, but by the looks of it many of the Bronx statues aren’t coming back next season.
“I think it’s a really sad thing because it makes the building absolutely beautiful and they have been here forever,” resident Nicole Vosika said.
“If they are not bothering anybody, I don’t know why they are taking them down,” resident Kim Lane added.
Over the last year, residents at Parkchester South condominium say a ton of their beloved terracotta statues have been disappearing, or in some cases visibly destroyed. Many believe it’s because of the ongoing construction at their development.
“I thought well maybe they would just do the façade and then they will put the statue back up, but they didn’t,” said Sharon Pandolfo-Perez, creator of the “Parkchester Project” on Instagram.
Pandolfo-Perez created the account to document and track the statues. She said at least 10 have vanished, with no warning or explanation from management.
“That is 10 that I have maybe photos of, because they are smashed. It’s like in bits,” Pandolfo-Perez said.
Pandolfo-Perez said there’s about 500 statues on top of buildings and 500 more above doors. The most recent and notable one that went missing is the statue of a fire marshal at Hugh Grant Circle.
“Most of the statues are done in pairs,” Pandolfo-Perez said. “So there is a fire marshal with a fireman, they both have the hose and they are taking on a fire. The marshal has a flat hat. He is the one who is missing.”
The complex was originally built to house returning World War II veterans and the statues were there from the beginning. They were even advertised in the New York Times Magazine in the 1940s.
“The aesthetic value is tremendous,” Parkchester resident Hiram Colon said.
Colon has lived most of his life in Parkchester and said he will be devastated if they are all torn down.
“It brings back a lot of memories, old memories,” Colon said.
Memories these Bronx residents want to keep — not see demolished.
CBS2 reached out to building management several times to get to the bottom of this, and we’ll let you know what happens.