Larry Parisi: Renaissance Rocker Man

I recently met Larry Parisi who will become president of the New Jersey chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) in January. Like many architects, he has a wide range of interests.

Born in Holy Name Hospital in Teaneck, N.J., Larry, who is 62, grew up in nearby Cliffside Park where he went to school.

In 1965 Larry started playing bass guitar in a band formed with four other guys he knew from Cliffside Park and Fairview called Chips & Company. “We had a record contract with ABC/Paramount and did promotional tours. We did well, but we didn’t make it. There was a lot of competition,” he explains. So he left the band and started studying architecture. He graduated from The Institute of Design & Construction in 1972 and from the New York Institute of Technology-Old Westbury with a bachelors of architecture in 1975. “I ended up teaching at NY Tech as a student,” he states, “and even after graduation I taught summer sessions in Rome for a period of years.”

In 1980 he opened his own company, Laurence E. Parisi, P.C. Architect, which is located in North Bergen, N.J. The company specializes in public school work, but does occasional residences and right now is restoring the Dutch Reform church in Park Ridge, N.J.

Music is still very much a part of his life. Today, he plays with a band called the Pocket Rockets. “In 1996 I took a temporary position with the Port Authority,” he explains, “and I met a guitarist there who was working as a chef. We started playing together and then a couple of other people joined in and little by little we ended up with five of us and we’ve been playing together for the last 15 years.” The band averages one concert a month and it has played a number of clubs in Manhattan as well as other area sites.

As if all of this isn’t enough to keep him busy, Larry also loves to cook and is a self-described “fairly gourmet” chef. He is also getting back into sailing, which had been a hobby when he was younger, and recently joined the Nyack Boat Club. He also recently took his 27-year-old son Christopher to Rome for ten days. “Since I had taught there, I know my way around well and was able to show him the sights.”

A true Renaissance man.