Greenwich Village Residents Respond to NYU Growth Plans

Opponents of New York University's 20-year expansion plan say they're going to continue to fight to save their neighborhood from turning into one large campus.

At a town hall meeting Wednesday night, preservationists, residents and community groups spoke out against NYU's proposal to add two million square feet of space to their campus in Greenwich Village and grow by one million more square feet in other parts of New York City.

About 100 people turned out to discuss how to capitalize on NYU's recent decision to scrap plans for a 400 foot tower.

Lance Geshwind has lived in the community for four decades and is also an alumni of NYU.

"I have no objection to NYU expanding, but the way they're expanding I find to be objectionable. They have these plans for these horrible and ugly buildings. The thing that NYU really needs is a school of architecture, I'll tell you that," Geshwind said.

Some opponents of NYU's Greenwich Village expansion said the financial district would be a better place for it.

Basil Vasilkioti has lived on La Guardia and West Houston with his wife for 15 years. He says the university's plan would squash the area's diversity, even though they love the student activity there.

"Whether they're protesting or having parties or playing their guitars, I mean it’s a wonderful environment to grow up in, or raise kids in, but you can't be overwhelming. It must be in scale with what the residents and what the area calls for," said Vasilkioti.

Organizers, including the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, plan a letter writing campaign to gain support from elected officials. They also plan to protest this weekend to block the university from claiming three parcels of open public space it is seeking to acquire in order to move forward with the expansion.

A spokesman for NYU said its plan follows more than three years of dialogue with community groups and will result in responsible growth.