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Opponents of NYU Expansion Plan Voice Concerns at Public Hearing

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The City Planning Commission heard arguments for and against NYU's proposed expansion at a public hearing on Wednesday. (Jessie Wright-Mendoza for WNYC)

The city's Planning Commission held its only public hearing on the proposed New York University expansion plan on Wednesday, where more than 250 people over the course of more seven hours voiced their opposition to or support for the plan.

The proposal includes plans to build four new buildings, reduce green space in the Greenwich Village and rezone residential areas into commercial zones over the course of 19 years.

The plan has been met with hostility from neighborhood advocates who fear the Village will turn into a construction zone and will harm the character of the neighborhood.

Andrew Berman, of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, said NYU should look into alternative locations. "If NYU can open new campuses in Abu Dhabi and Shanghai, why can't they locate some of their new facilities a few subway stops away in the Financial District, Downtown Brooklyn, or Long Island City?"

He said other city neighborhood will benefit more from the economic development the university says will come with expansion.  

The auditorium was dominated by community advocates who opposed the expansion plan.  NYU supporters, including NYU President John Sexton, argued that their existing campus is used to capacity. They argued the school needs more space, and expansion is necessary to ensure their competitiveness among other elite universities.

Earlier this week, NYU announced it would be expanding out of Manhattan, with the opening of the Center for Urban Science and Progress in downtown Brooklyn.

The city planning commission has until June 6 to approve the expansion plan. The City Council also has to approve the plan.

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Comments [6]

Robert from NYC

Yes Dubai is little islands, man-made islands that will soon be swept away by tsunamis if the climate continues to change. Bye bye Dubai.

Jul. 24 2012 01:32 PM
Robert from NYC

No Leonard, they should just STOP their expansion! Get it? NYU does not need to become larger and larger and why? NYU offers plenty in the way of education in many many fields of study and research. Do they really need to E X P A N D further?
And as far as the development of NYC, thank twangy voiced Bloomberg for all the crap that's going up around town and in Brooklyn and the real crap built over the past 8 years in the Bronx! This is all with the current mayor's blessing to his developer friends. This will be his legacy and like Robert Moses it will not be a good one.

Jul. 24 2012 01:29 PM
Faculty Against NYU from West Village

All of these businesses that support this plan can't wait for the retail space or floods of students to make money off. Their opinion means nothing to me.

Tom - did you support building single family homes that households could not afford in order to justify constructon jobs? Same thing as this plan but just switch home mortgage loans with student debt.

Jun. 28 2012 10:57 AM
Concerned Junior Faculty Member from Brooklyn

There are now over 20 departments who have issued resolutions, many unanimous, who have issued resolutions expressing their deep concerns with the 2031 expansion plan. (available at http://nyufasp.com) There is also a public list of senior faculty opposing the plan, made up of over 100 prominent faculty members from schools spanning all divisions of NYU. You may know about the recent Faculty Senate survey, where 2/3 of respondents were strongly opposed. Due to the ever increasing number of non-tenured faculty at NYU, many are afraid to come out against publicly. Many of us are also tenure-track. Despite this, many of us have voted in favor of departmental resolutions.

The main reservations expressed in one way or another in the departmental resolutions:
Financial risk
- possible tuition hikes (NYU's students are 6th most indebted in the nation among private universities, something that all of the faculty is deeply concerned about)
; lack of transparency regarding financing and intended use for the massive expansion
; lack of faculty and community input
; fear of jeopardizing. NYU's core mission
; the environmental impact; the quality of life impact which can undermine faculty retention and recruitment; and the disregard for our neighbors and the possible permanent rift with the community that this project as it now stands might provoke.

Apr. 26 2012 02:14 PM
John Beckman

A broad range of NYU faculty, deans, alumni, local businesses, not-for-profits, and individual citizens showed up to testify in support. A more balanced story would have noted that.

John Beckman
NYU Public Affairs

Apr. 26 2012 11:00 AM
Tom Gray from Greenwich Village

This is a one sided argument, many business owner showed up to support this plan as well as the Greenwich Village Chelsea Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber represents over 200 businesses in the area, and did a survy of an additional 110 businesses surrounding NYU outside of the Chamber membership. Listeners tune in to WNYC because we trust you to do your due diligence, and you have clearly failed to do so.

visit our website for more information on NYU 2031: http://www.villagechelsea.com/advocacy/nyu2031/

Tom Gray
Executive Director GVCCC

Apr. 26 2012 09:29 AM

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