Photo credit: @julesdwit.
A not-for-profit media organization supported by people like you.
NYU's proposed expansion plan
(Courtesy of NYU 2031)
Wall Street Journal real estate reporter Laura Kusisto talks about NYU's contentious expansion plans after approval from the City Planning Commission yesterday.
NYU is building this horrific plan on the backs of student debt. Many university presidents (particurally NYU and Columbia) are concerned about growing rather than about tuition costs and actual education. The pluses about NYU is that it is in the Village not the Village. If students and professors want to live on a traditional campus, there are hundreds of other alternatives. Why try to make NYU like every other university?????
I truly believe that if this plan is approved and the faculty don't stop this plan that NYU in big trouble if the student debt crisis hits while NYU is in the middle of spending billions of dollars. Think about it students/faculty will no longer have a real gym (Palladium is so small), half of NYU is in a contruction zone, professors want to transfer cause of the construction and lack of pay, and future students will have to pay record amounts to attend NYU when teaching becomes subpar. On top of it, who wants to attend a university full of highrises and underground classrooms.....
NYU's plan is not using just their own land. The NYU 2031 Plan is contingent on taking or buying for under market rate valuable public land. Public land that includes the Mercer Playground, the LaGuardia green strips, the community garden, the strip in front of the Coles Gym which includes a a playground/water park, sitting area and a dog run.
NYU taking open public land would also allow them to increase their floor-to-area ratio (FAR) square footage and to build bigger buildings.
According to a Community Board 2 (CB2) study, Greenwich Village is the second lowest in green, open space in Manhattan, after Midtown. The City should not be allowed to build on valuable public open, green, and recreational space.
Gail brings up another issue: NYU's traditionally rotten sense of building design, utterly divorced from a sense of or concern for the neighborhood. Frank Lloyd Wright would be aghast.
Bobst Library is a classic example: In a crowded city, it has an atrium bigger than 3 typical Village buildings, floored by a dizzying, jump-inducing Escher pattern ("Suicide Heaven," an utterly predictable result at a school; now the balconies have been covered by by an ugly 10' clear plastic wall). Bobst's red brick exterior might look fine as a "2001" structure dropped down by aliens in a vast desert expanse, but bordering a park in a historic area? Bleh. Even worse: in the winter it cuts off the sun from at least 1/6 of the park, all the way from W. 4th to Waverly, rendering the entire section dark, damp, cold and miserable.
I won't even go into the destruction of the Poe house, the overuse and abuse of setbacks, the subduction of the interiors of fragile historic buildings, "The Lightouse," etc.
I listened to this piece, beginning to end, about 2 hours ago.
It was much too short and didn't go into any real depth about critical issues, especially the environmental impact with more congestion, 20 year construction zone window, financial plan, the loss of green spaces and public/private land use issues in NYC.
And by the way, why are our public health, education and basic utilities being privatized and being supported by public funds with tax exemptions, tax free bonds and Government contracts and grants?
I live in Washington Sq. Village, I am not affiliated with NYU. I have lived here for 25 years. These "Super Blocks" are 3 city blocks wide by 1 city block long. The WSV Complex is a copy of a Le Corbusier designed complex in Paris. It is a perfect example of 50's design which encompasses 2 buildings, 16 stories hich divided by a garden and beautiful open space designed by the the famous Landscape Architect, Sasaki. The streets that frame this complex, Bleeker, West 3rd, LaGuardia Place, and Mercer are narrow and single laned. Traffic is at a standstill many times during the evenings. There appears to be no considerations made for handicapped access from the streets to the apartment buildings, or for emergency equipment to gain access. At the moment there are 2 narrow roads running through the complex. This is one of the most beautiful areas in the city. It will be ruined by the ugly new oversized "mounds" that are going to be built where the gardens are. There will be no light. Why don't they rebuild The Bobst Library also called "Suicide Heaven" which is disgrace to the city, with it's enormous empty 24 story atrium which is the size of two city blocks!
The LaGuardia Corner Gardens and the other greenspaces on the superblocks are on Department of Transportation land -- they are not NYU's. We are a 30-year-old community garden. What NYU proposes in the way of greenspace is a form of greenwashing -- stick a plant in a pot on a concrete surface -- in a neighborhood underserved by greenspace.Over 30 departments at NYU have adopted unanimous or near-unanimous resolutions against the NYU-Sexton plan, including the Stern School of Business and the Economics Department. See the website for New York University Faculty Against the Sexton Plan for corroboration. After much hard work and months of testimony, the Community Board unanimously rejected the plan. At that final meeting on the plan, over 100 community members testified against the plan, and more than 700 people attended. That was our Jane Jacobs moment. Unfortunately the City Planning Commission, which I attended, in which so many testified against the plan, turned out to be something of a charade an a done deal. The community has been speaking truth to power. Power has not listened.
Brian, a 20-year construction plan concentrated in the 2 mega-blocks would impose adverse health effects particularly on children, for whom twenty years is a full maturation cycle. NYU's EIS concludes that there would be no adverse health impacts, so the plan does not include preventive measures. Columbia University's plan does include obligatory requirements of contractors and sub-contractors to prevent negative health impacts. (See DNA's excellent piece.)
Ann Arlen 1989 - 2003 Chair of CB2 Manhattan's Environment & Public Health Committee
Doesn't NYC have regulations about how various neighborhoods look? Anything NYU builds would have to be in concert with it's surroundings.
Also, I believe they should renovate and restore their current buildings before building new ones. And they really should look into improving their financial aid and scholarship programs. In our current economic climate, how many people can afford NYU and how many are going to graduate with humongous debt hanging over their then-unemployed heads.
The "strips" along Mercer St and LaGuardia Placewere supposed to be always public space.The original blocks were taken by Robert Moses in slum clearanceand intended for his highway that was to connect 5thAve with lower Manhattan. When this plan was defeated and NYU got the landfor housing the Strips were promised to the community.
I grew up in the Village. NYU was always a bad neighbor. Indeed, it was those rich snotty NYU students that attracted all those drug dealers. What used to be a great neighborhood now has only NYU dopers, tourists, Wall Street creeps, drug dealers and bridge-and-tunnel types on the weekends.
why don't some astute administrators, planners and business people figure out a way to use the empty space at the WTC 2 and 3 sites. These are spaces that will almost certainly not be economically viable as office space for centuries into the future. NYU can go higher than they ever imagined on these sites developing the first truly high rise university. It would solve problems for the Port Authority and Silverstein not to mention what benefits the NYU community would bring to downtown. It's only a couple subway stops away.
Land NYU now owns was given to it years ago by Robert Moses after he used Urban Renewal to destroy the commercial neighborhood, exactly what Columbia is doing now.
All the hospitals and universities seem to have Board of Trustees dominated by real Estate developers who are turning the institutions into development entities. How much city will be left after their cumulative expansions and special "community benefits" given them under Planning and Zoning laws.
I've lived in the Village longer than Max--and for him to say NYU is responsible for cleaning up the park is nuts--who does he think pot sellers are selling to? NYU Students!
The Village is slightly better now, crime-wise--other than the massive number of student-targeted bars, is because of 1) he's thinking back to the famously awful late-seventies NYC, which has improved all over the city, and 2) the hard work of actual long-term village residents who actually have a stake in the neighborhood and actually DO SOMETHING.
NYU has swallowed Greenwich Village. They are an obnoxious neighbor and their 'efforts' to clean up Washington Sq or get rid of drug dealers have no benefit if there are no more stores, restaurants, apartments to frequent. Little by little public spaces, storefronts,, etc., are all disappearing, taken over by NYU establishments - not open to the general public. Lots of restaurants, cafes, stores that I used to frequent are now gone, there are fewer apartments, garage spaces and everything else that made it a community. Not to mention the mobs of students treating 'my' neighborhood like it's their private campus.
When is NYU going to be happy with their enrollment numbers? You can't keep expanding enrollment when you have physical space limitations. If they want to expand enrollment that much, you have to do it through satellite campuses.
About the NYU 2031: I am a professor at NYU and have lived off the east side of Washington Square Park for the 11 years I've been working there. During the ENTIRE time I've been living there, there has never been a time when there wasn't construction on my block and NYU seems to be able to override or ignore all bylaws about the time construction is allowed - frequently having overnight demolition and removal trucks running all night. The noise is so unbearable - and I'm single, I can't imagine what it's like for families. This plan really makes me wonder how much more I can take. AND, there are many people in my building who do not work at NYU.
One thing to remember about the Washington Square Park area is that the streets and sidewalks are MUCH narrower than many other parts of the city where you might find 26 story buildings. Where are all the people that stream out of these towers going to walk?
Also, regarding light, just the IM Pei towers and the new Trump Condo Hotel in Soho cast massive shadows across the village and Soho.
No one should kid themselves, buildings that large would be a major mistake.
Just because NYU has less space per student than other major universities does not ipso facto mean they NEED more space. Too many universities are embracing excess these days.
We all know NYU doesn't want to put up satellites, as their major draw for many students is that they're in the middle of Greenwich Village. But how much is too much for NYU? When will enough be enough?
Has anyone done a tally of how much NYU has of the Villages already? They already have the entire area surrounding Wash Sq. Park, save Judson Church.
When will NYU simply _be_ the Village, and NYU will put up a little façade somewhere marked "Greenwich Village?"
Is there anything of note that the city's three big private university presences — Cornell, Columbia, and NYU are all planning enormous, enormous building plans?
I second Robert.
If NYU really wants to be a NYC uni, let them "expand" in the outer boroughs taking over unused & underused speces. The farther away from Manhattan residential areas the better.
I say this as a former Manhattanite, now in Queens.
If they want super space, maybe Aqueduct race track and/or Belmont might be alternates as well as the Navy Yard, Bush terminal, etc.
It's time to stop NYU expansion. I am now surrounded by the school on all sides, N, S, E and W. The school is huge spanning from lower Manhattan up to midtown and if it continues it's expansion along with Columbia's expansion plans NYU will occupy lower Manhattan to upper midtown and Columbia upper Manhattan. And so Manhattan will consist of two huge universities, unwelcome ones at that, and a minority of residents probably the majority of whom will be students! STOP NYU NOW!!!
Email addresses are required but never displayed.
Brian Lehrer leads the conversation about what matters most now in local and national politics, our own communities and our lives.
Subscribe on iTunes
Brian Lehrer Weekend: Gay Talese; Nobel Peace Prize Winner Leymah Gbowee; Anne Lamott
WNYC 93.9 FM and AM 820 are New York's flagship public radio
stations, broadcasting the finest programs from NPR and PRI, as well as a wide range of award-winning local
programming. WNYC is a division of
New York Public Radio.