Can NYU – ever – recover from this latest debacle of forcing its over-expansion plans onto Greenwich Village?
New York University, already facing a public relations image problem among informed New Yorkers (for good reason), could have done something over the years to make up for all their previous architectural blunders and continually subsuming the Village. The University might have made some concessions along the way with regards to the “NYU 2031” Expansion Plan. But they’ve only dug in their heels. In statements to the press, spokespeople have gone to great lengths to overly communicate: We will prevail!
Has it been worth it?
From Henry James to Current Time: NYU’s sad precedent
Poor Henry James came back from Europe in the early 1900s to find his childhood home demolished by NYU. But isn’t it time for a change?
Time for the University to work with the community instead of against it — the attitude that they know better and are really (truly) doing us a favor. Ignoring the byproducts of decades of more and more NYU:
Forcing transient neighbors on the East and West Village, upping rents, demolishing historic, refined buildings to then build more-than-questionable architecture, burdening their students with tremendous student debt, it goes on.
In 2008, NYU President John Sexton (now on his way out – as of next year) came before the New York City Council at the time of the term limits hearing to argue in favor of additional years of Mike Bloomberg. I wrote at the time: More Bloomberg, More NYU. This was before NYU 2031 was announced — but was a bit prescient. How true it was.
Council Member Margaret Chin did not have the Community’s “Back”
And what about Council Member Margaret Chin? She seems to have evaded public criticism along the way. I can’t help wondering what her predecessor Alan Gerson would have done. Granted, the pressure from the Bloomberg Administration – to go along with the expansion plan (first announced in 2010) must have been intense. But still –
When neighbors held community organizing meetings in 2012 calling for a scale back of the plan, she was incredibly vague and would only say publicly, “If you [the community] have my back, I have yours.” Clearly, she did not have anyone’s “back” – but her own.
In the vote to approve, the City Council followed her lead — yet her role has barely been addressed.
Only one City Council member voted against the plan: Charles Barron.
Time for a De-Briefing, Rally and Coming Together – Tuesday, September 1st Washington Square Park
After the most recent court decision, I had been feeling that everyone needed to meet and have almost a de-briefing on the latest twist. A coming together – in one room. (Other than the comment sections at The Villager, DNAinfo, Crain’s and Curbed.)
And now there is! At Washington Square Park, where else? (Woefully, under utilized in this fight along the way, I will note.)
Tuesday, September 1st 4 p.m. at Garibaldi Plaza
From the organizers:
On Sept. 1, in Washington Square Park, an unprecedented coalition will stage a rally/march against the ruinous financial policies and practices at NYU, Cooper Union and the New School. Students, faculty and staff at those three famous downtown schools will join the people of the Village, and representatives of several labor unions, to protest the elite financial schemes now threatening the survival of those schools and their historic neighborhoods.
The rally will begin at 4:00 p.m., on Tuesday, Sept. 1, in Washington Square Park’s Garibaldi Plaza and will climax in a march to Coles Sports Center —now slated to be closed this fall, and torn down soon thereafter. Speakers will address a range of issues, including the destruction of our city’s open spaces (4 Greenwich Village parks are slated to be crushed to make way for NYU’s massive, unwanted, multi-billion dollar expansion), student debt, and the overall corruption of this and countless other universities. Members of the internationally acclaimed show STOMP will lend their support by performing at the rally.
It’s not over until its over.
p.s. I came across this Daily Kos article which is quite interesting —