NYU: If someone is going to eat up and destroy neighborhoods, it might as well be us

Downtown Manhattan, NYU Flags Abound
Downtown Manhattan, NYU Flags Abound

New York magazine covers NYU in their Real Estate section this week with a piece entitled “NYU’s Olive Branch.” Subtitled: “The school wants to expand – and says it’ll be a better neighbor. Good luck, guys.” With no mention of the pending destruction of the Provincetown Playhouse or any outline of NYU’s history of disregard for its West and East Village neighbors as it plants its flags seemingly everywhere, the article feels incomplete.

Yet the writer, S. Jhoanna Robledo, does get some choice quotes and information from Alicia Hurley, NYU’s vice president of government affairs and community engagement. (Gotta love that title.) She says, “We finally realized we were on an unsustainable track. We decided we [had] to restructure and invite the community to the table.”

In February, NYU “unveiled its plan for 6 million square feet of new space, half of it housing” for their 23 year plan, Plan 2031.

The university’s plan is to add of much of this in downtown Manhattan – for the convenience of its students and faculty. A faculty member is quoted: “It’s a huge lure – Greenwich Village, subsidized rental. If I wasn’t employed by them, I’d feel like NYU is a huge monster eating up the best neighborhood.”

As recently as June, NYU announced plans to destroy basically all of the Provincetown Playhouse and adjoining buildings, except for four walls and the theater entry facade, despite overwhelming community opposition. So where’s the sustainability?

Ultimately revealed is NYU‘s true position on the subject: If someone is going to gobble up the neighborhood, why shouldn’t it be them? Hurley says, “What would be around Washington Square Park if it wasn’t NYU? Do you think it would be a soft, gentle area of brownstones? Or high-end condos?”


New York Magazine article here.

NYU’s Plan 2031.

Previous coverage of Provincetown Playhouse (including its history) and Community Board 2 vote in support of NYU’s plans despite overwhelming community opposition.

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2 thoughts on “NYU: If someone is going to eat up and destroy neighborhoods, it might as well be us”

  1. I just received a letter from NYU asking me to give money to the school. I am going to return the request with the following note: “Until NYU reconsiders the universities impact on Manhattan neighborhoods, I will be withholding all donations.”


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