Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Why the East Village should fear NYU 2031

The battle over NYU 2031 heats up starting tonight ... The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation (GVSHP), the Community Action Alliance on NYU 2031, Greenwich Village Block Associations, the Bowery Alliance of Neighbors and more than a dozen community groups from the area are sponsoring a Town Hall tonight on the NYU expansion plan.

The meeting is at 6:30 p.m. at the AIA Center for Architecture, 536 Laguardia Place (Bleecker/West 3rd Street).

Anyway, as NYU is moving ahead with certifications and approvals for its NYU 2031 expansion plan, Community Board 2 is holding five public hearings on NYU 2031-related topics on Jan. 9, 10, 12, 17 and 18. (Find out more details on these meetings here; The Villager has an article on all this here.)

NYU is seeking zoning approvals for two superblocks south of Washington Square Park that will create four new buildings in order to add more academic space. You can read about NYU's plans via its NYU 2031 site here.

GVSHP released these renderings that offer comparative views of NYU's proposed new buildings in relation to the existing structures between West Third Street and Houston Street.

"NYU is asking for an unprecedented package of city approvals to undo long-standing neighborhood zoning protections, remove open space preservation requirements, lift urban renewal deed restrictions and take public land used as parks," Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, told us via email. "This would allow them to add 2.5 million square feet of space — the equivalent of the Empire State Building — to the blocks south of Washington Square Park."

We asked Berman why this should be of concern to East Village residents.

"NYU's ever-growing presence in the Village has long had a disproportionate impact on the East Village; it's where NYU students go to live off campus, to party on weekends (and weeknights) and grab some fast food. The type of growth NYU is projecting, even if it were only limited to the blocks south of Washington Square, would still greatly accelerate the transformation of the East Village we've seen in recent years.

"But there is no reason to believe that NYU's growth will be limited to these blocks if they get the approvals they seek. Nothing in the requested approvals limits NYU's ability to acquire property, build, or demolish anywhere else, and as long as they are growing in the Central Village, they will likely seek other locations nearby for additional facilities, just as they have for the past several decades.

The way Berman sees it, the impact of the precedents set by these approvals is much more likely to be felt in the East Village.

"If NYU convinces the City that the zoning protections, open space requirements and urban renewal deed restrictions under which these superblocks were developed are ripe for the undoing ... then it is neighborhoods like the East Village and Lower East Side which present the most opportunities for the kind of overbuilding and overdevelopment which could follow from that profound change in city planning and philosophy," he said.


Lindsay said...

Oh, yikes!!! When will it end? The most frightening thing is their growth just doesn't seem to stop. When will it be enough for them?

Anonymous said...

I've never been to a community board meeting before but this plan of NYU's is so outrageous, I'm planning on going to protest this!!!

nygrump said...

NYU is a parasite. They don't even register their buses in NY, they a registered in NJ, so every NY taxpayer is subsidizing NYU. They should move back uptown where their little sheep'n'wolf farm can have all the space it needs.

Anonymous said...

NYU's appetite for relentless growth is repulsive. Greedy, careerist baby boomers who have sold themselves a load of nonsense in order to justify their eagerness to profit from academia and to squeeze every drop of revenue out of it. There is no good reason why a school should relentlessly expand; there appear to be, however, innumerable self-serving, pathetically greedy reasons why the people who run NYU believe it must. I am referring not to the professors but to the administrators and other professional parasites who are driving this relentless expansion. If none of them are capable of questioning the wisdom of it I think we must attribute that to craven greed and a sheeplike desire to go along with their peers, not to a well-thought out vision of what their school should be.

blue glass said...

the impact of nyu is on the stores catering to students (see trader joes for food and k-art for dorm furniture).
they do not provide goods and services for neighborhoods or families. it is strictly college goods.
they are open late or 24 hours, they are loud, their prices are not inexpensive and their discounts are for students only, transportation is provided by nyu buses.
there will be more bars and clubs that do not care about the age of their loud and drunk clients. nor about their safety.
nyu (and the other colleges) are rapidly moving into becoming a city unto itself while they speak of neighborhood preservation and integration.
and as a non-profit they have fewer rules to protect existing residents and facilities.
watch out folks.

Anonymous said...

I can't describe how strongly I dislike *everything* about NYU.

Anonymous said...

I can only imagine the dirty wierdos that will be at this meeting. LET'S GO NYU !!!

blue glass said...

excuse me anonymous 12:38
i hope you are joking
this is not entertainment
and the folks that lie here are not dirty weirdos
i prefer to think you are making a bad joke and do not have a sense of humor

glamma said...

the horror....
there is no one group i hold more singly responsible for destroying the integrity of the village.. not even the tourists.

Joe said...

Education! Young People! New Building! Oh the humanity. get a grip people

JAZ said...

Why does NYU need to constantly grow larger?

Why is their desire to swallow up infinite land on an island of finite space winning out over the needs and best interests of the the vast majority?

Crazy Eddie said...

"Education! Young People! New Building! Oh the humanity. get a grip people:

Yes, "It became necessary to destroy the village in order to save it."


Die Violets, die!

Enkyo said...

The problem is density: too many people, too many buildings, loss of air and sun around existing spaces.
And loss of important green space, a quiet corridor of trees and fresh air that circulates from Mercer to La Guardia. This entombing of what little non-concrete and steel spaces would deaden, truly deaden this part of downtown. Imagine no air, no sun, no green. How can the NYU 'guardians' tolerate their own actions?

Crazy Eddie said...

Sorry, the only good thing about NYU. As Woody Allen (NYU dropout) once said in his script for “Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* (*But Were Afraid to Ask)”:
The Girl: For me, Norman Mailer has exactly that same sort of relevance - that affirmative, negative duality that only Proust or Flaubert could achieve.
The Operator: I don't know if we're gonna make it or not, doesn't look too good.
The Girl: I'm a graduate of New York University.
The Operator: We're gonna make it.
On a serious note, must reading, from New York Magazine: “The School That Ate New York”.

Anonymous said...

Lots of babies on here. Relax. It's just buildings and students. You people are like a conservative horde living in the past. Go cry at the meeting like grown children. Or better yet, move to a neighborhood that suits your very particular taste for store mix (no chain stores, ever, close every day at 5pm, no bars, ever), building type, (all shitty five story walk-ups with apartments that are subsidized by others with rents much much lower than their costs), and people (everyone just the same as you, or at least a genuine weirdo, not a new school fake weirdo). Get a grip. Use the head, or at least try.

TyN said...

It's quite clear that Anonymous above doesn't get it. He is not from here and most likely works in real estate or finance.

Crazy Eddie said...

@TyN-I’m in total agreement. As per his comments, the two usual suspects of a real estate/financial services troll.

“Or better yet, move to a neighborhood”

Hey DB, lover of cheap glass Yunnie condos and chain stores, why don't you move back to where you came from?

“all shitty five story walk-ups with apartments that are subsidized by others with rents much much lower than their costs”

The usual real estate industry jab against the rent stabilization laws. Like the British Empire BM for India, turn the tenants of a building against each other.

MadMax said...

Anonymous at 8:02am has good reason to be anonymous. First, clearly a troll. Second, a pimple-faced NYU undergrad troll.

Eventually even Anonymous will be a middle-aged fart, but Anonymous can't think past the next kegger to ponder the future. Do try, Anonymous - use your head, or at least try.

rob said...

If NYU doesn't build in its own campus, it will build somewhere else. It would be nice if they'd build in the financial district, but they may prefer to build closer, like the East Village. The recent EV rezoning limits the opportunities here, but not everywhere in the district. The Bowery is completely open, and there are bulk allowances on Houston Street and even Avenue D.

The opposition to this plan lacks a solution for NYU. No one has brokered an alternate plan for the university. So far the opposition has pointed to the financial district, but no specific locations have been identified and no money or incentives yet. If this plan is defeated, it'll be great for Community District 2, since most of CD2 is landmarked and can't be developed. That leaves Community District 3 open in several places.

NYU expands because, unlike Columbia which has a huge endowment, NYU, with a much smaller endowment, relies on tuition. So it is unlikely that NYU will give up its desire to expand.

So I feel that the current opposition to NYU is just another cat for this particular mousehole. If the residents of the East Village want to curtail NYU's encroachment, then the leadership of this neighborhood has got to go up much higher -- to the mayor and the state legislature (the state gives huge sums to private universities and has great leverage with them) to broker a deal for NYU that takes it away from us, but which also satisfies NYU's needs.

Alternatively, the East Village could recognize that NYU is its future, and leave it to them. The commerce in the EV already bears its stamp. What's left here is the affordable housing, but that's worth fighting for regardless who else lives here.