NYU Super Expansion 2031: Still time to weigh in to City Planning Commission Today

If you missed the City Planning Commission meeting in late April on NYU’s expansion plan “2031,” there’s still a chance to weigh in!

Friday May 4th Monday, May 7 is the deadline for the submission of all written testimony addressed to the City Planning Commission in response to the NYU administration’s ULURP request for its proposed expansion. The 15 committee members are listed here.

If you need some context for the issues, check out the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation sample letters, then add to it. Do it today!

Letters can be sent either by fax (212-720-3219); by email, to the committee Chair (aburden@planning.nyc.gov); or by mail (maybe drop it off at this point or send asap):

Department of City Planning, Attn: Amanda Burden, Chair
22 Reade Street, 6th floor, New York, NY 10007

The Villager had an interesting recap of the meeting. Planning Commission Chair Amanda Burden — who has not been overly discerning in her care of our city, and under Bloomberg’s authority, has overseen rezoning after rezoning of neighborhoods in our city (not with good effect) — asked in relation to the concept that the faculty needs to be located within the “super blocks” around Washington Square: “Why can’t they be anyplace else?”

Good question!

NYU Prez John Sexton has made the argument that the University faculty need to be a 10-15 minute walk from the “Washington Square campus” stating (as he always seems to do) that to stay competitive with other Universities, this is necessary. GVSHP has countered this with a document, “The MYTH of the ten minute walk from Washington Square”.

It states:

As becomes clear, most schools maintain campuses over distances the equivalent of those between Washington Square and the Financial District, and in many cases over considerably greater distances. Further, few if any of these campuses have the wealth of mass transit options that allow travel between Washington Square and a location like the Financial District to take as little as 5 to 10 minutes, and frequently require walking time of much more than 10-15 minutes, as NYU claims is essential.

NYU is also beyond resistant to moving further south and expanding more within the Financial District. We know that they overly market their connection to Washington Square – fine – but their flags are already everywhere. The institution is changing the neighborhood, no longer for the better, lending a transient quality, and, also as a landlord, raising rents and kicking out longstanding tenants.

So, write today!

* Previously at WSP Blog:

NYU’s “Marketing of Washington Square” Equals $$$

Surprise! Mayor Michael Bloomberg Expresses Support for NYU Massive Expansion in the Village – Will this Help or Hurt the University?

(Updated)

NY1 reports: Mayor Bloomberg Stands By NYU’s Greenwich Village Expansion Plans

Why does this feel like term limits all over again? The daily papers all supporting an unsustainable and undesired position completely opposite the wishes of most New Yorkers. The billionaire Mayor on the wrong side. Again. And then, all his city agencies – in this case, the Planning Commission and City Council – will inevitably just fall in line. It’s clear that Bloomberg had already expressed behind the scenes his support of the plan. Mike is always in favor of anything that benefits the developers and corporations. And we know that NYU President John Sexton jumped down to City Hall to support granting no limit of Bloomberg’s term in his up-is-down testimony. As I wrote at the time, “More Bloomberg. More NYU.”

It’s sort of horrifying – if it wasn’t so real.

Hopefully, things can be learned by those issues on which Bloomberg has not “won.” Can someone remind me what those are? I know there have been a few. Westside Stadium, for one. Others? (And when I say “won,” Bloomberg hasn’t really “won” on any of these issues, as much as subverted the democratic process and bought influence somehow – it’s never a “fair” fight.)

Previously at WSP Blog:

* The Blanding of New York City: Why It’s Time for Mayor Mike to Go

* Why Mayor Bloomberg Wants Redesign of Washington Square Park

NYU And Washington Square “Core” Area Expansion

Continued… Some refreshers on NYU’s Expansion Plan 2031 — Recycled Entry * Originally Published March 11, 2011

From Crain’s NY Business, March 4th, NYU Wants to Polish Its Silver Towers:

New York University is preparing to present landscaping plans for the landmarked Silver Towers block in Greenwich Village to Community Board 2 on Monday [3/7]. The improvements are part of the school’s ambitious 2031 expansion plans. The school officially filed the plans with the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission on Thursday [3/3].  …

NYU’s plans to add 6 million square feet of space over the course of the next 25 years, half of which will be in Greenwich Village and areas surrounding Washington Square Park, has generated criticism from the Greenwich Village community, who believe that the school is altering the character of the neighborhood.

NYU on Washington Square (the area it considers its “core”) from its 2031 Plan website:

At its heart, NYU 2031 recognizes the primacy of the University’s central location at Washington Square. It’s home there is fundamental to NYU’s identity and mission.

(I couldn’t help but notice this really simple grammatical error in the University’s second sentence.)

Mayor Michael Bloomberg from NYU site:

It’s very hard to differentiate where New York University stops and New York City starts.

Well, that’s certainly true. No wonder NYU President John Sexton was so quick to advocate for Bloomberg’s third term.

March 11, 2011
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Previous WSP Blog Post: NYU’s “Marketing of Washington Square” Equals $$

Photo: Buck Ennis

NYU Proposed Expansion Plan 2031 — Is the Fix ‘In’ With the Bloomberg Administration?

I’m posting previous WSP Blog entries as refreshers on NYU and President John Sexton’s “vision” for the University’s Expansion Plan 2031. It’s a very critical time right now.

It raises the question — is the ‘fix’ in with the Bloomberg Administration? Given this Admin’s history over the last seemingly gazillion years (will his term ever end?), that would not be much of a surprise.

If so, how to stop it?

If her statements at the Community Meeting on NYU Plan 2031 earlier this month were any indication, Council Member Margaret Chin likely does not have the strength to stand up to Bloomberg and Council Member Quinn who will put pressure on her to go along with it.

More at WSP Blog on NYU here.

On NYU’s Proposed Continued Expansion Throughout the Village

* Series On NYU’s Proposed Expansion Plan 2031 * 

Recycled Entry * Originally Published March 26, 2010 (edited version)

With news of N.Y.U.’s proposed plan to expand their New York City campus by 40%, this photo shows us what the view through the Arch would be like if there was no building at 58 Washington Square South (which NYU acquired and plans to make 6-7 stories – it was previously two – next to Kimmel Center) – right now, you can actually see through to West 3rd Street!

Speaking to the New York Times about the proposed expansion, New York University President John Sexton (reached in Qatar, near N.Y.U.’s new Abu Dhabi campus) responds as if he is new to the scene. He states, “It’s clear that N.Y.U. had a history of moving forward without listening.”

Just how long has John Sexton been President of N.Y.U.? Since 2001. Though a lot happened in previous years, still, a lot of that “moving forward without listening” occurred on his watch.

The paper informs us:

Between 1991 and 2001, the number of students living in N.Y.U. housing tripled to 12,000, from 4,000, as the university raised its national profile. (In the early ’90s, 50 percent of its students came from the metropolitan area; now that figure has declined to 10 to 15 percent.) By 2031, N.Y.U. expects its total student body to grow to 46,500 students, up from the current 41,000.

Further, The Times reports: “In its Washington Square neighborhood, the university will be creating the equivalent in square footage of a little more than the total floor area of the Empire State Building.”

Mr. Sexton, who alarmed me when I heard his perplexing speech in support of Mayor Bloomberg’s quest to overturn voted-in term limits (as I wrote at the time: “More Bloomberg. More NYU.”), stated: “For New York to be a great city, we need N.Y.U. to be a great university.”

Actually, I’m sure many would argue in order for New York to be a “great city,” we need a bit less N.Y.U., at least less N.Y.U., in the fashion it currently operates.

Fewer N.Y.U. flags planted amidst every inch of our communities and neighborhoods. And historic spaces like the Edgar Allen Poe House and Provincetown Playhouse as well as cultural spots which added to the vibrancy of the neighborhood like The Bottom Line preserved – not demolished – by the overreaching arm of N.Y.U. expansion.

Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, stated: “N.Y.U. seems to have worked on their P.R. machine quite a bit, but the reality of what they’re doing — which is taking over more and more of the neighborhood — doesn’t seem like it’s changed very much. They’ve given everybody the opportunity to say what they think and then they’ve largely ignored that feedback.

March 26, 2010 (edited)

Previous WSP Blog Posts:

* Isn’t there anyone who can outbid or outmaneuver NYU? 58 Washington Sq South Goes to the Dark Side

* NYU: “Thanks for your patience”; the University Continues Its Unregulated Building, Ignoring Community Agreements on Provincetown Playhouse

Photos: Cathryn

Community Meeting on NYU Plan 2031 Tonight Wednesday, Jan. 4th, 6:30 p.m.

NYU’s 2031 plan certainly impacts the area around Washington Square Park.

From the flyer for tonight’s town hall meeting sponsored by Community Board 2, Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, Community Action Alliance on NYU 2031, and a number of local Greenwich Village Block Associations:

NYU is seeking City approvals to add 2.5 million square feet of space – the equivalent of the Empire State Building! – to the blocks south of Washington Square Park!

One aspect I’ll be reporting more on in the future is the Sasaki Garden at Washington Square Village. For more information, see this recent post at the Local Ecologist Blog: Endangered Sasaki Garden.

A meeting addressing the overall plan will be held tonight, Wednesday, January 4th, at 6:30 pm at the AIA – Center for Architecture, 536 LaGuardia Place between Bleecker and W. 3rd St..

From the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation:

With the new year upon us, it’s time to gear up for the seven-month public hearing and approval process for NYU’s massive and precedent-setting twenty-year expansion plan (see images and more info HERE).  Either we stop the plan now, or we live with it and its consequences forever.

To get organized and informed, and to start letting decision-makers know you want them to vote AGAINST the plan, come to the Town Hall meeting this Wednesday at 6:30 pm at the AIA, 536 LaGuardia Place (Bleecker/W. 3rd St.).  More than fifty community groups from the Village, East Village, SoHo, Chelsea, and Union Square are co-sponsoring the meeting.  Please post and circulate the flyer HERE.

Times and locations have now been set for the following Community Board #2 public hearings on the NYU plan (CB 2 will vote on the plan in February based upon January’s public hearings – this is the first official step in the public review and approval process).

  • Monday, January 9th, 6:00 pm, CB 2 Zoning Committee, AIA 536 LaGuardia Place (Bleecker/W. 3rd).  NYU will present its plans; the Zoning Committee will make recommendations to CB 2 regarding the zoning changes NYU is seeking to allow its plan to move ahead.  A STRONG TURNOUT AT THIS MEETING IS CRITICAL!  (Note: NYU is the second item on the agenda for this meeting.)
  • Thursday, January 12th, 6:30 pm, CB 2 Parks Committee, NYU Silver Bldg., 32 Waverly Pl. (Wash. Sq. E.), rm. 713.  The Parks Committee will review NYU’s proposals to take over and build upon open space and green space and make recommendations to the CB 2.  A STRONG TURNOUT AT THIS MEETING IS CRITICAL!
  • There will also be hearings on the traffic impacts of NYU’s plan on Tuesday, Jan. 10 at 6:30 pm at the NYU Silver Bldg., 32 Waverly Pl. (Wash. Sq. E.), rm. 520, on its impact upon schools and social services on Tuesday, Jan. 17 at 6:30 pm at Judson Church Meeting room, 55 Wash. Sq. So. (Thompson St.) (note: NYU is the second item on the agenda at this meeting)
  • and on its environmental impacts on Wednesday, Jan. 18 at 6:30 pm at the Tony Dapolito Rec. Ctr., 1 Clarkson St. (Carmine/7th Av. So.).

NYS DEC, Mama Hawk Violet’s Rescue and Remembering Hal the Central Park Coyote

Does anyone remember Hal the coyote who was living freely for awhile in Central Park, evading capture, before finally being caught, and dying at the hands of the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation when they handled his “tagging” vs. leaving this task in the hands of experienced wildlife rehabilitators? Instead, politics and ego got in the way. This feisty, healthy creature was dead at 1 year old while “being tagged for release.” What I heard, the back story, was that the person who insisted on handling this, handled Hal incorrectly and this amazing coyote died. The tag is the coyote equivalent of a band which is what is causing Mama hawk Violet’s leg to swell. The tagging and the banding go on.

There is great concern about the decision by NYU to have the DEC handle beautiful mama red-tailed hawk, Violet vs. the Horvaths, certified wildlife rehabilitators. Yes, their plan to capture Violet sounded risky but no less risky than now deciding that Violet may not return to her nest at all? According to the New York Times City Room Blog, the DEC is working on this today, perhaps as I write this.

When Bobby and Violet set up their nest outside NYU President John Sexton’s office (what are the chances?), I worried about the University and Sexton’s involvement but it seemed fine – up until this point. I am concerned they were not able to think through this particular situation clearly; calling in the DEC indicates this. (I did, after all, witness John Sexton’s up-is-down speech in support of Mayor Bloomberg and abolishing voted-in term limits.)

Violet and Bobby, the new neighborhood red-tailed hawks and their baby, have taken the place of the Washington Square Arch on NYU’s home page – temporarily, of course.

I don’t believe animals and wildlife should be banded unless a true argument was made on an individual basis. It was a band placed on Violet’s leg that constricted it, causing it to swell and why she may now need attention and intervention. Humans decide that these bands placed by “researchers” are not bothering the animal. How do they know? At Prospect Park, some of the Canada Geese, before all of them were killed at the hands of the city, had big yellow bands placed around their necks with numbers on them, I presume, by the DEC. How do we know this is not bothersome, does not affect them in some way as they go about their lives?

Can we at least learn from Hal and not cause other suffering and death and let nature be?

Hawks’ Nest Across from the Park: Violet & Bobby Update

Bobby in the nest with Washington Square Park beneath

4/26 – people are keeping watch. eggs are about to hatch!

The New York Times is updating regularly (almost incredibly so) about the two hawks – named “Bobby and Violet” – and their nest across from Washington Square Park as the hatching of the 3 eggs is awaited.

The hawks set up their nest right outside NYU President John Sexton’s office (what are the chances?) at the Bobst Library on Washington Square South who certainly turned it into a publicity opportunity – video, Twitter account @NYUredtailhawks, and all.

The Latest On Violet & Bobby at the New York Times.

Previous WSP Blog Post: Hawks Set Up Nest Around the Park — “Violet & Bobby” VideoCam Watch

Photo: Christopher James/NYU

Hawks Set up Nest around the Park — “Violet & Bobby” VideoCam Watch

In late January, I wrote about the hawks looking to set up a nest near the Park. Well, they’ve found a location! Right outside NYU President John Sexton’s office. NYU has set up a videocam to watch the hawks and the hatching process.

The New York Times has the story, Watching Bobby and Violet:

Its stars are Violet (named for one of the university’s colors) and her mate, Bobby (named for Bobst Library, atop which Dr. Sexton’s office sits). And in a few weeks, if all goes well, their hatchlings.

You can see live Video Cam here. It’s awfully cute to watch even when nothing seemingly is happening.

* Previous WSP Blog Post: Washington Square Hawks Attempt New Nest in Nabe

Photo: Christopher James/NYU

NYU And Washington Square “Core” Area Expansion; Latest Plans Filed With Landmarks Preservation Commission; Public Hearing Tonight

From Crain’s NY Business, March 4th, NYU Wants to Polish Its Silver Towers:

New York University is preparing to present landscaping plans for the landmarked Silver Towers block in Greenwich Village to Community Board 2 on Monday [3/7]. The improvements are part of the school’s ambitious 2031 expansion plans. The school officially filed the plans with the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission on Thursday [3/3].  …

NYU’s plans to add 6 million square feet of space over the course of the next 25 years, half of which will be in Greenwich Village and areas surrounding Washington Square Park, has generated criticism from the Greenwich Village community, who believe that the school is altering the character of the neighborhood.

NYU on Washington Square (the area it considers its “core”) from its 2031 Plan website:

At its heart, NYU 2031 recognizes the primacy of the University’s central location at Washington Square. It’s home there is fundamental to NYU’s identity and mission.

(I couldn’t help but notice this really simple grammatical error in the University’s second sentence.)

Mayor Michael Bloomberg from NYU site:

It’s very hard to differentiate where New York University stops and New York City starts.

Well, that’s certainly true. No wonder NYU President John Sexton was so quick to advocate for Bloomberg’s third term.
___________________________________________________________

Previous WSP Blog Post: NYU’s “Marketing of Washington Square” Equals $$

Community Board 2 Landmarks Committee Public Hearing Monday, March 7th, 6:30 PM addressing NYU’s Proposal to LPC regarding University Village Site Modifications

Location: NYU Silver Building, 32 Waverly Place, off Washington Square East, Room 20

Other March CB2 Meetings on NYU 2031 Plan here.

Photo: Buck Ennis