N.Y.U. Opponents Urge Stringer to Fight Expansion

IMG_3134Stephen Rex Brown Andrew Berman, the executive director of the Greenwich Village Society, opened the press conference today.

Around 90 opponents of N.Y.U.’s controversial expansion urged Borough President Scott Stringer to disapprove of the plan, reiterating their longstanding claims that it would overwhelm the neighborhood and destroy much-needed green space.

“This kind of development is character-defining in all the wrong ways,” said Simeon Bankoff, the executive director of the Historic Districts Council and one of over a dozen speakers at the rally this afternoon. “This plan will not build up this section of the Village, it will destroy it.”

IMG_3147Stephen Rex Brown Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer made an appearance.

N.Y.U. students and professors as well as speakers from preservationist organizations, community coalitions, block and tenant associations, and unions spoke at the gathering at City Hall. Mr. Stringer is expected to issue his recommendation regarding the plan, which calls for 2.5 million square feet of new development two blocks south of Washington Square Park, by April 12.

As the press conference was winding to a close, Mr. Stringer emerged from City Hall. “The role of the community is to make their demands loud and clear,” he said. “I have to look at every aspect of the project.”

He added, “We want the university not to overwhelm the community, but to coexist with them. That has to be a priority.”

Last month Community Board 2 voted unanimously to disapprove of the project dubbed N.Y.U. 2031. Following Stringer’s recommendation, the City Planning Commission and the City Council will vote on the project. Last week around 35 supporters of the project spoke at City Hall, touting the jobs and economic benefits that they said would accompany it.

“Strong universities are essential to the future of New York City. N.Y.U.’s growth strategy, which involves development of new academic facilities on land long owned by the University, will create thousands of jobs and increased economic opportunity for many New Yorkers and will enable N.Y.U. to continue to achieve academic excellence,” university spokesman John Beckman said.

Update | 4:12 p.m. Added comment from N.Y.U. spokesman John Beckman.