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Nine-Story Dorm Bound for 35 Cooper, But Whose Is It?

35 Cooper Square From Feb. 2011 to May 2011Claire Glass and Stephen Rex Brown The demolition of 35 Cooper last year.

So, what university is behind the dormitory planned for 35 Cooper Square?

EV Grieve first spotted the plans, filed with the Department of Buildings yesterday, which call for over 30,000 square feet of student housing.

But which students will stay there?

“Not N.Y.U.’s,” wrote university spokesman John Beckman of the dorm.

“We already have a dorm on Third Avenue,” said Jolene Travis, spokeswoman for Cooper Union.

“We’re already building a dorm on Fifth Avenue,” said Sam Biederman, a spokesman for The New School. Read more…

Action Near Astor: As Building Goes Up, Another Business Bites the Dust

IMG_0080Melvin Felix New signage at the site of 51 Astor Place.

A little over two weeks ago The Local gave an overhaul update on the many changes underway at Astor Place and Cooper Square. It’s already time to check in again.

Norman's Sound & Vision closedMelvin Felix Another record store has shuttered.

A spokesman for Edward J. Minskoff Equities, the developer of 51 Astor Place, said that an announcement regarding tenants in the 12-story office building will be made within the next 45 days. The spokesman also confirmed that “a significant portion” of companies considering moving into the building are in the technology industry, as has been previously reported. The black glass tower is expected to open in spring of next year, as new signage at the construction site indicates. Read more…

N.Y.U. 2031 Bashed, Cooper Union Petitioned

The conflicts over the future of two of the city’s most revered academic institutions rage on. Over in Greenwich Village, add Bloomberg’s architecture critic to the list of people not fond of N.Y.U.’s expansion plans. “For a while I thought these expressionless shapes were simply cartoon placeholders for real buildings that could be developed with a great deal more sensitivity,” reads the hard-hitting review. And over at Cooper Union, students have begun a petition drive in support of an alternative plan, dubbed “The Way Forward,” that suggests ways to raise revenue without charging students tuition.

Massive May Day March Ends Where Occupy Wall Street Began

Photos: Tim Schreier

A May Day march from Union Square to Wall Street, which some estimated to be over 30,000 people strong, ended with hundreds of participants gathering at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Plaza near Battery Park, and then at Zuccotti Park after they were pushed out of the plaza by police.

The permitted march, which began after Tom Morello and members of his “guitarmy” performed at Union Square, stretched many blocks down Broadway and was both leisurely and boisterous. There was, however, the occasional scuffle: as The Local previously reported, bystanders booed and chanted “Shame!” as a photographer was arrested for climbing atop a food cart to take bird’s-eye photos. The police estimated that there were “above 30” arrests throughout the day, but were not able to give an exact number as of 2 a.m. Read more…

An Alternative to Tuition at Cooper Union

Students and faculty opposed to Cooper Union charging tuition for the first time in 110 years have released a detailed 32-page document dubbed “The Way Forward” that proposes a variety of methods to get the cash-strapped institution out of debt. “We would like to propose here that to consider introducing tuition is to consider selling out Cooper’s most precious asset: its ethos of equality and equity. There are alternatives,” it reads. The document’s release comes only hours before a “community summit” regarding the future of Cooper Union, which university president Jamshed Bharucha is expected to attend. Given yesterday’s protests, the meeting could get interesting.

‘Epic’ Standoff Between Cooper Union Student and Police [Updated With Photos of Arrest]

Photos: Tim Schreier

The Cooper Union student who climbed atop the Peter Cooper monument earlier today is still there, and has attracted the attention of a couple dozen police officers who have placed a ladder against the monument and are telling him to get down. “I’m just trying to bring attention to a cause,” he said while holding a sign reading “No Tuition It’s Our Mission.” The student assured officers, “I’ll come down eventually” as his fellow students cheered from a balcony of the school’s Great Hall. The police have taped off the area in front of the hall facing the statue and have told crowds to stand back. One bystander yelled his support to the student: “Epic scene, dude!” We’ll update as the situation unfolds.

Update | 6:48 p.m. Jesse Kreuzer, a 23-year-old graduate of the school, has now been taken into custody. He voluntarily stepped into a police cherry picker around 6:44 p.m. The Local spoke to Mr. Kreuzer via cell phone just minutes before he was taken by police. He told us he had reached the top of the monument by scaling the bronze statue of Peter Cooper. There, he shuffled to music while wearing headphones and made telephone calls as police officers told him to come down and students occasionally erupted in applause. Mr. Kreuzer told us that he was making the stand because he very much appreciated the free education he got at Cooper Union and wanted others to experience the same. He said he had never been arrested before.

Cooper Union Students Protest Tuition and Debt

Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.Lauren Carol Smith

Cooper Union students outraged at the university president’s decision to charge tuition to graduate students are staging a walk-out of classes that coincides with nationwide protests of the country’s massive student debt.

At around 4 p.m., students from Cooper Union will march to Union Square and join others from N.Y.U., CUNY, the New School and other nearby universities who are commemorating today’s milestone of $1 trillion in student debt.

Just before noon today around 30 students were mingling in Cooper Square, occasionally chanting “No tuition is our mission” and “Hey hey, ho ho, student debt has got to go,” and snacking on fresh veggies and bread. Read more…

Students Dismayed That Cooper Union Will Charge Graduate Tuition

"The Cooper Union"Kevin Farley

Opponents of tuition charges at Cooper Union are voicing disappointment at the school’s decision to begin asking tuition of graduate students. The move comes just days before a meeting in which students and faculty members will unveil their own strategies to bring solvency to the financially strapped school.

As The Times reported, Jamshed Bharucha, the school’s president, announced today that starting next year, graduate students will have to pay tuition fees currently covered by scholarships. Undergraduates enrolled for this fall and next year, he assured, will not be charged tuition, as some had feared would happen.

Alan Lundgard, the student council president who recently convinced media outlets that Cooper Union had sold its new academic building to NYU, welcomed the news that undergraduates were off the hook for the time being, but worried that they might be charged tuition in the future. “It’s a step in the right direction,” he told The Local, “but one step in the right direction and a step in the wrong direction don’t really get us anywhere.” Read more…

Barney Rosset Memorial Set for May 9

Barney RossetArne Svenson Barney Rosset in 1986.

The family of late publishing legend Barney Rosset, who died in February at the age of 89, has planned a public memorial for next month.

A representative of Grove/Atlantic – the parent company of Grove Press, which Mr. Rosset sold in 1986 – told The Local that the memorial, organized by the publisher’s wife Astrid Myers along with his four children and described as “a celebration of his life and work,” will take place at the Great Hall at Cooper Union, a short walk from the literary iconoclast’s loft near Cooper Square. Read more…

Prankster Who Got Bloggers to Report Ludicrous N.Y.U. Rumor Speaks

"The Cooper Union"Kevin Farley A fake letter reported that Cooper Union had leased its new building to N.Y.U.

The student behind the hoax that duped Gothamist and EV Grieve into writing that Cooper Union had leased its gleaming new building to N.Y.U. told The Local that he pulled the prank out of frustration that the university had not yet pledged to remain a tuition-free institution.

The fake letter from Cooper Union President Jamshed Bharucha described 41 Cooper Square as “a reminder of past ill-planning and fiduciary neglect,” and said that the top administrator would leave his home on Stuyvesant Street for academic housing on Third Avenue as a cost-cutting measure.

Alan Lundgard, the 23-year-old student council president of the school of art who wrote the letter and designed the site where it appeared, told The Local, “The community feels they’ve been excluded from the decision-making processes at a time when it’s so crucial to have input from the community.” Read more…

Google Goggles Stalk the Neighborhood

Locals grumpy about smartphone zombies have something new to grumble about. Today Google unveiled its futuristic Google Goggles, which stream information on the lenses of a pair of high-tech glasses. A video highlighting the mind-boggling — and mildly creepy, perhaps? — features of the gadget visits familiar sights like the Mud truck and the new Cooper Union building. Would you be seen in public wearing these things?

A Van, a Vamp, and Two Spectacles in the Name of Occupy Wall Street

IMG_1814Jared Malsin The Illuminator

Maybe you saw the messages beamed, Bat-Signal-like, on the wall of Cooper Union’s new academic building on Saturday? Actually, it was just one of two spectacles related to Occupy Wall Street in the East Village that night.

“It is the beginning of the beginning. Another world is possible,” read the messages. The final one beamed on the steel facade of 41 Cooper Square was the original Occupy slogan: “99%.”

This was the maiden voyage of The Illuminator, a white cargo van modified by a group of Brooklyn-based guerilla artists. A 12,000-lumen projector emerged from its roof while clanging post-rock blared from a set of mounted loudspeakers. Also attached to the van was a rack of books available for public perusal, a mobile version of Occupy Wall Street’s “People’s Library.” Read more…

Celebrating Peter Cooper’s Birthday, And Bemoaning Tuition Proposal

IMG_0721Stephen Rex Brown The scene at Cooper Square today at noon.
IMG_0722Stephen Rex Brown Peter Cooper, minutes before being donned with the wreath.

Under the shadow of Peter Cooper, students are celebrating the founder of their university while also protesting the possibility that future scholars at Cooper Union will have to pay tuition.

The wreath-laying ceremony is an annual event that honors Cooper’s birthday. Today at around 12:30 p.m., students were using the event as an opportunity to remind the president of the school, Jamshed Bharucha, of their opposition to any tuition hike. Many of the roughly 75 attendees held balloons that read “110 years free.”

St. Mark’s Bookshop Back From the Brink

Bookshop presserJamie Larson Owner of St. Mark’s Bookshop Terrence McCoy, along with Borough President Scott Stringer, Cooper Union President Jamshed Bharucha and others.

Cooper Union has eased the St. Mark’s Bookshop financial burden — somewhat.

A day after students from the school protested the possibility that they would have to pay tuition for the first time in more than a century (we’ve now added video of that demonstration to our initial post), politicians, community activists, school officials and the bookshop’s owners officially brought the two-month rent dispute to an end at a press conference this morning.

Under the agreement for the next year, Cooper Union will, as reported by The Times last night, cut the bookshop’s rent by $2,500 from its current rate, $20,000 a month.

Cooper Union will also forgive $7,500 of the shop’s debt and send a team of students to work with the owners on creating a new business plan. The agreement, which only last week seemed dead in the water, should save the store $40,000 over the next year, according to Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, who took credit for bringing an end to the standoff.
Read more…

Cooper Union Wavers On Rent Reduction For St. Mark’s Bookshop

Bookshop ownersJamie Larson St. Mark’s Bookshop owners Terrence McCoy and Bob Contant say Cooper Union will not reduce their rent. The university, however, says no decision has been made.

The St. Mark’s Bookshop’s fate may still hang in the balance — at least according to Cooper Union. Though the beloved bookstore’s owners have abandoned hope of getting a $5,000 rent reduction, a Cooper Union spokeswoman insisted today that no official decision has been made.

After a meeting yesterday with top administrators from the school, bookshop co-owner Terrence McCoy was left with the clear impression that a reduction of the $20,000-a month rent was not in the cards.

“They said they couldn’t do anything — that all they could do was defer one month’s rent,” Mr. McCoy said. “I don’t want to have more debt.” Read more…

With Decision Imminent, St. Mark’s Bookshop Petition Will Be Delivered to Cooper Union (Updated)

IMG_0018Khristopher J. Brooks

Don’t be too quick to believe Internet chatter about the possibility that Cooper Union might decide the fate of St. Mark’s Bookshop during a meeting today. Jolene Travis, a public relations officer at the college, told The Local that while the board of directors is still expected to come to a decision by the end of the month about whether or not to lower the book store’s rent, it won’t necessarily do so today. Another spokesperson went a step further and told Runnin’ Scared that there was no meeting of the board today.

According to Joyce Ravitz of Cooper Square Committee, the meeting is actually scheduled for tomorrow in the afternoon. “Tomorrow we’re going to hand in the petitions,” she told The Local. “I called for an appointment — we want to give them to Cooper Union officially.” She added that she hasn’t yet received a response from Cooper Union about a formal hand-off.

The petition now boats over 43,600 signatures.

Update | 1:40 p.m. Jolene Travis said over the phone that no board meetings are scheduled this week, and reiterated that “there are ongoing conversations with the board of trustees and the financial committee and a decision will be made at the end of the month in regards to St. Mark’s Bookshop.”

At Preschool of the Arts, Yoga for Toddlers

Preschool of the ArtsLiv Buli

The 25 toddlers attending the new Preschool of the Arts in Cooper Union’s sleek new academic building aren’t just learning — they’re “exploring.” They don’t play with toys — they play with “heuristic tools.” And once a week, they do yoga.

The Jewish preschool originally opened on East Sixth Street in 1999, but quickly outgrew the location and found new digs in Chelsea four years later. “We have always been looking back to the neighborhood,” said director Sarah Rotenstreich of the school’s satellite location, which opened at 41 Cooper Square last month. “There is something so exciting about the East Village; the pulse, the creativity, the types of families.”

The Local visited on a recent Tuesday as an instructor gave morning yoga classes to each of the school’s three age groups. (In the case of toddlers, calling it yoga might be a bit of a stretch.) Read more…

Video: Michael Moore Joins The Fight For The Bookshop

Michael Moore at St. Mark's bookstore 7Liv Buli Michael Moore addresses the crowd at St. Mark’s Bookshop.

A book signing at St. Mark’s Bookshop by Michael Moore turned into a rally for the embattled store on Thursday, as the champion of the left exhorted patrons to continue buying literature in person.

“At some point you just have to stop and stand up and say: ‘No more,’ ” Mr. Moore shouted to the roughly 100 people packing the store on Third Avenue.

Mr. Moore’s appearance reaffirmed the sudden swell of affection for the Bookshop, which has gone from a store struggling to turn a profit into a symbol of the rapidly changing neighborhood in only one month.

“It comes down to a simple bookstore here on the corner of Third Avenue and Ninth Street in the East Village in New York City,” Mr. Moore said in between criticism of corporate executives and appeals to the store’s landlord, Cooper Union.
Read more…

St. Mark’s Bookshop May Hear from Cooper Union Today (Updated)

Screen shot 2011-09-23 at 9.45.52 AMJamie Larson

Yesterday, St. Mark’s Bookshop co-owner Bob Contant told The Local that he hoped to hear from Cooper Union today about his request for a $5,000 per month rent reduction, but knew nothing for sure: “They could table the whole thing.”

The Board of Directors has been holding regular committee meetings all week. Earlier in the week, Director of Public Affairs Claire McCarthy said the issue would likely be discussed at a meeting of the entire board on Wednesday; beyond that, she said, there was no new information.

She added that school officials are well aware of the Bookshop’s support but there is no timeline on a decision.

Meanwhile, Mr.Contant said, “All of this publicity has really helped us.” The number of signatures on the petition (now over 35,900) spiked over the weekend following a New York Times story.

Until a decision is made, the pressure remains on Cooper Union.

“Trying to look at it objectively,” Mr. Contant said, “the longer it goes on, the worse they look.”

Update | 8:07 p.m. It now appears that the story will not see it’s conclusion until the end of next month. Mr. Contant said that Cooper Union Vice President T.C. Wescott told him earlier today that the store’s request was being sent to the board’s Finance and Business Affairs Committee, and their report on the rent dispute is expected to be completed in late October. “Nobody wants to be pressured into making a decision,” Mr. Contant told The Local.

Heralding a ‘New Wave,’ a Gallery Opens in Cooper Union’s New Academic Building

From first to last: Gallery exterior, Nikki Milavec, Karen Hakimi, cafe, and art.

The New Museum recently announced a spin-off gallery at 231 Bowery, and now a pair of pop-up curators have opened the strip’s latest – just a little above the Bowery, actually, in the iconic Cooper Union New Academic Building at 41 Cooper Square. The Milavec Hakimi Gallery opened with a group show, “Hello World!” last Thursday. In two or three weeks, it will be joined by an adjacent cafe selling espresso, pastries, and tea.

The gallery’s founders, Nikki Milavec and Karen Hakimi, both 29, previously worked together at a pop-up gallery, Volume Black (before that, Ms. Milavec, a graduate of the Sotheby’s Institute of Art in London, ran another pop-up, Milavec Green, with a partner Adam Green). During the course of their two-plus years as colleagues, they decided to collaborate on a permanent space – preferably on the Bowery. Read more…