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Ferris Bueller and Other Villagers Take Day Off for Final N.Y.U. 2031 Hearing

broderickSarah Darville Matthew Broderick, in glasses.

The City Council hearing on New York University’s controversial expansion plan got a star cameo today, as Greenwich Village native Matthew Broderick argued that N.Y.U. 2031 would further strip the neighborhood of of its character. He was one of about 250 people who spoke out during the packed nine-hour meeting, with about 60 percent opposing the plan and 40 percent voicing their support.

Six hours before the actor testified, N.Y.U.’s president, John Sexton, started the hearing (which The Local liveblogged earlier today) by vigorously defending the project and the university’s need to expand. “This is not a development project. This is an academic project,” he said, explaining that more space was needed to recruit top-quality faculty and students.

Asked why N.Y.U. couldn’t look to other parts of the city, Mr. Sexton told council member Leroy Comrie that further dissipation of N.Y.U.’s activities across the city would amplify the perception that it doesn’t have a traditional campus “or a big football stadium where we gather,” turning off potential students.

“This is the most enlightened way to do this,” said Mr. Sexton, who also used his presentation to announce that a “huge initiative” for financial aid would be coming soon. Read more…

At Landmarks Hearing, Preservationists and Religious Leaders Clash

EV Historic District Map of the proposed district.

Preservationists came out in force today to support a proposed historic district that would encompass a large chunk of the East Village, and ran into familiar anger from religious groups.

The Landmarks Preservation Commission held the public hearing to collect feedback on a proposed 330-building district that would be centered around Second Avenue south of St. Marks Place and regulate the facades of cultural icons like the La MaMa theater, the former Fillmore East building, and the Anthology Film Archives, among other storied buildings.

At the meeting, which was standing-room only for the first hour and a half, members of the commission listened to about 80 speakers express more support than opposition, with many sporting blue and yellow stickers reading “Preserve the East Village, Landmark Now!”  Read more…

Historic District Hearing Set for June

Community SynagogueGrace Maalouf

A critical hearing to determine whether a large swath of the neighborhood will be designated a historic district has been set for June 26, a spokeswoman for the Landmarks Preservation Commission just revealed.

The news sets the stage for another clash between local preservationists and the religious leaders who oppose the district on the grounds that it would create burdensome additional expenses. The public hearing is the final step before the Commission votes on the proposed district, which has Second Avenue south of St. Marks Place as its spine. The exteriors of all the 330 buildings within the district would essentially be preserved as-is.

Last month, a much smaller district on East 10th Street along Tompkins Square Park was approved with minimal opposition. However, the developer Ben Shaoul was able to get approval for a controversial rooftop addition to a building on the block literally hours before the district was given the green light.

The Commission spokeswoman added that on June 26 the former auction house at 126-128 East 13th Street will also face a separate vote to determine whether it should be designated an individual landmark. Here is the Commission’s write-up regarding the building. Read more…