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First Person | Chasing N.Y.U.’s Shadow

Kim Davis PortraitKim Davis.

It’s understandable, to me anyway, that East Village residents are concerned about NYU’s ambitious expansion plans and how they will affect the architecture and ambience of a treasured neighborhood. After all, it was the East Village which was landed with the enormous Founder’s Hall dormitory on East 12th Street, and although NYU might consider University Hall on East 14th Street part of the Union Square neighborhood, it supplies a steady stream of student revelers to the avenues running downtown from that location and into the heart of the East Village.

Even so, I read Rob Hollander’s post today on Save the Lower East Side with some puzzlement. “East Villagers ought to be alarmed by NYU’s decision not to build on its own campus,” he writes.

That’s something which might well give rise to concern, but as The Local recently reported – and even the The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation agrees – that’s not the decision which has been made at all. As the preservation group put it, “NYU is insisting that they will move ahead with seeking permission to build on the adjacent non-landmarked supermarket site instead.” In other words, the university is at this time pressing ahead with its original core plan.

Nobody can deny that the East Village may have plenty to worry about further down the road if the core plan does fail, but that hasn’t yet happened. So far, we are still chasing shadows. One irony which Rob Hollander’s post does highlight is that success in opposing the university’s plans for the Washington Square campus is indeed likely to have repercussions for other neighborhoods.

Kim Davis is the community editor of The Local East Village.