Stringer takes ‘super’ tour, but will he hold a hearing?

[media-credit name="Photo by Lincoln Anderson " align="alignleft" width="300"][/media-credit]

Joining Borough President Stringer, right, by the LaGuardia statue at the superblocks tour’s end were, from left, Marty Tessler, CAAN co-chairperson; C.B. Chairperson Brad Hoylman, with his daughter, Silvia; Terri Cude, CAAN co-chairperson; and C.B. 2 N.Y.U. Working Group co-chairperson David Gruber.

BY LINCOLN ANDERSON  |  At the invitation of local community activists, Borough President Scott Stringer toured the N.Y.U. South Village superblocks two Saturdays ago to see for himself the types of use the blocks and the public open-space strips around their edges get.

After a rain-soaked morning, it turned out to be a beautiful, sunny afternoon when the B.P. showed up to join members of Community Board 2 and the Coalition Action Alliance on N.Y.U. 2031 (CAAN) for the walking tour.

They hit all the major attractions, including the dog run, the Mercer Playground and the LaGuardia Corner Gardens. Both the dog run and playground were packed, the run with dog owners, their pooches and neon-green tennis balls flying every which way. The “Beep” spoke with Beth Gottlieb, the run’s president, and Mitchell Moss, the influential N.Y.U. urban policy and planning professor.

The toddlers playground was no less active, with boys running and playing soccer, girls skipping in shallow puddles left by the rain and a group of girls struggling to pull a green pylon away from a little boy. In the garden, Stringer said hi to Sara Jones and Rhoma Mostel, the latter who told him to return and see their roses when they start coming up soon.

The tour also wended through the Sasaki Garden, whose tranquility was occasionally broken by the sound of birds chirping.

Stringer didn’t want to say how he would vote on the ULURP for the N.Y.U. 2031 Plan that would wedge an additional 2.5 million square feet of development into the superblocks. He said he was “absorbing” information and talking to people, which would help inform his decision.

C.B. 2 voted a complete no on the N.Y.U. plan during its initial part of ULURP. On Monday, Board 2 sent its official letter to Stringer, which now triggers his 30-day review period of the plan.

Andrew Berman, director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, has asked Stringer to hold a public hearing on the N.Y.U. ULURP application, given the project’s magnitude and its impact on the neighborhood.

However, as of now, Stringer has not committed to doing so, feeling the plan got an extremely thorough vetting by C.B. 2 during the board’s two-month review process.

A Stringer spokesperson said, “The community board already held 16 public hearings [on the N.Y.U. plan], and there were over 50 meetings of the Borough President’s Task Force on N.Y.U. that were held [before that]. He is currently in the process of meeting with community members — stakeholders and community leaders — on an individual basis.”

But Berman noted that Stringer did hold a public hearing on the large-scale Solow project slated for the E. 30s on First Ave. In addition, Stringer held a public hearing on the Columbia University project to expand into West Harlem.

Stringer’s spokesperson said, however, that the Solow project didn’t receive anywhere near the amount of public review that the N.Y.U. project has under its extensive scrutiny by C.B. 2, and that the Columbia project was going to be voted on in the summer when people would be away — which was the reason Stringer decided to hold hearings on these projects.

Stringer must submit his recommendation on the N.Y.U. plan by April 12.

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