Conjuring the resistance to N.Y.U. 2031

[media-credit name="Photo by Tequila Minsky " align="aligncenter" width="600"][/media-credit]Professor Mark Crispin Miller, a leader in N.Y.U. FASP (Faculty Against the Sexton Plan), was the closing speaker at a “Save the Village Benefit” Monday night at New York Theater Workshop, 79 E. Fourth St. More than 120 people contributed $200 or more toward the benefit, which raised funds for a community lawsuit against New York University’s 2031 superblocks mega-development plan. A top law firm is representing the group largely pro bono, but FASP has been asked to raise $25,000 for a retainer. The event brought together activists who have been fighting large-scale projects around the city, from the Chelsea Market expansion to the Nets basketball arena and development project in Downtown Brooklyn. “We are the adults in this struggle — the faculty and the community are the realists,” said Miller, who teaches media studies. “Sexton is cracked,” he said of the university’s president. “This plan is so warped that even Robert Moses would hate it. I have confidence we can stop it.” The public hearing on N.Y.U.’s plan will be on Fri., June 29, starting at 9:30 a.m., at City Hall. The City Council is expected to vote on the plan in mid-July.

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10 Responses to Conjuring the resistance to N.Y.U. 2031

  1. This is OUR neighborhood’s (i.e., the Village's) Chelsea Market development issue … x 6, in scale alone. To put things into rather frightening perspective, while the Chelsea Market building proposal calls for two additional structures; approximately 330,000 sq. ft. of construction; and a price tag of roughly $250,000, President Sexton’s NYU 2031 behemoth expansion calls for four high-rises (that is, if one counts the so-called "Zipper Loft," actually composed of seven structures with the tallest reaching 275 ft., as a single building); approximately 2.1 million sq. ft. of construction; and an outrageous price tag of at least $4 billion, if not a great deal more. The NYU has yet to reveal anything resembling a business plan to anyone, including its own faculty at the Stern Business School, which recently passed a resounding resolution in opposition to the expansion. "Cracked" might, in fact, be a polite way of framing this entire development scheme, which appears as commercially as it is academically driven. This expansion, as currently conceived, is an astonishingly dangerous example of the "Too Big to Fail" model as it extends to university education. The plan is far too costly for the University and its modest endowment, threatening to mire NYU in debt (almost sure to be passed on to what is already the MOST indebted student body of any private university in the country); far too ambitious in scale and density (especially considering all of the institution's wasted space, when one takes into account the roughly 100 faculty apartments presently sitting empty is WSV and Silver Towers alone); and, worst of all, largely unjustified on academic grounds. Does the public realize that no more than a mere 18% of the proposed above-ground space in question is intended for academic instruction in the plan's first decade? Or that the expansion is destined to encroach on City-owned, publicly-enjoyed green space in the form of the Mercer St. strips, home to playgrounds and a 30-year-old volunteer dog run? In the words of Voltaire, "No problem can withstand the assault of sustained thinking." Members of the City Council: Please stop the madness and help not only the Village residents and small businesses but NYU's very own faculty save NYU the Corporation from itself … before it's too late.


    We call upon the City Council to vote against any rezoning of the Washington Sq Village/Silver Towers “superblocks”. We are “super” because we are a RESIDENTIAL area whose mixed age groups (from babies to great grandparents)utilize our open spaces. There is already more than enough commercial space within 1/2 block of our residences.

    The surrounding area once contained thriving businesses some of which have now been lost due to landlords like NYU which charge enormous rentals. The supermarket alone pays NYU over $110,000 per month (which may account for the high prices of products sold there). NYU is proposing to create retail stores on the first two floors of Washington Square Villages 4 buildings. They will displace residents and create unaffordable housing.

    Many of us will be at the City Council subcommittee on Zoning & Franchises hearing on Friday, June 29th (9:30 am). Please join us there to save our Village community.

    Sylvia Rackow
    The Committee to Preserve Our Neighborhood

  3. Voters who cares

    Dear city council members. How can you justify closing fire departments, lowering public school budgets, freezing salaries, raising subway fares, yet at the same time GIVE more than 70 MILLION dollars of PUBLIC land to a PRIVATE university. These lands are used for parks, gardens, and dog runs for more than 30 years. How can the city even entertain giving loaning or selling below market rate this valuable land. NYU doesn't even pay property taxes. Why on earth would you allow them to steal public land so that their real estate portfolio grows even more valuable. The city council members were voted in to represent the citizens, not just the few real estate moguls who will profit from this ridiculous build. VOTE NO to thevSexton NYU2031 plan. It is nothing but pure corporate greed.

  4. Judith Chazen Walsh

    NYU 2031 will be defeated by the voting residents. Votes are our tools against those who do not represent us. We fear for our community which includes all of our neighbors, our children, our dogs, our plants, our trees,our air and light

    What kind of university president ignores the loud shouts of the faculty?
    What kind of university president ignores the loud shouts of the community
    What kind of university president ignores the shouts of parents whose children use the playground?
    What kind of university president ignores the fact that much of the land he envisions using belongs to NYC?

    NYU has as proven record of going back on promises and does not tell the truth_Many of us are also alumni and we fear for the quality of our university the academic one


  5. How has the NYU administration addressed the concerns of the local community where every meeting I attended showed overwhelming community opposition to the NYU2031 Plan to build huge skyscrapers in the heart of historic Greenwich Village over the next 20 years and has already begun the process to begin the project? This process maintains the "character" of Greenwich Village? Do lies maintain the character of NYU? How can NYU be a creditable institution of higher education worthy of awarding degrees to doctors, lawyers, teachers, business executives and other professional people with outright lies from its administration that threatens the public health of the Greenwich Village community? Who would look favorably at a graduation degree from this institution? Who would pay high NYU tuition fees with usurious interest rates with little prospect of paying the loan off? Where is the evidence that there is widespread support for the NYU2031 Plan aside from people who are paid to be silent for fear of losing their livelihood or for lucrative contracts and for private real estate interests usurping public land? Who can respect an institute of higher education like this?

  6. This plan is supported by more student debt on the backs of future students. I am usually in favor of most developments but this development is way too far reaching, costly and will could possibly bankrupt NYU.

    Having graduated from NYU, I always appreciated that the university was part of a neighborhood, not the neighborhood itself. Students have many other options if they want to attend traditional university campuses.

    Mr. Sexton reminds me of executives in involved in the single family home crisis. "Build it or finance it and they will come… " No care in the world if anybody could actually afford the product you are providing…….

  7. The people mostly in favor of the NYU 2031 Plan are the financial and real estate heavy NYU Board of Trustees.

    For example, why didn't NYU buy St. Vincent's Hospital and retrofit it for their medical school needs? Could it be because Bill Rudin, who bought St. Vincen't for luxury condos also sits on the NYU Board of Trustees?

    Connect the dots. Follow the money.

  8. NYU has become a real estate company. They should be paying real estate and income taxes if they want to operate like a corporation. Almost everything that has come out of Sexton's administration has been lies such as telling alumni that the community supports this plan. I can bet 90%+ of the surrounding community oppose this plan and the ones that do are either part of Sexton's administration or people that think they can make money on this construction/new retail NYU will have.

    A.S.Evans – I agree with you. Don't you find it odd that a university has to have a Board so made up of so many developers?

  9. Greenwich Resident

    NYU doesn't have too many real estate developers on its Board but rather has too many CEO's/etc. of corporations. That is why NYU operates like a Corporation. There is nothing wrong with corporations per see but there is something wrong with a corporation masquerading around as a private nonprofit institution that does not pay real estate or income taxes and uses federal student loans and subsidies to gain an unfair advantage. President Sexton and the Board clearly see NYU as in its growth faze (due to these unfair advantages) and is doing whatever it can to keep growing. NYU is creating a concrete campus that relies on significant tuition without much financial aid.

    NYU is easily making itself become the poster child for student debt. Unfortunently, the media is largely ignoring this fact in NYU's strong publicity circus that has told so many lies. Only hope that the faculty can exploit this truth to the media can stop this horrific plan.

  10. NYU is easily making itself become the poster child for student debt. Unfortunently, the media is largely ignoring this fact in NYU's strong publicity circus that has told so many lies. Only hope that the faculty can exploit this truth to the media can stop this horrific plan.

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