Volume 75, Number 38 | February 8 -14 2006


N.Y.U. second campus plan is a brilliant idea

The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation is staking out a bold new position in trying to solve the Village’s ongoing problem with New York University’s continued growth: The society is calling on N.Y.U. to work with the city to find locations for a new secondary campus so that the university’s expansion — which shows no signs of abating anytime soon — can continue outside of the Village.

Ironically, the very same day Andrew Berman of G.V.S.H.P. made his first presentation to Community Board 2 about his proposal, N.Y.U. announced a major new project on First Ave. in the East 20s for a new childhood psychiatric center.

It is great that this center will exist in New York, and even greater that it is located out of the sensitive central campus Village area. But it still points to the fact that we never seem to know when or where N.Y.U. will plop down its next gigantic project. The announcement of this new facility — located by N.Y.U. Medical School’s main campus area along “Bedpan Alley” — came as a complete surprise, though not, of course, to Governor Pataki and Mayor Bloomberg, who were at the media event to herald the news.

It was just a few months ago that the community learned the university had reached a deal with a developer to build a 26-story, 700-student dormitory on E. 12th St., which would be the tallest building in the East Village.

In short, while N.Y.U. keeps saying its undergraduate student body isn’t growing significantly, the fact that the university has been on an unprecedented building binge in recent years simply can’t be denied. About 3,000 N.Y.U. students are currently housed by the university south of Houston St., and there’s no doubt N.Y.U. would like to move them closer to Washington Square and Union Square.

There are many spots that would be perfect for a second campus, from Governors Island to Long Island City. And many parts of the city would welcome the business and other benefits N.Y.U. would bring.

We hope G.V.S.H.P.’s proposal to create a secondary campus growth center receives a fair hearing at the Community Board 2 joint committee meeting slated for next month. Community Board 3’s Zoning and Housing Committee has taken the lead and already approved the proposal. And we hope to see N.Y.U.’s senior planning staff at this joint meeting. The fact that, for whatever reason, they didn’t attend last week’s C.B. 2 Zoning Committee meeting was a puzzling disappointment given the high stakes for the community of N.Y.U.’s continued expansion.

If the Village is to remain the Village, and not become N.Y.U.-ville, N.Y.U. must find some logical limit to its growth in this neighborhood.

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