Volume 76, Number 20 | October 4 - 10, 2006

Villager photo by Elissa Bogos

Cornell Edwards at his flower shop, The Flower Stall, at 143 E. 13th St.

N.Y.U. dorm slams the door on seniors after crane crash

By Lori Haught

Should community facilities be available to the community? Apparently New York University doesn’t think so.

Friday, a 4-ton piece of a building crane crashed onto a taxi on Third Ave. and 13th St. No one was seriously injured, but nearby residents were evacuated in case something else happened to go wrong with the machine.

Cornell Edwards, one of the evacuees, said he had sought shelter at the N.Y.U.’s dormitory on 11th St. and Third Ave.

“We just wanted out of the cold,” Edwards said. He and his friend are in their 70s and Edwards walks with a cane. They had been evacuated earlier in the day, they were wearing lightweight clothes and as darkness fell it had gotten cold. Edwards said they had not been allowed back into their buildings to get jackets.

The two men explained to the security guard what was going on and asked to sit in the lobby. The guard told them they had to leave or he would call the police.

Edwards said they refused to go and the security guard phoned the police and had the two senior citizens escorted out.

N.Y.U. has built many dorms in the East Village, claiming that they are community facilities in order to receive a zoning bonus, which allows them to build higher. Edwards said that other than a place to vote, N.Y.U. has offered nothing to the community.

“I’ve been in the neighborhood for 40 years,” he said. “I have been through all the construction. We’re loosing kitchen windows because of the new dorm they’re constructing now [on E. 12th St.]…and they didn’t even offer us a chair or coffee.”

Many of the evacuees were older and the only available facility in the area was a church on E. 17th St., four blocks away. According to Edwards, residents were finally allowed back into their buildings at 2 a.m. Saturday morning.

An N.Y.U. spokesperson did not return a call for comment by press time.


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