So one park lost forever, two lost for the foreseeable future, and four whose future is uncertain. NYU should not be permitted to pull off this strip scam!
NYU plans to build an 800,000 square foot building with 200,000 square feet underground on one of the open space strips plus the land behind it. That will house a 1,000+-bed dorm, a hotel, a gym, a supermarket, faculty housing, academic space and retail. They also intend to build below two other open space strips, which doesn't sound so bad until you realize that building under means completely destroying the parkland on it, ripping out all the mature trees that clean our air and the play space that keeps our children healthy. That land will be under construction for years as four stories are built below, and then will continue to be part of a construction site for many more years as it is used for construction equipment parking and access to the land immediately adjacent - which is currently also green open space soon to be lost forever.
This will forever alter the nature and character of Greenwich Village."
Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, said in a statement that the revisions to NYU's plans are insignificant, according to DNAinfo.
"The changes NYU has made are literally, as well as figuratively, nothing more than tinkering with the edges. Shifting one building fifteen feet to the west does not solve the much bigger problems of this plan," Berman said.
NYU's tweaked changes will be reflected in the school's application to the Department of City Planning as part of the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) which is expected to begin in the next two months according to reports. - Geoffrey Croft
New York University, trying to placate critics of it plans to build more dormitories and offices in Greenwich Village, announced on Thursday that it would not seek to purchase two park-like strips of land bordering two giant housing complexes, according to the New York Times.
Instead, the school said it would move to have those areas permanently set aside as parkland. But some opponents of the building plan said they were not swayed by the decision.
The university intends to build four new buildings within Washington Square Village and Silver Towers — modernist housing complexes that rise imposingly north of Houston Street. And about a year ago N.Y.U. revealed that it would seek to buy from the city four oblong strips of park — some with benches, shade trees and narrow gardens and one that includes a dog run and playground. But many Greenwich Village neighbors protested and staged a rally last December urging that the strips be permanently made parkland.
On Thursday, N.Y.U. said that with two of the strips it would do what the neighbors demanded — ask the city to have them permanently considered parkland. (It plans to go ahead with the acquisition of the other two strips of land.)
In order to pursue its building plans without two of the tracts the university said it would move the footprint of one proposed 14-story tower on Mercer Street 15 feet. It also said it would find other locations for a playground and a dog run within the housing complexes.
“In addition to addressing the university’s long-range needs for academic space, our plan also enhances the local area through the addition of new public open space that will be programmed to serve a variety of constituencies,” Lynne Brown, a senior vice president, said in a statement. An N.Y.U. press release added that the new plans “reflect significant refinements that have been made after an intensive dialogue with area stakeholders.”
But Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, said the university’s offer to make the two of the strips of land permanent parks was partly nullified by its request for easements to burrow in the land. N.Y.U. wants to create underground rooms for purposes like music and theater practice and film screening, a process that would remove the land from communal use for perhaps years at a time, a fact that was acknowledged by Alicia D. Hurley, vice president for government affairs.
Mr. Berman said about the announcement, “They’re not giving us anything we don’t already have, and these easements’ would allow them to dig through the park and put construction equipment in the park.”
Terri Cude, a co-chairwoman of the preservationist Community Action Alliance on N.Y.U., said the easements would allow the university to uproot old trees that provide shade and beauty in the park and that would at best take decades to restore. Taking away a playground while construction proceeds, she said, “would mean a whole generation of kids will never be able to use the playground.”
The N.Y.U. press release quoted Holly Leicht, executive director of New Yorkers for Parks, as praising the university for being responsive to the group’s concerns and for mapping the two properties as parkland. In an interview, she indicated that closing the parks to construct underground rooms was not a major concern.
“The reality is that if you’re constructing buildings of that scale so close to public spaces you would not have been able to keep a playground open during construction anyway,” she said.