Neighborhood residents packed a Greenwich Village church basement Thursday night to see Community Board 2 unanimously vote against New York University enacting its long-term expansion plan, the first official step in a project review process that will take many months. Borough reporter Rebecca Spitz filed the following report.
Hours after Greenwich Village residents called on Community Board 2 not to back a plan that would let New York University expand its campus, opponents of the plan got their wish Thursday night.
Community Board 2 wasted no time shooting down the plan known as "NYU 2031" and passed a resolution declaring NYU's vision for new buildings around its core campus as just too much.
"The Community Board has a very strongly worded resolution and equally important is that we have a targeted resolution that focuses on the specific concerns that our neighborhood has about this plan," said CB2 Chairman Brad Hoylman.
NYU officials said they have been talking with the community for five years, and its vice president of community relations, Alicia Hurley, said the university wants to build on blocks it already owns, adding capacity and new facilities over the next 20 years.
"This will accommodate classroom space, faculty office space, a new athletic center which we so desperately need, things like a theater space, some student housing as well as faculty housing," said Hurley.
At the Thursday meeting, 115 people signed up to testify and opponents suggested NYU find a more suitable location:
"They're trying to build in an area that was never meant to have this kind of construction, they're trying to over-saturate an area that's already over-saturated with facilities," said Andrew Berman of the Greenwich Village Preservation Alliance.
Most of people who testified agreed the plan does not suit the neighborhood, will take away precious greenspace and cost the Village its legendary feel.
"It's not a big-box store neighborhood, it's not like Midtown. What NYU wants to do is bring those elements into this neighborhood. It's like the ghost of Robert Moses rearing its ugly head," said Village resident Hugh Graham.
Thursday's vote was the first official step in what will be a lengthy process. The issue will now go to Borough President Scott Stringer, the Department of City Planning, the City Council and ultimately Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
While there are a lot of meetings on the horizon, it's clear the battle lines are already drawn.