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Dozens Gather In Washington Square Park To Oppose NYU Expansion

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About 100 Greenwich Village residents and NYU students protested New York University's plan to expand its campus on Saturday, saying the plan will irreversibly alter the neighborhood.

The demonstrators, who met at Washington Square Park, said that NYU's $6 billion plan for four new buildings and below-ground construction near its core campus by 2031 would not match the small-scale buildings of Greenwich Village.

Last month, petitioners filed a lawsuit against the city to try to stop the so-called Sexton Plan, alleging that the city illegally gave away public land to NYU.

Saturday's protest included banners that read "2031 Is Monstrous" and "20 Years Of Construction Equals Greenwich Village Destruction" and demonstrators carrying giant dollar signs.

"We feel that community has been overlooked in favor of real estate interests in the city," said Marie Monaco, an opponent of the Sexton Plan.

"I mean, part of what makes the Village the Village is that we've got these lovely parks and community gardens, dog runs, playgrounds for kids and they're being wiped out to be replaced by high-rises," said Therese Watson, another opponent of the plan. "This is not Midtown, this is the Village, and it's enough. Enough is enough."

NYU representatives have said the development will primarily be used for classrooms and faculty research space.

Some opponents speculated that tuition will increase to pay for the expansion, and that class sizes will grow as more students are accepted to cover the hefty price tag.

Current NYU students said while it is not likely they will get saddled with the tuition spike, the cost of school is high enough.

"[Would I attend] if tuition is more than it is? I don't know, probably not. I don't know, there's always state school," said NYU student Dan Hasse.

The City Council overwhelmingly approved the expansion plan by a 44-1 vote in July, after the proposed buildings' sizes were slightly reduced.

However, before the council vote, Community Board 2 voted to oppose the plan.

Both the City Law Department and NYU officials are confident that the plan will be upheld in court and allowed to move forward.

NYU officials also say in a statement that the Sexton Plan incorporates five years' worth of feedback from inside and outside the school.

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