Supporters and opponents made their case for New York University's controversial expansion plan at a public hearing of the City Planning Commission on Wednesday.
The proposal calls for an expansion of an estimated 2-million-square-feet around the main campus in Greenwich Village.
Critics said the plan is still too large and will drive out residents who are not connected to the school.
Officials claim the school needs to expand - and there are certain buildings that have to be located near NYU's core campus.
"We are New York City cubed. We don't have any gates, we don't have any blades of grass, there's no place to retreat, we don't do big-time athletics to create community. So that makes, especially with undergraduates and especially with freshman, the importance of housing," said NYU President John Sexton.
"It is just too big. You got to deny it until we need to finish negotiating a fair and equitable plan for everyone," said Manhattan Senator Thomas Duane.
The plan can only proceed if approved by both the City Planning Commission and the City Council.