Overflow Crowd Fills City Hall Hearing
Despite awful timing and soaring heat, last week several hundred people packed City Hall for the City Council's sole public hearing on NYU's massive proposed Village expansion plan. So many people came, hundreds were left waiting outside in the heat for hours until space opened up inside. More than 200 people signed up to testify, by far the majority opposed to the plan, including lifelong Villager Matthew Broderick. The hearing lasted more than eight hours - THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO CAME, OR WHO WROTE OR MADE PHONE CALLS IN ADVANCE OF THE HEARING.
Prior to the hearing, GVSHP, community groups, NYU faculty, staff, and grad workers, and Assemblymember Deborah Glick gathered on the steps of City Hall for a press conference and rally to call upon the City Council to vote 'NO' on the plan. At the hearing, several Councilmembers noted that their offices had been FLOODED with phone calls, e-mails, and letters opposing the plan. See pictures of the rally and hearing HERE; some press coverage HERE and HERE.
The City Council will not vote until later this month on the NYU plan, which would require selling off public land, upzoning a residential area, removing open space preservation requirements, and eliminating the agreements under which NYU was given public land fifty years ago. Councilmember Chin represents the area and her position, along with that of Speaker Quinn, will strongly inform whatever action is ultimately taken by the Council. At the hearing, Chin and several other Councilmembers expressed discomfort with several aspects of the NYU plan. But the Council has the power to modify the plan, or make side agreements along with it, and Chin has also indicated that she believes a compromise is possible.
GVSHP, allied community groups and many members of the NYU faculty and staff have called for the plan to be rejected and sent back to the drawing board; we believe NYU MUST look to other locations to channel its future growth, and that eliminating any open space, any upzoning, and any breach of the agreements under which NYU was originally given this land is wrong. A scaled-back plan with these elements is still wrong.
HOW TO HELP:
Our organizing efforts are clearly having an impact. But this is the home stretch, and we clearly need to work hard to get the City Council to do the right thing and REJECT the NYU plan.