Sample testimony for the City Planning Commission public hearing on the NYU plan:
Wednesday, April 25th at 10 am at the Museum of the American Indian, at 1 Bowling Green (Broadway at Battery Place/State Street near Battery Park; 4/5 to Bowling Green or N/R to Whitehall Street; M5, M15, or M20 Bus )
If possible, please bring 15 copies of your testimony to submit to the commissioners.
I strongly urge you to vote ‘NO’ on NYU’s massive proposed expansion plan. This plan takes the wrong approach for the Village, for New York City, and even for NYU.
The plan would turn a residential area into a 20-year construction zone. It would continue to tip the balance of neighborhood character in the Village strongly in the direction of domination by a single institution. It would eliminate much-needed open space in one of the most open-space starved communities in New York, and would consign the remaining open space to permanent encasement in shadows by large-scale new construction. It would abrogate the terms under which NYU was given this formerly public land in the first place, which prohibited this kind of development, and would hand more precious public land over to NYU.
The damage would be even greater than this, however. NYU’s plan is only supposed to satisfy the university’s growth needs for 19 years, until 2031. What will happen after that? By encouraging the university to continue its expansion in the Village rather than pursuing viable alternatives, NYU will inevitably come back in 19 years and ask for more public land, or more zoning protections to be overturned, or a way to shoehorn more new facilities into places they were never intended, to accommodate their continuing growth. The university will continue to swallow up and dominate more and more of this vital historic, low-rise neighborhood.
This is an awful fate you would be approving for the Village. But it’s also a lost opportunity not only for New York City, but for NYU. Other locations, easily connected by mass transit to NYU’s facilities could accommodate not only the next 19 years of NYU’s growth, but the next several decades. The city has identified areas such as the Financial District, Downtown Brooklyn, Long Island City, and Hudson Yards as places where long-term, large scale growth is not only desirable but necessary. Community leaders in many of these areas have said that they would welcome NYU. NYU development in these areas would have greater economic benefits and fewer negative impacts, and by not forcing the university to build deep underground and between existing buildings, could be much greener as well.
The City Planning Commission is supposed to plan for New York City’s future. This is not a plan that is good for anyone’s future. Say no to this plan, send it back to the drawing board, and work with NYU to find a plan that is sustainable, sensitive, and right for the future of New York City.