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NYU Opens Major New Tech Hub In Downtown Brooklyn


The five-year transformation of a moribund former MTA headquarters building into a major center for technology, emerging media, and the creative arts took its most important step forward as NYU’s Center for Urban Science and Progress (CUSP) became 370 Jay Street’s first occupant.

The Center for Urban Science and Progress moved into 370 Jay Street in Brooklyn.
The Center for Urban Science and Progress moved into 370 Jay Street in Brooklyn.

An advanced, interdisciplinary research center that applies big data solutions to societal issues, particularly urban issues, CUSP’s move into the newly renovated, 530,000 square foot space in Downtown Brooklyn marks an important milestone in strengthening NYU’s academic presence in Brooklyn and contribution to Brooklyn’s media, tech, and arts sectors.

“The opening of 370 Jay Street is a testament to several ambitions: to advance NYU’s tech efforts, to strengthen our connection to Brooklyn, and to support Brooklyn’s and the City’s evolution into a world center for creative engineering and technology innovation,” said Andrew Hamilton, President of NYU. “Ultimately it is our vision that 370 Jay Street will house engineers, research scientists, game designers, media artists, and musicians – all interacting and collaborating under one roof. It’s particularly fitting that CUSP, an interdisciplinary center dedicated to leveraging data and technology to tackle some of the world’s most challenging urban problems, will be the building’s inaugural tenant.”

Launched in 2012, CUSP has earned a reputation as a leader in the study of urban informatics. The school integrates data and social sciences to understand and improve cities, working to solve challenges ranging from pollution and homelessness to crowded public transportation. CUSP offers a yearlong MS program that gives students the opportunity to tackle real-world problems in and out of the classroom, partnering with City and State organizations, including the New York City Economic Development Corporation and Department of Environmental Protection. Among the research projects CUSP has helped launch are the ongoing SONYC noise pollution research initiative that received $4.6 million in funding from the National Science Foundation, and a partnership with Women in Need to create the city’s first smart homeless shelters.   

“At CUSP, New York City is our laboratory and classroom. Having a central location in Downtown Brooklyn strengthens our ability to educate the next generation of data scientists and analytics experts who will improve our cities and daily life,” said Steven Koonin, Director of CUSP. “Working alongside other NYU programs devoted to media, art and technology at 370 Jay Street will help bridge the gap between these disciplines and strengthen our ability to develop systematic, data-driven initiatives in response to urban challenges, encompassing homelessness, congestion, noise, public transportation, and other quality of life issues.”

"As we open 370 Jay Street, we watch one of the City’s most ambitious projects come to life. NYCEDC's Applied Science NYC initiative imagined New York City in the future, and sought out partners and industries that would thrive in a modern economy,” said NYCEDC President and CEO James Patchett. “NYU’s CUSP, and all of the work at 370 Jay Street, will play a significant role in the de Blasio Administration's efforts to create accessible, 21st century jobs for New Yorkers across the city. We congratulate NYU on this important milestone."

NYU – in conjunction with what was then Brooklyn Polytecnic and would later become the NYU Tandon School of Engineering - won a 99-year lease for the MTA Building in 2012 as part of the City’s Applied Science NYC initiative. The school restored the building’s original limestone to preserve the neighborhood’s character, transforming an eyesore that had stood vacant for more than a decade. The renovated interior includes various environmental upgrades including a high performance roof and windows, sustainable furniture, water saving fixtures, a dedicated outdoor air system for heat recovery, an advanced metering and control system, thermal ice storage, and high efficiency boilers and heaters. A one megawatt microturbine will allow the building to generate its own electricity to alleviate reliance on the Con Edison distribution grid.

CUSP will occupy the building’s top two floors, exponentially expanding its current resources.  The finished building, due to be fully occupied in 2019, will include a wide range of spaces and facilities to accommodate its interdisciplinary academic mission, including a media commons, audio labs, motion capture labs, Virtual Reality rooms, black box theaters, makerspaces, a performance space, an exhibit hall, workshop spaces, and classrooms. CUSP will ultimately be joined by other NYU programs to be housed at 370 Jay St, including the Computer Science and Electrical and Computer Engineering departments and the Integrated Digital Media (IDM) program at the Tandon School of Engineering, the Media and Games Network (MAGNET), and three departments from the NYU Tisch School of the Arts:  the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music, the Interactive Telecommunications/Interactive Media Arts programs (ITP & IMA), and the Center for Game Design.

Founded in 1831, NYU is one of the world’s foremost research universities and is a member of the selective Association of American Universities. NYU has degree-granting university campuses in New York, Abu Dhabi, and Shanghai; has eleven other global academic sites, including London, Paris, Florence, Tel Aviv, Buenos Aires, and Accra; and sends more students to study abroad than any other U.S. college or university. Through its numerous schools and colleges, NYU conducts research and provides education in the arts and sciences, law, medicine, business, dentistry, education, nursing, the cinematic and performing arts, music and studio arts, public administration, engineering, social work, and continuing and professional studies, among other areas.

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Matt Nagel
Matt Nagel
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