Good Afternoon Chair Burden and Fellow Planning Commissioners,
I want to thank you for your time today. I have worked at NYU and lived in the Village for over 25 years. My responsibilities include overseeing the Law School student residences, one of which is on Mercer Street right across the street from the Washington Square Village area where major construction will be staged for the 2031 core expansion project.
While it would be easy for me and my community of students to default to a rejection of this plan because the construction will cause some inconveniences, I applaud the University for taking a long-term look at its comprehensive needs and coming up with this proposal to ensure it maintains its academic excellence over the coming decades.
NYU 2031 is a plan based on examining its needs over the next 20 years and determining how to intelligently expand the University to allow for certain fields of study to stay in the core campus and other to move to where they make the most sense. It is easy to object to change, but for NYU to remain successful, and for it to be a shining example of ingenuity and excellence in New York City, expansion is necessary. The Village and NYU have co-existed for decades and the addition of academic, dorm and faculty housing space onto the two enormous blocks South of Bobst Library will not change that.
The Washington Square News, the student newspaper, stated it in very clear terms and I choose to end my testimony with a quote from them,
“But NYU and the Village are modernizing together. Its role as a historical quarter will remain consecrated; but on principle, it should be acknowledged that NYU has never been an appalling intruder, tyrannically squatting in the Village. Our students are not swarms of tourists clogging the veins that circulate through Greenwich Village. Instead, we are a part of its lifeblood; our equally historical university has called the Village home since 1831 and has grown in tandem with the neighborhood, adding a diverse and youthful vibrancy.
Although it is understandable that Village natives grow weary in the dizzying flurry of violet and NYU sweatshirts, this argument is purely based on nostalgia. The musicians still play near the fountain in Washington Square Park, and the dread-locked bohemians still stroll down Bleecker Street — and they always will.”
Thank you for your dedication to this project and New York City.