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Open Spaces

Toddler Playground

NYU will construct a .25-acre playground on the Silver Towers block (just a few feet north of the current location of Rocketship Park). At almost 11,000 square feet, this new playground will be nearly four times the size of the existing playarea and will contain a variety of play equipment, landscaping, and seating, including the incorporation of the existing circular concrete seating.

  • Timing: Design and construction of the playground will be completed during construction of the new Coles building.
  • Collaborators: The Landmark Preservation Commission approved the park location and concept in July 2011. Prior to construction of the playground, the final design will require additional review and approval by Landmarks.
  • Reference: Restrictive Declaration. 6.1, p. 81
  • Rendering: View an image of the rendering here. Prior to construction of the playground, LPC staff must approve final plans. 

LaGuardia Corner Gardens Task Force

12 months prior to the construction of the Bleecker Building, the City Planning Commission will convene a Task Force to determine if there is a feasible permanent relocation site for the LaGuardia Corner Gardens within Community Board 2. NYU will be reponsible for the garden's relocation costs.

  • Timing: The Department of City Planning must convene the Task Force 12 months prior to the construction of the Bleecker Building. The Task Force will have 6 months to identify a relocation site.
  • Collaborators: Task Force and representatives of the LaGuardia Corner Gardens must agree on a relocation site.
  • Reference: Restrictive Declaration section 4.4 (a)(i)(A), page 53

LaGuardia Corner Gardens Protection Plan and Fund

If the Department of City Planning does not identify a permanent relocation site for the Garden, NYU and DCP will formulate a Garden Protection Plan. Best practices for avoiding impacts to the Garden during the Bleecker Building's construction may include temporarily relocating the Garden, protecting the space during construction, or temporarily closing it. In all of these instances, NYU would pay for the garden's reconstruction and establish a fund ("Garden Viability Fund") to increase plants' viability post construction.

Mercer-Houston Dog Run Relocation

NYU will relocate the existing dog run managed by the Mercer-Houston Dog Run Association (MHDRA) to an area of comparable size west of the Coles Redevelopment Project site on the Silver Towers block (the current location of Rocketship Park).

Updated 02/25/15: NYU and the MHDRA finalized a design for the Association's new dog run, which will be located in the existing Rocketship Play Area in the Silver Towers complex. The design has been sent to the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission for review.

Updated 10/15/13: NYU and MHDRA are currently working through an agreement term sheet which is expected to be finalized by December 2013.

  • Timing: Construction of the dog run will be complete prior to the demolition of Coles Gym. An agreement between NYU and MHDRA memorializing the move to the new site is expected to be complete by December 2013.
  • Collaborators: The Landmark Preservation Commission approved the plan for new landscape improvements on the Silver Towers superblock in July 2011. Prior to construction of the dog run, LPC staff must approve final plans.
  • Reference: Restrictive Declaration. 6.1, p. 79
  • Rendering: View an image of the rendering here.

Open Space Oversight Committee

NYU will establish an Open Space Oversight Organization (OSOO), a 501 (c) (3) organization. The OSOO will review and comment on the design, maintenance, and operation of the public open spaces on the superblocks, as well as reviewing NYU's compliance with commitments it has made for these spaces.

  • Updates

    2/25/14: NYU sent an update to the OSOO to follow up from the 12/18/2013 meeting. The minutes of that meeting are also available.

    OSOO members held two stakeholder meetings and one public forum in November 2013. OSOO members also attended a meeting in mid December to present a set of recommendations based upon those meetings to the landscape architects.

    See the OSOO's recommendations to the landscape architects »

    OSOO members met on September 12, 2013 and established a public input process and timeline for advancing the design process. In addition, OSOO members requested a three-month extension of the proposed September 15, 2013 date to December 15, 2013 to ensure a thorough response to NYU on the open space concepts.

    See the OSOO's Letter to NYU »
    See the OSOO Timeline »

    9/12/13: Following the June 17th site visit, NYU provided the OSOO with initial design concepts on July 1, 2013 for areas along LaGuardia Place, Bleecker Street, and Mercer Street. The University asked that OSOO members  review the concepts with their constituencies and provide written feedback, based on their constituent interactions, by September 15, 2013 to advance the design process.

    See NYU's letter to the OSOO »

    OSOO members toured the open space areas of the superblock sites with Napach Design Group and Nina Kramer Landscape Architects. Areas for consideration were identified and discussed.
Open Spaces on the Superblocks

Areas under consideration for improvement by the OSOO. Click for a larger image.


  • Updates (continued):

    New York State confirmed the OSOO's not-for-profit 501(c)(3) status, and the group held an organizational meeting on May 1, 2013.
  • Timing: The OSOO is to be created by December 2012.
  • Collaborators: Representatives of five bodies will comprise the OSOO: one representative from the Manhattan Borough President's Office, Council Member Chin's office, Community Board 2, the Department of Parks and Recreation, and NYU.
  • Reference: Restrictive Declaration section 7.3 (a), page 91

Sasaki Garden Site Improvements

NYU will make the Sasaki Garden more accessible to the public and increase public awarenes of the Garden by posting wayfinding signage.

Updated 9/15/13: The legal challenge which had put garden access on hold has been remanded to the NYS Dept of Housing and Community Renewal for further decision.

  • Timing: This commitment, made by NYU to Council Member Chin in July 2012, was scheduled to be complete within a year following the approvals. However, it has been put on hold pending the outcome of litigation related to public use of the garden.
  • Reference: NYU Letter to Council Member Margaret Chin, July 2012.

Bleecker Street Seating Area Site Improvements

NYU will work with the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation to improve the public seating area on Bleecker Street between Mercer and LaGuardia, an area referred to as the "Bleecker Street Seating Area."

Updated 7/1/13: Design guidelines and goals are being shaped in collaboration with DPR and OSOO.

Public Space Maintenance and Operations Agreement

NYU will enter into a maintenance and operations agreement (M and O Agreement) with the Department of Parks and Recreation for the maintenance and operations obligations for the public open spaces on the superblocks, prior to their being mapped as parkland.

Public Space Maintenance Letter of Credit

NYU will post a letter of credit with the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation to ensure that maintenance funds are available for the public spaces bordering NYU property on the superblocks.

Public Space Endowment

NYU will create an endowment fund, managed by the University, for the maintenance of any new privately owned public open spaces constructed on the Superblocks.

Updated 12/24/12: Funding has been identified for the endowment.

Landscape Improvements Compliance Report

NYU will hire an architect, landscape architect, or engineer to inspect new landscape improvements and confirm that NYU has met its obligations according to the Restrictive Declaration. The landscape inspector will issue an annual compliance report, submitting a draft report to the OSOO for comment before it is finalized.

  • Timing: Compliance reports will be issued annually. The first will be issued no later than June 30th of the year following that year in which the first permanent landscape improvement is completed.
  • Collaborators: The report's format must be approved by the director of City Planning. The final report will be submitted to the Chair of the City Planning Commission and the Commissioner of the Department of Parks and Recreation.
  • Reference: Restrictive Declaration section 7.3 (b), page 92.

Willow Oak Tree Maintenance Plan

NYU will establish a Tree Maintenance Plan for the Willow Oak grove adjacent to Bleecker Street on the southern superblock.

Update 9/15/2013: The oak grove tree maintenance plan was implemented by NYU in June and July 2013.

LaGuardia Temporary Playground

NYU will work with NYC Department of Parks and Recreation to construct a temporary playground on the southern part of the LaGuardia Plaza between Bleecker and W 3rd Streets.

Updated 7/1/13: Design guidelines and goals are being shaped in collaboration with DPR and OSOO.

  • Timing: Immediately after ULURP approval, with timing also subject to the obtaining of all required City approvals.
  • Collaborators: The general scope, design, and oversight of public approvals process will go through the Deptartment of Parks and Recreation. The Public Design Commission will review the final design.
  • Reference: Restrictive Declaration. 6.1, p. 79

Financial Contribution for Playground Enhancements

NYU will make a contribution of $350,000 (adjusted for inflation) to NYC Department of Parks and Recreation for improvements at the LMNOP or Washington Square Park playgrounds.

Mature Tree Protection Plans

To the extent practical, NYU will endeavor to protect mature trees in close proximity to construction. NYU will create Mature Tree Protection Plans for two construction staging areas -- on Mercer Street between Bleecker Street and West 3rd Street, and on LaGuardia Street between Bleecker Street and West 3rd Street.

Seasonal Playground Associate

NYU will fund a seasonal playground associate for Washington Square Park to offset the potential increase in park users during construction of the LaGuardia Building on the north superblock.

Contact Us

Contact the Office of Government and Community Affairs (OGCA), NYU's primary liaison to the community. OGCA fields questions, addresses concerns, and disseminates information on a variety of University topics, ranging from free and public events to updates on construction projects.

25 W 4th Street, New York, NY 10012
212-998-2400 |

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