Preservation push for N.Y.U. second campus outside Village

By Lincoln Anderson

The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation is launching a new campaign to try to limit New York University’s growth in the Village, Noho and the East Village and is calling on the city to help work with the university to locate “one or more locations outside the Village” where N.Y.U. would be able to start a secondary campus.

The campaign starts Feb. 9 and will see G.V.S.H.P. advocate on behalf of its new strategy at Community Board 2 and 3 full board meetings and Zoning Committee meetings.

“The ongoing expansion in the Village, Noho and East Village of New York University — the largest private university in the United States — remains a huge concern to G.V.S.H.P., and to many of our neighbors,” a society press release stated, continuing, “N.Y.U., which currently occupies about 100 buildings between Second and Sixth Aves. in the Village, has built a dozen new high-rises in the area since the early 1980s, and has built or occupied all or part of more than 25 buildings during that time.  Recently, N.Y.U. announced plans to build a 26-story dormitory on E. 12th St., just off Fourth Ave., which would be the tallest building in the East Village.”

John Beckman, an N.Y.U. spokesperson, said the university would be “willing to discuss” the society’s idea. He responded with the following statement: “Recently, the university has assembled a planning team that will engage in dialogue with the local community about achieving proper balance between institutional and community needs.  We hope that it will be a good and substantial dialogue, marked more by thoughtful contributions than a reflexive anti-N.U.Y. sentiment.  In the course of that conversation, we are willing to discuss a range of ideas, including this latest from G.V.S.H.P.

“But, let’s keep in mind,” Beckman continued, “that the essence of a city and of a university is to bring people together, to allow talented, energetic people to interact, and to allow ideas to flow freely and productively.  What might sound easy to accomplish on paper may be difficult in practice, and not in keeping with either the nature of a university or the essence of New York City.”