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The hoopla over the new NYU dorm rising above St. Ann's Church we moaned about last week looks to be heating up. After the Villager reported on the 242-foot-tall dormitory NYU associate vice president of government and community affairs Alicia Hurley has started fighting back by defending the plans. She contacted us about the story in an e-mail:

Last week's "news" of our new residence hall hit the bandwith [sic] and airwaves with very little accuracy and was orchestrated by a local group whom I can only guess feels they have been left out of the process. But the group's executive director has taken on NYU in an effort to build his own political profile and career, and frankly it has come at the expense of open dialogue between NYU and the community. At this point we have decided that we need to find a mechanism for outreach and communication that might not call on that group or its executive director as a middle point. The story you are reporting comes from the agitation of that decision.

And who exactly is behind this plot against the University? Mostly Andrew Berman the director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation who dug up the zoning drawings above. And what exactly did he misrepresent? Well, from Hurley: "Andrew Berman is wrong to call the zoning drawings final building renderings, and assessing them as the actual design of the building. This is naïve at best and duplicitous at worst."

Of course, when the Villager asked NYU spokesperson John Beckman "if the actual shape of the building will differ from the zoning schematics" he refused to elaborate from his prepared e-mail statement that "the schematics tell you about the height and the size of the building, but the look and design of the building cannot be understood from these elevations. We will be producing renderings, and they’ll explain the look of the building much better.” He wouldn't even tell them if "the building might resemble a triangle rather than a rectangle"!

Unsurprisingly, Berman has some folks on his side too. State Senator Tom Duane told the Villager "I fail to see how and when community input took place. And I think it’s wrong to attack Andrew on this. G.V.S.H.P has done a lot of wonderful work in the Village — that has enhanced it for NYU.” And as for Berman, he says “this is to deflect attention away from their project, which is completely unwanted by the community, and their utter failure to respond to community concerns or keep their commitment to do so.”

Sounds to us like this is about to get dirty. For instance, did we mention the part where NYU's Beckman wrote in an August 2 statement that "Andrew Berman’s public utterances are discouragingly full of falsehoods and willful misinformation," accused him of trying to “inflame neighborhood passion through carelessness and inaccuracies," and finally saying "we publicly call on him to retract his false assertions"?

Renderings of the planned 26-story NYU dorm on E. 12th Street from last week's The Villager.