About 100 Greenwich Village residents, as well as Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, took to Washington Square Park yesterday to protect their parks, playgrounds and community gardens from NYU's plan to turn the neighborhood into a private Ultimate Frisbee quad. Stringer said, "We believe very strongly that NYU must finally learn to coexist, not overwhelm this community." And risk corrupting these young scholars with the local riffraff?
The development proposal, NYU 2031, was opposed by Manhattan's Community Board 2 about two weeks ago because residents wanted the land to be used as parkland. CB2 chair Jo Hamilton told the Daily News, "Publicly owned land should remain public. It shouldn't ever be given to any institution or any entity no matter how pretty their arguments or how pretty their pictures." One CUNY professor told the Post, "I'm furious. I strenuously object to NYU's arrogance. It seems like they are trying to take over this neighborhood. Somebody has a big ego there." Or just dreams of Robert Moses-like grandeur.
But the NYU monster must be fed! The school said in a statement, "As we proceed with refining our plan, through the city's uniform land use review procedure, we will continue these conversations on a broad range of topics, including how to best improve publicly-accessible open spaces." NYU was convinced to scrap a plan for a massive tower in the middle of the landmarked Silver Towers complex, but that was only after I.M. Pei intervened. Perhaps these protesters should get a little more celebrity endorsement. We hear Brangelina is in town.