Space Priorities Group holds second Town Hall

Lauren Kim for WSN
Lauren Kim for WSN

Tension between Greenwich Village residents and NYU students over proposed expansion continued to brew at the second Space Priorities Working Group Town Hall meeting held yesterday afternoon in the Kimmel Center for University Life Rosenthal Pavilion.

Village residents voiced their concerns about the number of NYU students in the neighborhood and the resulting culture shift.

“[The plan] is very self-centered,” McGhee SCPS professor and lifelong Village resident Kathleen Hulley said. “Instead of seeing itself as part of a city, it’s saying ‘These are our needs and we’re going to fulfill them no matter what it costs the rest of the neighborhood.’”

Other neighbors who attended the meeting took issue with the potential increase in students in the Core block around Washington Square Park due to proposed construction of freshmen housing on the Core.

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CAS senior and vice chair of the University Committee on Student Life Harris Inskeep-Rosenfeld defended the proposal, citing the need for freshmen to be close to the core to create a sense of NYU community.

“NYU is already a tough place to be,” Inskeep-Rosenfeld said. “It’s not your typical college experience, but there are certain things we need to provide. One of those things is freshmen dorms near campus.”

One Village resident suggested that student housing be built in Queens, and students could commute to the core. When students objected, the neighbor clarified, explaining that she did not want to exclude NYU students entirely from Greenwich Village, she just wanted fewer of them there.

Vice president of the Advocacy for the Commuter Student Council and CAS junior Nischala Meni commented on the challenges commuter students currently face at NYU.

“Over the years, the commuter student population has grown dramatically,” Meni said. “Right now we only have one space, the second floor of Kimmel, and it isn’t solely our space. Anyone with an NYU ID can go there.”

However, it’s not just freshmen and commuter students who would benefit from the construction. The board pointed out, as they have many times before, that there are only 9,000 spaces to study for a university with 50,917 students.

“I don’t even go to the library because I can never find space to study,” CAS senior Mason Dettloff said.

Stern graduate student and student member of the Working Group Corey Blay noticed that there has been more objection from residents recently.

“In the past it’s been faculty,” Blay said. “Now it seems that neighbors are dissatisfied with our presence.”

A version of this article appears in the Tuesday, Sept. 24 print edition. Bailey Evans is a contributing writer. Email her at [email protected]

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Corey Blay…we love you. We just want NYU to explore options that are good for students, good for faculty, good for residents . We want green spaces, and clean air, and playgrounds, and our small businesses
    You cannot de-construct a community and construct something useable just by NYU.- NYU is of the Village; it is not the Village.
    Our community is not made up of figures on blue prints — we live,
    we breathe, we have souls and most of all we have rights.
    NYU and our elected officials have never had ‘dialogues; with us —
    just ‘diatribes’.
    We do not intend to be ignored at any cost. We do not intend to give in or give up.
    Judith Chazen Walsh
    Washington Square Village

  2. I’m the neighbor who suggested students could live in housing in Queens. It’s 15 minutes from Jackson Heights to W. 4 St. And the rent is far cheaper. It’s not dissimilar from Downtown Brooklyn where NYU students live in student housing on Clark Street.( Also about 15 minutes from W. 4 St.)

    The suggestion that students might walk from the 14th St. residence hall (instead of using the bus) got a really indignant reception from one of the student reps on the committee. Our streets are basically safe for walking at most hours However, I’d agree that the freshman class might benefit from the protective Core housing situation. (Where do they live for the next 3 years?).

    Our suggestion that the committee consider a cap on enrollment (currently over 50,900 students) was met with some students tearfully proclaiming that we did not want them to be here. Oh, come now, we’re not aiming at you students personally. It’s time for the grownups in the room to recognize the university might be getting “too big”.

    NYU’s continual encroachment on our historic and landmarked areas to create more and more office space,classrooms,meeting halls, dorms,etc.make us wonder if in the future there may no longer be a Greenwich Village where artists,actors,musicians,writers lived,worked,conversed and produced the great works some of you students now study.

    A few weeks ago, WSN carried an article which suggested that NYU’s President Sexton and Board Chair Lipton have gone astray from NYU’s vision and should resign immediately.That’s not a bad idea.

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