New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

Off-Third: NYU to demolish Washington Square Park for campus expansion

With more event space, a fine-dining cafeteria and an institute for jaywalking strategies, who would miss the park anyway?
Quinn Sental
(Illustration by Quinn Sental)

Off-Third is WSN’s satire column.

As long lines to enter the John A. Paulson Center rivaled the usual queues in front of the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Film Center, NYU announced a new plan to expand its overcrowded main campus: demolishing Washington Square Park to make way for a multipurpose facility.

Since the Paulson Center opened last semester, students have realized that the space does not meet their demands. NYU held two university-wide events — the Club Fest and the Job & Internship Fair — at the Paulson Center’s gym earlier this month. Both events clogged local traffic, with students lining up all the way to One World Trade Center and occasionally spilling over into the Hudson River.

“I took a walking tour around SoHo while trying to get into Club Fest,” a first-year student said while wearing a stack of NYU lanyards around their neck.

The plunger to this clog is a new ten-story-tall building to be named the “William J. Clinton Center of Ethics and Human Relations” for undisclosable reasons, according to a statement released by NYU.

“I am thrilled because [redacted],” Clinton said to his secretary — a spy for WSN — during a private conversation. “I hope to demonstrate that I, in every sense, did not have any relations of any kind with anyone, and would love to prove myself with this great honor.”

The Clinton Center will hold commencement events exclusively for the NYU Stern School of Business, while other schools will have to settle for locations such as the dungeon-adjacent Bobst lower level two or the dance floor at Phebe’s Tavern.

“I’m so glad the university is finally recognizing the lack of safe spaces for Sternies on this campus,” a patagonia-wearing third-year Stern student majoring in finance said. “I’m really looking forward to having happy hour at the new Clinton cafeteria with a black-tie dress code.”

As a part of the expansion plan, NYU will also turn the public streets around the new building into NYU-exclusive pedestrian walkways.

“We’re honestly fed up with people saying NYU doesn’t have a campus,” a representative of the architecture firm said. “With the streets of the main campus purchased and closed to the public, students will have to use their ID to tap in for sidewalk access.”

In collaboration with the New York City government, NYU will establish an institute dedicated to studying jaywalking strategies in the new building. The institute will participate in NYU welcome events to offer jaywalking courses to first-year and transfer students to better navigate the city. Students and researchers will utilize a simulated traffic intersection in the lower level of the building to instruct students with courses like Jaywalking 101 and Advanced Sidewalk Blocking.

“The new plan marks a milestone in the university’s effort to take over the tri-state area. By replacing Washington Square Park with another monstrous glass polyhedron, we will be able to accommodate university events of sizes beyond what could be jammed into NYU’s existing buildings,” an NYU spokesperson told WSN.

Although the university has faced pushback from local communities after a failed attempt to tear down a beloved supermarket, NYU is confident that the new construction is “totally not gonna fuel gentrification” and will benefit local residents and businesses.

“We are projecting that the expanded campus will lead to a 20% increase in the number of overpriced cafes and brunch restaurants in the area,” a member of NYU’s expansion committee said. “The businesses are guaranteed to boom with more rich young adults hanging around after events in the Clinton Center.”

The preservation of Washington Square Park’s cultural significance and historic values is another highlight of the expansion. The new building will feature a 1:20 scale model of the Washington Square Arch in its lobby, commemorating the landmark set to be converted into a statuette of Tisch alum Adam Sandler. As a part of NYU’s initiative to “not encourage this whole gentrification thing we’ve been hearing so much about,” the university bookstore will launch a new collection of Washington Square merchandise, the proceeds from which will be partially donated to vendors selling colorful phallic candles in the park that will be displaced by the construction.

“The university values our surrounding neighborhood and recognizes the park’s significance,” an NYU representative in The Office of Neighborhood Peacemaking said. “But we mean it when we say the city is our campus, and we will follow through.”

WSN’s Opinion section strives to publish ideas worth discussing. The views presented in the Opinion section are solely the views of the writer.

Contact Kevin Wu at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Kaiyu (Kevin) Wu
Kaiyu (Kevin) Wu, Digital Director
Kaiyu (Kevin) Wu is a senior double-majoring in Media, Culture, and Communication and Journalism. He directs everything digital at WSN. You can directly reach him digitally at [email protected].

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