The arguments for NYU’s, creatively named, “2031” expansion have been predictable in their rhetoric: You shouldn’t—and, frankly, can’t—stand in the way of change. The majority of press in the city has adopted this stance and backed the new proposals. Now Manhattan borough president, Scott Stringer, has given his approval, albeit with stipulations that reduce the build by some 20 percent.
Those who disagree with the 1.9 million square foot expansion have been cast as one-dimensional curmudgeons who are stuck in the past. “Change never comes easy to New York” read a Times op-ed. Really? In more polemic media, the anti-expansion crowd have even been accused of wanting to “steal” one of NYU’s buildings.
“I think they pretty much get what they want, I feel like they are a little principality,” Diane Peterson said of the university, sitting on a stone slab in La Guardia community gardens, the southern block of the two “Super Blocks” that most of the 2031 plan is based upon.
Ms. Peterson has maintained her plot, where she grows tomatoes and roses amongst other shrubs, for more than three decades. Although NYU does not own the land that La Guardia Gardens is situated on—it belongs to the Department of Transportation—if the planned expansion does go ahead the garden will be embedded in the midst of a construction site for some 20 years. Read More