Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Pro-development Bloomberg Administration

"The Bloomberg Administration is arguably one of the most pro-development governments in city history. Since he took office, the Mayor has used city agencies to unleash the forces of New York real estate while also steering those forces to meet goals for a cleaner, greener, and more equitable city," reports The Architects Newspaper.  The article does not mention NYU 2031 but it is a good read.  Find it at http://archpaper.com/news/articles.asp?id=6224.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Another Major Upzoning in the Village

The Trinity Realty Hudson Square zoning proposal has been 'certified' by the City. Read an analysis of this upzoning proposal in the New York Observer -- "Circling Hudson Square: Everybody Wants a Piece of the Last Untouched Neighborhood—Except for Those Who Just Want To Be Left Alone" -- here. Excerpts from the article for your consideration are below.
For the past five years, Trinity has been devising a plan to turn a number of sites it controls in the area into housing, that most lucrative of New York City real estate ventures. Along the way, it has created the largest private rezoning in city history, twice the size of the massive 26-acre Hudson Yards development 40 blocks to the north, three times the size of Columbia’s new Manhattanville campus.
At Monday’s planning meeting, some commissioners questioned why it was a private developer, and not the city itself, that was undertaking such a monumental planning effort. “This is a private application that very much looks and smells and feels like a neighborhood rezoning,” Commissioner Anna Levin said. “I’m curious about the degree of interchange between staff and the applicant in taking this up and shaping it. Also, the extent to which other stakeholders and other property owners have been consulted.”

Edith Hsu-Chen, director of the department’s Manhattan office, responded, “Certainly this is a neighborhood rezoning, one put forward by a private applicant. As we have many applications, certainly, with this amount of coverage, there have been discussions with the department. But again, this is a private application, as we want to make clear.”

August Headlines

In New York, history battles growth [The Hindu Business Line] (hat tip: Washington Square Tenants Association)

Expansion Plan Shaken, Not Scrapped [Washington Square News] (Try this link if the previous one generates an error code)

W.S.V. residents sue N.Y.U. to save garden, playground [The Villager]

Will NYU's Sexton Plan Screw Students and Bring School Down? [OpEdNews]

Washington Square Village Residents Sue NYU for Development Plan [DNAinfo]

NYU plan slapped in lawsuit [NY Daily News]

Friday, August 24, 2012

Bowery Boys on New York University

The Bowery Boys have recorded a podcast about NYU's history!
They once called it the University of the City of New York, an innovative, non-denominational school located in a intellectual castle on the northeast corner of the Washington military parade ground. Today it's better known as New York University, one of America's largest private schools of higher education, inhabiting dozens of buildings throughout the city.

Find out more about its spectacular and sometimes strange history, from the inventors among its early faculty to some of the more curious customs among its 19th century student body. But the story of NYU is often defined by its growth, the need for expansion, and conflicts with the community.
Read more here and listen to the podcast here.

Photo: West Third Street: Not Green, Not Livable

West Third between LaGuardia Place and Greene courtesy Hubert J Steed (source) (more)

The north side of West Third Street between LaGuardia Place and Greene Street is lined by NYU buildings that turn their backs on the sidewalk and street; an inhospitable route.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Sasaki Signs and Accessible Atriums

From Andrew Berman's op-ed in The Village Voice titled Top 10 outrageous things about N.Y.U. plan approval:
Sasaki signs and accessible atriums: The “amenities” offered to the public in exchange for the lavish approvals given to N.Y.U. would be funny if they weren’t so sad. Two stand out. First, N.Y.U. will have to install better signs announcing that Washington Square Village’s award-winning Sasaki Garden is open to the public — that is, before it demolishes the garden to make way for massive new buildings and an underground labyrinth of labs and classroom. Second, in exchange for the loss of public parks, playgrounds, gardens and dog runs, N.Y.U. will have to allow public access to an atrium inside the massive, million-square-foot Zipper Building.

(Andrew Berman is the executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation.)

Monday, August 13, 2012

Photo: Ode to the Garden's Willow

Sitar Musician Playing a Raga under Weeping Willow by Hubert J Steed (source)
The willow and pines in the southeast corner of the Garden are a favorite spot for many users of and visitors to the Sasaki Garden. View a the slideshow of the willow's "changing colors and forms" at http://www.pbase.com/hjsteed/our_willow_tree.  Also consider listening to Billie Holiday's "Willow Weep for Me" (hat tip: Hubert J. Steed).

Friday, August 10, 2012

Garden Photos from RAPPER (Resident Against the Plan)

"Resident Against the Plan" shared the following photos of the Sasaki Garden with us.  Enjoy!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Green Infrastructure Capacity of Superblocks

Writing about the Lower East Side towers-in-the-park owned by the NYC Housing Authority, urban historian/planner/and designer Kerri Culhane observes:
Superblocks provide the advantage of open space for the deployment of green infrastructure.
The Sasaki Garden is existing and functioning green infrastructure! The City should acknowledge the garden in the Green Infrastructure Plan released by DEP in 2010 instead of allowing NYU to demolish the Garden to accommodate 1,180,000 square feet* of new construction.

Read Ms. Culhane's essay for Urban Omnibus at http://urbanomnibus.net/2012/08/making-connections-planning-for-green-infrastructure-in-two-bridges/.

* This figure is the certified square footage of the North Block of the NYU 2031 plan.  City Council on July 25, 2012 reduced the gross square footage on the North Block to 585,000 square feet.  See here for details.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Imagining Greenwich Village in 2031

"...what if the current incarnation of the plan is upheld and remains largely unchanged? What will Greenwich Village look like in 2031? Will it be congested, overcrowded and largely unlivable, as many naysayers suggest, or will the plan usher in a new chapter of peaceful coexistence between NYU and its Village neighbors?"

Read more of Alan Krawitz article for New York Press at http://nypress.com/imagining-greenwich-village-in-2031/.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Photo: Destined for a Tree Museum?

WSV Sasaki Garden, July 2012 courtesy of Hubert J Steed (source)

From "Big Yellow Taxi" by Joni Mitchell

They took all the trees
And put them in a tree museum
Then they charged the people
A dollar and a half just to see 'em
Don't it always seem to go,
That you don't know what you've got
'Til it's gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot


(Source: letssingit.com)