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Carter's View

Julie Menin, the chair of Community Board 1 in Lower Manhattan, has been campaigning to have New York University not build a tower in Greenwich Village in Community Board 2 but near Ground Zero, possibly the former Deutsch Bank building that is still being demolished almost ten years after the terrorist attacks in 2001.

Ms. Menin made her pitch to the university last week and was applauded when she discussed last month with Community Board 2.

On Tuesday, she discussed the issue at the financial district committee meeting of her board and she called the proposal a "marriage of culture and education," according to an article in this week's edition of The Villager by Lincoln Anderson and John Bayles.

"Whether it's faculty housing or classroom space - the idea is you're building something a university would use instead of another corporation," she said, in advocating for N.Y.U. building in Lower Manhattan, the article said, adding that "It's the whole idea of Ground Zero and what we want to see there. We already have a lot of office space."

Menin, the article continued, said it's abundantly clear that there's strong opposition in the Village area to N.Y.U.'s plan, adding that she has been in "constant contact with Andrew Berman," the executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, which has been very critical of the university's expansion plans in Greenwich Village. "He's obviously extremely supportive," Ms. Menin said.

When Ms. Menin spoke at a presentation of the university's expansion plans to the Arts and Institutions Committee of Community Board 2 a few weeks ago, the article continued, she said "it was very clear that [a tower would be noncontextual in the Village - but that it would be in context with the other buildings at the World Trade Center site," adding that "People were clapping - they don't want to see the tower in their community. In Lower Manhattan, we're one of the few neighborhoods in the city that's zoned for high towers."

N.Y.U. has said the its plan to add a fourth tower to the three at its Silver Towers complex south of Washington Square Park on the north side of Houston Street would house visiting faculty from its "Global Networked University" - its group of more than a dozen international campuses.

"But Menin said, while N.Y.U. might consider Governors Island or Downtown Brooklyn 'remote sites' for expansion in relation to its core campus, that can't be said about the W.T.C. - where "Site 5," the Deutsche Bank site, remains unbuilt - and the Financial District, where there are a number of stalled construction projects that would also be suitable for N.Y.U. facilities," the article said.

The article said that a spokeswoman for NYU told The Villager a couple of weeks ago that while "we are open to a discussion about the Financial District" that "it would not replace the proposals for building on our own property, something we can do incrementally and consistent with near- and long-term university needs."

The article said that Jo Hamilton, the chair of Community Board 2, said that "it's ironic: we have Community Board 2 saying, 'Find other space,' and Community Board 1 is saying, 'Come here, come here!' It doesn't happen like that very often."
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Architecture Critic Carter Horsley Since 1997, Carter B. Horsley has been the editorial director of CityRealty. He began his journalistic career at The New York Times in 1961 where he spent 26 years as a reporter specializing in real estate & architectural news. In 1987, he became the architecture critic and real estate editor of The New York Post.
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