NYU’s 2031 expansion plan has drawn a lot of controversy in the Village community. NYU plans to develop a total of about 2 million square feet of space within two ‘superblocks’ just south of the park, and this summer, they got permission from the city to do so. However, with 40% of university’s faculty calling those superblocks home, and 37 departments publicly opposing the plan, the resistance from within the university continues to be fierce.
But in addition to faculty and other residents, the opposition has gained a little star power. In addition to Ferris Bueller’s Day Off superstar and resident Matthew Broderick, New York One reported that “writer-performer-comedian-New-Yorker” John Leguizamo has voiced his the expansion plan. On Columbus Day, seen in a video produced by the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, Leguizamo calls for landmark status to be given to the southern end of Greenwich Village.
“The South Village is really important to me because as a young artist,” Leguizamo said. “This was a place that I would to because you knew that this was where it all started. I used to come and perform there and go to The Bitter End; this was the place to come and be somebody.” The Bitter End is well known to NYU students—especially freshman musicians—as the place to debut.
“Every time you lose one of these buildings, you lose a community. You lose an opportunity to pass on this knowledge and information to the future, and that means my kids and my grandkids and I would hate for them to miss this,” Leguizamo said, echoing the preservationist argument against the expansion.
While star power certainly helps send the anti-2031 message, the question for the groups now filing a lawsuit against the city for approving the NYU plan is whether or not they can raise sufficient funds.
In addition to today’s Save the Village Benefit Show, a march is planned for Saturday. October 20 at 12:30 pm. All In The Red, an activist network raising awareness about student debt, will join NYU Faculty Against the Sexton Plan to host the “Stop the Purple Monster” March. That day, NYU is supposedly hosting a large NYU alumni event, and the group plans to march through the construction zone to “let those alumni know what John Sexton has in store for Greenwich Village.”
For information about the anti-2031 plan, you can go to the site for the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, the site of FASP and StandUP4NYC, the Facebook page of Students and Alumni Against the Sexton Plan, as well as our own report on where the plan–and the backlash–stand now.