NYU has been in dress rehearsals for the official unveiling of its 20-year expansion plan for the past couple of years, meeting with local groups around its Greenwich Village campus to present ideas, solicit feedback and, as is usually the case, blow a few tops with renderings of possible new buildings and towers. That plan, which would grow the land-gobbling university by 40%, is supposed to be complete by 2031, so this show needs to get on the road. And here we go!
NYU 2031 will be formally unleashed in April, including at one event on the 14th that preservationists already have circled on their calendars. Today the Times and Observer summarize NYU's plans, and the goals have pretty much remained the same: Grow the core campus (most notably with a fourth tower added to the Silver Towers complex), pursue new facilities in other neigborhoods with pockets of NYU activity (especially you, Downtown Brooklyn!) and turn Governors Island into an experimental urban educational utopia. Wait, what?
Talk of NYU turning parts of Governors Island into a satellite campus has floated around for a while, but it's always been considered a long shot. Even the NYU 2031 website lists major obstacles, including the lack of any public transportation and the major infrastructure upgrades needed. Plus, most people still think the city (soon to take possession of Governors Island from the state) aims to turn most of the old military base and current summertime attraction into the coolest park ever. But NYU is giving it a think, and the Times has the renderings to prove it. Cooper, Robertson & Partners is working on the design with Brooklyn Bridge Park landscape architect Michael Van Valkenburgh.
According to the paper, the university sees Governors Island as an incubator for ideas on developing the "urban future." Says NYU prez John Sexton, "What does it mean in the 21st century to build a great city? Let's be the lab and thinking space for it, the center in the world for thinking about cities." Or, you know, let's not. The 2031 plan is still considered just a framework and not a final blueprint, so the ghosts of Governors Island still have time to haunt John Sexton in his sleep and convince him to set his sights on Long Island City or something. Here's another NYU: GI rendering: