After a respite of about eight months, the battle over New York University's mega-expansion plans is back in court. Yesterday, NYU got the chance to make their arguments for appealing State Supreme Court Justice Donna Mills' January decision to block part of the expansion because the University was impeding on public parkland. The arguments hinge now, as they did then, on whether or not the parks in question — Mercer Playground, LaGuardia Park, and LaGuardia Corner Gardens — are actually parks. NYU contends that they're not because they have never been officially labelled as such by the city, while NYU's opponents argue that they are because a) NYU has lobbied for years against having the parks officially labelled for this exact nefarious purpose, and b) we all know a park when we see one and these are parks. It is, as you may recall, a whole big thing.
While we're still weeks away from the appellate court making a decision, the hearing brought out the usual band of protesters, politicians, faculty, NYU officials, etc. Many called for Mayor Bill de Blasio to drop the appeal, with Assemblywoman Deborah Glick saying that de Blasio "in his heart knows that we are correct and our efforts are on the right side of history." NYU President John Sexton, meanwhile, contended that, "This is about the expansion of knowledge ... Just think about this, the building that we're doing is to reflect the expansion of knowledge, not the expansion of the student body. So in a way, it's creating a lower impact." (Plus, there's a student housing shortage and where else is his son supposed to live?) The protests also brought out East Village performance collective STOMP, with one member explaining, "We heard about what's going on and we wanted to come make some noise." You kind of have to figure that's STOMP's reaction to everything, though. (Hey, we heard you were having a dinner party... *hits trash can lids together*)
· Residents and Elected Officials Renew Fight Against NYU Expansion Plan [DNAinfo]
· Today, a crucial point in fight over N.Y.U.'s expansion [Capital]
· Appellate court hears NYU appeal over Village 'parkland' [Capital]
· After A Long War, Can NYU and the Village Ever Make Peace? [Curbed]
· All NYU coverage [Curbed]