Petition to Save Parks in the Village and Citywide

Please sign, and share this petition link with others, to help us show that we care about our parks!

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/our-five-borough-petition-for-save-our-parks

Final Report of NYU’s internal “Space Priorities Working Group”

After insisting to CB2, the Borough President, City Planning Commission and City Council that NYU had carefully examined its space needs, and after receiving approvals based on those stated needs (that we hope the lawsuit rolls completely back!), NYU convened an internal Space Priorities Working Group. Their final report was released today.  You can read it at: http://www.nyu.edu/content/dam/nyu/spacePriorities/documents/USPWG_Final_Report.pdf

You’re Invited: “Victory for Parks” Party – Sat., March 15, 2014, 1pm, LaGuardia Place between Bleecker and W. 3rd Streets

The “Victory for Parks” party will be on Saturday, March 15, at 1pm in LaGuardia Park (LaGuardia Place between Bleecker and W. 3rd in front of the statue of Fiorello LaGuardia). Note: this is a change of date – please let everyone know of the change to 3/15.

Come – and bring your friends/neighbors – to this important event!

Join the “Victory for Parks” party (was 3/9, now 3/15 – see above!), 1pm at the LaGuardia Statue on LaGuardia Place between Bleecker & W. 3rd

Please join us at the “Victory for Parks” party on Sunday, March 9th SATURDAY, MARCH 15, 1pm at LaGuardia Park (on LaGuardia Place between W 3rd and Bleecker Sts.)
On January 7th, Judge Donna Mills made a crucial ruling that will protect parkland in Greenwich Village from being obliterated by the NYU expansion plan.  It’s a great victory for all those who believe that our open spaces truly belong to all of us, and that they can’t be given away without due process. Since the court victory, it’s been cited a number of times by other communities fighting similar battles – including Willets Point in Queens, the Lower East Side/Chinatown, Flushing Meadow Park in Queens – as a major turning point.
This party will serve as a jumping off point for “Save Our Parks and Open Spaces” Week.  We will ask everyone to call or email City Hall during the week to ask the administration to support our open spaces.  We will also be circulating a letter/petition for supporters to sign.
Looking forward to seeing you on 3/9 Saturday, 3/15, 1pm, at the LaGuardia Statue!
Spread the word to your friends and neighbors – the more attending the better.

Media Coverage of Court Decision

Media Coverage of the State Supreme Court Decision:

NY Times:
NY Daily News:
NY Post:
Bloomberg News:
NYU Local:

Judge says Superblocks Parks are PARKS

Judge has ruled that three of the open space strips on the Superblocks are PARKS and cannot be taken by NYU!

From the judge’s decision:
“…the court concludes that the public trust doctrine applies to three of the four parcels of land involved, the Mercer Playground, LaGuardia Park, and LaGuardia Corner Gardens. That does not mean, however, that NYU will ultimately be prevented from going forward with its Project, as approved by the City Council. Rather, it means that NYU must obtain the approval of the New York State Legislature if it intends to substantially interfere with the parcels of land which are now used as parks, either by using them as construction staging areas, or by altering them by incorporating them into larger areas of public spaces. Despite the assertion of petitioner Glick to the contrary, NYU may be able to obtain the approval of the State Legislature. If, however, NYU is unsuccessful in its efforts, it will, at the very least, have to develop alternative areas for construction staging that will not interfere with the use by the public of Mercer Playground, LaGuardia Park, and LaGuardia Corner Gardens.”

Note that the judge specifically did not include the open space strip in front of Coles Gym, so it is possible that the Zipper Building may be able to proceed.  Gibson Dunn is the firm that brought the lawsuit on behalf of several co-petitioners including NYU FASP, NYS Assemblymember Deborah Glick, GVSHP, LaGuardia Corner Garden, LMNO(P), Washington Square Village Tenants’ Association and many more.  Randy Mastro, lead attorney for Gibson Dunn on the case, has stated his belief that the judge’s decision stops NYU 2031 in its tracks and the entire project cannot proceed.  NYU spokesman John Beckman, however, counters that the Plan can proceed except for on the three strips.

More information to come as it is available.

NYU FASP Holds Online Auction to Save the Village

This holiday season, how would you like to have dessert and drinks with Cynthia Nixon and her wife Christine Marinoni? Have lunch with Bill Moyers, Fran Lebowitz or Lewis Lapham?  “Hulk Out” with a signed mask and set of figurines from Mark Ruffalo? Go on a two-hour shopping expedition, to curate your pantry and spice collection, with Top Chef’s Padma Lakshmi?  Play basketball with John Leguizamo? Get a signed copy of Bianca Jagger’s ‘Arts for Human Rights’ event catalogue? Get a book signed by E.L. Doctorow, a manuscript page from Philip Glass, an uncorrected galley of Art Spiegelman’s MausVol.1, an Alex Katz print, a photograph of William S. Burroughs by Gary Indiana, a painting by actor Joel Grey, signed copies of all Eric Bogosian’s published works, or a signed personal photo by Matthew Modine from the set of Full Metal Jacket?  Become the owner of the rare Omas fountain pen that former US Poet Laureate and Pulitzer Prize winner Philip Levine used to write The Mercy? Snap up a poster signed by Edward Norton?

Starting today, all those boldface names—and others—will take part in an online auction to help fund the struggle that NYU Faculty Against the Sexton Plan (NYUFASP) and Village residents and supporters are waging against NYU’s ruinous 2031 expansion plan—a project that will crush the Village. The auction lasts until December 18th

If the link above does not work, access the auction at http://auction.nyufasp.com

Meeting on three City-Owned Open Spaces on the Superblocks

Tuesday, November 26, 6:30pm at 505 LaGuardia Place just south of Bleecker St. (Community Room)

Please come to a public meeting on the city-owned lands on the North Superblock (LaGuardia Park with the statue of Fiorello LaGuardia, and Mercer Playground for older kids) plus on the South Superblock the chain-link-fenced area between Coles Gym and Morton Williams supermarket.  NYU is required to improve these spaces per the Restrictive Declaration that was implemented upon approval of the NYU 2031 Plan.

Let’s provide input on what is wanted and needed in OUR parks, rather than allow NYU’s architects to simply tell us what we’ll get.  The more used and loved we make our neighborhood parks, the harder it will be for NYU to commandeer them for construction equipment parking or access plazas.

Your input is crucial! Please attend (and bring your friends/neighbors) to show that we care about our parks.

Tuesday, Nov. 26, 6:30 at 505 LaGuardia Place.
Reminder: On Facebook, “like” CAAN 2031 for the latest news fastest:
http://www.facebook.com/CAAN2031

NYU FASP Benefit Event

From NYU FASP (Faculty Against the Sexton Plan):
Here’s some good news about next Tuesday’s FASP fundraiser in the penthouse at the Hotel Standard—a bash co-sponsored by Susan Sarandon, Fran Lebowitz and Padma Lakshmi:
A number of supporters who have paid at least $250 for their tickets  will be unable to attend. This means that there will now be room for others who are equally committed to our fight, but can’t afford to spend as much.
We badly need to raise whatever funds we can, while also hoping to include as many of our colleagues as possible. Therefore, our Steering Committee has decided that we will accept donations of $100.

Thank you for your commitment. We look forward to a rousing celebration of our fight so far—and the victory that all of us will win.

Here is the link for the event: http://wp.me/P2mQr7-PZ

NYU2031 a Key Factor in Council District 1 Candidate Debate

Both sides talk about Land Use and NYU2031:  http://thevillager.com/2013/08/23/city-council-district-1-debate-first-video-clip/

No More NYU “Loans” for Vacation Homes

Article in the Times – seems NYU is worried that faculty discontent may reduce their credit rating and make it more difficult to borrow for their massive, expensive expansion plan!

Kudos to NYU Faculty for standing up and bringing some of NYU’s wasteful policies to a halt.

Still more to do, though – faculty and community together!

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/15/nyregion/facing-criticism-nyu-will-cease-loans-to-top-employees-for-second-homes.html

No Cars Have Ever Driven on These “Streets”

The attorneys from Gibson Dunn who are fighting the NYU 2031 Plan (aka the “Sexton Plan) on the community’s behalf for their clients (NYU Faculty Against the Sexton Plan and several other co-petitioners), argued eloquently before Judge Donna Mills that the public open space strips have long been known to the community as PARKS and only as PARKS.  Randy Mastro and Jim Walden argued that the “Article 78″ case should proceed because the City’s approval of the Plan was flawed in several ways, including alienating parkland (changing from park use to anything else) without the required state legislative approval, not going back to the community after changes in the application for Plan approval were made, improper Environmental Impact Statements and more.

They stated to the judge that there has been an implied dedication of these spaces as parks even if the City never remapped them to the Parks Department; the community knows them only as parks, they sport NYC Parks Department logos and have been in continuous use as parkland – gardens, playgrounds and a dog run for decades. Therefore, they need to be “alienated” by state legislative action before they can be used as anything else.

NYC and NYU’s attorneys countered these arguments by stating that NYC Department of Transportation is the official owner of the strips and they are kept in trust as streets, while also arguing against the other claims as well and asking that the Article 78 suit be dismissed.

The courtroom was packed with community members who were shocked that the judge did not look at the attorneys as they stated their positions, and that she limited the attorneys’ time to 30 minutes for each side.  The judge seems to prefer written testimony to spoken, and gave the attorneys two weeks from the hearing to provide additional information in writing.  We do not know when she will decide whether to dismiss the case or allow it to proceed, or if there will be any additional hearings.

LaGuardia Corner Gardens

Mercer Playground

Dog Run.The new Adrienne's Garden toddler playground with friendly dragon in LaGuardia Park.Do these look like streets to you, needed for possible vehicular traffic when they’re adjacent to real streets?  NYC and NYU state that the fact that ownership was never changed from the Department of Transportation to the Department of Parks (a change that NYU blocked for decades) is why they are not parks being alienated by being taken over for NYU’s use.

WE created and use these parks, designing and planting and augmenting them based on community needs, but to NYC’s and NYU’s attorneys they are simply streets that we happen to be using as parks at the moment.  Now it’s up to one judge to decide.