It felt like it was over yesterday even before the Greenwich Village residents in the balcony started booing and chanting, “Chin and Quinn did us in,” before Council Speaker Christine Quinn called on NYPD to remove the hecklers from the chamber, before one last old, diminutive woman wailed, “Shame on you! This is horrible!” and before the city council chuckled and congratulated each other through a 44-1 vote to approve the NYU 2031 expansion, known as the Sexton Plan.
The decision was no surprise to anyone, likely not even those who showed up and got kicked out. It was surprising, however, to file out of City Hall a half hour later to see some Greenwich Village residents and NYU faculty huddle just off the steps, still spiritedly chanting and taking questions from media. (Full disclosure: I am a graduate of NYU’s graduate magazine program.)
“This will change all of our lives,” the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation’s executive director, Andrew Berman, told the Voice. It’s the same argument that councilman Charles Barron used when he pled with other council members to vote against the expansion.
“None of us have to live there,” Barron said. He represented the only vote against NYU 2031. “They’re going to have construction in their neighborhood for the next 20 years!”
“We were not listened to as a part of the process,” Berman said after the vote. He said that even though his preservation society’s taken losses before, the council decision was an “egregious” abuse of power.
So…what now? What are they going to do about it?
Berman said the next move is to file an Article 78, which is a petition to challenge the legality of an administration’s decision in court. They have 120 days to sue. Generally, Article 78 cases are held in Supreme Court.
Patrick Deer, a member of NYU Faculty Against the Sexton Plan, said, “City hall hasn’t consulted with us. Administration hasn’t consulted with us. It’s hard to see how this plan can be called a compromise.”
Although there’s fear among some of the faculty against the expansion, Deer said he’s ready for a long fight.
“The reason why we’re prepared to stand up,” he said, “is because we love and care about the university.