Is NYU open space addition B.S.?

February 01, 2012 05:30PM

New York University’s assertion last month that it will add 3.1 acres of publicly accessible open space to Greenwich Village may be more bluster than fact, the New York Observer reported, because a lot of the space it’s claiming to add is already publicly accessible.

The university is suggesting that there will be a major net gain in the amount of open space in the neighborhood as a result of its efforts, the Observer noted, but it’s “one thing to knock down a building or transform a parking lot into a park. It is another to take one park and turn it into another park.”

Andrew Berman, director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, concurred that NYU’s calculations were at least questionable.

“Basically what they are doing is saying that virtually none of what you and I would call ‘open space’ on the superblocks now is ‘public open space’ for a variety of reasons,” he said.

A spokesperson for the university argued that some of the college’s existing public space, while accessible to the public, is not really in a fit condition to be visited.

“We are making publicly accessible [existing] open space that is not — and is not perceived — as publicly accessible now,” he said. [NYO]