NYU takes fight over demolishing “parks” to court

School appealing ruling that would protect green space in path of its expansion

LaGuardia Corner Gardens at 511 LaGuardia Place
LaGuardia Corner Gardens at 511 LaGuardia Place

New York University and the city went before a panel of judges on Wednesday to appeal an earlier ruling that could prevent a portion of the school’s $6 billion 2031 expansion plan from proceeding.

The school and city sought to overturn a decision that protects three Greenwich Village green spaces – Mercer Playground, LaGuardia Park and Corner Gardens – from being demolished to make way for three new NYU buildings, DNAinfo reported. In January, Judge Donna Mills ruled that City Council had erred in allowing the plan to move forward, saying that because the land had been used as parks for so long, it deserved the protection afforded to parks, according to the news site.

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The land belongs to the Department of Transportation And Is Officially Designated As Street space.

One judge noted that an affidavit submitted to the court supports NYU’s case because it suggests the city never intended to designate the spaces as parks.

Beyond the immediate impact of the judge’s ruling on NYU, some worry that, should the court side with opponents of the expansion, it could set a precedent that would allow opponents to other projects throughout the city to argue that vacant land in the path of development qualifies as parks, Capital New York reported. [DNAinfo] and [Capital NY]. — Tom DiChristopher