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News November 2010

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NYU’s Tower: Testimony begins—Project ends

November 20, 2010

On November 8, the first round of public hearings addressing NYU’s proposed new tower on the landmarked University Village/Silver Towers site began with the Landmarks and Institutions Committees of Community Board 2. DOCOMOMO New York/Tri-State testified in opposition to this intervention, which would fundamentally alter the composition and character of the complex’s site design, as did all of the other public speakers at the standing-room-only meeting.

Ten days later NYU announced it was withdrawing plans for the 38-story tower and would not seek Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) approval. Instead, NYU will pursue its alternate plan, building as-of-right on the current supermarket site. This proposal will not require LPC approval because the supermarket parcel was a cut-out in the 2008 designation of the University Village/Silver Towers superblock. While there was immense community opposition, NYU noted that opposition to the proposed 4th tower from I.M. Pei and Henry Cobb, original architects of University Village (I.M. Pei & Associates, 1961-1967) was key in its decision.

“A city, so far from being a cluster of buildings, is actually a sequence of spaces enclosed and defined by buildings. This may sound strange, but it is the essence of urban design.”
—I.M. Pei, quoted in 2008 designation report

Henry Cobb letter to LPC 11/10/10
DOCOMOMO New York/Tri-State testimony letter
Press coverage:
NY Times
The Villager

PCF&P/George Cserna