Protesters Use Halloween to Give NYU Developers a Fright
GREENWICH VILLAGE — Preservationists are planning to use a Greenwich Village Halloween parade to give NYU developers a fright.
The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation (GVSHP) said Tuesday it will submit designs to the 2011 NYU Halloween Design Contest illustrating the threat of the university's planned expansion.
The contest encourages the public to submit ideas for decorating trick-or-treat bags for its official Halloween children's parade.
"To so many people in this community, there's nothing scarier than NYU's massive 20-year expansion plan and the impact it would have on the Village," said GVSHP executive director Andrew Berman.
GVSHP's submission to the design contest shows a giant violet blob — NYU's color — looming over the Washington Square Arch and other neighborhood buildings. A speech bubble from a cartoon figure running from the blob says, "It's coming for our PARKS and LIGHT & AIR and OPEN SPACE!"
"We thought this was a fun and creative way to call attention to what [NYU is] proposing, which goes through the public review and approval — or denial — process in the coming months," Berman said.
NYU's expansion plan would transform two superblocks bordered by Mercer Street, West Houston Street, LaGuardia Place and West Third Street, adding two million square feet to the university's campus.
NYU suggested that GVSHP's unconventional protest attempt detracts from the issues at hand.
“NYU will continue to look for people who want to engage in a serious dialogue about how to balance our academic needs and the jobs our expansion would bring with the concerns of our neighbors," NYU spokesman John Beckman said.
"We’ll leave it to others to judge whether attempting to politicize a longstanding children’s event, co-sponsored with Community Board 2, clears that bar," he added.
For NYU's expansion plan to proceed, the project needs approval from Community Board 2, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, the Department of City Planning and the City Council.
Submissions to NYU's contest are due Thurs., Sept. 8, by 5 p.m. and can be submitted by mail or email. The winner will see his or her design on the trick-or-treat bags and receive a $500 gift certificate to NYU's bookstores.