By Tara Kyle
GREENWICH VILLAGE — NYU may be under fire from some Villagers for its ongoing expansion plans, but as thousands of students returned to campus this week for the fall semester, many neighborhood residents — especially shopkeepers — were glad to welcome them back.
“We’re waiting for them, we’re excited,” said Osman Acar, manager of Ottomans Café, a Turkish takeout restaurant next to the West 4th Street subway stop.
The restaurant opened in May and is offering a 10 percent discount to NYU students.
At Triona’s, a bar on Sullivan Street, trivia night and two pong tables help draw co-eds returning from summer break. Noting that summertime business is “dead,” owner Triona McCloskey said she believes the combination of fall classes and football season could spike business by around 30 percent.
Sean Malik, manager of the Village Rock Piercing and Tattoo parlor on Sixth Avenue, said he expects a five to ten percent revenue bump from NYU students.
“New Year’s is coming, Christmas is coming — this is the time to make money,” Malik said.
At Bleecker Bob’s Records, however, manager Chris Weidner joked that he could take or leave the students, who favor Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and The Beatles.
“I think school should be outlawed, and they should all be put to work in the countryside,” he joked.
Joyce London, a 66-year-old midwife who has lived in the Village for three decades, said that as the years go by, she gets a bit less tolerant of the throngs of students. But she said remembering her own daughter's time at the University of Berkeley helps her keep it in perspective.
“I look at them and see all the effort that went into getting them here, so that makes me happy,” London said.
John Bianchi, a 46-year-old publicist in the Village, said though the area has changed, he enjoys being part of a college neighborhood — even though it means living next door to a freshman dorm.
“Certainly the energy of the neighborhood has changed,” said John Bianchi. “It’s kind of amusing actually. You definitely see kids getting lost around the neighborhood.”
Gio Parkaia, a 25-year-old transplant from Georgia (the Eastern European country, not the state), said hearing students ask him for directions makes him feel like a true New Yorker.
He said he loves the diversity and liveliness that students bring to the neighborhood, but he is not a fan of the crowds they create on sidewalks.
“Some students walk really slow,” said Parkaia, who holds a Georgian medical degree but works as a model and dog walker.
“Actually most of them. That really annoys me. If you come here, you have to run.”