This morning, the City Planning Commission approved NYU’s continued growth in the East Village, in a vote that is reported to have been nearly unanimous. A few weeks ago, an eleven-hour public hearing brought voices from local residents and businesses who insisted the proposed expansion would be both too large and too “out of character” for the East Village neighborhood, and the plans were adjusted. A temporary gym, underground classrooms, and a hotel were removed from the proposal, which now includes classrooms, auditoriums, and faculty living space in four high-rise towers on the two NYU blocks bordered by West 3rd Street, Houston, LaGuardia Place, and Mercer Street.

The City Planning Commission intends to establish a public committee in charge of ensuring non-NYUers still have free access to the open spaces in the area, but opponents of the expansion are planning to lobby the City Council to veto it nonetheless. Said Andrew Berman of the Greenwich Village Historic Preservation society, “This is more or less a rubber stamp of the project which we knew was going to happen. The mayor said he wanted this to happen, and the City Planning Commission pretty much goes along with the mayor. The fight goes to City Council now, though, where we’re hopeful we’ll be able to beat this plan back.” (Photo: Cornerstones of New York/Flickr)