Now, some--like some of those who left comments in response to the article--might dismiss Kimmelman as a snob or someone who just doesn't want his neighborhood to change. However, he makes it clear that it is indeed possible for NYU to build without "destroying" the character of the neighborhood. For one thing, the amount of money NYU is spending should enable it to hire some of the best architects and planners available. For another, although some of what NYU has built in Greenwich Village is really ugly, some other things they've built are actually rather nice, and make parts of the neighborhood (especially around Washington Square Village) more tranquil. And, finally--this is the part people don't like to admit--much of the "character" of The Village is mythical. It hasn't been the "bohemian capital" of anything for at least three decades. Heck, it's hasn't even been the gay "capital" of the city for at least two decades. There are probably as many One Percenters living in The Village as there are on the Upper East Side.
Still, though, it's hard not to feel concern about what NYU wants to do, simply because it's almost never a good thing when a large institution is allowed to overrun a community. While it's true that institutions like NYU bring lots of business for everyone from book sellers to pizza makers, that business doesn't really benefit local residents, or even residents of the New York Metropolitan Area. That is because much of the property from which those businesses operate is owned by NYU, which does about as much to hold the line on rent as it does on tuition. So, increasingly, those quirky little coffee and book shops are being replaced by Starbuck's and Barnes and Noble.
The worst part, though, is that NYU doesn't pay real estate taxes on the extensive properties it owns in the neighborhood, and throughout the city. Somehow a