NYU Diaries: Lay me in the water
Written by Bwog Staff
NYU Correspondent W. M. Akers is back, with an explication of his school’s own real estate woes, and why nobody cares.
Among the many hardships of the New York University student is a scarcity of abominations. We have no Manhattanville, no nooses, no Islamic tyrants, and while Columbia students get to moan about northward expansion like it’s the new rape of Belgium, the best NYU gives us is the partial-dismantling of a holy building on 12th Street. The dorm we’re building there will incorporate the facade of the architecturally insignificant old church, letting residents taste absolution as they step out to class. Tearing down handsome buildings to erect another gray pile is unfortunate, but not evil.
NYU simply lacks Columbia’s muscle, meaning that we are acted upon as often as we act. Since 2003, community groups have raged against the Department of Parks and Recreation’s proposed renovation of Washington Square Park, and NYU students have grinned blithely at their indignation. This week, the city approved the Department’s plan, meaning that construction could begin as early as the new year.
Because being a liberal in Manhattan requires opposing anything constructed since the Empire State Building, I was confused to find that the plan is strangely sound. They have removed the cruel elements of the proposal—which included fencing out the homeless and smoothing down the three concrete nubs that are the only hills below 55th Street—meaning that the construction will amount to little more than tidying up. Even the city councilman who has led the opposition to the plan has come around, saying that the compromises are unprecedented.
Remaining unchanged, unfortunately, is the scheme to renovate and relocate the fountain, which is to be pushed, like a stray end-table, 23 feet, in order to bring it into line with the arch. Even in warm months sitting in the fountain can be unpleasant–the surface is hard, the spray is unpredictable, and the spectacle of toddlers tumbling into the water distracts from homework–but no one, student or real person, seems to mind it not being in line with the arch. Moving the fountain and renovating the rest of the park will mean half the park will be blocked off and ugly for the next two to three years, forcing us to eat lunch indoors and graduate at Yankee Stadium.
The plan for the park is irritating but tired. It’s even less important than other failed controversies, like last year’s hilarious election scandal and Young Republican racism, and the administration’s ongoing refusal to release financial records. Perhaps there’s nothing worth shouting about down here, but that shouldn’t matter. If NYU wants to maintain its place as a top-tier time-wasting institution, its students need to practice silly disobedience. We need people capable of making fools of themselves and their college—is there any chance we could borrow your hunger-strikers?
Ah, and to those bothered by my byline, I’d like to briefly explain myself. My father is a screenwriter; he and I have the same name so I print as W.M. to distinguish my work from his. If that’s unacceptable please continue mocking me for it, but I would prefer you restrict your attacks to my writing, personality, or character. Thank you for reading—I’ll be back next week with something new for you to abuse.
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