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NYU Village Gets PR Campaign

Oct. 27 2008, Published 7:07 a.m. ET

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Once upon a time, the upper downtown of New York City had Greenwich Village on the west and the Lower East Side on the east. In the middle, while the "East Village" was being invented, grew a third: N.Y.U. Village. Scrabbling for property anywhere they could get it, and taking advantage of zoning laws to build progressively higher and less visually acceptable buildings as the years ground on, N.Y.U. found itself on the outs with people who actually live in downtown. But now, according to New York magazine, the school has realized they might need to start politicking. Says their "community engagement" person, "We finally realized we were on an unsustainable track. We decided we had to restructure and invite the community to the table." So they're having "open houses" where people can come and complain. Oooh, how gracious of them! Normally such conversations happen in the carefully-constructed system of city approval hearings—a system the school has bypassed wherever it could. Says New York of their exciting new "talking to neighbors" plan: "it's more than most such institutions do." Um, so? Downtown's worst neighbor has an endowment now well over $2 billion; beginning 7 years ago, their goal has been to raise a million dollars a day.

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