LaGuardia Corner Gardens (LCG) is on a strip of City owned land subject to development. For several years members sought to transfer the land from the Dept. of Transportation (DOT) to the Dept. of Parks and Recreation (Parks), in order to secure the garden’s future. NYU blocked the transfer.
NYU intends to develop 2.5 million square feet, the size of the Empire State Building, on its two superblocks — Washington Square Village and the Silver Towers, see NYU 2031. NYU plans to build, as of right, on the supermarket site adjacent to the garden, a building that will close the garden for several years during construction and cast whatever remains in shade. LCG would no longer be a flower garden. LCG joined CAAN2031, a coalition of community groups in the Village, the East Village, Soho, NoHo, and Union Square, in opposing NYU’s massive development plans, see Community Action Alliance on NYU 2031.
LCG, along with Community Board 2, Borough President Scott Stringer, City Council Member Margaret Chin, State Senator Thomas Duane, and State Assembly Member Deborah Glick, supported the transfer of all DOT strips to Parks. These strips, on Mercer, Bleecker, and LaGuardia Place, are public spaces developed and enjoyed by the community. They include gardens, a dog run, and a playground.
On June 6, 2012, the NYC Planning Commission approved NYU’s expansion. On July 25, 2012, the City Council voted to approve the plan with some modifications. Litigation to protect the garden by making it a “park” under NYS’s Public Trust Doctrine ended with a finding by the NYS Court of Appeals that there was insufficient evidence that the City intended to make the garden a park. Demolition of the Coles Sports Center — the first stage of NYU 2031 — is expected to begin next year.