NYU’s growth “appalls” its uptown neighbors

Seeking to Expand an Uptown Site, N.Y.U. Finds Itself in an Alley Fight

JUNE 2, 2014

“I am shocked and appalled at N.Y.U.,” Aldo Bozzi shouted during a community board meeting two weeks ago. “And this is just beginning. New York is going to decay if this is going to be permitted.”

For the nation’s largest private university, this has become a familiar lament, but this time it comes from unfamiliar territory. Rather than the professors, radicals and bohemian celebrities in its native Greenwich Village who have assailed New York University for decades, the opponents here are a half-dozen of the wealthy and socially elite on the Upper East Side, like Mr. Bozzi, the former head of Alfa Romeo in North America. And they are not fighting over vast acres or soaring dormitories.

Their battleground is a back alley around the corner from Central Park.

Since 1958, the university has operated its Institute of Fine Arts — the graduate schools of art history, archaeology and art conservation — out of a 40,000-square-foot limestone building donated a year earlier by Doris Duke. Her father, James Duke, had built the three-story mansion in the French classical style at the corner of Fifth Avenue and 78th Street in 1912, a testament to his control of four-fifths of the nation’s cigarette business.

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