A bunch of native residents calling for NYU to save lots of a grocery store on university-owned land took the battle to the its entrance door on Wednesday, the newest growth in a yearslong battle for the grocery retailer.
Protesters gathered outdoors Bobst Library to name for an area Morton Williams, positioned on the intersection of Bleecker St. and LaGuardia Place, to be allowed to remain in its present location. Presently, the house could be utilized by the New York Metropolis College Development Authority — which oversees public faculty building within the metropolis — to construct a brand new faculty, displacing the grocery store.
The rally was organized by Save Our Grocery store, a group group that has been protesting to maintain the shop and the neighboring LaGuardia Nook Gardens on the lot for years. The group is now pushing for what it described as a “win, win, win” resolution, the place the grocery store would keep in its present location and NYU would lease land to the SCA elsewhere, presumably in partnership with the Steinhardt College of Tradition, Training, and Human Growth.
“It doesn’t make sense to tear down a grocery store simply to relocate it,” Alan Gerson, a former metropolis Council Member and Save Our Grocery store co-chair, mentioned in an interview. “There is no such thing as a possible location, we’ve appeared into it. The possible location was the Mercer Avenue constructing.”
The battle for the shop started with former NYU president John Sexton’s now largely abandoned 2031 enlargement plan, which included a model of the not too long ago accomplished Paulson Middle. Through the approvals course of for the Paulson Middle in 2012, the college got here to an settlement with the SCA, giving it the choice to take the lot on Bleecker Avenue and LaGuardia Place by the tip of 2014.
The SCA requested for the deadline to be prolonged twice to the tip of 2021, when the authority introduced it might use the house for a college. NYU had beforehand thought-about together with house for the grocery store in what’s now the Paulson Middle, however these plans had been ultimately dropped. The college has mentioned it didn’t hold an area for the grocery store in its new constructing as a result of it didn’t imagine the SCA would find yourself utilizing the lot.
After going through strain from native residents and advocates, NYU promised to maintain the grocery store at or close to its present location in November, alongside Greenwich Village politicians together with state Meeting Member Deborah Glick and state senators Brad Hoylman and Brian Kavanaugh.
Residents are additionally involved concerning the group backyard, which might must be destroyed for use as a staging space for the development if plans for the college transfer ahead. Eileen Ain, a longtime gardener, hopes the backyard will probably be left alone.
“Lose the backyard? I believe I’d wish to depart New York,” Ain mentioned. “It’s been a staple in my life.”
Though the grocery store not too long ago renewed its 20-year lease with the college, the lease has a demolition clause that may solely require NYU to offer Morton Williams one yr’s discover to depart the lot. Gerson mentioned he believes relocating the grocery store could be an insufficient resolution on the a part of NYU.
On the rally, metropolis Council Member Christopher Marte, whose district accommodates the lot, pressured the significance of the grocery retailer and backyard to the group. The lot will quickly be represented by Council Member Carlina Rivera attributable to redistricting deliberate for later this yr.
“When you ever walked inside or outdoors or stood in entrance of the Morton Williams, it’s greater than only a grocery store — it’s a group heart,” Marte mentioned in his speech. “Whether or not you’re a pupil at NYU otherwise you’re somebody that’s lived within the village for over 60 years, you go there not simply to buy. You go there to listen to what’s taking place, to choose up your copy of The Village Solar, to listen to about rallies and fights and group board conferences.”
The rally was additionally attended by members of the United Meals and Business Employees Native 338 union, which represents staff on the Morton Williams. The shop’s workforce is absolutely unionized, and the union has allied with Save Our Grocery store within the curiosity of defending members’ jobs.
Advocates are additionally involved that the shop’s elimination might deprive the group of crucial assets. The Morton Williams is likely one of the extra reasonably priced supermarkets within the surrounding space, making it an necessary useful resource for a lot of native residents.
“There are lots of aged and disabled individuals who dwell in all of those buildings who rely upon this grocery store, and there are not any possible alternate options,” mentioned Jesse Kasowitz, a former NYU school member and longtime Greenwich Village resident. “That will create a meals desert for very many individuals.”
Contact Caleb Pisoni at [email protected].