Columbia University & Manhattanville (There Goes the Neighborhood)


I’m on spring break and had some time to kill. Went to take a walk in Manhattanvile, a little patch just north of W. 125 where Columbia University plans to build a large annex-campus. In the greater scheme, it’s probably no great injustice. If modern universities need anything more than money, it’s space.

It’s a shame, though, to lose this underused, undeveloped part of the city, and the dead, lonely spaces, a little bit of uninhabited urban wilderness, it will have once contained.

Designed by renowned architect Renzo Piano, a state of the art university campus will replace the old gritty garages, body shops, storage spaces, parking lots, and gas stations.

And what about the large public housing project right across the street from this swanky new campus? I can’t believe that the relations are going to be at all neighborly. No doubt the new campus will attract a lot of street crime and police surveillance.

I don’t believe the new Manhattanville campus will be a “publically accessible center for…civic life woven into the fabric of the West Harlem community.” That’s a lot of bull. 

As the sign states: “Plan. Design.Build.Operate.Secure.”  That is the more forthright expression.

For a lovely site about Mahattanville, its history and people, see:

About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish thought and philosophical aesthetics.
This entry was posted in uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply