Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Don't Fear Columbia

From a David Dinkins column in the NYTimes yesterday:

Columbia University’s proposal to develop the old Manhattanville manufacturing zone of West Harlem over the next two decades is the perfect example of a change that will generate growth and benefit all.


Of course, town-gown partnerships are not without their stresses and strains, and the relationship between Harlem residents and Columbia has not always been the best. Indeed, I was one of those picketing Columbia back in the 1960s, so I know the history and appreciate the concerns that some Harlem residents may have about the university’s plans.

But we should give each other credit where credit is due, and not lose sight of the ways in which the partnership has benefited both groups and provided hundreds of public health and human service programs, educational and cultural exchanges, and workplace experiences and opportunities.

Sigh. I'm pleased that Dinkins bothered to write up a column under the school of "hey guys, I've had my share of hating Columbia too, but..." but he's still failing to address the thousands of residents who are going to be abruptly displaced once Manhattanville construction begins. I fully agree that there are plenty of long-term benefits, but I'm pretty sure the residents of 3333 Broadway care less about "cultural exchanges" and more about having to find new apartments, new schools for their children, and new transportation routes to work...

(Thanks, Gothamist.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this self-serving puff piece by Dinkins: why am I not surprised? I don't expect the nytimes, which has given Dinkins a position and to which he is donating his personal papers, etc. But the line that caught my eye was the one about CU having met with "the community" 30 times. If you have ever been to any of CU's dog-and-pony shows, you know how staged most of these "meetings" are, how well they are planned to be before selected, friendly audiences, and how well they are not announced. Just another way that the media have failed to investigate the kind of information that is put out by a very hard-working public relations department.