4:12 pm Apr. 23, 2012
There was lots of backslapping this afternoon as Mayor Michael Bloomberg joined elected officials and academic leaders at N.Y.U.'s Polytechnic Institute in downtown Brooklyn to announce a long-sought agreement paving the way for an applied-sciences campus at an underutilized M.T.A.-occupied building nearby.
“You can always tell whether something’s important by how many people want to participate in the announcement,” said Bloomberg, adding, “I just counted there are 14 speakers today.”
The new campus will be known as the N.Y.U. Center for Urban Science and Progress, or CUSP, and will be a partnership between N.Y.U., N.Y.U.'s Polytechnic Institute, City University of New York, Carnegie Mellon University, University of Toronto, University of Warwick, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, and IBM and Cisco. It will offer graduate degrees in engineering and the sciences, with a focus on urban issues.
The center will ultimately be housed in 370 Jay Street, formerly the home of New York City Transit. Back before metrocards, money trains rolled up to a subway platform in its basement to deposit token proceeds there.
If all goes according to plan, starting in 2017, hundreds of masters and doctoral students will study how to make cities better at 370 Jay.
According NYU-Poly president Jerry Hultin, over the next 30 years, nearly 1 billion people will move into cities around the world.
“If they’re well-done, we have a world that works," he said. "If they’re poorly done, we have a world that sucks up resources and basically depletes this earth and doesn’t work."
The school will be headed by Steven Koonin, an N.Y.U. theoretical physicist who formerly served as an undersecretary of energy.
The mayor said the new campus would be good for both the emerging tech triangle bounded by downtown Brooklyn, DUMBO and the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and, in more grandiose terms, for the world.
“I think anytime you can get together an illustrious group like this to do what they’re gonna do, it really does say a lot about the future of humanity, certainly of New York City,” said the mayor.
This will be the second applied-sciences campus to emerge from an endeavor formally initiated by the Bloomberg administration in July to draw top universities to New York City.
In December, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that Cornell and Technion universities would open a science campus on Roosevelt Island, using city land and up to $100 million in infrastructure costs. The city is offering $15 million in subsidies for the NYU-led project.
Today, Bloomberg said there might be more schools to come.
“We want to build more of these exciting schools,” said the mayor. “We’re still in active discussions with Columbia and Carnegie Mellon, who also responded to our RFP,” said the mayor “And we’re hopeful that we’ll be able to find ways for them to realize their proposals, each of which envisions building campuses in other locations around the city.”
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