Thursday, December 6, 2007

A Campus Right in Our Own Backyard

Dear Mr. Rosengarten:

As a caring student, I am curious to know what you think of the relationship between the Wilf Campus and Highbridge Park. I am especially eager to know if Yeshiva has considered taking ownership of Highbridge, either in a formal sense ( i.e. buying it) or in a less formal sense (cleaning it up, making it accessible to students).

Considering the current state of Highbridge (I just took a jog there - it is overgrown, covered in glass shards, with at least one or two drug dealers - and lots of simply unused land, just dirt, without any trees or anything!), meaning its disrepair and its lack of security, Yeshiva could do much with it. Minimally, creating a program for students and community members to clean it up a la Central Park and posting security guards would make it a huge asset to the Yeshiva and Greater Washington Heights community. Just contrast it to Fort Tryon park!

Maximally, if bought, or a deal made with NYC Parks, some of its land could be used for new buildings and the rest somewhat incorporated to give Wilf the grassy campusness it would do very well to have.

The current relationship, as far as I know anyway, is tragic. There is a huge, potentially beautiful piece of land literally right in our backyard that is largely ignored, at least by students. Or, to put it another way, Wilf actually has a backyard! I can only imagine the new Yeshiva College brochures, with pictures of a green campus, with students reading under the trees and playing frisbee on the large expanse of grass and learning at a park bench, overlooking the river...

I am very eager to hear you thoughts.

Best,
THE YU VENT

6 comments:

Julian Horowitz said...

Pardon my ignorance, but who's Mr. Rosengarten and what's Highsbridge Park?

Anonymous said...

I don't think that getting this land is as easy as the writer thinks it is. Also, YU just completed a major deal for buildings...

Rhinestone said...

YU's number #1 building priority should be creating a grassy, university-esque campus. It would change everything

Noah said...

Julian:

Mr. Rosengarten, according to yu.edu, is Vice President of Administrative Services, which means he is largely in charge of the real estate, building, campus issues. Highbridge Park, as I wrote in the post, is that drug-dealer filled natural wonderland between YU and the Harlem River, right behind Laural Hill Terrace.

Anonymous:

The writer (me) never suggested this was easy or even doable. I just want to know if this has even been considered. If it is impossible, I want to know why.

Regardless of the difficulty, the park can be a huge asset to YU. Doing ANYTHING with it would be a plus for YU over its current practice of doing NOTHING with it.

Rhinestone:

Thanks for checking out the blog. I am glad we see eye to eye on this.

Danny said...

Noah, a very good idea, but just a bit too late -- the City of New York is renovating and re-opening various parts of High Bridge Park. I've been hearing about this from various blog sources, but the best collection of resources is (shockingly) the
Wikipedia page.

The bridge should be re-opened soon, the biking trails were opened a while ago, and a few million dollars have been set aside for making the park more usable.

Nachum said...

It's impossible to take any parkland in New York State- it requires legislative action in Albany even to swap one piece of land for another, even if the other party is a government agency- and such approval is rarely if ever granted. Sometimes, a swap of even one acre requires a state-wide referendum.