NYU Gobbles Greenwich Village

It's hard to wander through Greenwich Village without feeling New York University's presence. Towering over the South Side of Washington Square Park, for instance, is Furman Law School, an enormous building on the site of what was, until 2000, Edgar Allen Poe's modest home; they quashed it to erect their new creation, preserving only the facade. They own most of the townhouse real estate on the north side of the park, too, and have systematically been buying up land and buildings throughout the neighborhood for years.

But piecemeal projects are nothing compared to NYU's grand expansion plans. Although the official language of NYU2031 states that the goal is to "maximize existing assets already owned," WNYC reports that their 20-year vision includes "a new tower at Bleecker Street next to the Silver Towers as well as buildings on Governors Island and in Brooklyn." In all, they'll be adding six million square feet to the campus, mostly to complete the transformation from commuter to residential college. But surely some of it stems from a long competitiveness with Columbia, which has similar plans -- no matter how contested -- to widen its stamp on Upper Manhattan's Morningside Heights.