Brooklyn Broadside: NYU Steps Up Push for Science Center at 370 Jay St.

February 9, 2012 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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By Dennis Holt
Brooklyn Daily Eagle

BROOKLYN — This newspaper has learned that decisions are being made that could lead to an announcement this month that the city and the MTA are working with New York University (NYU) to establish a new science center in Downtown Brooklyn.

To be called the Center for Urban Science and Progress (CUSP), the new center would be located in the building at 370 Jay St. that was long used by the MTA but is now basically empty. It is located across the street from the NYU-Polytechnic campus.

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Last year Cornell University won a New York City-sponsored competition to build a new science center on Roosevelt Island. The city broadly hinted that it could support a second center, which led the NYU consortium to create a new plan for Downtown Brooklyn. This plan seeks to take advantage of an unused government-owned building that is large enough for the purpose and is conveniently near the NYU-Poly campus.

In a new brochure boosting the project, NYU quotes Dr. Anthony Townsend, research director at the Institute for the Future, who said, “Every city is becoming a laboratory for new urban technologies. Brooklyn is arguably the best civic laboratory in the world.”

The brochure outlines the reason for, and the mission of, the proposed NYU center:

“Key to CUSP’s aims will be an emphasis on partnering with New York region agencies, authorities and utilities to make the city a ‘living laboratory’ where research on urban systems and infrastructure can be prototyped in real-world settings.

“New technologies, systems, materials and processes will yield not only smarter ways for government to serve the public, but will also increase the city’s capacity for growth and sustainability.

“New York City will benefit from the opportunity to be an early adopter of these innovations. But it will benefit doubly from commercial expansion as entrepreneurs and major corporations build businesses that will export these new urban solutions to a global market.

“The result? London will no longer be just a competitor of New York; it will be a customer.”

More than broad thinking has gone into the NYU approach. NYU has already leased 60,000 square feet at One MetroTech Center for faculty offices and seminar space. CUSP would reside in the leased space in what it calls Phase 1 from 2012 to 2016, with the first group of CUSP students beginning classes in September 2013.

For the CUSP venture, NYU has teamed with a “consortium” of other institutions that includes City University, Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Toronto, the University of Warwick, Indian University of Technology in Bombay, IBM and Cisco Systems.

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