Jay Street Science Center Is Good News for Downtown
By Dennis Holt
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
At press events when the subject is good news, a lot of people tend to gather around to bask in the glory; stages where there is bad news are always sparse.
Thus the large crowd that came to NYU-Poly on Jay Street Monday was a sign of good news, and indeed there was.
A large unused building — the former Transit Authority headquarters at 370 Jay St. — will be put to good use again. Downtown Brooklyn will get a quality science center, which will have a positive effect on the character of the area adjacent to MetroTech and the New York Marriott Brooklyn Bridge hotel.
What will happen at 370 Jay is that NYU, with help from the city and other universities, will establish a school of applied science. It could be said that this objective started when NYU merged with Brooklyn’s Polytechnic University.
But the real stimulus came when the city sponsored a competition to encourage major national and international universities to build a major science center at any one of several locations, including 370 Jay.
NYU didn’t win the big prize, Cornell did, but NYU’s entry intrigued the city — there was that empty building across the street from Poly, and very complicated discussions began. Even though there were many thorny issues to work out and the money matters had to be determined, there were high hopes for the prospect.
These were fulfilled Monday, and almost before the last cheer was heard, signs were posted at 370 Jay about asbestos removal. So the record is complete; the other schools that will participate in the new venture include CUNY — CUNY’s technical college is just up the street — Carnegie Mellon, the University of Warwick, the University of Toronto and the Indian Institute of Technology in Mumbai.
Early elements of the new school will actually begin instruction this fall at rented space in MetroTech. The expectation is that the new building is supposed to be open in 2017.
Overall, this is good news for the city and good news for the continued creation of a new Downtown Brooklyn. Why, we might even call the area Cambridge Center!
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