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Matter of Glick v. Harvey: A Blight on New York City Community Gardens

Matter of Glick v. Harvey: A Blight on New York City Community Gardens

Natalie Colao

After years of publicized debate, celebrity testimony, faculty disapproval, and student protests, the New York Court of Appeals ruled in favor of New York University’s (NYU) Greenwich Village expansion project (the Project).[1]  Project opponents fear this holding effectively eliminates New York’s Implied Dedication Doctrine and exposes NYC green space to illegal development in violation of New York’s Public Trust Doctrine.[2]   

Plans for the Project began when the University determined that campus expansion was essential in order for NYU to remain competitive and boost new student recruitment.[3]  Finding that the University had less academic space per student than peer institutions, they developed a plan to increase the University by six million gross square feet over a nearly 20-year period.[4]  Many New York City residents, particularly those in Greenwich Village (the neighborhood where the construction is set to take place), were outraged by the proposal and pursued various avenues to stop the development.[5]  Petitioners filed an Article 78 proceeding[6] challenging the City Council’s approval of the Project, arguing that “City officials, shirking their responsibility to protect communities from . . . overreaching, have . . . rubber–stamped NYU’s plan and even facilitated it by . . . illegally turning over public park land for NYU’s use.”[7] Specifically, the Petitioners argued that four parcels of land needed to complete the expansion project were impliedly dedicated as parkland and under the protection of the Public Trust Doctrine, which requires legislative approval before development.[8]

The New York Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the Respondents, holding that the four parcels were not impliedly dedicated, and most importantly, stating “that a portion of the public may have believed these parcels are permanent parkland does not warrant a contrary result.”[9]  This Note will discuss Matter of Glick v. Harvey’s progression through the New York State court system.  It will also explore New York’s Implied Dedication doctrine and its role within New York’s Public Trust doctrine. Finally, this Note will explain why the Court of Appeals’ decision was made in error, the holding’s potential ramifications, and why the unreasonably high burden now imposed on the Implied Dedication doctrine will leave New York City community gardens seriously unprotected.

Questions and inquiries regarding this Note may be forwarded to the author at LawReview@vermontlaw.edu.


[1] Matter of Glick v. Harvey, 25 N.Y.3d 1175,1181 (N.Y. 2015).

[2] Lincoln Anderson, N.Y.U. Expansion Plan O.K.’d by State’s High Court, Villager (June 30, 2015), http://thevillager.com/2015/06/30/court-of-appeals-rules-in-favor-of-n-y-u-development-plan/.

[3] Brief for Necessary Third–Party Appellant–Respondent at 6, Matter of Glick v. Harvey, 994 N.Y.S.2d 118 (N.Y. App. Div 2014) (No. 107).

[4] Id.

[5] Sylvia Morse, Op-Ed: NYU Controversy Shows it’s Time to Rethink City Planning Process, City Limits (July 22, 2015), http://citylimits.org/2015/07/22/nyu-controversy-shows-its-time-to-rethink-city-planning-process/.

[6] An Article 78 proceeding is the method in which to challenge a New York agency decision. See generally N.Y. C.P.L.R. 7801 (McKinney 2015).

[7] Verified Petition, Matter of Glick v. Harvey, No. 103844-12, 2014 WL 96413, at 2 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 2014).

[8] Verified Petition, Matter of Glick v. Harvey, No. 103844-12, 2014 WL 96413, at 55-56 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 2014).

[9] Glick, 25 N.Y. 3d at 1181.

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