New York University (NYU)
370 Jay Street
Science and Technology Building
370 Jay Street: Where Cool Stuff Happens
New York University’s 370 Jay Street comprises 500,000 square feet spread over 14 floors and almost doubles the University’s footprint in Brooklyn. 370 Jay Street brings scientists, engineers and digital artists together to drive innovation at the heart of the borough’s blooming technology sector.
The facility, in Downtown Brooklyn, is central to NYU’s expansion in the sciences and technology, which builds in part on the strong foundation of NYU’s nearby Tandon School of Engineering. In particular, 370 Jay Street will be the hub of the University’s vision to merge technology and creative arts, spawning advancements in communications, media and social science that will help drive the economy and make cities better places to live. In reviving a vacated office building, keeping the original limestone façade that matches the neighborhood’s character, and opening the first floor to the public, NYU has fully integrated 370 Jay Street with the surrounding community.
By 2017, DASNY had issued a total of $352 million in low-cost tax-exempt and taxable bonds on NYU’s behalf for this project. NYU utilized a hybrid tax-exempt and taxable financing structure that provided greater efficiency as well as future flexibility. The 370 Jay Street project was part of an $829 million bond issue in June 2016 that made history for being the largest single issuance DASNY has ever conducted on behalf of a private client, as well as for the monumental impact the financed projects will have on the University’s and New York City’s future.
“Innovation and entrepreneurship have propelled Brooklyn’s economic trajectory and earned the borough bragging rights as the epicenter of New York’s burgeoning technology industry,” said NYU President Andrew Hamilton. “NYU’s expanded presence in Downtown Brooklyn will lead to innovative solutions to real challenges facing the world’s urban centers and create new opportunities that the University can develop collectively with the technology industry. We thank DASNY for its partnership in helping bring our vision to reality.”
Part of the Community
370 Jay Street’s design promotes collaboration with open layouts, creating a cohesive space occupied by the various disciplines it houses, from engineering to computer programming to digital art. The facility also serves the goal of commercializing NYU technology developed there and elsewhere throughout NYU’s growing scientific network, further enhancing economic impact. The first floor includes opportunities for the local community to learn about new technologies, explore innovative art forms, and engage with data on their neighborhoods and city functions.
“The work at 370 Jay Street is not be dominated by a single discipline or approach so that it can provide solutions to those problems that can only be tackled by putting people together,” said Bob Berne, NYU’s Executive Vice President for Health who has been shepherding the project. “It is the epitome of collaboration among engineers and artists all working side-by-side in what will be a very vibrant and dynamic building.”
Making Urban Data Tangible
The top two floors house NYU’s Center for Urban Science and Progress (CUSP). NYU developed the proposal for CUSP as part of New York City’s Applied Sciences NYC initiative. The City’s embrace of NYU’s proposal included providing 370 Jay Street – a moribund former headquarters for the MTA — as a home for CUSP and other NYU programs. They will contribute to a new and very different “MTA” – Brooklyn’s burgeoning mash-up of media, technology, and the arts.
In 2015, the Center for an Urban Future reported that jobs in the tech sector in New York City had increased by 71 percent from a decade earlier, and that Brooklyn led the way, with more growth than any other borough.
Founded against that backdrop, the Center for Urban Science and Progress uses New York City as its laboratory and integrates engineering, data informatics and social sciences to understand and improve cities throughout the world.
The ability to collaborate with NYU researchers including those developing video games and apps will enhance the Center’s ability to address concerns in urban environments, such as noise pollution and traffic, in part by putting tools in the hands of citizens, said Executive Director Michael Holland. CUSP is working closely with New York City to apply data that city agencies already collect to its search for solutions, an increasingly valuable opportunity as cities become home to more of the world’s population.
“One of the challenges with urban data is if you present it in tables, it only makes sense to a limited number of people,” Holland said. “Our potential for interaction with digital artists and media can help us take that data and make it tangible so that citizens and agency employees alike can interact with it in a more intuitive, expectable way.”
Sounds of New York City
For example, a team of scientists from NYU, in collaboration with Ohio State University, has launched a comprehensive research initiative to understand and address noise pollution. Sounds of New York City will combine a network of sensors and a cell phone app to more effectively monitor, analyze and mitigate noise pollution.
The data collected can help cities generate policies to reduce noise pollution, which has been shown to negatively affect health, including cognitive development in children.
Work on the project will take place at 370 Jay Street, where citizens can gather for training on the phone app and then step out into a public square – the building’s former loading docks – to test it, Holland said.
‘Where Cool Stuff Happens’
R. Luke DuBois, a composer, artist and programmer at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering and Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development, is working on the Sounds of New York Project and was part of the space planning committee for 370 Jay Street. His department and research laboratory, where he works on integrative digital media, including motion capture and virtual reality, will move into the building next year. A Hollywood-grade motion capture studio on the building’s second floor will help develop advancements in virtual reality and communications, DuBois said.
Importantly, 370 Jay Street will also be integrated with the community, DuBois said. NYU already collaborates with New York City public schools to enhance student achievement in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. At 370 Jay Street, students will have the opportunity to work on citizen science projects or simply come in and test new video game technology.
“We want people from inside and outside the university coming into the building, and knowing it is a place where cool stuff happens,” DuBois said.