Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng is looking forward to the peace and quiet of Greenwich Village.
“For the past seven years, I never had a day’s rest,” Chen said through a translator Saturday. “I have come here for a bit of recuperation in body and of spirit.”
Chen will join New York University School of Law as a visiting scholar. He arrived at Newark Liberty International Airport Saturday night after weeks of a diplomatic back-and-forth between China and the U.S.
He and his family have moved into a building in Washington Square Village, a complex of four buildings where many of NYU’s star academics are known to live.
Chen’s new digs may be restful and resort-like for the famous lawyer, but not everyone in the neighborhood is happy about the swarms of media stationed outside of the building.
“I was looking forward to the students being gone for the summer, but I guess this puts an end to that,” said Francis Dard, a barrista who lives across the street.
On Sunday, barricades blocked the entrance to the building and an officer was on duty to assist building security.
Nearby to the Chen family’s new home, some students don’t have time to ponder the international hubbub.
Third-year law student Dan Shapiro said he hadn’t even heard of Chen. “I’ve spent the last few weeks immersed in finals,” he said.