The interesting thing is, it really hasn't changed all that much in 32 years. Most of the buildings and landmarks are the same. It's just gotten "nicer," kind of like the alternate 1985 Hill Valley that Marty McFly returns to. And instead of being Marty, I'm now George.
(An aside: I got the first printing of "Ten Tiny Toes" in the mail last week, and when I opened it in front of my family I said, "If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything," knowing that Samuel would get the joke.)
But back to NYU...
The Astor Place subway station looks pretty much the same, except for the digital display that tells you when the next train is coming, which is a definite improvement. It also looks a little less "Hill Street Blues" than it did back then, if you know what I mean.
The Astor Place cube is still there. If you block out the big glass luxury tower to the right that used to be a seedy parking lot, it looks exactly the same.
And the Astor Place barber shop, which in 1980 specialized in dyed Mohawks, is still there, though they moved to the basement.
The Delion deli, which was there in 1980, looks like it closed only recently.
Ben's Pizza not only looks exactly the same as it did in 1980, I'm not sure it's even been cleaned since then. And is it my imagination, or is that one of the dudes from The Village People? Time waaaarrrrpp.
The trees look fuller and greener, and the passers-by look less like "Serpico" than they used to. (In fact, I think it's Alicia Silverstone coming down the sidewalk.)
The building where I attended my summer session used to have its first-floor windows covered up. Now there's a cafe there with full-length windows looking out toward Washington Square Park.
And, man, Washington Square Park has never looked so good! Particularly from the 8th floor of the NYU student center!
If I were 17 I'd want to attend a summer session here.