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February 9, 2011

If one can anthropomorphize an institution Columbia University is an asshole. I have lived near Columbia for some time now and have had ample opportunity to follow their ham-fisted neighborhood unfriendly ways. Their current community abuse is directed to their planned 20 year project to build a new campus north of 125th St. They own most of the buildings and land in the roughly 17 odd acre site, but there several owners who did not wish to sell. Rather than accept this and change their plans accordingly they have gotten the State to declare these properties blighted and turn them over to Columbia. They are not blighted, and I find it a grotesque abuse of power. It really pisses me off.

The city is littered with locations where a lone holdout would not sell and a project was put up around them (the building next to the Levis store on Lexington, P.J. Clarke’s, the small building that cuts out the the Northwest corner of Macys on the Southeast corner of 35th and 7th are a few that come to mind). without any seeming ill effect to either the projects or the City. While we’re at it, fuck you New York Times: they seized via eminent domain a bunch of properties to build their huge tower next to the Port Authority. Among the victims was the awesome hat store, Arnold’s Hats. They were forced to move after decades at their location to a lesser space. They didn’t ever seem to recover and are now out of business.

Last Friday’s Times had an article about another eminent domain battle on E. 125th St. The City is attempting to seize some land so it can be turned over to a developer that will then build some bullshit Media, culture, blabbidy blah kind of crap. While the area of the new project was zoned for redevelopment more than 30 years ago nothing was ever done. The city left most of the land empty and rejected offers to sell any. So it took a good deal of chutzpah (I think this is almost the textbook definition of chutzpah) to go into court and declare the street blighted. They were the ones who blighted it in the first place! While not overturning the seizure, in a recent decision on the matter Justice James M. Catterson declared the city’s claims of blight were, “nothing but a canard to aid in the transfer of private property to a developer.”

One of the central roles of government is to protect the weak from the powerful. A nice idea, but not one practiced often enough in NYC. Go read the article and and find some others on the Columbia situation and make yourself a little mad. Not that it will accomplish anything, but I wont feel quite so alone in my rage.

So, in conclusion, Fuck Columbia University, Fuck The New York Times and Fuck the City of New York.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Fat Al permalink*
    February 9, 2011 11:19 pm

    Funnily enough, I saw Justice Catterson today.

    Anyhow, I’m with you brother. Fuck those eminent domain abusing sons of bitches.

  2. jco permalink
    February 9, 2011 11:20 pm

    I hate these fucking people. The Supremes ruined it for all of us. At least Catterson has his head on straight. I don’t usually say that, about Catterson, but here he deserves kudos. Complete utter fucking bullshit.

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