When developers built apartments over centuries old buildings, this official had a magnificently clever response

Louis Dor
Saturday 13 February 2016 15:30
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Picture: gallianoo/YouTube

This is certainly one way to discourage opportunistic development.

A property developer from Staten Island, Savo Brothers, having purchased a century-old Jesuit retreat, Mount Manresa, levelled it among much public protest to make way for a new development of apartment blocks.

A petition to stop the development read:

Beautiful Mount Manresa on Staten Island, is a 10 acre ecological treasure containing mostly original natural landscape unchanged for thousands of years. It is for sale and now in contract to be sold to housing developer in early June. The land was once part of an estate dating back to the 1600s and owned by the Jesuits as a retreat since 1911, being the oldest in America.

Save Mount Manresa, a campaign group against the developers, cited previous acquisitions and demolitions which had, in their opinion, shown no regard for the history of the borough.

3-4-2015 - Remains of Founders Hall. Savo Brothers destroy Staten Island's Shealy Hall and Founders Hall. Questions...

Posted by Save Mount Manresa on Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Needless to say, the development went ahead.

The borough president, James Oddo, has the power to decide the names of streets.

Although not officially, presumably he chose Cupidity Drive, Fourberie Lane, and Avidity Place for their rough synonimity with the following:

  • Cupidity = greed

  • Fourberie = (French word for) deceit

  • Avidity = (from the latin avidus, meaning) eager/greedy

The developers sued Oddo over the street names, describing them as “an abuse of the respondent’s discretion.”

A judge ruled in Oddo’s favour on Thursday, which was met with jubilation by campaigners opposed to the developers:

It is within Borough President James Oddo's discretion to decide if the street names of the residents of the Borough of Staten Island should reflect greed, a Lazy Bird or a fallen hero.

Oddo has since tweeted, showing satisfaction with the Judge's decision...

...and dismay for the destruction of the retreat:

H/T Gawker

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