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September 19, 2010

Staten Island’s Cedar Grove: City Wants the Next Chapter of a 50-Year Eminent Domain Saga to Be Final Dismantling of a 100-Year Old Community

Noticing New York

An article in the Village Voice is the jumping-off spot for this entry about an attempt by the city to exercise eminent domain. It's a twisted tale that begins 50 years ago when land was taken for a project that never happened, and then leased back to the original owners. Now the city wants to again kick this group out for ... what purpose? Blog author Michael D. D. White may not be able to reveal all, but he's raised some interesting questions.

The Village Voice has a new must read article about Staten Island’s small summer community of Cedar Grove (brought to our attention by the Historic Districts Council) that provides much food for thought. See: "Poor Man's Bermuda" in Staten Island? Not anymore, By Elizabeth Dwoskin Sep 15 2010. Though the story concerns itself with a community of just 41 families it manages in microcosm to provide perspective on a superabundance of important issues, far more than arise in a typical public development story: eminent domain, the unreliability of public officials and their vision, parks, privilege, municipal budgeting, and finally historic preservation.

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At first blush it might seem like a simple story pretty much the way City Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe wants to tell it: That this private community (and club) is on public park land and its residents have been able to be there only because the Parks Department has let them occupy their premises at an exceedingly low rent. Ahem: It ain’t that simple.

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Posted by steve at September 19, 2010 9:03 AM