Saturday, December 05, 2009

Manifest destiny, in West Harlem and Prospect Heights

From a New York Times profile today of Nick Sprayregen, the winning (so far) main plaintiff in the challenge to eminent domain for the Columbia University expansion:
He pulled out a copy of the inaugural address by Columbia’s president, Lee C. Bollinger, in 2002, and read several passages. In one, Mr. Bollinger described the university’s need to expand and said, “I will do everything in my power to build this new Columbia.”

“That almost sounds like it’s coming from a religious figure,” Mr. Sprayregen said. “Do they think this is fallow land with no one on it, and they’re settlers and there are a bunch of illiterate Indians here and it’s their God-given responsibility to tame us and take control?”
It also sounds a lot like Atlantic Yards developer Bruce Ratner's statement, upon the December 2003 announcement of the AY plan: "We are going to get the Nets to Brooklyn if it’s the last thing I do."

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