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  • October 19, 2015

    2003 NYC Used Eminent Domain in Brooklyn

    Today’s blog post was told to me by one of my family members. 

     

    “We walked into a meeting of suits sipping orange juice from goblets and feasting on cream cheese covered bagels like they never ate a Brooklyn bagel before. They didn’t notice my partner and I, even though we were the homeowners in jeans who were ready to demand some answers.  You see the city had someone tape papers to the doors of our property to let us know that our property would be taken by eminent domain because it was needed for a public project. The paper didn’t come in an  envelope or by certified mail – it was just a flyer because they considered this a done deal.”

    What?!  This had to be a joke. Could the government force a property owner to turn over their property for a park in 2003? 

    We saw a huge three dimensional map of the area at the side of the room. When we walked over to it, we saw a skyscraper was in place of our building. The use of Eminent Domain was suppose to be for the public good and here’s a skyscraper sitting on top of my land.  My partner moved toward the podium and spoke. His words crashed their party and their smiles vanished from their faces.  Some realized that they were speaking to a man who was very attached to his property. Some sympathized because we were notified about eminent domain through flyers left in our business door. Most had no clue that he relentless. 

    Other home owners on our block lost their property to eminent domain. One of the men in charge of the Downtown program at Markowitz’s office told us we “were lucky” that the city was buying us out. There is nothing lucky about someone forcing you to sell your property for less than half of it’s worth.  That day we realized we wouldn’t take any more calls from that man because he was so worked over by the city, he was no longer a man.  We won’t mention his name here as he is probably retired by now, but we can tell you that he had no idea what property in Brooklyn was worth – after all, he lived in Staten Island because he was priced out of Brooklyn! We always knew what property in Brooklyn was worth because we love Brooklyn. We realized there wasn’t unlimited land here so eventually the property we purchased would be worth a lot more.

    The city offered my neighbors quite a bit less than what other home owners were able to sell for. We don’t want to quote the wrong numbers, but you can look up the sale prices on Acris. It was a land grab and to be honest, a miserable time for all involved. Who wants to fight nameless characters in the city whose job depends on you losing your property?  Why should home owners be forced to sell because some politician wanted to have their pocket padded?  There were way too many politicians who were adding in their two cents and supporting the plan.

    We asked politicians all over for their help. Leticia James stuck with us and our neighbors. I remember during one rally that the weather was so bad and she just stood under an umbrella and rallied the crowd.  She was always present and we felt bad that we weren’t able to vote for her as our voting addresses were in different parts of the city. When she ran for Public Advocate, we drove people to the voting booth because James deserved the job she wanted and Brooklyn couldn’t ask for a better leader. Will Mark Treyger be an advocate for the Coney Island land owners or will he allow Bloomberg politics to continue in this city?  

    The use of eminent domain in NYC happened in 2003 because of some corrupt individuals. Remember that model that was at the first meeting? That never appeared at another meeting and no one could find it when we asked for it. It had to cost several thousand to construct, but it quickly disappeared after that initial unveiling. It’s 2015 and  Mayor DeBlasio is trying to trying to continue Bloomberg politics and sell out Coney Island land owners. What about “One City – One New York?”  These land owners in Coney Island  invested when the land was worthless and the city defaulted in cleaning up the area. They paid their taxes all these years and they need tobe heard. Let the owners sell their land to the developers at fair prices IF THEY WANT TO. If not, build around them – it’s their land and they have the right to own it.  

     

    Hugs,
    marlene

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