Magazine January 25, 2010, Issue

Of Blights and Rights

A construction worker balances on a steel beam at 8th Avenue and 42nd Street in New York, N.Y., April 21, 2008. (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters )
The battle over eminent domain continues in New York

West Harlem

The most famous name in America’s eminent-domain wars belongs to Susette Kelo, the Connecticut woman whose refusal to sell her New London cottage led to a monumental 2005 Supreme Court decision. In recent years, another name has gained widespread notice: that of Nick Sprayregen, a New York real-estate investor and the president of Tuck-It-Away Self-Storage. Since 2004, Sprayregen has been embroiled in a high-stakes legal fight over his West Harlem properties, which include four Tuck-It-Away buildings. He is standing athwart a major private institution that has tried to obtain his land through government coercion.

Sprayregen won a huge victory on

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I am reminded of one of the supervisors of my Ph.D. at UC Berkeley, Roger Tsien, who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2008.

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