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JPM Chase Claims Chase Plaza is PRIVATE

Rainbow Girl's picture

Except it isn't. Says so in the zoning documents that allowed David Rockefeller to demap streets downtown to build his glass tower, and David said so, waxing poetically citizen-like at the time when he needed to give the Zoning Board political cover to give away public land to a billionaire.

OWS had selected Chase Plaza as its Occupation place. NYPD (Chase's Army) got their first -- the Plaza was fenced off. So OWS went to Liberty Plaza (and the rest, on that, is history). Back to the Chase Plaza -- fencing went up and stayed there, with Chase lying that it was required to keep the public safe during "maintenance." From the get go it was apparent there was no work or maintenance going on. Citizens who went to the Department of Buildings, City Hall, and other places to get the fences taken down met with Kafkaesque stonewalling.

Eventually a lawsuit was filed. JPM Chase -- now the preserve of Slimin' Dimon himself -- just filed papers asserting that Chase Plaza is private and that Chase has no obligation to keep it open to the public. In fact, it affirmatively claims the constitutional right to keep the public *out* of the Plaza. And that it has the absolute right to get NYPD to help it keep the public *out* of the Plaza.

This is quite brazen. To put it politely and mildly. In New York City, the looting by the .01% has become very aggressive under Mayor Bloomberg's 12 year tyranny. This one might as well be a declaration of war on the citizens and taxpayers whose land Chase stole in the first place, with the concession that it would create a public plaza.

The lawsuit and JPM's papers are embedded in the Village Voice article. A decision by the court is expected in the next few weeks.

This is a nasty double-down land grab backed by lies by the .01%.

It will be important to watch the progress of this story. The facts and the law are inarguably all on the plaintiffs' side here.

Average: 5 (1 vote)


CMike's picture
Submitted by CMike on

In some ways it's unfortunate that it's caught up in this free speech issue rather than being a simple issue of a private party commandeering a public space. I remember seeing Rockefeller Plaza blocked off for a weekend, on one occasion that I was there, because if the public is allowed unrestricted access to a space for like seven years it becomes public property according to some New York City or New York state law.

Rainbow Girl's picture
Submitted by Rainbow Girl on

... at the outset, as a condition of Dave Rocky getting his taller-than-normally-allowed tower and demapping public streets. So it's not even an issue of "adverse possession" (which is the doctrine relating to your point about public access). In NYS, by the way, it's 10 years.

But I agree that any lawsuit should have been one brought by the *City of New York* to enforce the public-plaza condition that Rockefeller agreed to in exchange for the City's huge concessions to him. It is very significant that the City is *not* a plaintiff, but not at all suprising, given that Mike Bloomberg's private army (NYPD) has been the enforcer for Chase's illegal privatization of the public plaza. And the City Law Department only does what Mike Bloomberg tells it to do (or not do).

CMike's picture
Submitted by CMike on

like that. So I'm wondering if, since the 1961 One Chase Manhattan Plaza dedication ceremony, has Chase asserted its ownership of the land by blocking off pedestrian traffic every few years to avoid a claim of "adverse possession" by the public, and if the the landlord has not done so what would be the legal significance of that?

Like I said, many a decade ago I remember the landlord roping off the Rockefeller Center concourses, for one night at least, -- I don't know, maybe it was just in front of 30 Rock and Radio City Music Hall or maybe it was around the entire center. I don't know what arrangement they would have had with the tenants but it wasn't in the winter so they weren't doing anything as drastic as blocking off access to the ice rink.