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Street Names Inspired by 'Greed' too Obscure for Staten Island Folk: Judge

By Nicholas Rizzi | December 17, 2015 2:42pm | Updated on December 18, 2015 4:44pm
 Justice Philip Minardo said in court Thursday he would file a written decision later on the names Borough President James Oddo picked for Mount Manresa development.
Justice Philip Minardo said in court Thursday he would file a written decision later on the names Borough President James Oddo picked for Mount Manresa development.
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Barbara Sanchez

ST. GEORGE — Borough President James Oddo's bid for revenge might be beyond the vocabulary of his constituents, a judge said Thursday.

The Staten Island politician named streets at a controversial housing development that replaced the 103-year-old Mount Manresa Jesuit retreat house using words that mean greed, trickery and deceit.

Among them were Cupidity Drive, which means an overriding desire for wealth, Fourberie Lane, defined as trickery and deception, and Avidity Place, which is derived from the Latin word avidita, or greed. 

"How many people do you think around this community know the meaning of cupidity?" Justice Philip Minardo asked after developers the Savo Brothers filed a complaint that Oddo's naming suggestions defied an earlier ruling that forced the borough president to issue house numbers.

Oddo's office is responsible for assigning house numbers and street names to new developments.

In court papers, the city argued that many of the names that had been suggested by developers are already in use in the borough and could cause confusion for responding emergency workers, and that Oddo has discretion in choosing them.

"The fact that Petitioner is displeased with the names that were ultimately selected does not transform an otherwise rational decision into an arbitrary and capricious one," the city's Law Department wrote in its filings.

One of the developers' suggestions — Timber Lane — was a snub to opponents of the new townhouse development, Oddo had argued. Several 400-year-old trees were felled to make room for the homes, outraging Oddo and neighbors who oppose the new construction.

While Minardo said the names could be offensive to some people, lawyers for the city argued they should stick.

"We believe that the borough president acted entirely properly," Nicholas Ciappetta, a lawyer for the Law Department, said in court.

Oddo previously tried to delay issuing house numbers to the development until an investigation into claims that workers lied about asbestos present at the site was concluded.

Last month, however, Minardo ordered Oddo to issue the numbers.

"I don't think that gives the borough president the license to do things in a vindictive manner," Richard Leland, lawyer for the Savo Brothers, said in court Thursday.

Minardo said he would file a written ruling on whether to allow Oddo's names — but suggested the borough president "lay it right out there" and use Greedy Street and Deceitful Lane instead.

DNAinfo readers chimed in with their own suggestions for names.

"Scumbag Plaza," one reader emailed.

"Blaspheme Boulevard," Neighborhood Square user Maggierai wrote.

"Don't Buy a House on This Lane Lane," user edward-balderdash-gregory wrote.

"Asbetsos Lane," reddit user mcginelysquare suggested.

Mount Builder Against Borough President James Oddo