Air rights to my ideas

Star Market over the Massachusetts Turnpike

The Star Market over the Massachusetts Turnpike today.
Photo credit: Edgar B Herwick III/WGBH News.

In the early 1960s, the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority, designing a highway between the western part of the state and Boston, wanted to build through the parking lot of an existing grocery store in Newtonville. In a Solomonic decision, the state Supreme Judicial Court ruled that the Turnpike Authority could build the highway there and that the grocery store owners would have “air rights” to rebuild their store above the highway. The grocery store reopened in 1963. (This is explained in a delightful WGBH news story from 2017.)

It feels, to me, like the creative spirit doing battle with hegemonic powers. You may drive me into the ground, but did you know that I have air rights to my ideas?

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