Posted in art

Air rights to my ideas

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?


Novelist of matters surreal and magical. Studied philosophy and journalism. Worked in technology and finance. Knows about UX design and life coaching. Helps people write their books. Ask. Don't be shy. Author of TEN PAST NOON, BAD FIRE, PAINTING DRAGONS, and ENKIDU IS DEAD AND NOT DEAD.

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