Earlier this month, a New York State Supreme Court judge ruled that the Staten Island Borough President James Oddo could go ahead with plans to give a section of the island some fairly unpleasant street names. A few very lucky New York City residents will now live on Cupidity Drive (“cupidity” meaning “greed”), Fourberie Lane (“fourberie” is “trickery” in French), or “Avidita Place” (from the Latin avidus, which means “eager,” or, you know, “greed”).
If you’re wondering why a public official would saddle residents with such sad addresses, know that this is Oddo’s very official revenge against a housing development he has opposed for some time. In 2013, the Savo Brothers development firm purchased a 15-acre retreat from the Society of Jesus. The land had served as the first laymen’s retreat in the United States. The developers wanted to build 250 condominiums on the $15 million parcel, knocking down the Jesuits’s 1920s-era chapel and some 400-year-old trees in the process. Community efforts to preserve the site or reach a satisfying compromise failed. So when the development company finally submitted potential street names for Oddo’s approval (e.g. Lazy Bird Lane, Rabbit Ridge Road, Timber Lane, or Lamb Run), Oddo got the last word—and picked three names very obviously not on the list.