Lever House Closes Temporarily To Protect Its Owners From "Adverse Possesion"

In an another nuance of the ownership laws that govern New York's parks and plazas, the modernist masterpiece Lever House will close today to keep its plaza privately public.
October 31, 2011, 1pm PDT | George Haugh
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The owners of Lever House close the plaza once a year to protect their control of the property against any possible claim of "adverse possession," a concept with ancient roots. "It holds - to put it simply - that if someone openly and notoriously uses another's property for a long period without ever being challenged by the rightful owner, the property becomes that of the possessor," explains David Dunlap.

"One wonders why owners even bother to go through the ritual. "I don't want to call it a vestige of the past - because it's still done - but it does have a quaintness to it," said Jerold S. Kayden, director of the Urban Planning Program at Harvard, and arguably the nation's leading authority on privately owned public space. "

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Published on Friday, October 28, 2011 in The New York Times
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