Earlier this month, a state appellate court ruled that the Empire State Development Corporation's use of eminent domain to seize West Harlem land was unconstitutional. The court said Columbia University, which had been eying the property for its Manhattanville project, had contributed to the blighting of the neighborhood by letting its buildings fall into disrepair. Yesterday, protesters rallied to demand that Columbia respect the court's decision.

NY1 reports that a number of people marched to Columbia president Lee Bollinger's residence, including State Senator Bill Perkins, who said that eminent domain "is a tool that we use that has a checkered, negative history, as is exemplified by what we are experiencing now with Columbia." And resident Ruth Eisenberg said, "This is a march of celebration but it also a march of demand, and it's saying to Columbia, 'Do not appeal.' Because frankly, Columbia is the prime mover here. They keep saying, 'We have nothing to do with it,' but they have funded this entire practice."

The ESDC has said it will appeal the ruling, calling it "wrong and inconsistent with established law, as consistently articulated by the New York State Court of Appeals, most recently with respect to ESDC's Atlantic Yards project." But lawyer Norman Siegel, who represent two property owners who sued Columbia, said, "The Empire State Development Corporation and Columbia are formidable opponents but we've been in Albany before the Court of Appeals before so we'll look forward to that oral argument, we'll submit our briefs, and I would imagine that the time frame would be a few months, and then we'll have the court of appeals hopefully affirming the appellate division by saying no eminent domain."