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Have you heard about Manhattan's infamous 'Spite House?'

New Yorkers have a long history of real estate disputes with their neighbors and developers. Take for instance the case of the spite house on Manhattan's Upper East Side.

In the 1880s, a wealthy and successful clothier, Hyman Sarner, had a lot he wanted to develop for an apartment building on 82nd Street and Lexington Avenue. Adjacent to it was land owned by Joseph Richardson.

Sarner approached Richardson to buy his five-foot-wide land parcels for $1,000. But Richardson had other ideas. He figured that his land was worth $5,000. When Sarner refused, Richardson called him a tightwad and slammed the door in his face.

Sarner did build the project. But Richardson had a spiteful plan. On that narrow strip of soil, he erected his own narrow little house that blocked the light into the next-door building's interior.

Both buildings met the same fate in 1915 when they were razed by a bulldozer to make room for an apartment building at 129 East 82nd Street. But the Spite House remained a legend in certain New York City real estate circles.

While perhaps in not quite the same league as the Spite House, many real estate feuds have arisen over disputes here in Manhattan. But it is never wise to take the law into your own hands when settling these sorts of cases.

A New York City real estate attorney can help you legally resolve your dispute to your satisfaction. Whether it's a developer, a seller or a neighbor who is encroaching on your property, handling it legally in civil court is the right way to proceed.

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