Nosy Neighbor: Is Franklin Place Really a Private Street?

When I posted that a property owner on Franklin Place had told me the street is privately owned, there was some question as to whether that was the case, along with a suggestion that someone I look into it.

The short answer, according to the Manhattan Borough President’s office: It is indeed private, with a perpetual easement for emergency access. The MBP office also sent some backup, which you might find interesting. One tidbit: “Prior to 1851-1852 [Franklin Place] was known as Scott’s Alley.” Also: “The same alley once extended as far north as Walker St.”

Got a question? Email tribecacitizen@gmail.com.

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What’s this thing embedded in the sidewalk?
Where can I buy photos of old Tribeca?
Is Distilled now a café during the day?
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4 Comments

  1. seriously, they should put a gate so only owners can park their cars there, they should privatize for real!!

    • https://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/30/nyregion/lever-house-closes-once-a-year-to-maintain-its-ownership-rights.html

      In a practice dating to 1953 and a custom that can be traced to Anglo-Saxon England, RFR Realty, the building’s owner, will close the garden courtyard, arcade and interior sidewalks at Lever House, on Park Avenue between 53rd and 54th Streets, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.

      New Yorkers have quickly acquainted themselves with the concept of privately owned public space at Zuccotti Park. But there is another significant hybrid: purely private space to which the public is customarily welcome, at the owners’ implicit discretion. These spaces include Lever House, Rockefeller Plaza and College Walk at Columbia University, which close for part of one day every year.

      Property markers, like a plaque set into the pavement at Lever House, are a frequent giveaway that one is about to set foot on someone else’s land. It reads, “Crossing and use subject to permission of the owner and at the risk of the user.”

      Owners close these properties annually to protect themselves 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. Think of a farmer using an out-of-the-way corner of a neighbor’s acreage to pasture sheep for a generation or two, without the neighbor ever objecting.

      Annual closings are how modern owners assert their dominion (as opposed, say, to killing someone’s sheep, or hauling him up before the folkmoot assembly).

      Lever House has been closing itself once a year since 1953, when it was the brand-new headquarters of Lever Brothers. On Sunday, temporary barricades are to be erected, bearing signs saying: “This area is closed to public use on behalf of and in the name of the owner.” Some time later, an employee who was present will sign an affidavit attesting to the closing.

  2. They can’t gate off a viable alley from emergency vehicles. That is not good citizenship Concerned Citizen.

  3. Some of the info is correct. For more information contact me and I will give you the correct info.
    Also the name use to be sugar plum st not Scott alley. Scott alley is 1 block over which is now Cortland alley

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