Court Confirms Marble Hill Is Part Of Manhattan

One of the most interesting factoids about New York City geography is that the Marble Hill section of the Bronx is actually legally in the borough of Manhattan or New York County. The First Department confirmed this Tuesday in the case of Montesano v New York City Hous. Auth., 2007 NY Slip Op 09955.

This little geographic curiosity is set forth in the New York City Administrative Code § 2-202, entitled “Division into boroughs and boundaries thereof,” which specifically provides that the borough of Manhattan “shall consist of the territory known as New York county” and includes “that portion of land commonly known as Marble Hill . . . for all purposes.” The history of Marble Hill is that it was once part of the island of Manhattan, and bounded by the Harlem River and Spuyten Duyvil Creek and connected to the mainland.  After June 1895 it was severed from Manhattan when the Harlem River Ship Canal was dug, and it became an island surrounded by the canal and Spuyten Duyvil Creek. Prior to World War I, however, the creek was filled in, leaving Marble Hill part of the mainland. For many years residents were listed in the telephone directories of both Manhattan and the Bronx.”

The case before the First Department was a personal injury action. The plaintiff fell while descending a allegedly defective interior staircase in her Marble Hill apartment building. The plaintiff commenced the action in Bronx County on the basis of her residence. However, the defendant moved to change venue pursuant to CPLR 511(b) and 510(1) to New York County alleging that the designation of Bronx County as the venue for the action was improper. Citing the Administrative Code section above, the history, and cases in other contexts, the First Department held that venue should be changed to New York County.

So, if you live in Marble Hill and want to use your residence as the basis for venue you must commence the action in New York County.

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