It is hard to find New York’s Richardson Spite House in this photo of Lexington Avenue and 43rd Street, because it looks like a facade on the building at left that almost, but not quite, rises to roof level. Here’s the story behind this fantastic achievement in grudge-settling: In the late 1800s, a clothier wished to erect apartments on a parcel extending almost all the way to Lexington Avenue. But blocking his chances of abutting the avenue was a narrow strip of land, 104 feet long but only 5 feet wide, owned by reputed miser Joseph Richardson.
The men haggled but couldn’t agree on Richardson’s asking price of $5,000, so the clothier built his apartments anyway, leaving the narrow strip untouched. Richardson responded by drafting plans for a 5-foot-wide tenement house that would brick up all of the neighboring apartments’ windows. "Not only will I build the houses, but I will live in one of them and I shall rent to other tenants as well," he’s reputed to have said, presumably chuckling and sipping from a boiling glass of bile.