New-York Historical Society logo

Guide to the David Alan Richards Legal Papers
1980, 2005, 2012
 MS 3143

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
(212) 873-3400


New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Joseph Ditta

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on February 19, 2021
English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Richards, David Alan, 1945-
Title: David Alan Richards legal papers
Dates [inclusive]: 1980, 2005, 2012
Abstract: Proceedings handled by real estate lawyer Richards of the 1980 transfer of air rights above Tiffany and Company's building at 727 Fifth Avenue, Manhattan, to neighboring Trump Tower, then under construction, and for the 2005 and 2012 donations of the High Line, the abandoned elevated freight railway on Manhattan's west side, by its owner, CSX Transportation, Inc., to the City of New York for use as a park.
Quantity: 2 Linear feet (6 volumes in 2 record cartons)
Location: Materials are stored offsite and advance notice is required for use. Please contact manuscripts@nyhistory.org prior to your research visit to coordinate access. Keep in mind that it will take between two (2) and five (5) business days for collections to arrive, and you should plan your research accordingly.
Language: .
Call Phrase: MS 3143

Return to Top »


Biographical / Historical

Literary, social, and legal historian David Alan Richards (b. 1945), author of The History of the New York Yacht Club (1974),  Skulls and Keys: The Hidden History of Yale's Secret Societies (2017), and several bibliographical studies of Rudyard Kipling, is, by vocation, a real estate lawyer in New York City.

Between 1977 and 1982, while at the firm of Coudert Brothers, Richards brokered the sale of air rights above Tiffany and Company's flagship store at 727 Fifth Avenue, Manhattan, to the Trump-Equitable Fifth Avenue Company. This purchase ensured no other developer could erect on the Tiffany site a building taller than 58-story Trump Tower, then under construction next door at 721-725 Fifth Avenue.

Between 2000 and 2013 Richards was a partner in the firm McCarter & English, where he shepherded the 2005 and 2012 donations to the City of New York by CSX Transportation, Inc., the abandoned High Line—an elevated freight railway on Manhattan's west side running from Gansevoort Street to 34th Street—for use as a public park.

For more on Richards's pursuits visit the biographical section of his website.

Return to Top »


Scope and Contents

The collection contains six bound volumes of legal proceedings (with some tipped-in documents and email printouts) by real estate lawyer David Alan Richards on behalf of

(1) Coudert Brothers, counsel to Tiffany and Company for the 1980 merger of Tiffany's building air rights above 727 Fifth Avenue to Trump-Equitable Fifth Avenue Company;

(2) McCarter & English, counsel to CSX Transportation, Inc. for the donations in 2005 and 2012 to the City of New York of CSX's abandoned High Line elevated railway on Manhattan's west side for use as a public park.

Arrangement

The six volumes are split physically between the boxes based on their size and weight to preserve the groupings of each legal proceeding: 1980 (1 volume in Box 1), 2005 (3 volumes in Box 2), 2012 (2 volumes in Box 1).

Return to Top »


Access Points

Document Type

  • Legal documents.

Subject Organizations

  • Coudert Brothers
  • CSX Transportation (Firm)
  • McCarter & English
  • Tiffany and Company
  • Trump Tower (New York, N.Y.)

Subject Topics

  • Airspace (Law) -- New York (State) -- New York.
  • Railroads, Elevated -- Remodeling for other use
  • Skyscrapers -- New York (State) -- New York

Subject Places

  • High Line (New York, N.Y. : Park)

Return to Top »


Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

Open to qualified researchers.

Materials are stored offsite and advance notice is required for use. Please contact manuscripts@nyhistory.org prior to your research visit to coordinate access. Keep in mind that it will take between two (2) and five (5) business days for collections to arrive, and you should plan your research accordingly.

Use Restrictions

This collection is owned by the New-York Historical Society. The copyright law of the United States governs the making of photocopies and protects unpublished materials as well as published materials. Unpublished materials created before January 1, 1978 cannot be quoted in publication without permission of the copyright holder. Photocopying undertaken by staff only. Limited to twenty exposures of stable, unbound material per day. (Researchers may not accrue unused copy amounts from previous days.)

Preferred Citation

This collection should be cited as: David Alan Richards Legal Papers, MS 3143, The New-York Historical Society.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of David A. Richards, June 2019 (accession no. MS-2019-031).

Processing Information

Archivist Joseph Ditta arranged and described this collection in October 2019.

Return to Top »


Container List

Container 1     Title Date
Offsite-Box: 1 Coudert Brothers, LLP, counsel to Tiffany and Company. Zoning Lot Merger with Trump-Equitable Fifth Avenue Company (1 volume)

Scope and Contents

Transfer of air rights above the Tiffany and Company building at 727 Fifth Avenue to the Trump-Equitable Fifth Avenue Company. This purchase ensured no other developer could erect on the Tiffany site a building taller than 58-story Trump Tower, then under construction next door at 721-725 Fifth Avenue (completed 1983).

1980 June 25
Offsite-Box: 2 McCarter & English, LLP, counsel to donor. Railbanked Donation of the Highline Elevated Rail Viaduct. CSX Transportation, Inc., donor, The City of New York, donee (3 volumes)

Scope and Contents

Railbanking of the High Line from Little West 12th Street to West 34th Street, and donation of the portion from Little West 12th Street to West 30th Street. (According to the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, "railbanking" is "a voluntary agreement between a railroad company and a trail agency to use an out-of-service rail corridor as a trail until a railroad might need the corridor again for rail service.")

2005 November 4
Offsite-Box: 1 McCarter & English, LLP, counsel to donor. Donation of the Upper Highline Elevated Rail Viaduct. CSX Transportation, Inc., donor, The City of New York, donee (2 volumes)

Scope and Contents

Donation of the High Line from the northern side of West 30th Street to West 34th Street and 11th Avenue.

2012 July 11

Return to Top »