The First Department, in a detailed opinion by Justice Friedman, determined a reasonable title search would have turned up an easement on the subject property. Therefore, plaintiff was not a bona fide purchaser of the empty lot (57 Crosby). The interesting opinion is too detailed to fairly summarize here. The following excerpt provides the flavor of the reasoning:
The question presented … is whether plaintiff, when it purchased 57 Crosby in 2011, had constructive notice of the 1981 easement, notwithstanding that the indexing of the easement had not been changed by the City Register when 57 Crosby was subdivided from Lot 30 in 1984 and reassigned its previous designation of Lot 9.
… [T]he answer to the foregoing question does not turn on whether the 1981 easement would have been found in a search in 2011 of the direct chain of title to 57 Crosby. Almost 40 years ago, the Court of Appeals held that “the rule limiting constructive notice to recorded conveyances that are within the purchaser’s direct chain of title” does not apply “to instances in which the purchaser had access to a block and lot’ or tract indexing system,” such as the one in use in New York City … . … “[I]n counties using a block and lot’ indexing system, a purchaser is charged with record notice of all matters indexed under the block and lot numbers corresponding to the purchaser’s property, regardless of whether such information also appears in his or her direct chain of title” … . Thus, although … the 1981 easement was not recorded within plaintiff’s direct chain of title, that circumstance has no bearing on the outcome of this appeal … . Akasa Holdings, LLC v 214 Lafayette House, LLC, 2019 NY Slip Op 06447, First Dept 9-3-19