Plaintiff filed a notice of claim against the defendant, the City of New York, for $2,250 which it expended in repairing and installing a sidewalk in front of its premises. Thereafter, it served a complaint which set forth two causes of action. The first cause was based upon a written contract. The second cause alleged that the false and fraudulent representations of defendant caused plaintiff to be damaged in the stated amount.
The dispute concerns the effect of a certain letter sent to plaintiff by defendant through its Department of Public Works, the interpretation of the terms thereof, and whether certain statutes are or are not applicable.
The essential facts are as follows:
On February 6, 1963, the then Commissioner of Public Works of the City of New York wrote to plaintiff the following letter:
The Department of Public Works as agent for the Department of Highways will soon let a contract for the laying of sidewalks and the grading and paving of Halleck Street near the site of the New York City Terminal Market in the Hunts Point area of the Bronx. The complete cost of this work will be borne by the City of New York and will not be assessed against the abutting property owners.
The work will be done in accordance with the legal grade established for Halleck Street. Not all abutting properties are improved in accordance with the legally established grade. Where an abutting property is not improved in accordance with the established grade it will be necessary for the City's contractor to enter temporarily on private property to cut or fill or both as the case may be. Since your property abuts on the sidewalk and street area where the work is to be done it will be necessary for the contractor to do the following work in the sidewalk area and within your property. . . .
There is enclosed an authorization which should be signed by you and returned to this office in the enclosed envelope. This authorization will facilitate the construction of the sidewalk and will permit the City's contractor to enter upon your property for the purpose of carrying out the work outlined above. We would appreciate receiving the authorization as expeditiously as possible.
Commissioner The authorization was signed by plaintiff and returned to the defendant's agent.
Thereafter only the roadway on Halleck Street near plaintiff's premises was completed. During the course of the construction work a contractor entered upon plaintiff's property and in connection therewith broke and removed the portions of the existing sidewalk and driveways. It appears from the record that the entire area abutting plaintiff's premises did not have an existing sidewalk prior to the commencement of work by the city. The city never did install a sidewalk as promised in its letter. Nor did it replace the portions of the existing sidewalk which had been broken and removed by the contractor.
On November 19, 1965, the plaintiff received a "Notice to repair sidewalk" from the Department of Highways. The notice alleged the existence of a sidewalk violation and the responsibility under section 230 of the New York City Charter of plaintiff to correct the condition.
On November 29, 1965, plaintiff forwarded to the city a copy of the city's 1963 letter in which the city promised to ...