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Real Estate Record
AND BUILDERS' GUIDE.
NEW TORK, SATURDAY, MAY 1, 1880.
Published Weekly by
ONE YEAR, in advance....SIO.OO.
Cnniraunications should be addressed to
C. MV. SWEET,
No. 137 Broadway
ANDREW H. GREEN AND THE PARKS.
IXTRUVIEW WITH THE NEW COMMISSIONEK — THE
NEGLECT IN THE CENTRAL PAllK, DECAY OF FOLI.iGE
.KSV STKUCTaRES—A'ANDALISM BY EX-COMMISSION-
EIW—TIME RIPE FOR I3IPROVEMENT3 EVERYWHERE
—TIIE world's FAIR THE GREAT AGENCY FOR
milLDING UP THE WEST SIDE—WHAT MUST BE DONE.
The appointment of Mr, Andrew H. Glreen as
Park Commissioner, is regarded by property own¬
ers as the return of an eflicient public officer to the
labors of his first love. It was as the organizer
of a commission which had no precedent in our
undst that Mr. Green first won his municipal spurs
ill ISG5. The ring times, and the period of business
depression have filled the gap that intervened be¬
tween the time of Mr. Greens exit from that de¬
partment and his return to his accustomed seat.
Times havo changed, but the sturdy official has not,
as will be seen by the following conversation, had
witb Mr. Green a day or two ago, after he had been
informed that numerous property owners desired
The Record to obtain his views as to matters and
things in general, over which he had once more, if
only partial, control.
"How do you find the management of the Cen¬
tral Park, since your return tb the Board?" asked
a representative of The Record.
'There is a want of system in its control, I find
men having charge of work there, many of whom
are not adapted to the business they have in hand.
Tho Park Commissioners themselves, perhaps, do
not know that some of their ' subordinates are
unlit for the work required of them. None
but first-class men should be used for such
work, or rather specialists. They may be good
men, but if so they aro very good men in a wrong
place. In fact, Tammany Hall seems to exercise
much influence in running the machine of
the Park, and that is the entire story. I cannot
betteii illustrate it than by supposing that the
Western Union Telegraph Company should place in
cliarge of their operating department a man who
never had handled a battery in his life. True, we
hear a great deal of architects in the employ of the
P'lrk Department, and they may be very good
arcliitects, but at present, we don't want architects,
we require good landscape gardeners of the very
best ability, and the very highest talent. I am
sure, there is not a very large supply of such men
in onr midst. You cau easily count them on your
DECAY AND NEGLECT IN THE PARK.
" Has there been any decay of architectural
structures and neglect of the Park's foliage, Mr.
Green?. If so, what should be done to prevent
It; what, in fact, should be done to fully complete
the Central Park?"
" There has been fearful neglect and considerable
decay—not, mind you, solely by the present incum¬
bents, but their predecessors m office. It is im¬
possible to specify iu a few mimites of oar conyer-
sation all the various improvements that ought to
be done in the Park. It seems to have been for¬
gotten that the most attractive features of the P.ark
are, the lawns, the foliage, and drives, the flowers
and walks. Of "late years this does not appear_to
have been uppermost in the minds of the Commis¬
sioners, and too little attention has been paid to it.
When I practically ceased to have any control of
the Department in 1870 a variety of improve¬
ments were proposed for the Park. The conserva¬
tory was cut off in 1874, the Belvidere plan has
been, disfigured, a ridiculous sheep-fold has been
erected better fitted for a regiment of artillary
than for sheep, and since my return to the Board
I have introduced a resolution for the purpose of
having an ornamental clock placed in the Belvidere
as originally intended. But there are a thousand
things of interest that might be introduced in the
Park for the amusement of the people, and which
would not cost much. Even that picturesque scene
of feeding pigeons and other birds on the Mall I
see has been abandoned. The rustic structures
are very much decayed and others neglected.
Now, you will remember that there were three
rows of trees near the Fifth avenue entrance.
These trees were purposely planted there to ob¬
struct the fast travel when rushing from the Park
to the avenue. Police regulations will not stop
the rush when coming through that so-called
thi'oafc into the open plaza, hence the trees as we
had originally planned them were placed there
so as to divide that travel. The centre rows of
trees, after they had been there for sixteen years,
full grown, and for a useful as well as orna¬
mental purpose, have been cut down during the
past three years, and I believe by order of the
present Commissio ners or some of them. More
than that, the limbs of the trees along the Mall
have been bai'barously cut, why, I do not know.
They claiaa they did not have money enough to keep
the Park in good order. It certainly cost money
to do all this unnecessay, wanton and irreparable
cutting of the trees."
MORNINGSIDE AND OTHER PARKS.
" What is your idea, Mr. Green, as to the bills
now before the Legialature appropriating money
for Morningside Park, Tompkins Square and the
Fourth avenue Parks ?"
" The time has come at last to do all this work,
and do it well. Morningside Park should at once
be taken in hand and improved. The question,
however, to decide is, how it is to be done. No
money should be placed in the hands of any one
who does not spend it appropriately, who has no
ideas of what is actually required. Mr. Calvert
Vaux, the best landscape gardener among us,
should have charge of this work. The Fourth
avenue Parks should also be attended to, and
Tompkins Park ought to be completed. The plan
of this last park, as now done, looks like the worK
of a child, and if the concrete pavement which
they intend to put down there is no better than
some of that on the walks in the City Hall Park,
they'd better leave it alone."
"How about Riverside avenue and the petition
before your Board requesting it to be opened to
the public at once ?"
" I have never heard of such a petition having
been received by the Board. This Riyersid* con¬
troversy, maj, however, soon come up, when I will
look into its various phases. As yet I have not
fully done so."
" NO 0CC.\.SI0N " FOR MEETINGS.
" Is it not singular that this question has not
been discussed at length at the meetings of your
"My dear sir, we have only two meetings a
month now. When I say anything about this I am
told, ' there is no occasion for more meetings,' just
thinkof it, a department having charge of such
vast interests only meeting twice a month. When
I was Commissioner before, I gave up my entire
business, devoted my entire time to the important
work, and there is just as much to be done now, if
not more. The entire annexed district is in our
charge, a great deal of work is to be doae there,
but I am told there is no occasion for more frequent
meetings. The reason for this will very likely
THE WORLD'S FAIR TO BE THE GREAT AGENCY FOR
" What do you think are the prospects of other
improvements in other parts of Manhattan Island,
outside of those previously spoken of? "
" The World's Fair, of which I have been named
as one of incorporators, as I have been informed
this morning, will be a most important agency
in developing the necestity for pressing forward
certain long since planned improvements in the
north part of the city. It is now the proper time
to go on with these improvements, as New York is
quite ripe for it. It was in 1865, T think, that I
suggested the Riverside and Morningside Parlss,
the laying out of the northern end of the island,
the addition of the new wards, and the improve¬
ment of the Harlem River. The United States
Government has taken hold of this last import¬
ant matter, and we will, ere long, derive the bene¬
fits from it. At no previous time but the present,
has there been greater necessity for pushing for¬
ward needed improvements. The increased im¬
migration to this country keeps pace with the
increased population of the city. We are now on
a solid financial basis, and the influx of commerce
to and from this city, all these combined, have
brought us to a period during which the growth of
our city will be exceedingly rapid. But, when I
speak of improvements, I mean only improvements
devised upon an intelligent plan, executed by
men of intelligence and needed to meet the pres¬
ent growth of the city."
" No money must be raised on the pre¬
tence of making improvements, for the sake
of helping Tammany politics, or any other
politics, but simply for the business in hand.
Property holders, also, before the city enters upon
these various works, whether on the West
Side or anywhere else, must regard it, for once and
all time to come, as a sound principle of adminis¬
tration, that wherever the city throws actual bene¬
fits upon thera they must share the cost. Of
course there are a number of things that must be
borne by the city, like the cost' of an increased
water supply, the improvement of Riverside or
Morningside Parks, etc. These matters are for the
people at large, and the city must bear the cost,
but wherever a property owner has a plot or
twenty lots, and they are not come-at-able, and the