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Oct. 28—Nov. 4, 1883
The Record and Guide.
THE RECORD AND GUIDE.
Offic;e, 191 Broad^way.
OCTOBER 28—NOVEMBER 4, 1882.
As the canvassers of The Record and Guide are on their rounds
our readers will pardon an allusion to the paper itself and xvhat we
propose to do with it.
Established in March, 1868, this periodical is now over fifteen
years old. During that time it has been the only organ of the real
estate and building interest of the metropolis. More than a dozen
other papers have been started to occupy the same field since this
journal was founded, but they have one by one died out. The
Record and Guide has, however, flourished in bad times as well as
good and has constantly added to its subscription list. Naturally
all our patrons belong to the well-to-do classes. It embraces bank¬
ers, large real estate owners, all money lending institutions, such as
banks, t ust and insurance companies, lenders of money on bond
and mortgage, lawyers interested in tnist estates as well as all real
estate dealers, and many of ihe operators on the Stock Exchange.
Over forty New Yoi^k banks are on our books, which have taken this
journal almost since the commencement. Then the building interest
is very largely represented among our subscribers, for suppliei^s
of mateiHal must, of course, know when neiv houses are to be erected
and whom to look up for business.
Having a clientele such as above described, the proprietor of The
Record and Guide has felt emboldened to enlarge the scope of the
paper, so as to make it of more value to his, patrons by extending
its circulation. With this end in view, new departments, such as
house decorating, have been added and able pens employed to dis¬
cuss architecture, the new things in house building and house deco¬
rating as well as the larger questions of tlie day. So far the pro¬
prietor has been greatly encouraged by the reception given to what
is substantially a new paper. The very large additions to our sub¬
scription li.'it will increase the patronage of the advertisers of The
Record and Guide. Hereafter this paper will be industriously
circulated among the best business, building and art circles in the
Union and the Dominion.
TJiis week ivill be commenced a series of letters by Moncure D.
Conway, ivhose contributions to Harper's Monthly and the Cincin¬
nati Commercial, have attracted such ivide spread attention,
throughout the country. He tells our readers about old London and
some of the notable localities of the capitol of the Old World.
Other writers of eminence will discuss important topics in these col¬
umns ; in short the policy is to make the paper so solid and able
tliat it ivill command a very large circulation among the best
classes of the community.
The Local Political Prospect.
Well informed politicians say there is little doubt that Mr.
Pranklin Edson will be chosen Mayor, and the important point now
is—will he be the Mayor of New York or John Kelly's Mayor.
There are a number of very important city positions to be filled
during the coming two years, and it is very desirable that good
heads of departments should be chosen. Had our Mayor the power
to make appointments without reference to the Board of Aldermen,
there could not be a question as to what kind of men would be
selected. Mr. Edson is not the man, so his friends say, who would
make imworthy appointments if the entire responsibility rested on
his shoulders. But if there is to be a dicker, a trade, it is the man¬
ipulating politician, never over honest, who secures the prize. As
we have pointed out over and over again, the thing to be done is to
induce the next Legislature to pass an amendment to Ihe charter,
giving the Mayor authority to make all appointments and removals
of heads of departments. To reform the city charter in this respect
is the one, inded the only thing to be done. It is significant that
neither the Democrats, the Republicans, or the Citizens have called
attention to this matter. We have looked in vain for any such de¬
mand in any of the newspapers, partizan or independent. So we
take it for granted, that notwithstanding all that has been said
about reform and good government, no one among the existing
organizations or the newspaper editors really desires to see our
local govermueat purified.
John Kelly has not been fortunate in selecting Mayors who have
done him any good. Mr. Wickham, his first creation, turned
against him as soon as he was warm in his seat, and is, torday, one
of his bitterest personal enemies. Smith Ely, Jr., another of his
candidates, insisted upon d ling what he thought right after he was
elected. The nomination of Wm. R. Grace was of serious damage
to John Kelly: it cost him votes and prestige, yet Mayor Grace is
to-day one of the most uncompromising anti-Kelly men in the
city. Tho.se who know the Democratic nominee say, that should
he be elected, it is not John KeUy who will be Mayor, but Franklin
Edson. By the way Comptroller Campbell was first brought into
political life by Mr. Kelly, but it is not the great Tammany boss
who will profit thereby should he and not Mr. Edson be elected
The Elevated Railv/ays.
The decision of the Court of Appeals in Story's case, commented
upon in our last issue, is of the first importance. The Court of
Appeals decides that property ownei's have such a right or privilege
in the streets of this city upon which their propei ty abuts as to
eutitle them to have such street kept open and continued as a pub¬
lic thoroughfare for the benefit of their property ; that such right
or privilege—technically an easement in the bed of the street—is
private propertv within the meaning of the constitution which
cannot be taken from them without compensation, and that
elevated railway structures are inconsistent with the use of a street
as a public street. The result of the decision is that neither the
state nor municipal authorities can give an elevated railway com¬
pany the right to use and occupy the streets of this city so as to
deprive abutting property owners of their property in the street.
Every property owner in front of whose premises elevated railways
are or may be erected, is entitled to compensation for the property
taken from him thereby ; and he is entitled to restrain the erection
and continuance of the road by injunction, as the builders and
maintainers of the structure are trespassers and wrongdoers in
liaving taken private property without compensation. The prin¬
ciples involved in this decision are not identical with those
involved in the damage suits against the "L"'roads. In the latter
the injury grows out of the operation of the road—the noises,
smells and escaping steam. It was claimed that the roads in opera¬
tion were nuisances, inflicting special and individual injury on
every person near whose house they ran. The Story case does not
rest on collective or personal annoyance from the operation of the
roads, but upon the right of property which, it is held, abutting
owners have in the bed of the street in front of their respective
premises. This decision will have a most important influence upon
elevated railways. As long as the law remains as thus declared
every "L" company will have to pay every abutting owner for
his property in the street in which it has its structure. The
decision is of general application, and every "L" company to be
built in this or other cities will have to reckon with abutting
property owners befoire beginning the construction of its road.
It may be freely admitted that the gamblers who are manipu¬
lating the New York " L" roads are deserving of no mercy. The
strongest language would not be too severe to apply to them. But
the elevated railways should not be condemned for the misdeeds
of those who have, for purposes of their own, seized control of
them. Stock-gambling managers and directors should be
denounced, but the properties they mismanage should be protected
from them and for the public.
The only kind of railroad which is available in New York and
I Brooklyn at the present time is the elevated railway, substan¬
tially as we now know it. In one sense, elevated railways
have to make their public, and this they do by the devel¬
opment of residence centres far removed from the centres
of trade. Now, as such roads contribute to the comfort of large
numbers of inhabitants of cities, and lead to a great increase
of the taxable wealth of cities, and thus tend to the general
reduction of the burden of taxation in such cities, it would
seem wise and proper that the construction of such roads should be
fostered. They are a form of highway suited to a special kind of
travel. And, further, as the^ are not only costly to construct, but
costly to maintain, care should be taken that their taxation should
not be oppressive. Capital is timid, and if the conditions pre¬
cedent to the construction of elevated railways are made too
onerous they will not be built. The real estate owners have in
many cases exhibited a most malignant feeling to such railways.
In the city of Brooklyn, which is in urgent need of , elevated
railways, every scheme for constructing and putting into operation
even one such road has been defeated. The " Bruff" road,
which was intended to connect Fulton Ferry and East New York,
was scandalously rnismanaged at the start, and its funds deliber¬
ately stolen. Theroad was a necessity, however. It was designed
to make available as residences much territory now not so availa¬
ble. Considerable portions of the roadway have been built, and
but for the opposition of certain property owners along a part of
the route, that road would long siuce have been in actual opera-