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The Record and Guide,
THE RECORD AND GUIDE.
191 Broadway. N, Y.
0\E VFAH, Id atlvaoce, SIX DOLLARS.
Communications sbould be addressed to
C. W. SWEET, 101 Broadway.
J. T. LINDSEY, Business Manager.
NOVEMBER 17, 188S.
The distribution of large estates like that of the late ex-Governor
E, D. Morgan is a real benefit to the landed interests of ihis
city. Instead of being held in large bloelcs, unimproved, the lots
pass into the hands of numerous owners, some of whom wi.^h to
improve their holdings immediately, so as to secure incomes
instead of paying taxes and assessments. The east side lots brought
good prices, but those on the west side were bargains for the
buyers. Piue street saya the sale ou the whole was a very good one.
The "Real Eitate Exchange and Auction Rooms" (limited)
opened books for subscriptions at the United States Trust Com¬
pany in Wall street, on Thursday last. The circular issued by the
real estate brokers who compose the board of comm isaic ners will
he found elsewhere. The programme ia au ambitious one, for this
is to be something more than an exchange and auction room. All
the interests which centre about real estate will find an organ in
this insfcifcuLion. Three Real Estate Exohatiges (so called), are
now organizing, but it is safe to predict that by next May only one
will survive, and tliafc will be the fittest. The oae organized by
the committee of brokers of which E, H, Ludlow is chairman, and
whose circular was published, has tbe great advantage of being
baclred by the leading Pine street. Trinity building and Broadway
auctioneers, agents and dealers; iu other words hy those without
whose business no I'xchange can live. The real estate interest is
to be congraiulated upon the very keen rivalry excited by
the struggle to establish an institution where house and land sales
will be made easy and inexpensive. An exchange will prevent
litigation, expedite sales and be beneficial alike to owners and
We have received from time to time a large number of letters
from subscribers who wished ns to propose their names for mem¬
bership in this Exchange. Those who have not received circulars
would do well to make personal application as above to the United
States Trust Company.
Judge Davis' charge to the grand jury has the right ring. Our
municipal departments should be overhauled from A to Izzard. 8o
far our grand juries have failed to grapple with this problem. The
short time they are in session does not permit them to do the
wholesale work which is needed. We agiin urge that the law¬
making power should put this duty upon the real eatate interest in
New York. The large property-holders should be charged with the
duty of keeping informed touching every monetary transaction in
every city department. Their representatives should see every bill
and examine the work for which it was rendered. This would be
a grand jury in perpetual session, and would be more efficient than
a thousand paid auditors or commissioners of accounts. A system
euch as we have eo often sketched would turn an electric light upon
the darkest places of our city government. In the meantime, let
UB see what Judge Davis' grand jury will do.
New York city property holders have no tears to shed over Gov¬
ernor Cleveland's discomfiture in the recent election. He was
thoroughly informed last winter about the necessity of certain
needed street railways in this city, but he deliberately vetoed the
general law at the instance of the existing monopolies and in
obedience to the senseless clamors of some of the daily papers. It
is strange how such singularly feeblj people should come to tbe
front in our political struggles. Cleveland's first message was the
weakest document ever put forth by a Governor of this State, He
is apparently a man not without good intentions, but his training
as an office-lawyer seems to have unfitted him for the exercise of
executive authority. He yields readily to corporate influences,
and hence it is just possible he may permit us to have a railroad in
Forty-second street, as at least one powerful corporation—the
West Shore & Buffalo-—will favor it.
time to canvassing on behidf of the best candidates for the several
offices. As a matter of fact they do nothing of the kind. Unable
to attend to their usual av cations they go to Jerome Park, attend
the theatres, or stay at home in enforced idleness. Thanksgiving,
Christmas and New Year's Day are all at hand, and this Evacuation
Day festivity is wholly unnecessary. Besides, it revives memories
which it would be well were forgotten. Our Revolutionary War
had momentous consequences, but compared with other wars it
was a smali affair. The so-called battles were mere skirmishes in
which the Americans often camfe out second best. The victory was
finally won for our people because of the folly of King George the
Third, the distance from England and with the help of the French.
As Evacuation Day is not a legal holiday, our buainess men would
do well to pay no heed to it.
Why celebrate Evacuation Day? Surely we have holidays
enough without picking out so common-place a fact as that which it
is proposed to celebrate next Monday week. We have made election
day a legal holiday, with the hope that citizens would devote their
Groupinq in Architecture.
The huge Produce Exchange is now finished. The Field build¬
ing is done, but not completed, terminatiug at present ina horizon¬
tal parapet, whereas, as the architect explained in a letter to The
Recoro and Guide last April, his iutention was to give a diversi¬
fied and picturesque treatment of the roofs. The Cotton Exchange
has already been begun. The Welles building has for some time
By the erection of these enormous structures the lower end of
the island will have been completely revolutionized in less than five
yeara. A New Yorker returning now after an absence of over
three yeara would not recognize this approach to the city of his
residence. What is more to our immediate purpose, he would not
he impressed with anything in these vast piles beyond their huge¬
ness, in the general view in which he saw them all together.
Whatever vigor or refinement their architecture shows ia only
apprehensible close at hand. From a distance they pre mere boxes,
and they are boxe-s without any relation to each other. They do
uot compose an architectural group. They are merely a fortuitous
concourse of big buildings. A few years ago, the view of the
lower island from either river was really impressive and pictur¬
esque, so picturesque tliat its qualities in that respect sttuck several
painters, who got impressive pictures out of it, The crest
gave something of the same impretsion as that which Scott |noted
nhout Edinljurgh, with " its ridgy back heaved to the sky." The
salient objects were then the Tribune building, the Post Office, St.
Paul's spiie, the Western Union building, the Equitable building
and Trinity spire. These happened to come together as an artist
would have.composed them, and artists took pleasure in reproduc¬
ing the effect of them.
Of course tins picturesque collocation was foruuitous and not
intended, and therefore could not be considered as any credit to
the architects, or rather to the architects of the later buildinga
whose works happened to group felicitously with those of their
predecessors, although there is no reason to suppose that they ever
thought of the effect of the juxtaposition. Some of the buildings
we have enumerated were architecturally good; others were archi¬
tecturally bad. But there is one thing to be noted about every oae
of them. It had a roof, a visible roof, and therefore had some form
and outline in spite of itself, and had the possibility of taking its
place in a group, and enhancing the effect of a skyline, as it could
not otherwise have done. Two flat roofed buildings were after¬
wards added to this group, the] Evening Post building and the
Morse building. The Evening Po.st building was in other respects
a sorry architectural failure; the Morse building in other respects
a decided architectural success. But ihey had this in common that
they were fiat-roofed buildings, and, therefore, although close at
haud the Morse building gave pleasure and tbe Evening Post build¬
ing gave pain to the critical spectator, they were both, in outline,
boxes, and both accordingly were intrusions and impertinences in
a panoramic view of the island. The same thing may be said of
the United Bank building, which was erected later; but this
latter, standing upon lower ground, is less conspicuous and intrusive
in the prospect.
Now, the new Produce Exchange and the Field buildings, what¬
ever their other qualities may be—and we bave heretofore discuss¬
ed both of thenr in detail—have no roofs, the former according to
the architect's design, and the latternot according to the architect's
design, and being virtually of rectangular ground plans they are
boxes. A box can have no outline and no general form in any
artistic sense. It can neither have an effective skyline of ita own,
nor group effectively with anything else. Nor is the .?ase helped at
all when, as in the Produce Exchange, a box is made so long that
in spite of its being nine or ten stories high, it looks squat, and
then anolher box, very tall and narrow, is set up alongside of it.
Two boxes are no less boxy than oue, and the Produce Exchange,
though an impressive feature in the view of lower New York by
its mass, has no other impressiveness.
The outline of a towering building is really the most important
factor in its success. With a good outline, detail which is only
tolerable, may pass very well, while no force or grace of detail can
redeem a building which haa no general form. The general aspect