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January 13, 1884
The Record and Guide,
THE RECORD AND GUIDE.
191 Broadway, N. Y.
ONE VEAR, io advance, SIX DOLLARS.
Commurdoations should be addressed to
€. W* SWEET, 191 Broadway.
J, T. LINDSET. Business Manager.
JANUARY IS, 1884.
Subscribers will be served to-day with a fourteen page supple-
went containing an Index of all the Conveyances and New Build¬
ings given in this publication during the past six months. This
toill be specially valuable to those who have bound files, for, in¬
stead of hunting through the twenty-six numbers, a reference to
the Index lolll show the page on which will be found all the sales
and building improvements within the past half-year. The
increase of advertising favors limits our reading matter to¬
day, and crowds out much that is interesting in the way of news
and comment. We furnish forty pages in addition to the fourteen
of Index, making fifty four pages in all. The increase of huM-
ness, as well as the growth of The Record and (Juidk, is shown
by the fact that our first Index occupied only four small pages
Bound covers for files can be procu7-ed at this ofiice for one dollar
We have said all along that January would bs a better month
for the bulls than waa December, and ho it is proving. Still the
advance made during the past week has not a wholesome look.
The market has been openly manipulated by Jay Gould and W. H,
Vanderbilt. This is only a variation of the p-gging process of last
spring. There is no new factor at work to advance prices. At the
same time stock are undeniably low, and for those who have money
to invest are a purchase. But we will see lower prices before the
spring is over,
There ought to be no delay in forwarding the bill of the Land
Transfer Reform Association to Albany, It is a very formidable
document, and will be subjected to a severe scrutiny from a legis¬
lation of lawyers. The bill provides that the commissioners to
carry out the law should be named by the Chamber of Commerce ;
but clearly this should be the work of the Real Estate Exchange
and Auction Room (Limited). To these commissioners, by the way,
should be intrusted full authority for carrying out this reform. Mr.
Olmstead's bill subordinates them to the ofBcials who, if they have
their way, will never complete the reform. The new Real Estate
Exchange will be derelict in its duty if it does not follow this mat¬
ter up closely at Albany.
The bills introduced by Senator Robb in the State Senate aud
Assemblyman Rosevelt in tbe lower chamber, depriving the Alder¬
men of all power to interfere with the appointment of heads of de-
I>artments by the Mayor, are at least indications of good intentions
on the part of some of our legislators. Let our citizens now bestir
themselves and bring a pressure to bear that will get this vital
reform carried through, There is no hope for good government bo
long as the Aldermen have the confirming power. Their interfer¬
ence makes it impossible to hold anyone responsible for inefflcient
or corrupt conduct of the various city departments. Of course, the
bills introduced will be amended, but tbe experience of Brooklyn
should be worth something in giving us a good working charter.
Should the Mayor to be chosen next November have real authority
it would lead to an exciting struggle, but we have no doubt but
that the chief magistrate chosen would be worthy the city. Our
Mayors, of all parties, have generally been intelligent and well-
intentioned officials ; it is the Aldermen who are always bad.
Reporting ia a lost art in the New York newspapers. Judge
Barrett, author of the " American Wife," lately produced at Wal¬
lack's, delivered an address before the Nineteenth Century Club
last week on the " American Drama," and he was followed by
Chauncey M. Depew, A. B. Cauzaran and other notable personages.
The discussion was brilliant, and every word uttered would be
eagerly read, uot only by members of the dramatic profession, but
by every theatre-goer. The subject matter was of the highest
interest to the readers of newspapers. But beyond a few lines
given to Judge Barrett the matter was ignored by our badly-edited
journals. There ia a singular lack of intelligence in the way the
news is furnished by the daily press. Instead of cheapening the
price of their issues it would pay our daily papers to report tbe
important matters which are now entirely overlooked. The World,
when Manton Marble was ita editor, found it profitable to give full
reports of the meetings of tbe Boston Radical Club, It found a
large audience also for John Fisk'a lectures on philosophy. Hux¬
ley's "Protoplasm" necessitated a large edition of that journal.
But the newspapers of to-day seem afraid to touch any theme not
suggested by the politics of the day or the proceedings of the law
and police courts,
Should a convention of the representatives of North and South
American countries be held at Washington towards the close of
this year, as suggested by Senator Sherman, it might have import¬
ant consequences anent the silver question. While Asia uses sil¬
ver money exclusively. North and South America produces almost
all that is used in the commerce of the world. An agreement by
tbe convention to coin silver at a fixed ratio with gold would raise
the price of that metal, especially if Canada would agree to enter
into the arrangement. The use of silver would help us in what¬
ever trade relations w^e might make with Mexico, Central and South
America, for in all these countries silver is the sole unit of value.
Our manufactures would find better outlets in thoE e countries and
in Asia than in Europe. This is a matter worth thinking about.
The Mutual Building.
This towering structure seems to be virtually completed as to
its outside by the erection of the cast-iron parapet story. At any
rate, whatever may be added to it will only alter its aspect in a
distant view, since the parapet story itself i^ scarcely visible from
the other side of any one of the three streets on which the building
fronts. Architecturally, therefore, Mr, Clinton's work can be dis¬
cussed as well now aa hereafter.
No matter how good his building might have been, it was fore¬
doomed to be ineffectual by the shortsightedness of his clients in
determining to erect ho lofty a building on such a site. Every¬
body seea, now that it is done, what a folly it is, but that was easily
seen beforehand, and was so seen. The main cornice must be not
far from 100 feet from the ground, and Nassau street, on which is
the principal front of the building, cannot be more than forty feet
wide. When it waa laid out, it waa expected to be bordered with
buildings two stories and a-half or three stories high, and it is
stinted even for buildings of that class, and here, on one side of it
is an eight-story structure. The widening of the street was
urgently needed even while five stories was the limit of the build¬
ings. The Mutual Company have at once rendered the widening
far more necessary and far more difficult by setting^this towering
palace in this alley. If they had bought two lots in the rear of
their plot and set the building back by tbat distance, leaving it of
the same dimensions, they would have gained the cost of the
improvement in tho superior convenience of their building,
besides rendering the architecture visible. Practically the result
of this folly will not be realized unless the owner of the property
opposite takes it into his hesid to build another eight-story struc¬
ture, as he bas a perfect right to do, and takes for the back of his
building the light which the Mutual people now get over the roofs
from the west. But architecturally the folly is vividly evident,
and there is probably nothing so absurd as the relation of the new
building to its surroundings to be seen in any other city in the
world. Certainly such a sight cannot be seen in any city in which
these things are regulated by law [instead of being left^to what is
fondly imagined to be the good sense and consideration of indi¬
The new building, then, is not effective, and would not be
effective, no matter how well it was designed. What can an archi¬
tect do with a front of which the cornice can only be seen in a
front view by backing away as far as you can get and throwing
your head back to look at the cornice which even then is at an
angle of eighty degrees from the point of view. It is impossible to
judge of a composition in this violently foreshortened condition or
to form any reasonable estimate what it would look like if you
could see it. The unfortunate designer has tried to give us some¬
thing to look at by withdrawing the centre of the principal front
as much as he dared, making up for his temerity by projecting a
two-story porch, as it appears, beyond the building line, But with
all that he could do the possible recess is so slight tbat, although tt
makes one's neck ache rather less to look at the centre than to
look at the wings, the projection is not effectual, and the main
advantage resulting from it is a better detachment of the porch.
This is almost tbe only feature in the building that can be tolerably
seen and it is an effective feature. It would, we think, be better,
as indeed would the whole building, if the basement and first story
had been built of the light sandstone of which the other stories are
composed. The granite can scarcely be needed for strength, since
the granite piers stand upon brick piers of their own area, and the
■ ontrast between the cold gray of the granite and the warm gray