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January 19. 1884
The Record and Guide.
THE RECORD AND GUIDE.
191 Broadway, N. Y.
ONE TEAR, iD advance, SIX DOLLARS.
OonamTinications ehould be oddreBSed to
€. W. SWEET, 191 Broadway.
J. T. UNDSEY, Business Manager.
JANUARY 19, 1884.
"W. H. Vanderbilt and Jay Gould both go out of their way to show
the valueUssness of the W?8t Shore road and yet wa^es are made
tbat one or the other of them will controlit before the year is much
older. The West Shore would be bandy as the New York ending
of the Wabash and Missouri Pacific systems.
A high license law baaed upon the Scott law of Ohio would, if
enacted, be a great relief to the taxpayers of New York. It is pro¬
posed to charge $500 for a license to sell liquor and $250 for the
privilege of dispensing beer. If enforced such a law would bring
between three and four million dollars annually into the city treas¬
ury, enough to cover tbe expense say of our entire police depart¬
ment. From a taxpayers point of view this would be a very desir¬
able thing to do.
We don't want any legislative investigating committees to probe
into the aSairs of our city government; what we do need is such
reforms in our city charter ay will fix responsibility for waste and
inefficiency. Our municipal machinery is all out of order, because
we do not know whom to blame when things go wrong. In Great
Britain Parliamentary investigating committees are of some value,
as they are composed of experts or gentlemen of repute, not mem¬
bers of Parliament. But our legislative investigators are too often
mere junketeers, if not blackmailers. The legislative committee
which is to commence its sessions in this city to-day is fortunately
composed of men of good character and fair abilities, but they can
find out nothing that was not known before.
The Northern Pacific road was financiered and completed by two
newspaper men—ex-reporters—Henry Villard and Horace White.
The former commenced his career as a war correspondent, and the
latter was originally a compositor. The Weat Shore road was con-
struoted by ex-army officers. In neither of those roads waa there
a reputable financier or railroad man in a controlling position. The
result was what might have been expected in both cases. Journal¬
ists are not usually good judges of how^ to spend money, and army
officers, while they know what is good engineering work, are reck¬
less in money matters. The Northern Pacific, according to Jay
Gould, cost much more than it should have done, and is not very
well built, while the West Shore was also too costly but is very
well constructed. Real railroad men will some day get both of
these properties and will make them profitable to their owners.
The question of housing the poor is becoming a burning one in
England. The Tories, headed by Lord Salisbury, are agitating a
scheme for using the national funds to provide decent quarters for
the industrious poor. Mr. Joseph Chamberlain, the great Radical
leader, proposes a still bolder remedy. He would have the govern¬
ment seize the property of owners of tenements which were unfit
for human habitation. Hewould class landlords, who make money
out of miserable and unwholesome tenements, with the criminal
classes, who should be punished by being deprived of their prop¬
erty. Mr. Chamberlain claims that they ought to be proceeded
against like tbe sellers of unwholesome food. Between the Tories
and the Radicals something will doubtless be done to improve the
habitations of the poorer classes of Great Britain.
Good. The Park Commissioners have decided to drain, cleanse
and cement two of the lakes in the Central Park, the one near
Fifty-ninth street and the other near the Conservatory, on Fifth
avenue. This should have been done long since, though we doubt
whether those two bodies of semi-stagnant water are really the
cause of the malarial disorders which are said to prevail in the
neighborhood. Whenever new streets and avenues have been
opened up, or the soil disturbed by necessary improvements on
this island, local sickness haa often resulted. Tbe paved and
built-up portions of our city are as healthy as any in the country,
except, of course, where houses have been built over dammed-up
water courses. But any turning up of tbe earth is apt to be fol¬
lowed by sickness, which lasts until the improvements are com¬
pleted. Piit there are paany exoeptiomi tp this rule; the most
notable being the region just north of the Central Park, where the
soil is so gravelly tbat it will not retain moisture permanently.
The malaria complained of in tbe neighborhood of tbe Central Park
is in those localities where extensive improvements are under way,
We are sure that in time no portion of tbe island will be freer from
sickness than this beautiful and .fashionable region. These par¬
ticular lakes may be partially to blame for tbe malarial troubles
complained of. and the Park Commissioners did well to order their
improvements, if for no other reason than to reassure the neighbor*
ing property holders.______________
The Proposed Cable Roads.
A personal inspection of the cable system of Chicago and an In¬
vestigation of the plans of the company which proposes to put a
similar system in operation in New York, enables us to speak with
some knowledge and authority upon the subject. On the whole,
the impression made upon us is favorable. The growth of New
York, aa shown by tbe steady increase of business on the horse car
and elevated roads, necessitates additional inter-mural facilities for
travel. The metropolis is behind many smaller cities in means
for getting from one point to another, especially between the east
and the west sides. We ought to have the best passenger transpor¬
tation system in the world, in view of the compactness of our popu¬
lation b«low the Central Park and the ease with which the public
can be accommodated on either side of it. We could have had all
necessary facilities had we the general local railway law which the
constitution of the State calls for; but the local horse car monopo¬
lies have had power enough with the daily press of the city to
coerce the two last Governors into vetoing the general railway l^ws
passed by two successive Legislatures. In the meantime, the west
side has suffered from lack of necessary horse car facilities, while
certain zones of travel east and west are unavailable, because of
there being no railway lines in operation. It is estimated that fully
twenty tracks could be laid, running from river to river, which
would be profitable to the companies operating them, and a great
convenience to the public. Among the thoroughfares needing
horse cars, according to experts, are Liberty street. Chambers.
Canal, Thirty-fourth, Forty-second and One Hundred and Tenth
streets. In addition to which tho transverse roads through the
Central Park would in time become profitable if operated under a
general system, embracing connections with roads running north
and south. But under our present laws, passed at the instance of
the elevated roads and timid property holders, no horse or steam
cars can cross Fifth avenue and Broadway below Fifty-nintb, nor
can any track be laid upon the West Side Boulevard, and at the
instance of Mr. Tilden in 1875 this prohibition was made to include
tbe laying of any track across any streets through which an ele¬
vated road runs. These enactments should be altered this winter,
if we are to have the needed accommodations not only east and
west, but north and south, on the west side.
While we are providing for tbe future, some general system
should be adopted, and the time has come when a programme can
be sketched which will meet every needed requirement of travel
on this island for the next fifty years. The following would per¬
haps embrace tbe general features:
1. The organization of acompany under proper restrictions, with
a sufficiently large capital to supply all the future wants of the
city in the way of local transportation. The fares for travel north
and south should not be over five cents at any time of the day ;
three cents should be sufficient on the transverse roads. But it
should be possible for a passenger to purchase a ticket in any part
of tbe city to any other part, and not pay more than one fare.
3. The elevated system should be adopted on the river fronts, on
Lexington avenue, Tenth avenue or the Boulevard, and also, if
possible, on some of the cross-town lines, where ic would not inter¬
fere with the east side elevated or Metropolitan roads. Rail*
road men of high standing are authority for the statement that
during the commission hours the full capacity of the east side ele¬
vated has now been reached, and, with the present facilities, any
increase in travel will be dangerous. Hence the urgent need of an
elevated road on Lexington avenue. It is clear, from the way the
city is growing north and east, that a Lexington avenue, as well ss
tbe Second avenue road, will be needed to supplement the travel
on^tbe Third avenue.
8. The cable system could be made use of by all the elevated roada.
Its adoption would add twenty per cent, to the value of all property
on their lines. Travel by cable would be comparatively noiseless, it
would decrease tbe wear and tear of the iron tracks, and would
save citizens from the annoyances of noise, steam, cinders and oil
droppings. Then, in future elevated roads, lighter and far more
ornamental structures could be erected. They could be made a
positive adornment to a street instead of an injury to property.
4. All our surface cars should in time be forced to use the cable.
There would be little gained in the way of speed, for the experience
of Chicago shows that there is danger to life where a surface cable
car isldriven too rapidly. But in Chicago, as in San Francisco, the
cable system is replacing horse power. It is cleaner, pleawnter