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February 9, 1884
The Record and Guide.
THE RECORD AND GUIDE.
Published every Saturday.
191 Broadway, N. Y.
ONE YEAR, iD adrance, SIX DOLLARS.
ConununicatioDs should be addressed to
0. W, SWEET, 191 Broadway,
J, T. LINDSET, Business Manager.
FEBHUARY 9, 1884,
A bill has been introduced into the Legislature which deserves
the careful study of New York real estate owners. Its aim is to
restrict the erection of very high buildings on narrow streets.
Clearly some such law should be passed, and at once. There should
be some relation between the width of the streets and tlie height
of the houses. No owner of property has a uioral, and should not
have a legal, right to erect a structure which deprives neighboring
property of light and air. Bv all means let a wise enactment of
this kind be put upon the statute books.
The Suburban Rapid Transit Company really seems to be at
■work. In addition to building a bridge over Harlem River at
Second avenue, it has taken title to four lots on One Hundred aivd
Thirty-seventh and One Hundred and Thirty-eighth streets and
WiUis avenue, presumably for a depot. As a director of that com¬
pany explained to a representative of this paper, whenever the
elevated road litigation was ended that then the work in the
annexed district would be commenced and vigorously pressed.
The price of Manhattan would seem to show that some insiders
believe the trouble between the Metropolitan and the Manhattan
companies is nearly at an end. Should this comprehensive system
of local steam roads be undertaken simultaneously witli tbe
creation of the parks in the annexed district we may expect to see
a lively real estate movement on the other side of the Harlem
The Land Transfer Reform Association has forwarded a petition
to Albany, authorizing the Governor to appoint five lawyers as
commissioners " to prepare and report to the Legislature a bill to
facilitate and lessen the expense of transfers in lauds and real
property in this State." The same association has prepared two
bills respecting this matter, which it probably hopes the commis¬
sioners will adopt. It is to be hoped these commissioners will be
appointed, but this matter will never be pressed in a proper man¬
ner until the real estate interest is thoroughly organized iu its
favor. The nuckus of such an organization would naturally be
the new Real Estate Exchange. It will never be a marked success
as a business enterprise until convey ances of real property can be
made as promptly and cheaply as is personal property. The pres¬
ent wasteful and cumbersome system has, however, many vested
interests in its favor, and the reform will not be effected without
a stubborn fight.
The bill which passed the State Senate prohibiting the opening of
streets through the Bloomingdale Lunatic Asylum grounds,
between One Hundred and Fourteenth street and One Hundred
and Twentieth street, should be promptly vetoed by Governor
Cleveland if it gets through the Legislature. It is unjust to prop¬
erty holders west of Morningside Park to permanently put
a stop to mprovements which are needful to the set¬
tlement of the neighborLood. If the asylum cannot afford
to pay the necessary asfiessments for street openings,
why not sell the very valuable ground they own and replace the
lots by acres ? If they wish to make a public park, with pathways
across, then let the city pay for the improvements, but if New
York is to grow it will not do to prohibit street improvements which
are needed. By theway, the grounds of the Lunatic Asylum would
form a magnificent sits for a great Episcopal cathedral, one worthy
of that rich, numerous and powerful denomination, A cathedral
erected at this point would not only overlook a magnificent stretch
of country, but would be literally " a church set upon a hill." It
would command views of Morningside and Central Parks, of Long
Island Sound, the two rivers, and the valley of tbe Hariem. The
Trinity Church corporation should look into this matter.
the public health. Mr. Powers, the Superintendent of Drains of
the Brooklyn Board of Health, stated that he would not have iron
drains in his own house, a remark which, coming from one of the
most experienced jilumbers in the State, ought to impress upou the
New York Board the necessity of obtaining more light on this sub¬
ject before insisting upon the continuance of the present regula¬
tions in regard to drainage. If there was anything which must
have shook the faith of the Board in the iron drains now in use it
was the frank statement of the Brooklyn superintendent. The
president himself seemed a little surprised that the evidence was so
strong iu condemnation of the present system, to judge from the
manner in which he questioned that gentleman. It is not our
object to speak favorably of either the vitrified pipe or iron system
of drainage, but one thing is clear, that the latter bas not estab¬
lished the position held for it by the rules of the New York Board
of Health, It would be well for the latter to confer with the
Brooklyn department, bo that full light shall be shed upon a ques¬
tion so important to the health of our citizens, and they will be
wanting in their duty to the public should they show any apathy
in this matter. Besides, if it be true that vitrified pipes can be
introduced with safety, there is no reason why the Health Depart¬
ment should place its ban upon an industry which gives employ¬
ment to thousands of people.
From the evidence given before the Board of Health at tbe hear¬
ing of the Drain Pipe Manufacturers last Tuesday, it came to light
that the present system of iron drains, adopted and sanctioned by
that department, are not only defective but a source of danger to
Some time since a count was made of the number of vehicles
which passed up and down Broadway in twenty-four hours and it
was found toaverage more than seventy-fivehundredperdiem, and
the number is steadily increasing. The section between the Astor
House and Maiden lane is literally impassable during prolonged
periods, when the crowd of vehicles is greatest. Wise municipal
and police arrangements would mitigate this engorged con¬
dition of lower Broadway, but these are lacking. Great trucks
carrying stones, huge pipes, lumber and safes are restricted in
London and other capitals to certain hours of the day when
travel is infrequent. There is no such legislation in New York,
where it is most needed. Then in certain streets in London where
the crowd is greatest carts are permitted to go in only one direc¬
tion. For instance, Murray and Warren streets, under London
rule, would see all the horses proceeding in one direction—down
the one street and up the other. This would be a great relief.
Then omnibusses should be excluded from lower Broadway. The
present condition of our streets is intplerable. Broadway must
have a sub-street, or a comprehensive system of a cable road must
be put into operation which will carry freight as well as passengers.
A well built elevated road on our river front, with tracks for freight
cars, w^ould do much to remove carts, drays and express wagons
from the principal streets of the city.
New Work in Walt Street.
Owners of land in the neighborhood of the Stock Exchange do
not seem to be much affected by the threats of indignant brokers
to ruin them by removing the Exchange to the City Hall Park, or
even, as some wild spirits will have it, to Union square, A new
eight-story building is nearing completion next door Xo tho
Exchange. Around the corner in Wall street, between Nassau and
William, is a big and very costly edifice, running through to Pice,
and large enough to accommodate, or as they will have it, to
incommode, a large number of brokers, and, if need be, a colony of
lawyers, in addition to the two banks for the use of which it has.
we believe, been primarily built.
Architecturally this building consists of two fronts, each about
70 feet in width, that on Pine street of red brick and gray granite,
very plainly treated, that on Wall of granite of different tints,
much of it polished, and with an unusual amount of rich carving.
The fronts are similar in general disposition, being divided by
pilasters and entablatures vertically into Ihree stages and laterally
into a wide central bay and a narrow bay on each side. Tlie Wall
street front has seven stories under the main cornice, and a para¬
pet story now building above that line.
The Pine street front does not call for much remark. It looks
like what it is—the bapk of a building. The basement is of granite;
the entrance, a large round arch, with voussolrs alternately rough
and smooth continued into the courses of the wall. The square
openings are divided by a peculiar mullion. which is a most con¬
fusing and objectionable feature. It is not a mullion nor a pier,
nor yet acorbel, but combines all three, protruding from bottom to
top like a corbel, though without any sort of reason, and having a
moulded capital like a pier, and performing in au awKward way
the function of a mullion. The pilasters which mark the two
stories next above the basement have moulded capitals in granite,
and the pilasters above them carved capitals in the same material.
The color is unfortunate, the granite making the brick look very
raw and the brick making the granite look very white. Bluestone
would have been far better for appearance. In design the merit of
this front is the clearness of the division into parts which are not
disproportionate to each other;. its defect, the exoesBlTe scale of all