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May 3, 1884
The Record and Guide,
THE RECORD AND GUIDE.
Published every Saturday.
191 Broadway, N. Y.
OIVE TEAR, in advance, SIX DOLLARS.
Communications should be addressed to
C. W. SWEET, 191 Broadway.
J, T. LINDSEY. Buaineas Manager.
MAY 3, 1884.
Governor Cleveland has a chance to win the good will of all intel¬
ligent owners of realty in New York, by promptly signing the bill
which has passed both branches of the Legislature by ovenohelming
majorities, amending the Broadway Underground Road act so as
to permit of the construction of an Arcade road under the present
surface of our greatest of thoroughfares. Only nine votes were
recorded against the passage of the bill in the Assembly and four in
the Senate. Ex-Secretary of the Treasury Windom telegraphs from
London that the money will be in readiness for the construction of
the road the moment the Governor signs the bill. Should it ever be
completed New York will become the most important city of any
capital in the world. It will be the terminus of every railway in the
country. It will reduce the time of transit from the Battery to the
upper boundary of the Twenty-fourth Ward to loithin thirty
minutes. The through and way roads under the present sur¬
face of Broadway mil have a capacity to transport 500,000,000 of
people per annum.. It will solve the problems of setverage, water
service, pneumatic tubes, telegraph and telephone wires, as well as
gas, steam heating and the other subterranean necessities of our
great city. Governor Hoffman vetoed a similar ■measure at the
instance of the Tweed ring, bringing on himself deserved censure
for all time. Governor Cleveland should see to it that this improve¬
ment, so important to the metropolis, be forever associated with the
history of his administration.
The most important session of tlie New York Legislature ever
held draws to a close. The reform measures passed under the
leadership of Theodore Roosevelt mark an era in the history of this
city. Of couse much remains to be done, but the policy of the
State haa beeu fixed and there is a reasonable assurance that the
metropoliB will hereafter have the advantage of responsible local
government. If matters go wrong we will know hereafter who
to blame. The passage of the Broadway Arcade Underground bil!
by both Houses is an event of the utmost moment to New York
provided the Governor approves. It is also settled that we shall
have additional street car facilities as well as an improved and
workable building law. The present Legislature has done well.
Congressman Randall's proposition to cut down the appropria¬
tions for our diplomatic and consular service, so as to force our rep¬
resentatives abroad to pay their own postage bills and live in
garrets, should be responded to by a shout of indignation through¬
out the whole country. The United States ia potentially the rich¬
est and most powerful nation on earth, and the mere proposal by a
committee of Uongress to conduct our government upon the mode!
of a crossroads country store or a Chatham street pawnbroker's
Bhop, is a gross insult to the American people. Mr, Randall
engineered the Democratic House before upon economical prin¬
ciples, and it lost the Democratic party its majority in the House
and the presidency at the last election. The time haa come when
the Upited States should take its place among the nations of the
earth, when it ehould strengthen its diplomatic service and extend
its relations with distant countries, Franklin's "Poor Richard's
Maxims" were well enough in the middle of the Eighteenth
'Century, but tbey will never do ai the ideals for one of the greatest
Jiations on earth at the close of the Nineteenth Century,
So we are to have two more commercial cables although those
already in existence are not aaed to one-third of their capacity.
This, of course, is a sheer waste of money. It is literally throwing
millions of dollars into the ocean, never to be recovered. In truth,
.all the cables in the world should be controlled by a commission
representing the various commercial nations. Great Britain, Ger¬
many, France and the United States might combine to purchase
existing cable lines and lay new ones wherever there is a commer¬
cial need for tbem. By thig means needless expenditures of money
Tfiqjild be^obviated, and t^e commerce of the wof:id_would be taxed
only for the international telegraphic service, while there would be
an assurance tbat the cables would not be made usp of to advance
private speculation at the expense of the commercial public. So
long as the cables are owned by private companies there is always
an apprehension that its owners may take advantage of the market
news communicated by this agency.
The building of new telegraph lines, is, of course, anotber waste
of capital. Like the railroad the teleetraph or the telephone is a
natural monopoly; it can never be otherwise. Bat millions and
tuillions of money have been spent and wasted in constructing rival
and competing railroads, and in every case the result has been
either a consolidation of the lines or a pooling arrangement, which
amounts to the samo thing. The government built the first tele¬
graphic line in this country, and proved its value. Had it kept the
monopoly itself, literally hundreds of millions would have been
saved to the business community. There would have been
no unnecessary lines nor any gigantic stock watering. The poles,
wires and offices would have represented actual and not fictitious
outlays. Had Mr, C. C. Washburn been heeded in his speech in
the House of Representatives on December 23, 1869, and the gov¬
ernment had then acquired possession of the telegraph, we would
have had telegraphy, as he demonstrated then, for a cent a word,
and fifteen cents for twenty words all over the United States
in towns of over four hundred inhabitants. The corrupt relation
between the Associated Press and the telegraph company at that
time l3d to the suppression, so far as the public were concerned, of
Mr. "Wasburn's proposition, while the misleading counter-state¬
ments of the monopolizing telegraph company were published
far and wide.
■ ■ ■ -—-•---------------------------------------------
The attitude of the government to-day is stimulating the forma¬
tion of rival telegraph companies, by which new and unnecessary
lines are being constructed. The business public must, of course,
foot tne bills in the long run, while in the meantime the stock
market is being demoralized in the break in the shares of the tele¬
graph company. All this is wrong, wrong, wrong. Our
telegraph system should be nationalized and made an adjunct of
the Postoffice Department, as in every country on earth save alone
the United States. Every dollar spent on rival lines is a criminal
waste of money for which the United States is itself responsible.
The only representative in Congress who seems to have any com¬
prehension of this vital matter is Mr. Sumner, of California, whose
speech on the subject on Msrch Sth last should be read by every¬
one who wishes to be posted respecting the merits of the telegraph
Around the Bridge Approach.
When an engineer confines himself to engineering he is apt to
produce very good looking as well as very good woik. It is only
when he tries for architecture that his work becomes offensive by
reason of his lack of special training in this direction. Upon the
whole, however, the building of engineers is apt to be much better,
even as architecture, than the building of the common run of
These remarks are suggested by the fronts of the warehousea
which are now in course of insertion in the arches of the viaduct
on the New York side. These are designed, we suppose, by the
engineering staff of the bridge ; at any rate they look like engineers'
work. They are certainly not monumental in treatment and,
although Ihey are appendages to a work which is monumental in
scale and durability, and ought to be, though it is not, monumental
iu design, these thingsought not to be monumentally designed. IC
there were no question of income they would not be built at all.
Inasmuch as their purpose is purely utilitarian they ought to appear
as mere screens of brickwork inserted in the openings of tho great
viaduct, without reference to its primary purpose as a viiduct, and
without obscuring that purpose ; and so they do.
The openings of the arches thus far filled in the New York
approach are about 20 feet wide and not far from twice as high.
The brick screens are set back so as to show nearly tbe whole depth
of the granite pier and arch. They are in two stories, the lower
consisting of three brick piers wilh granite binders and springers,
between which are turned two segmental arches. A few feet above
each of the arches is a panel filled with brick laid diagonally and
relieving the monotony of the wall without any decoration incon¬
sistent with the prosaic purposes to whioh these buildings are to be
The second story of the warehouse corresponds to the arch of the
viaduct, the sills of the openings being nearly on a level with the
impost moulding. These openings are three in number, the central
being taller than those on the sideu, so that their arrangement con¬
forms to the arch. The wall is of common brick, the archea alone
being composed of pressed bricks of a stronger color. Nothing
could be simpler or more satisfactory in treatment, or interfere
less with' the dignity the viaduct derives from its size aud mas^
»■ Even better than these, simply because it ia more extensive and