August 9, 1884
The Record and Guide
THE RECORD AND GUIDE.
Published every Saturday.
191 Broad-way, N. Y.
ONE ¥EAR, in advance, SIX DOLLARS.
Communications should ba addressed to
€. W. SWEET, 191 Broadway.
J. T. LrKDSET, Business Manager.
AUGUST 9. 1884.
The stock market is suffering from a very natural reaction. Tiie
fldvanciDg pace was too rapid. Prices may fall off five or six
points, but operators should bear iu miod tbat the market in tbe
ilong run is a bull one and will continue such unless there ia an
accident to the corn crop. This promises now to be very large.
The late advance was based upon the splendid wheat crop. The next
upward movement will discount the effect of a corn crop of two
itbousand million bushels. When gold begins to come from Europe
look out for another ten per cent, rise in stocks. But of course
these calculations may be upset by a partial failure of the corn
Novelists such as Dickens, Wilkie Collins and Gaboriau, have
much to answer for in malting a romantic hero—a modern knight
arrant out of the police defective. It ia the experience of all large
cities that the officers eeb apart to deal directly with the criminal
classes alway end by becoming partners of the latter. There is a
world of meaning in the proverb about " setting a thief to catch a
thief," The revelations made about our detective force and their
relations with the famous fence Mrs. Mandelbaum, is what might
have been expected. It is quite safe to say that every detective
department that has flourished in New York bas ended by its alli¬
ances with the offenders against the law. The class of faculties
called into play in hunting thieves are precisely those that make
thieves successful in their calling. Of course, detectives are neces¬
sary ; but the force should be constantly changed, and should
always be regarded with suspicion. Our policemeii, as a body, are
no discredit to the city, but these recent revelations and the evi¬
dence given before the Roosevelt Committee settled the question
that the personnel of the police headquarters should be radically
changed. The Police Commissioners, Inspector Byrnes, and fully
one-half tbe captains should be retired from public service. "With
one responsible head to the whole department our police might
become a model to that of other capitals.
The outside exchanges are coming to grief. Years ago we
warned investors against purchasing seats in the Electrical and
Miscellaneous Eschage, the Real Estate and Traders' Exchange
and similar organizations. The public are acquainted with what
has happened to the Miscellaneous Exchange, certificates of which
can be bought for $10 each. The Eeal Estate and Traders' Ex¬
change, which we exposed and antagonized from the start, has
changed its name to " The Open Board of Trade." Seats in thia
organization, which once commanded $250, can also be purchased
for $10. The Manhattan Hay and Produce Exchange and the Dis¬
tillers' Wine and Spirit Exchange have, it seems, done some business
but not enough to warrant their organization. The speculative era
is over and two or more of the other minor exchanges will be forced
to pass out of existence. The great; bulk of tbe eschangef, both old
and new, have their uses and fill a public want, but speculation
has had a set back and is not likely to recover for several years to
come. Hence teats in such organizations, even those that are
legitimate, will not be as desirable from a money point of view as
and they find a multitude of precedents in the practice of all the
courts. Some day there will be a rising against the depredations
of our courts, and then men like Judge Drummond will be held in
The Herald haa the following :
To three Milwaukee lawyers who put in bills amounting to $25,000 for
servicea in settling an e8t<ite worth $33,000, Judge, Thomaa Drummond
said: "Gentlemen, you consider yourself good lawyers. How much
more are your aervices worth to your clients than mine to the people?
You have charged $35,000 for sixty days' service. Could you not be con¬
tent, each of you, to take my pro rata for the same time ? These charges
are InfamouB. They are such a? men who are scouudrete and thieves at
heart would make. Thia charge of $15,000 is cut down to $1,500, those of
$&,000 each to $500. Ropeat auch a piece of rapine in thia court and I will
disbar every one of you,"
This judge ought to have a statue, and be held in the highest
estimation, as he is the first ever known to have interfered with
the legal harpies who devour estates. The usual method is to refer
Buch bills to an arbitrator, who is always a lawyer. Other lawyers
give testimony to show the "reasonableneaa of the outrageous bill.
The Twenly-flve Foot House.
The commonest problem in the domestic architecture of New
York is a twenty-five or a twenty foot street front, four stories
or more in height. The time was, and not very long ago,
when it was not regarded as an architectural problem at
all. Nobody thought of employing an educated architect to
design him a twenty-five foot house in the city. The draughts¬
men of the speculative builders simply repeated the interior
arrangement and the ghastly monotony of the existing brown
stone front. Occasionally the owner had au idea which an archi¬
tect might have turned to account, but, as he did not go to an arch¬
itect, it is pathetic to see, iu occasional exceptions to the brown
stone front during the brown stone period, what form his idea took
in the hands to which he intrusted it.
Now that the twenty-flve foot fronthas come to be recognized as a
problem, it haa come to be recognized, also, as a peculiarly intracta¬
ble problem. The dimensions are not great enough to allow of lat¬
eral sub-division. The stories are too nearly equal in height and in
importance, and too numerous, to supply a basis for design in their
harmonious relation, if an attempt be made to individualize each.
The front is merely a screen, since a roof even of considerable pitch
is invisible from across an ordinary city street, and cannot therefore
be reckoned upon as an effective part of the design. A skilful
architect must be tempted when he falls in with this problem to
treat it so as to save himself trouble in sheer despair of doing any¬
thing with it. He knows that to multiply features with these
dimensions must produce an effect of huddling that is fatal to
repose, and without features there can be no architecture. A real
success in ii twenty-five foot front bouse is much more of an archi¬
tectural achievement than a layman is apt to imagine. Neverthe¬
less, Mr. Hunt, Mr. Haight, Mr. Bruce Price and Messrs, McKim,
Mead & White, not to mention other architects, have achieved an
architectural success even with these limited dimensions and
under these hard conditions.
Generally success has been obtained by converting the whole
front into one feature, or by emphasizing one feature and subordi¬
nating the rest to it, and there is always a trace of falsity in this
forcing process. One of the most recent of the good twenty-five
foot houses—ac least it is new to us—ia No. 31 East Thirty-third
street, and it is also one of the very best. Without knowing, we
suppose it to be the work of Messrs, McKim, Mead & White, from
, its resemblances in treatment to the Tiffany mansion and to the
Columbia, at Fifth avenue and Forty-second street.
This is noteworthy as one of the simplest, perhaps the very
simplest, of the good twenty-five foot houses. It consists of a red
sandstone basement and a superstructure of three stories in yellow
brick and reddish brown terra cotta. The openings are merely
square holes, nearly or quite unmoulded in the basement and the
upper story, and enclosed, in the second and third stories, in a
moulded and enriched sash frame of terra cotta. The openings in
these stories are triple windows with transoms at the centre of tho
front, leaving an ample pier on each side, and the floor line
between tbe two stories is marked by a heavy and rich panel in
terra cotta. The two windows of the upper story are aligned over
the outer two of the triple openings below, and the blank wall on
each side and between them carries a decorative pattern alightly
raised in brickwork. The basement is a flat stone wall relieved
only by shallow panellings and crowned with a moulded cornice,
A light string course traverses the front above the third story, and
a heavier one marks the sill course of the fourth. A rich and deli¬
cate cornice of terra cotta crowns the front.
The basemeut might advantageously have been somewhat less
bare, and the relief of ita bareness by meaningless panelling is an
ineffectual expedient. The upper story might certainly have been
enriched to its advantage. Mural decoration is not a satisfactory
substitute for elegance of form and enrichment by modelling.
But these are very trifling drawbacks. The fact remains that an
absolutely flat house front, pierced only with square holes, has
been made a very attractive piece of architecture by skill in design
and fortunate choice of material. It is a pity that a darker stone,
equally harmonious with the terra cotta, could not have been found
for the basement, which is now lighter than the emphatic parts of the
structure above ; but this was probably unavoidable. The contrast
of color above is really charming. The brick is a rich and varied
yellow, the terra cotta a rich and strong but not glaring red. The
predominant feature wbich is needed to give unity to the front is
attained by the grouping of ths second and third stories, ao that
the front fulfils the elementary Aristotelian condition, which so
many designers overlook, of having a beginning, a middle and an
end, the middle being here the principal division. The concentra¬
tion of openings at the centre and the ample flanks of plain wall
secure repose and give additional value to the ornament, Thie ia-.