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March 3S, 1887
The Record and Guide.
THE RECORD AND GUIDE,
Published every Saturday,
191 Broad^way, 2^T. IT.
Onr TelepMone Call la
ONE ¥EAR, in advance, SIX DOLLARS.
Communications should be addressed to
C. W. SWEET, 191 Broadway.
J. T. LINDSEY, Bushiesa Manager.
APRIL 23. 1887.
We have good reason to believe that the Vanderbilts have agreed
to build an underground road from 33d street to the Brooklyn
Bridge. It will be a tunnel undPr the widened and reconstructed
Elm street. If our information is correct, this matter was arranged
while the public attention was being drawn to a proposed elevated
road on Broadway below 34th street. It is said the whole thing
will be completed within twelve months' time. If carried out this
will not really hurt Broadway property except in prospective
value. The increased value which would accrue to our great thor¬
oughfare will in this event be transferred to the widened Elm street.
Our first choice would be an arcade road under Broadway,
extending from the Battery to the upper end of the island, having
for its first connection the Forty-second Street Grand Central depot.
The construction of such a gigantic work would make Broadway, for
generations to come, the most valuable street in the world. It
would double, if not quadruple, the rental value of its places of
business. A small but active body of Broadway property-holders
have been blindly fighting their own interest. And now comes
the announcement of the utiliz-ition of an old charter for an under¬
ground road from the Brooklyn Bridge to 3M street, and running
under Elm street and Lafayette place to 4th avenue. There is no
avoiding it; w© must have some swifter means of getting up and
down town. A railroad on solid earth seems to be indispensable.
If we cannot have the arcade or underground in Elm street then
would we favor an elevated road on Broadway. But the arcade
people ought to be stirring. They have got their charter, the
courts have decided in their favor and they should at once go to
work. If they do not commence right away the Vanderbilts will
build under Elm street while they are getting ready to begin. One
thing is very certain, Elm street is to be widened and a connection
is to be made with Lafayette place. But one thing ought to be
guarded against—horae-cars should never be permitted on the
surface of this reconstructed streefc. The metropolis needs one
great north and south thoroughfare for the exclusive use of vehicles
other than horse-cars.
This year there promises to be fewer changes on the 1st of May
than usual. Since the introduction of flats the tendency has been
to occupy new apartments in the fall instead of on the Ist of May,
and this change will save a great deal of inconvenience and waste.
Indeed, the return from the summer vacation would seem to be
the better time for seeking new quarters for living. As for
summer sojourning places, nearby localities are in the most favor.
This is to permit business men to continue in town during the
summer, and to take their holidays on Saturday and Sunday
insiead of absenting themselves for two or three weeks at a time
in midsummer. Places not distant from New York more than
three hours are getting to be naore and more in favor.
The high premium paid for a five years' lease of the two auction
stands on the Exchange shows how valuable space is becoming in
the Auction Boom. It is understood that some twelve or fourteen
persons are very eager to be represented on the auction stands in
the Exchange, but under the present system there is no room for
them. The difficulty could be easily arranged if the present absurd
practice of sielling all property at exactly 12 o'clock was given up.
Were sales to be held at intervals from 10.30 A. M. till 1 P. M., the
Auction Boom would accommodate five times the present number
of auctioneers. These gentlemen should be the first to move for a
reform. Every day'when there are many sales shows how impos¬
sible it is to do justice to the property offered when the entire
business has to be transacted between 13 M. and 12.30 p. u.
pay higher taxes into the S'ate Treasury than any other portion of
the State. Municipal license laws, such as those provided by the
Crosby bill, would have put a couple c-f million dollars in our city
treasury, and in so far would have relieved' our real estate tax¬
payers. But the liquor tax bills now pending in the Legislature
are all as wrong in principle as they would be pernicious in
A correspondent criticises Mayor Hewitt for his hasty action
regarding Pelham Park. But while the Mayor has and will make
mistakes, for he is an impulsive man and allows his feelings to
sway him too much ; yet, all things considered, he makes an admir¬
able chief magistrate of this city. His appointments so far are all
right. The city will be a gainer by his occupancy of the Mayor's
office. The document he has sent to Albany respecting city affairs
is an admirable one. He favors a new municipal building, and one
is undoubtedly very much needed. It would be economy to build
it. Then we ought to have more small parks. Mayor Hewitt is
also right in protesting against the building of any subway not
controlled by the city. We should not give valuable franchises for
nothing to private corporations.
We doubt the wisdom of trying to pass any liquor taxing bill this
session. This matter should be referred to the people next fall, and
there should be an understanding that a flexible anti liquor and
Ucense law should be adopted next spring. This would provide for
high license in the large cities and for local option where a prohib¬
itory law could-be enforced. The Vedder bill is .objectionable, in
hat it is another meanis ot making New York and Kings Ciounty
We are apparently in the begmning of a large emigration from
abroad. The next Congress ought to guard our shores against
undesirable incomers. Our almshouses and lunatic asylums show
that tens of thousands of paupers, lunatics and criminals are yearly
sent to this country to be taken care of. Thea, as a matter of self-
preservation, we should nofc permit stunted and diseased emigrants
to settle in this country. The mosfc undesirable of the emigrants
who come here hail from Italy. They are inferior in every way
and are not the kind of people we wish to become parents of an
American race. In shorfc, no emigrant should be allowed to land
unless he or she has money enough to support them, some educa¬
tion and sound minds in sound bodies. We have plenty of poor
material for parents of our native born, withoufc importing them
The Emigrant Industrial Savings Bank.
One of the most palatial of the " commercial palaces " recently
erected is the building of the Emigrant Industrial Savings Bank in
Chambers street, near Broadway. Ifc is useless to preach either to
owners or to architects that there is something incongruous and
unsuitable, and consequently vulgar, in giving a character of sump-
tuousness and magnificence to commercial buildings. Neverthe¬
less, that is the fact. Es.jecially is it true of a savings bank, where
the money of the depositors is used in ornate architecture and
luxurious fittings. A popular savings bank needs a large, light
and airy room to accommodate its business, and its exterior should
denote such an apartment. Its architectural exoression should be
an expression not of luxury, bufc of sfcrengcli and security. Lavish
ornament and precious material are alike out of place. Everybody
who enters the Emigrant Savings Bank and remarks its walls of
polished marble, its gilded grills and its elaborate woodwork, must
be sensible of the incongruity, and feel thafc plain sandstone or
brickwork would be much more appropriate.
It is, we repeat, quite futile to point this out either to directors
who would probably def end the luxury as an " advertisement," or to
architects, who would reply thafc they must make the most for
their own reputations out of such commissions as th^^y get, and that
it is not their fault if nobody employs them to design bu'ldings in
which prodigal expenditure is suitable. The mischief of " palatial"
office buildings and hanking institutions is thafc there is nothing
left in the way of architectural richness to point the distinction
when a church or a public building comes to be builfc. Neverthe¬
less ifc is true that even when ifc becomes " wasteful and ridi-uIous
excess," this excess is not to be imputed as a faulfc to the archi¬
tects, seeing that it can only be amended by the cultivation of a
better sense of propriety on the part of the whole community.
The owners, even while they are spending money lavishly on
unsuitably rich materials and unsuitably elaborate ornament,
redeem their reputation as business men by adding to the building
they need for their own purposes another building in the form of
additional stories for rental. This increases the difficulties of the
designer. Few architects are so fortunate as the architect of the
Williamsburgh Savings Bank, which is a merely a savings bank,
or the architect of the Dry Dock Savings Bank, which is a savings
bank with a dwelling above it. In most cases the designer is
required to perch an office " investment" over his bank, and to dis¬
tinguish the latter as best he may. This is the case even in the
Produce Exchange, where the office building is nearly equal in
importance to the exchange proper. Ifc is the case also with the
present structure where the bank and tbe non-bank divide between
them the two fronts, of which the building architecturally consists.
Perhaps in the Chambers street fronfc, which is much the more
elaborate and "palatial" this division is meant to be marked by the use
of material. As a matter of fact the three lower stories are in granite,'
and the superstructures of five stories, including a story in the roof,
""sof light Btoner Of these fivestories, however, three are united and