Please note: this text may be incomplete. For more information about this OCR, view About OCR text
June 21, ISUO
Record and Guide.
-Jj^ \\ ESTABUSHED-^WARPHSl^i^lBeB.,
""De/oTED to f\EA,L ESTUE . BuiLDlfiO A^cKlTECTUI\E .^OUSEHoU) DEOORMIort.
BUsiiJess AtjD Themes of CeNeraL Im^REs^
PRICE, PER YEAR IN ADVANCE, SIX DOLLARS.
Published every Saturday.
TELEPHONE, . - - JOHN 370.
CommuBications sbould be addressed to
C. W. SWEET, 191 Broadway.
J. T. LINDSEY, Business Manager.
JUNE 31, 1890.
On the day tbis paper is issued the Rapid Transit Commissioners
will make their report to Mayor Grant, having come to a decision,
as the Scotch gentleman acknovvleflged he joked," withdeeficulty."
While the Commissioners have refused to divulge the result of
their consultations, yet Ihe nevi'spapers claim to have discovered
the route, and the Commissiouers are either in the position of the
man who would not give the exact number of his house but said it
was next door to No. 33, or tbe newsparers are in error. The latter
alternative is not perhaps, on general grounds, improbable; but
such is their unanimity on tbe question tbat we may look upon
the matter as settled, at all events in its main outlines. Assum¬
ing tbis to be tbe case, a glance at the results may be instructive.
According to our authorities, they have found themselves so' "ca;- in"d
cribb'd, confiu'd" by legal restrictions, that tbey will limit them¬
selves to laying out a route from City Hall to 4'^d street. The route
proceeds from the City Hall Park up Elm street to Spriug, through
Marion street to Jersey street, theu uuder private property to
Lafayette place, aud up Fourth avenue to 42d street. It will be
largely a sub-surface road, and it will doubtless necessitate the
widening and extension of Elra street, wbich tbe Board of Street
Opening laid over for fear of the expense. In adopting this route
the Commissioners bave done their best, and if it is incomplete and
inadequate the responsibility will not be their's, but it will rest with
them wbo, by their political squabbles, left us with tbe two alterna¬
tives—eitber of doing without rapid trausit or of trj'ing to forge a
chain witb tools of wood.
As it stands, tbe route is so obviously incomplete that it would
be folly to contemplate constructing it without making provision
for further extensions. It would not make even a satisfactory
make-shift; tbe proposals of the Manhattau Company would
afford a far larger measure of temporary relief. But the very
poiut that one after another of the papers and the politicians have
been making is that they want a permanent and adequate solution
of the problem, one M-hich will at once meet all present require¬
ments and go a long way towards anticipating those of tbe future.
In this tbey have undoubtedly been mistaken. Pressing necessities
must be met by immediate alleviation, and we have
alrea.ly speut three years in trying to get the
permanent solution, and are apparently not so very
mucb nearer to it yet. But it is folly to aim at a permanent
solution, and rest satisfied witb a iDitifulIy inadequate subterfuge.
It would be too much like resolutely starting for the North Pole,
and fetching up at "Washington Heights after a hard journey of
tbree years. Rapid transit that deserves the name must have its
terminus at the Battery ; it must extend the whole length of the
island ; and it must connect with a system that will ramify the
annexed district. The Commission el's, however, although they
will not attemjjt to get soutb of Citv Hall, are in hopes of getting
nortb of 42d street by means of some arrangement with tbe New
York Central Eaib'oad. Great are the revenges of time! Wben
tbe late Wilbam H. Vanderbilt proposed to construct a rapid
transit line along Fourth avenue from tbe Grand Central station to
the Battery, and operate it iu connection with the New York
Central, a tremendous howl arose from the press and public,
similar to the intelligent expressions of disapproval that were
showered on Jay Gould wben he was pleased to suggest that per¬
haps the Manbattan ComiJany witb a little help might give New
York a better transit service. And so we are always biting
off our nose to spile our face. We surrender our streets to gas,
steam heating, electric lighting and railway companies at a
merelv nominal charge. We allow them to teai- up tbe streets,
without giving any guarantee as to their proper relaying; but when
a wicked, monopolistic millionaire offers a proposition which may
result to the advantage of the public, the press and politicians
raise their bands in pious horror. In truth, the public of New
York present the spectacle of a man who is so desperately occupied
in holding bis hat on his head that be allows his pockets to be
picked. But time bas its revenges, Tbe Commission has no
authority to enter into an arrangement with tbe Central Railroad,
but if tbe public is willing and the Vanderbilts acquiesce,
it is thought that there will be no difficulty
in adjusting matters. All of this is a justification of tbe conten¬
tion continualfy urged in these columns, viz.: that after all Mr.
Jay Gould or tbe Vanderbilts, or both, will have to be party to any
effective solution of tbe rapid transit problem. We caunot break
away from all existing interests and facilities; the foundations
already laid cannot be eitber ignored or destroyed ; they must be
strengthened and enlarged.
It can hardly be said that the reception accorded to the circular
of the Rev. Mr. Heber Newton & Company has been all that could
be desired. The reporters bavebeen industrious in sounding: political
opinion as to this first move in the electoral campaign; but the
published results have not been encouraging to the reformer.
The Tammany men interviewed tniiled sagely ; but said nothing.
The Republicanw almost universally scouted the idea that there
would be any combination between tbem and tbis^citizens' move¬
ment ; while tbe County Democrats also were inclined to turn up
their noses. This much was to he expected. One of the gentlemen
connected witb tbe movement said, that it was distinguished from
all previous movements in this, that it was purely and simply non-
partizan, consequently it was not to be expected tbat it would find
favor among men whose bread and butter or even whose beer de¬
pended on party adhesions. But in order to make such a move¬
ment really effective, it should be supported by all or the majority
of tbat better portion of the community who put pure government
above politics, Tbere are plenty of men who pay their debts and
look tbeir neighbors in the face wbo from conviction or from
habit ordinarily vote with either one party or the otber, Sucb
men consiitute probably the majority of tbe better classes in tbe
community. Yet tbey are not so bound by party lines that they
will not forsake them when tbe occasion seems to demand it. It is
this class tbat it is necessary to win over tothe support of a citizens'
movement, otberwise it is impossible to draw the lines sharply
and make the issue a moral one. The movement may bein the right;
in tbis case it certaiuly ia in tbe right; but unless it can create an
impressionof being overwhelmingly in the right, of being backed by
a large preponderance of the most respectable names in the
community, a citizens' movement has small chance of success.
You may bave Dignitaries No. 1 and No. 3 with you ; but if you
have Dignitaries No. 3 and No. 4 against you on one side, and No
5 and No. 6 on the other, tbe I'espectaWe small fry will be torn by
doubt and eventually vote with their party. We are sorry to say
that this appears to be tbe case with the well-intentioned efforts of
Mr. Newton and his confreres, and tbough we most devoutly hope
that they can succeed in electing a good Mayor, it wotild be too
much to say that our expectations equal our hopes. Tbere are no
indications of tbat preponderance of dignitaries on the side of Mr.
Newton tbat would insure a momentary, if not a lasting triumph.
It is early, however, for predictions, and until it is seen how far the
exchanges and unions respond to tbe call, how mucb enthusiasm
and intelligence is exhibited when the (ime comes to organize, and
what methods the organization adopts, judgment may well be
reserved. Important results have frequently followed from the
most unpromising beginnings ; and while it would hardly be logical
to say that because the beginnings are unpromising, therefore the
results will be satisfactory, there is no use putting the word failui-e
on the shield, before the weapons are made or the opponents
Louis C. Whiton. one of the " citizens " who combined witb Mr.
Newton in sending out the circular, expressed himself in an inter¬
view to the effect that the new ballot-reform law gives all men a
good chance to throw off political tbral lom witbout fear of being
punished by their bosses. But tbe question is, do thej want to
throw it off ? We are inclined to think tbat tbe good effect of
the Ballot-Reform Act will not be as great as expected. This act
was, confessedly. Trained to prevent bribery. The voter under its
provisions is absolutely secluded when he does his voting, and no
electioneering can be done within some distance of the polls. It
is generally assumed tbat tbe briber will hesitate to use money
when he cannot see with his own eyes that the goods are delivered,
and doubtless that is so to some extent. But tbe value of such a
contrivance is very certainly restricted. Take the case of the men
wbo are absolutely purchasable. In the first place, such men pro¬
bably have no convictions. If their sympathies tend either one
way or tbe otber, it is towards the worse of two candidates ; and
this is tbe one, of course, wbo is more likely to be the briber. His
"heelers'" will know this, and in most cases tbey will know
the men with whom they have to deal. Consequently
they can very well afford to take tbe risk of two or
three men going back on tbem, when the majority stick to them,
and both the interest and, as we bave said, the sympathies of this
portion of the sovereign people will probably cad them to vote the