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(Copyright, 1917, by The Record and Guide Co.)
NEW YORK, APRIL 7, 1917
DELEGATION FROM BROOKLYN GOES TO ALBANY
TO FAVOR THREE-FAMILY HOUSE BILL
A VOTHER step, and a biR one, vi'as
■** taken last Wednesday when a dele¬
gation of more than one hundred men
interested in Brooklyn real estate went
to Albany to urge the passage of the
Lawson bill, which makes practical the
erection of three-story dwellirrgs, for oc¬
cupancy by three families, and the con¬
version of existing buildings of this type,
without conflict with the Tenement
The hearing was before the Joint Sen¬
ate Committees of Affairs of Cities and
.'Kffairs of New York City and many or¬
ganizations were represented, including
the Brooklyn Board of Brokers, the
Brooklyn Builders' Association, the
Brooklyn Civic Club, the Manufacturers'
Association, the Brooklyn Building Ma¬
terial Men's Association, the Prospect
Heights Citizens' Association, the New
York State Real Estate Association and
other interests. These organizations ap¬
peared in favor of the bill.
William P. Rae, president of the
Brooklyn Board of Real Estate Brokers,
led the delegation, and the chief lieu¬
tenants were Joseph M. May and George
H. Gray. Arthur J. Waldron, chairman
of the Tenement House Committee of
the Board, was another of the leaders.
Mr. Rae stated, in part: "The real es¬
tate interests of Brooklyn have been try¬
ing for some years to .get an amendment
lo the Tenement House Law whereby
it would be possible to erect new three-
story tenements, and alter existing three-
story dwellings, for the use of three fam¬
ilies. The bill in question is a simple one
and does not provide, as outlined in a
letter sent out by the secretary of the
Tenement House Committee, that 'the
bill proposed wil! cause airshafts of such
a size that it will produce dark rooms
and be unsanitary' also 'it is expected to
have a strong political backing when the
matter of its" introduction leads to the
impression that efforts are being made
to jam it through without proper discus¬
sion and consideration.'
'The introduction of the bill at this
time was caused by trying to sit in and
agree with the members of the Tenement
House Committee. The Committee is re¬
sponsible for the lateness of the hour.
As far as this political introduction for
jamming through or its backin.g, I would
say that we have come here as a body
all repres.-nting owners interested only
in (he welfare of the city and Borough.
We are here only to speak of the merits
of this bill, and we ask your support for
Borough President Lewis H. Pounds
was the first speaker introduced by Mr.
Rae. Mr. Pounds said:
"I am familiar with some of the bur¬
dens of the owners of three-family
houses in Brooklyn. I have regard for
sanitary and proper living conditions.
Mv examination of the bill leads me to
believe that it will in no wise bring in
an elem.ent tiiat is undesirable from the
aspect of correct living conditions. A
building properly constructed with only
one family on each floor is apt to give
better conditions than tenement houses
with a larger number of families on each
floor. In the older parts of Brooklyn,
houses needing this relief are in the
hands of good owners and would be re¬
modeled under proper conditions, super¬
vision and control. Of course, the new
buildings would be erected under the su¬
pervision of the Building Department.
These are some of the reasons why I
wish to join with these men in asking
your committees to recommend the
passage of this amendment."
William B. Greenman, representing
the ISrooklyn Builders' Association, said:
"The real estate and building interests
in Brooklyn have felt for some time that
something must be done to prevent the
erection of so many si.x-story tenements.
In 1914 the building of three-family
houses was reduced to twelve, as com¬
pared with 591 five and six-story tene¬
Mr. Greenman told in detail how a plan
for the model three-family house, 50x100
feet, had been worked out. The princi¬
pal difficulty arose in the size of the air-
shaft and in the Tenement House Law
provisions for an extensive bulkhead to
the roof. The plan finally provided for a
shaft 7yi7 feet, increasing the depth of the
building to 52 feet. A scuttle to the roof
was deterinined upon as being sufficient
without a solid bulkhead."
Assemblyman O'Hara, of the Third
Assembly District, Queens, said:
"In my district we have a large num¬
ber of solidly-built brick houses, which,
under the present law, can be used only
for two families. If the ainendment is
passed it will mean that many thousand
houses in my district will be really pro¬
ductive, where now they bring in only
two-thirds of the revenue they would,
and should, produce. I earnestly urge
the committee to report this bill."
S. Harbv Plough, treasurer of the
Builders' Protective Association of the
Bronx, read resolutions in favor of the
amendment, which the executive com¬
mittee had adopted.
Frank Bailey, vice-president of the
Title Guarantee & Trust Company, said:
"The business of our company is to
lend money on bond and mortgages atui
examining titles. It does not make any
difference to us whether we have larger
or smaller houses, as far as any interest
that I represent is concerned. I want
you to understand that the people who
have been connected with this bill have
just as high ideals as any member of the
Tenement House Commission in New
York City. I believe this to be one of
the most important movements for the
betterment of the Borough—in fact, of
the citv—that has ever been started."
Mr. Rae announced that United States
Senator Calder would have been present
if he had not been attending to a more
patriotic duty, and then introduced the
Senator's father, Alexander G. Calder,
who said in part:
"I have had some experience in the
buildin.g business in Brooklyn. My sons
and myself have erected more than 1.000
buildings in that Borough. Out of this
number we have erected about 100 thre-:-
family houses, which are occupied by a
class of thrifty men who have worked
hard and accumulated a few thousand
dollars and invested it in just uch
homes. These people should be ei.,.(.
aged. The first house that I built when
I was twenty-five years '~*^.age was a
three-family house, and I put a mortgage
on it of $2,500, and I moved up to the
top floor of that house, so the income
of the lower part would pav ofif the
mortga.ge. I consider myself just as
good and loyal a citizen as the man who
lives in a mansion. I have not been in
the building business for some years, but
mv sympathy is for the class of men
which save their money and invest it in
real estate, according to their means, and
they should be encouraged."
Arthur D. Constant, of the Brooklyn
Builders' Association, told how that or¬
ganization had gone unanimously on rec¬
ord for the bill. Jacob C. Klinck, presi¬
dent of the Brooklyn Civic Club, stated
that resolutions endorsing the proposed
ainendment had been passed by that
club. Audley Clarke, of the Building
Material Men's Association, made the
final plea, pointing out that the amend¬
ment would allow the development of
sections which otherwise held no prom¬
ise whatever. Senator Lawson told the
delegation that the committees would
give earnest consideration to the bill.
The following is the personnel of the
Three-family House Committee: A. J.
Waldron, chairman; William P. Rae, Wil¬
liam B. Greenman, Edward J. Maguire,
Robert A. Wright, George H. Gray, John
R. Ryon, Joseph M. May, William Ray¬
mond Burling, James B. Fisher, Harry
A. Crosby, Walter Dewsnap, George H.
Ohnewald and Arnold D. Ajello.
The following active members of the
Brooklyn Board of Brokers support the
bill: Henry W. Ackerson, Arnold D.
Ajello, J. Howard Ashfield, Bailey &
Barrera (Stephen F. Barrera), Louis
Beers' Sons (Louis Beer, Jr.), J. D. H.
Bergen & Son (DeHart Bergen), Z. D.
Berry, James Blake, James L. Brumley,
Bulkley & Horton Co. (Isaac O. Hor¬
ton), Burling Realty Co. (Wm. Raymond
Burling), Wm. M. Bennett Sons (Wm.
H. Bennett), Isaac Cortelyou, Wm. H.
Cary, Sig. Cederstrom, The Chauncey
Real Estate Co. (C. E. Donnellon,
Thomas Hovenden (John R. Ryon), John
F. Churlo, Noah Clark, Inc. (Charles L.
Gilbert), Harry A. Crosby, Rufus K.
Corneille, Robert H. Dunnet, Desmond
Dunne Co., Samuel Dombek, H. Elliott
Esterbrook, Thomas R. Farrell, James B.
Fisher, Henry Flegenheimer, Gustave
Girard, Louis Gold, W. H. Goldey, E. J.
& S. Grant (E. J. Grant), Arthur B. Grit-
man, John E. Henry, Jr., E. F. Hem-
berger, John F. James & Sons (Clinton
R. James, John F. James), Jere John¬
son, Jr., Co. (Remsen Johnson, F. B.
Snow), Kelsey, Suydam & Mollenhauer
(C. C. Mollenhauer), B. F. Knowles Co.
(B. F. Knowles), Everett Kuhn, W. A.
Krafft, Geo. E. Lovett & Co. (Geo. E.
Lovett), W. J. T. Lynch, Edward Lyons,
O. B. Lafreniere, Joseph T. McMahon,
Toseph M. May, Mitchell & Coverdale
(Nathan J. Mitchell), William G. Mor¬
risey, A. J. Murphy, S. Noonon, Michael
C. O'Brien, Charles A. O'Malley, Geo.
W. Palmer & Co. (Robert F. Mullins),
Charles Partridge, David Porter, John
Pullman Real Estate Co., Howard C.
Pyle & Co. (Geor.ge H. (jray, Howard
C. Pyle), William P. Rae Co. (William
P. Rae), Redmond Bros. (Thomas Red¬
mond), William Redmond, John Reis Co.
(Geo. H. Ohnewald), Thomas E. Rogers,
Rustin & Robbins (F. C. Robbins, E. J.
Rustin), John H. Rowland, Frank A.
Seaver & Co., Benjamin J. Sforza, Fen-
wick B. Small, Clarence B. Smith, Ben¬
jamin T. Snyder, Charles C. Stelle,
Nathan Stern, Maurice G. Straus, Timm
& Behrens (Charles D. Behrens), Frank
H. Tyler, Tutino & Cerny (E. Tutino),
Van Iderstine Bros. (John I. Van Ider-
stine), George O. Walbridge, A. J. Wal¬
dron, Frank A. Walker, Arthur H. Wa¬
terman, Louis Weber, Samuel Welsch,
Westwood Realtv Co. (C. B. Gwathmey),
Winham Bros. (B. E. A. Winham), Rob¬
ert A. Wright and W. J- Wheeler,