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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 1, no. 3: April 4, 1868

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AND BUILDERS' GUIDE. Vol. I.] SATURDAY, APRIL 4, 1868. [No. 3. Published "Weekly by " C. W. SWEET «& CO., EooM 81 Would Building, No. 37 JPaek Row, TERMS. . Six months, delivered.......................... 8 00 PRICE OF ADVERTISING. 1 square, ten lines, three months.................$10T00 1 square, single insertion............'.............. 1 00 Speci.ll Notices, per line...................'....... 20 Business cards, per month......................... 2 00 DOMESTIC ARCHITECTURE. Never was a grander field open to artistic developments than is now presented to our architects in Domestic Architecture. This branch of the art is entirely of modern growth. In the palmiest days of Grecian magnificence—the age of Phidias and of Pericles—^^vhile such buildings as the Pan¬ theon were being erected for the instruction and astonishment of mankind, the private residences of Athens were mean to a degree that would now shame one of our youngest Vl''estern towns. In England, and over the whole surface of Continental Europe, while those gorgeous cathedrals were rearing their noble and awe-inspiring proportions to the sky, the dwellings of the people who fre¬ quented them Aveie comfortless and wretched, devoid of all art or embellishment. Art, in those days, was given up entirely to religion, and devoted all its energies to the erection of temples and objects of Avorship. So rapidly has civilization advanced in later periods of the world's history that only between three and four hundred years ago the highest no¬ bles, and even monarchs, considered as the rarest luxuries what is now within reach of our present mechanics. But modern civilization has completely changed the aspect of things. By the gene¬ ral , spread of education, by the invention of labor-saving machines, and the importance giwen to mechanical skill, but, more than all, bykhe gigantic strides of Commerce, the con¬ dit ion of the whole world has been altered, am i a new raijk in the social order created. M( srchants, by bringing the remotest ends of thfc earth in contact, by exchanging their pro- dutets, and accumulating into their hands the wealth hitherto wielded only by monarchs or prApstly domination, made themselves felt as a po||^er and ultimately obtained the reins of pro- gr|ss. By them the titled and the privileged W(|re humbled and the masses lifted up from thjicir deep abasement; and many a crowned h^d has bowed before the " merchant prince," foy aid, as humbly as did Antonio to the im- mtbrtal Jew on the Kialto. By uniting them¬ selves with both the higher and the lower grades of society, the merchants formed the necessary links that now irrevocably bind together the whole modern social system. Under their encouragement manufactures of all kinds sprung up; useful inventions were fostered; hterature was diffused; men began to acquire, not only a taste for the comforts and luxuries of life, but the means of obtain-, ing them; and, finally, the fine arts received an impetus they had never done before, in the records of man. During the time that merchants were the leading men and princes in Venice, Florence and Genoa, Italy was the school of art. Under their fostering care Genius seemed to spring everywhere sponta¬ neously from the soil, and flooded the world with wonders that will remain models of art to the end of time. It was equally so with Holland and Flanders, when they were recog¬ nized as commercial centres; and when Eng¬ land became the mistpess of the world's com¬ merce, we saw again the Fine Arts transport themselves thither, and diffuse themselves among the people to an extent unparalleled in their former history. But where and in what era of the world has Commerce held such sway, and her " mer¬ chant princes " more wealth, power and en¬ lightenment, than in our country at the pres^ ent time ? It is true we are not able to boast of the concentrated glories of hereditary Chatsworths, Balmorals and Holyroods,—^for the very genius of our institutions is opposed to such existencies—but, as far more than an offset, where are princely fortunes to be found in such abundance and scattered so promiscu¬ ously as over the boundless surface of this continent ? "Where, in the whole world, can more genuine liberality and legitimate ambi¬ tion be found allied to wealth? and where can artists be found more absolutely unfettered by conventionalities, in any new field of in¬ vention that may open itself to their artistic genius ? We repeat that never before was a wider scope presented to the architects of any country than to our own, at the present time, in the display of Domestic Architecture. That the tasteful appreciation and knowl¬ edge of the Fine Arts among our rich mer¬ chants and capitalists have not always kept pace with their wealth and liberality is best proved by comparing the results of their out¬ lay with those of their prototypes in the old commercial cities of Italy; by taking many an expensive house in Fifth avenue, for in¬ stance, and contrasting them (artistically and inventively) with those of similar cost chosen at random in the streets of Genoa; or by placing one of our any latest and most con¬ spicuous specimens of domestic architecture -^that at the comer of Thirty-fourth street and Fifth avenue—alongside of any of the thousand marble palaces of Venice, that probably never cost anything near its outlay. Architecture is a thing of cultivation, not of spontaneous growth; with well-recognized principles that cannot be neglected. ITot only should our architects be well-instructed in art, but those who employ them should also cultivate a knowledge of it, in order to enable them to choose between good and bad artists, and thus to promote instead of cor¬ rupting public taste. We have all the ele¬ ments in our favor. To say that we have hitherto done the best that we could, in our public and private buildings, would be a sorry compliment indeed to the architects of this country; but we have abundant evidence, from many a genuine work of art among us, as well as the boundless future before us, that the Fine Arts generally—and Architecture especially—are about to start here on a career unparalleled in the annals of the past. With the new impetus created by the demand for costly residences up-town,—especially in the neighborhood of our beautiful Central Park,— with the manifest thirst in the public mind for a higher standard of art than that to which we have been hitherto accustomed, and with all the blunders and shortcomings of past efforts to warn us from their imitation, men of even advanced years will yet live to see the domestic architecture of jSTew York rival, if no« surpass, in splendor that of any of the proudest old Capitals of Europe. BOGUS 5EWSFAFEBS. One of the greatest frauds upon the busi¬ ness community is the publication of circu¬ lars and advertising sheets under the name of newspapers. It is an imposition on the pub¬ lic, who occasionally buy such papers by accident; a nuisance to the business commu¬ nity, who are incessantly canvassed to patron¬ ize these humbug sheets; and a clear case of fraud upon the advertisers, who get no return for their outlay. We have one such concern in mind now. Its contents consist (1) of advertisements; (2), of the sales to which the advertisements refer; and, (3), of notices of the sales about to take place as per adver¬ tisements, and nothing else. These papers cost next to nothing to get up, and their circulation, too, is limited to the business men who advertise with them. Of course, these fraudulent sheets must get out of the way when a real Uve paper comes into life devoted I to the same interests. It is wisdom for them