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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 1, no. 4: April 11, 1868

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Wi AND BUILDERS' GUIDE .ydL. L] .SATURDAY, APRIL 11, 1868. [No. 4. , ■ ^ Published Weekly, by^.-, C. W. SWEET & CO.., Boou 81 WoELD BuiLniNO, No. 87 Park Row. ^'r /"TERMS. : - Six months, delivered........................... 8 00 PRICE OF ADATERTISING. 1 square, ten lines, three months.................$10 00 1 square, single insertion.......................... 1 00 Special Notices, per line.......................... 20 Business cards, per month......................... 1.2 00 THE ASCADE BAILEOAD. The important riddle has at least been solved, liow to avoid the overcrowded traffic of our down-streets, and afford the people of NeAV York safe and rapid transit from one end of the island to the other. It has long been manifest to everybody that it is as impos¬ sible for the city to remain as it is, as for a full-grown man to wear the garments of his childhood. Peculiarly located as New York is, on a long and narrow slip of land, shut in by a broad river on each side, and con¬ sequently unable to expand but in one direc¬ tion, the time has arrived at last when she must increase the surface for traffic in her main arteries, whether by suspending herself in air or burrowing in the bowels of the earth. The latter idea has hit the mark. Among all the plans and schemes hitherto suggested, there is not one wt ch so com¬ pletely covers the whole ground, and will prove so useful, practicable, and grand as the proposed Arcade Railroad, the bill for Avhich has already unanimously passed the Assem¬ bly, and only awaits the decision of the Sen¬ ate to become a fixed fact. This railroad scheme is entirely novel in design, and far surpasses anything of the kind ever yet attempted in any of the great capitals of the world. It has nothing in com¬ mon with the tunnel roads under the streets of London—^which, hoAvever, are perfectly successful as far as they go—because this scheme provides such an abundance of light, air, and ventilation, as to be available as much for commercial as for travelling purposes. This scheme may be thus briefly described: It is proposed to build a street mder the whole Avidth of Broadway to Sixty-fourth street, and along Ninth Avenue to near Fort "W^ashington, for locomotion and trading, in every respect as accessible and convenient as the present thoroughfares. The upper street will thus be a sort of continuous bridge, run- 3irig the whole length of the city, with con- enient ramifications, supported, by a com- pation of iron columns and groined brick Iches, so powerful in construction as to do the orkofthe solid earth itsel£ Those portions of the buildings on each side Avhich are now nothing but buried cellars, will be converted, as if by magic, into handsome and well-light¬ ed store-fronts. The way light is obtained for the lo"wer street is by leaving the usual area of five feet, as no"w, to the upper street, pro¬ tected by railings, and all open except at doors; Avhile the sideAvalks will be relaid Avith four feet of patent lights next tte street. This Avill give ample ventilation, ^and light enough for people in the lo"wer street cars to read comfortably. At each block, convenient stairways Avill. lead from the upper to the lower street. Here four tracks will be laid: the two inner ones for rapid, trains, for through travel, going from the Battery to Harlem in about thirty minutes, and the out¬ side tracks, next the sidewalks, for slower cars, stopping as often as passengers require. The cars will be propelled by steam, air, or other motive power; but, if by steam, in such a way as to emit neither steam, smoke, nor sparks. It needed but the locomotive horrors of the past winter to convince our people of the . splendid change when this plan is carried into effect. The myriads of daily toilers down¬ town Avill be able to go to and from-their homes, in the remotest suburbs, in all seasons, without crowding and without loss of time. Winter and summer alike will be shorn of their terrors. People will fly the storms of winter by taking refuge in the Arcade below, and it Avill prove a delicious resort for shop¬ ping and promenade during the sweltering days of midsummer. Upper Broadway thus reheved of its crowds of carts and omnibuses, with all its mud and slush running doAvn the hollow columns into the sewers below the loAver street, Avill be so clean and airy as to surpass every other commercial thoroughfare in beauty, and not require the humane efforts even of Judge Whiting to give us a " salub¬ rious atmosphere;" and then at nightfall, when this interminable perspective of columns and arches is brilliantly lit up by gas, the scene will be beautiful and tempting beyond anything yet conceived in the construction of cities—more like a picture in the " Arabian Nights." Vast and important as this scheme is, there is nothing whatever in its execution that is not easily within the range of modern art. If the elder Brunei could tunnel under the Thames, fighting quicksands and inundations inch by inch, our engineers and architects have a comparatively easy "way before them. The plan is approved by our most eminent engineers, architects, and builders; we have the talent, energy, and capital necSssary' property-owners in the thoroughfares thus altered will be largely benefited, so will the whole population: all it needs is the consent of the Senate, and it is scarcely possible to think they will check the grandest scheme ever concocted for the improvement and adornment of a great commercial city. THE NEW POST-OFFICE. There is much public curiosity and in¬ terest felt respecting the proposed new post- office, and it is strange thai, in a matter of such great and general importance, public in¬ formation should have been so long withheld. Some months have now elapsed since an open competition was invited among architects for designs for the structure; in response to which a large number were sent in, and the whole exhibited for a brief period at the Underwriters' Offices, on Broadway. Of these designs there •were but few that could be classed even above the most ordinary me¬ diocrity, and only two or three that could really claim anything like distinct merit. But the examiners Avere morally pledged to award the money prizes according to the terms of their offer—even if only to varying grades of inferiority; and Ave presume this portion of the programme has at least been carried out. It turned out, however, that no one plan embraced, in the view of the judges, all the requirements of such a build¬ ing; and after the awards Avere made in their ratio of merit, no one plan was determined upon for actually carrying it into execution. Postmaster Kelly made a journey to Europe, during which, it is said, he obtained much additional Ught as to the most improved Avorkings of the system, and on his return an entirely new arrangement was entered into with the five most prominent architects in the competition, and a new design formed out of their accumulated ideas. We have not much faith in this joint-stock conglom¬ eration of thoughts in preparing a plan, and thi.nk it just as possible fur too many archi¬ tects to spoil a design as for too many cooks to spoil a broth. But the purport of our present remarks is that this last design— whatever it may be—has never yet been in any way made pubhc, and that consequently the community have no means whatever of knowing the merits or demerits of a structure, for Avhich they must, nevertheless, be pre-: pared to meet so enormous an expenditure. The latest public intimatioD Avas that Coiit gre.«s had appointed a cominittee to visit NeAV York, to report upon the vahdity of the site, etc.; and meanAvhile it is understood that the