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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 1, no. 6: April 25, 1868

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AND BUILDERS' GUIDE, Vol. I.] - Published Weekly by C. W. SWEET «& CO., EooM 31 World Building, No, 37 Park Eow, TERMS. Si.x months, payable in adv.ancc................. 3 00 PRICE OF ADVERTISING. 1 square, ten lines, three months.................$10 00 1 square, single insertion.......................... 1 00 Special Notices, por line.;........................ 20 Business cards, per month......................... 2 00 SATURDAY, APRIL 25, 18G8. [No. 6. We call attention to the Eeal Estate Infor¬ mation Bureau Avhicli Ave. have opened in connection with the Record office. Through this Bureau Ave propose to furnish news which will be found indispensible to all who con- temiilate purchasing property in 'Hew York and Kings Counties. To applicants we will furnish the foUoAving information: G-iven a described house and lot, we will tell who was the last OAvner; the last recorded sale; the value of the property; whether incumbered or not; what the value of the adjoining property on either side; what would be a fair estimate of its actual market price. All Avho are interested in Real Estate will see at a glance how important correct items of this kind would be to those who are about to purchase real estate, and Avho wish to have some correct data before paying out their money. Our readers can see from the kind of news we furnish in the Record that we can give this information better probably than any one else in the city. We ask agents, property holders, banks, and private purchasers to try us and see if we do not give satisfaction. The following will give a rough idea of the. kind of transcript we "wiU furnish to our customers: The house and lot 250 feet Avest of 13 th Avenue, in 199th Street, was last owned b}' John Smith, who, 1864, paid $7,500 to John BroAvn for same. The house on right side, at last sale in 1868, sold for $6,500 ; that on the left side for $5,600 in 1867. The house now owned by Smith is incumbered with a mort¬ gage of §3,500, noAv due. The assessed value is §4,000 in tax books. In view of recent in¬ crease of A''alues in that neighborhood, Smith's house is worth about $8,500. Property ap¬ preciating in that part of the city. If more information is needed it wUl be given. Elsewhere will be found our adver¬ tisement of this new enterprise. 0. W. SWEET & 00. THE HANSARD BOOF. KownERE is Eashion more imperative than here, and every new idea—from the facing of our houses with hideous brown stone, to croAvning our ladies with still more hideous sacks of horsehair—^is folloAved with the ut¬ most avidity, until the thing becomes so over¬ done that sheer nausea begets a change. A notion, however good, will sometimes vainly knock for years at the door of progress with¬ out gaining admission, but, once admitted, we rush to the other extreme and follow up the notion until it is literally " played out." The very popular Mansard or " French " roof, now in such universal use, bids fair to become another illustration in point. Every one can remember the very recent birth of this noAV feature in our architecture. It is true that the Mansard roof—so common not only in France, but all over Continental Europe—^was nothing intrinsically novel to us, for it was to be seen scattered frequently enough among our suburban residences; but as a controlling feature in our city architec¬ ture it appeared almost unknown. The pre¬ vailing fancy seemed to be to do all we could to At(Ze our roofs; whereas now everybody seems to be striving which can make it most visible and prominent. Height of frontage seemed to be the ultima thule of architectural sublimity, and each builder Avas anxious to elongate his narrow twenty-five feet frontage so as to make his cornice overtop his neigh¬ bor's, if only by a few inches. ITow we are not content Avith letting a Mansard roof taste¬ fully supplant our over-topping fifth or sixth stories, but we must, forsooth, have it to every Httle tAVO or three story shanty, where the effort should be to elevate rather than to de¬ press the already too Ioav frontage of the building. One very grotesque instance, among many others, occurs to us at the mo¬ ment. It is the entrance to a bathing estab¬ lishment on Sixth Avenue near Thirtieth street. Here, in a little narrow two-story and attic building, with stories so low that a passer-by could almost light his cigar from one of the roof Avindows, we have all the paraphernalia of turrets, Mansard roof, dormer windoAvs, etc.; a lilliputian attempt at mak¬ ing a sort of brick Tuileries palace out of a space that could be entirely swallowed up by one good-sized entrance archway. This sort of " architecture " may do very well in sugar upon some fanciful wedding cake, but it is quite out of place in any thoroughfare of a great city. The rule to guide us is that the Mansard roof ia always more or less available, where we. are dealing with inordinate height in city buildings; but it is not at all necessary, in¬ deed sometimes even prejudicial, when the building is already too low in contrast with its neighbors. Properly introduced and treated, this mode of terminating our build¬ ings is exceedingly beautiful and picturesque. In too many cases, however, our architects destroy that very lightness and airiness which form its principal charm, by the introduction of excessively heavy ornamentation, instead of light and graceful ornamental iron-work. Look, for instance, at the roof of the Herald building, or, still more conspicuously, the roof of ilr. StcAvart's new residence on Fifth Avenue. In both these cases the ridge mold¬ ings and those encasing the hips look solid enough for the construction of a railway bridge. Upon the whole, the Mansard roof is a great relief to us after the monstrously heavy and clumsy cornices with which we used to terminate our buildings, and cuts the sky line in a far more agreeable manner. But this, like everything else in a tasteful profession, requires judicious handling; and what in the hands of one man can be made an enduring beauty, becomes, in those of some untutored bungler a mere eye-sore and un¬ meaning absurdity. THE " CENTSAL TJNDEEGEOUND EAILEOAD.»» The public may congratulate itself upon hav¬ ing made at least one good stride in the right direction, towards getting a mode of steam transit up and down town, instead of the pre¬ sent wretched modes of conveyance. The bill for the " Central Underground Railroad," better known aa the " Brown Tunnel Road," after passing both Houses of the Legislature, has been signed by Governor Fentok, and thus becomes a responsible incorporation. This road is intended to run from City Hall Park, through City Hall Place, and through Mulberry and Bleecker Streets, Lafayette Place and Fourth Avenue, to Marlison Square, then under Madison Avenue to Forty-second Street, and eventually to the Harlem River. It is placed in the hands of men whose name^ are a sufficient guaranty for its fulfilment, an^ as they have agreed to forfeit $300,000 to the city in the event of it not being completed as far as Forty-second Street within the next two years, it is evident they intend to push it with vigor. This sche,me ^s altogether different ivova, the " Arcade Road '•' which we advocated in a fo,rmer number, and although it does not meet the measure of our necessities altogether— being adapted to assist t^-avel only on the east-.