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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 10, no. 247: December 7, 1872

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AND BUILDERS' GUIDE. Vol. X. NEW YORK, SATURDAY, DECEMBER 7, 1872. N(}. 247. Published Weekly bv TIIE REAL ESTATB RECORD ASSOCIATION. TERMS. One year, in advance......................§6 00 All commuhicatioris should be addressed to ■7 AND 9 WAliniSN STllTCHT. No receipt for money due the Rkal EsT.vrK Rkcoud will be acknowledged unless signed by one of our regular collectors. HuNiiy. D. S.mitii or Tho.mas F. Cujimings. All bills for collection will be sent from the office on a regu¬ larly printed form. The leading article publislied in the Record of last week on the Real Estate Market received no editorial supervision, not having been intend¬ ed for the editorial columns. The -writer, in speaking of Fort Washington and the Dyckman property as including the most valuable in the market, referred to its prospective value, which, in a measure, depends on certain contin¬ gencies likely to happen. Real estate brokers, propeily holders, build¬ ers, and others interested, will confer a favor on the publisher of the Record by notifying him immediately at the office, by letter or otherwise, of any error which may have appear¬ ed in the columns of the Record during the past .year, so that it may be noticed under the head¬ ing of Errata, in the index now being j)rei3ared. FIRE INSUEANCE. The enormous enhancement of the rates of fire insurance is very justly regarded by the business community with a great deal of indig¬ nation. Because the fire-insurance iaterest has proved inadequate to meet a great calamity like the burning of Boston or Chicago, the sur- •vi-dng companies thereupon put up the rates. This is undoubtedly an excellent thing for the companies, but the public have -no greater security than they had before., It was not that the rates were too low that the various com¬ panies were unable to meet, their losses, but that they did too scattered a business for their capital. The true remedy would be, not to enhance the price of policies, but to enlarge the capitals of the respective companies so as to give greater security to the con-lmunit3^ As we have said iu a previous article,' we shall never have a perfectly secure insurance of unproved property until the general govern¬ ment undertakes the business. Itj and it alone, can give us the most ample security at the most trifling, cost. The community now pay nearly $2.50 to fire insurauce companies and get but one dollar in return. The enormous rates simply add another dollar to the sum which the companies put in their pockets, with¬ out any assurance that the public will get any more than they did-under the old rates. PINKS OF POLITENESS (T) Among the " reforms " agitated and instituted by the heads of the municipal departments, we would suggest that some little attention be turn¬ ed to the personnel of oifice attaches. When perchance a -visitor has occasion to transact bus¬ iness with the chief ofiicials, in too many in¬ stances he must brook what is little short of open insult from some one or more of the youth¬ ful representatives who infest the reception room. The contrast between the discourtesy of these intennediates and the courtesy of their superiors is great. Ask one of them if the com¬ missioner is in, he will turn with a scowl and a yawn, and coolly ejaculate, "What do you want ? " Request that your card may be sent to the inner office, the fledgling will caress the bantling Dundrearys that have begun to appear at the side of each ear, stare at you for a mo¬ ment, roll his tobacco from one side of his mouth to the other, and after readjusting himself to a more comfortable position, give utterance to, " Directly." These youths are evidently desir¬ ous of impressing the luckless novice -with their superiority to the average citizen, and presume quite too much on the terror of their frqwn and the cut of their short coats and their legged pants. In some of the departnients one meets with universal courtesy. Perhaps none of our Chiefs of Bureau's are more genuinely polite than the Commissioner of Public Works and Deputy Barber, and we would especially caU to their notice the facts we have stated, which can¬ not but reflect upon themselves. This complaint of insolence is one of long standing and should be remedied. THE NEW COLLEGIATE EEFOElVrED PEOT- ESTANT DUICH CHUECH. This very prominent building, just completed at the corner of Forty-eighth street and Fifth avenue, was opened on Thanksgiving Day, on which occasion the double sei-vice was celebrat¬ ed of dedicating and thanksgiving. •' If costli¬ ness, size, pretension, and novelty were the only elements necessary in producing a first-class ecclesiastical building, then could this church boast of being perhaps the most remarkable in the whole city. But as these do not form the only elements in successful architecture, we shall endeavor to show in what this structure falls far short of architectra-al excellence. The site is, in the first place, one of those well selected ones which gave the architeet the grandest opportunity for the display of taste and talent. Standing at the north-west angle of the juii<^tion of; Fifth avenue with Forty- eighth sti-eclt, covering an area of some 12,000 feet, with a* frontage on the avenue of eighty feet, and a corresponding depth on Forty-eighth street, it possesses faciLities for perspective effects wliich rarely fall to the lot of other buildings. The building, which has been in course of erection ever since 1868, is of unusu¬ ally solid construction, erected of brown stone, and in the matter of carved details, which are in superabundance, has evidently had the ad¬ vantage of excellent stone-cutters. The church is most singularly arranged. Besides the main tower and spire—properly placed at the south- ■ east angle—there are two smaller ones at the noi-th-east and south-west angles of the build¬ ing. The largest tower, still unfinished, will in its complete state be two hundred and sixty- one feet high, the two smaller ones one hundred feet and one hundred and fourteen feet respec¬ tively. To the main front there are four entrances, besides a side one on Forty-eighth street. Each one of these is treated dift'erently, each apparently striving to be more eccentric than its neighbor. The large central doorway is extremely elaborate, formed of deeply-re¬ cessed jambs with clustered columns, and surmounted by a large rose-window filled with wooden tracery, producing a poverty-stricken appearance in contrast with the extravagance of stone decoration immediately below it. This unpleasant feature is noticeable through¬ out. The tracery of the windows which should be of stone, and which in all good Gothic build¬ ings should be one of the leading features for consideration, is here made to succumb entirely to the costliness of decoration in other portions. Along the whole of the south front—cut up un¬ meaningly into a regiment of small gables—the windows are all filled -with wooden tracery of most miserable detail in mouldings, while along the whole north front the architect has been content with merely cutting out the form of tracery from many flat pine-boaids, painted white, and giving the -windows the appearance of so many tinsel-plate cuttings. The mind is absolutely puzzled and confused in looking at this building, and the spectator tries in vain to understand the object of the designer in the queer combinations he has made of his ornaments. Such a heterogeneous jum¬ ble of some of the most beautiful forms of Gothic architecture was perhaps never before produced. The architect seems to have taken his " Glossary of Gothic Architecture," selected from it all such conceits as seemed most cun¬ ning and ingenious, and then scattered them pell-meU over his fronts, without any regard whatever to their applicabilitj^ or constructive meaning. ; The north-eastern turret would drive even a Pugin crazy, in trying to compre¬ hend its many twists and turns and strange de-yices. , . The flying-buttress is a graceful feature in Go¬ thic architecture, but it has its distinct use and meaning-r-as one can see to perfection in such buildings as Notre Dame of Paris—in throwing weight from one point to another. Buttresses