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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 6, no. 131: September 17, 1870

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AND BUILDERS' GUIDE. Vol. Yi: NEW YOEK, SATUKDAY, SEPTEMBEE 17, 1870. No. 131.- Fublished Weekly by THE REAl ESTATE RECORD ASSOCIATION. TEEMS. One year, in advance......................$6 00 All commuuioations should be addressed to C. "W. SWKTGT, 105 BROADWAY. COR. OF PiSE STREET. AN ARCHITECTURAL RAMBLE. To tliose wlio have not visited New York for the last three or four years, the changes which have occurred in various portions of the city during that brief period will api)ear perfectly startling. Without alluding to the magnificent structures which have been erected on Broad¬ way in its entire length, the improvements on Union Square, the countless changes in and around Central Park, and the houses springing up by Avhole towns and villages in our imme¬ diate neighborhood, we shall for the present confine ourselves to only one little district; viz., that embraced in the narrow shp rvinning only twenty blocks, from Thirty-second to Fifty- second streets, and lying between Lexington avenue on one side and Fifth avenue on the other. Starting from the comer of Thirty-second street and Fourth avenue, the first object that arrests our attention is the massive iron build¬ ing no iv in course of erection by A. T. Stewart as a hotel. It occupies the whole block on the west side of Fourth avenue, running from Thirty-second to Thirty-third street, and in its depth extends half way between Fourth and MadisofiL avenues. The building is, we believe, to be seven stories high, and is of very orna¬ mental character. Only one block farther up we come to the " Church of the Messiah," com¬ pleted about two years ago—a handsome Byzan¬ tine edifice of broAvn and Ohio stone, standing at the north-west corner of Fourth avenue and Thirty-fourth street. On Madison avenue, occupying the whole block between Thirty- fourth and Thirty-fifth streets, on the west side, Mr. Astor has just completed three stately private family residences, of Amherst Ohio stone, very chaste and simple, but ejffective in design. In continuation of these, the whole block, on the same side, between Thirty-fifth and Thirty-sixth streets, is taken up by a fine row of elegant dwelling-houses, newly erected, of the same beautiful material. Returning to Park avenue, we find the whole block between Thirty-fifth and Thirty-sixth streets occupied by a handsome new Byzantine church and dwelling-houses of Ohio stone, in very peculiar French style, not quite so pleasing as curious to the spectator.. The next thing worthy of notice—and very much so, for nobody passes it without stopping to ask what that building is intended for—is the G-othic residence of Mr. James, on the south-west corner of Park avenue and Thirty-niuth street, now in course of completion, from the design of Messrs. Renwick & Sands. This building is erected in party-colored broAvn and Nova Scotia stone, with a very rich entrance of polished marble columns of variegated colors, and a large a'mount of carved ornamental decorations. Although par¬ taking too much of a collegiate or semi-ecclesi¬ astic character for an ordinary dwelling-house, it is undoubtedly a work of art, and abounds in pleasing noA'^elties and fine artistic touches. Right opposite to this building, on thenorthwest corner of Park avenue and Thu'ty-ninth street, is the First Baptist Church, now in course of erec¬ tion. The buHding is apparently of simple de¬ sign, and has not yet progressed far enough to give an idea of its general appearance. Proceeding a few steps farther, we find on the north-east comer of Pork avenue and Fortieth street a num¬ ber of handsome new dwelling-houses of Ohio stone. From this point bursts on the view the monster "Union Depot," now in course of rapid construction for the Hudson, New Haven, and Harlem Railroads. This gigantic structure of brick and iron occupies the west side of Fourth avenue, all the way from Forty-second to Forty- fifth street, a length of 694 feet by a width of 240 feet on Forty-second and Forty-fifth streets. At the Forty-second street end a distance of 38 feet is taken off for offices, etc.—^the whole of the space beyond being taken uji for one vast depot, which Avill be 656 feet long by 240 feet wide and 99 feet high. The whole of this space will be vaulted over by one span of iron roofing, without any intermediate columns or supports AA'^hatever. The scaffold¬ ing alone, erected for putting these ponderous masses of iron in place, is worth a Adsit; and the roof, when completed, will be a triumph of me¬ chanical ingenuity. To the right of this great building is seen the recently erected Hospital for the Lame and Crippled, standing at the north¬ west comer of Lexington avenue and Thirty-se¬ cond street. It is a chequered, peculiar-look¬ ing structure, of far less pretension to architec¬ tural beauty than of judicious arrangements intemaUv for the use of the occunants. On Forty-ninth street, between Lexingbon and Fourth avenues, stands the new "Orphans' Home and Asylum of the Protestant Epis¬ copal Church," a very large and unpretend¬ ing, but handsome brick and stone edifice. We next come to "The Woman's Hospital," a neat brick and stone building, of consid¬ erable dimensions, standing at the south-east comer of Fiftieth street and Fourth avenue. Close to this is Steinway's eminent piano man¬ ufactory, run-ning the whole block from Fifty- first to Fifty-second street, and half way from Fourth to Lexington avenue. . On the East side of Madison avenue, occupying the whole block from Fifty-first to Fifty-second street; is the very beautiful Reman Cathchc Or¬ phan Asylum. This is a Gothic edifice of brick¬ work, ornamented with stone dressings, and is unquestionably one of the most perfect and satisfactory buildings, in this style of architec¬ ture, that has ever been erected in New York. Opposite to this, and comprising the A%'hole block from Fiftieth to Fifty-first street, and from Madi¬ son to Fifth avenue, is the famous St. Patrick's Cathedral, now in course of erection, and destined to be—in cost and enrichments—i^erhaps the most gorgeous ecclesiastical edifice on this con¬ tinent. It is sufficiently advanced to give us a taste of its quality. The great western door¬ way is splendid in design, and the execution of the carved work throughout is excellent. One very serious blemish, which was evident to every artistic eye,that saw the lithographed perspective of this building when it appeared years ago, is already apparent, and will become more so the further the works progress. We allude to the unusual and altogether unneces¬ sary projection of the side buttresses on the north and south elevations. These huge masses of marble masonry, projecting all the way from the main wall to the outer wall of side chapels, and totally unrelieved by niches or other ornamentation, present enormous unbro¬ ken surfaces that are painful in monotony. But they produce a more serious result: they so completely block out the view of the side elevation, that in standing on Fifth avenue, and attempting to get a perspective view of the west and south fronts, if the spectator so places himself as to get a fair vieAv of the western doorway, he sees on the south front nothing but a succession of buttresses, and the beautiful intervening" Avindows, Avith their rich tracery, are entirely hidden from view. If, to avert this, he changes position so as to get a view of these windows, then he finds that the Avestera doorway is out of sight. There is consequently no point of idew from which a spectator can take in at a glance the detached beauties of any two fronts together—a defect fatal to the artis¬ tic success of such a building when viewed in perspective. Passing down Fifth avenue to Forty-third street, we find ourselves standing in front of the new Synagogue " El Emanuel," by Leopold Eidlitz. This glorious edifice, more sumptuous perhaps in its interior than even in its exterior decoration, stands decidedly as far ahead of all ecclesiastical structures yet seen in this city, as the Equitable Life Insurance Building does above all civil ones. People may like or dislike Moorish architecture, ac¬ cording to their varied tastes; but most assuredly the man who undertook to give us this rich Moorish poem in stone knew the language he employed, and has here produced