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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 6, no. 142: December 3, 1870

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Real Estate Record AND BUILDERS' GUIDE. Vol. VL NEW YORK, SATURDAY, DECEMBER 3, 1870. No. 142. Published Weekly by THE REAL ESTATE RECORD ASSOCIATIOr. TERMS. Ono year, in advance......................$6 00 All communications should be addressed to lOB Brcujavay, cor. ok Pine Street. GOTHIC AKCHITECTURE. We see no good reason why Gothic architec¬ ture should not have as fair a trial among our civic buildings as all the other styles to which we are accustomed. In a city Avhich—contemptuous of the stately biit monotonous dignity of whole streets and squares designed after one pattern, as ia Paris, Munich, or modem Edinburgh—ap¬ parently aims only at as much variety as pos¬ sible ; Avhere each man tries to make his build¬ ing overtop instead of range horizontally Avith his neighbor's; where every strange innovation must have a still stranger one placed alongside, and every Mansart roof that dares to lift its as¬ suming head must be immediately out-mansart- ed ;by its next-door neighbor, surely every style on earth can have a show, if possessing any in¬ trinsic beauties to recommend it. And Avhat style is more prolific in ingenious and artistic thought than the Gothic ? We are told that it is of too gloomy and monastic a character, that it savors too strongly of the dark ages, and is not at all adapted to our modem modes of li-ving. But if we can bend the ponderous Egyptian to our uses, in a monstrosity like the Tombs,—^the Gre¬ cian (which knew nothing of plate-glass or the use of the arch) into aU sorts of modifications fco suit our dwellings,—the Moorish and others, all derived from states of society more foreign to us than the English in the time of the Tudors, why may we not also take the rich in¬ digenous architecture' of our trans-Atlantic an¬ cestors and adapt its beautiful forms and com¬ binations to our present wants ? How far this may be done we have a promi¬ nent illustration of at hand, in the excellent architectural improvements of our Central Park. Who that looks at any of those well-formed arch¬ ways, those cunningly contrived abutments and recesses, adapted everywhere to the formation of the ground itself, those spicy little touches of well-considered enrichment that surprise one at every turn, but is struck by the richness of any style that can admit of such pleasing va¬ riety. The art which can invest bridges, pal¬ isades, rural cottages, and even blank walls, ■with so much interest can certainly do the same when applied to commercial buildings in our principal thoroughfares, if the hand of the artist tie there. Although upon a comparatively small scale, the best attempt of the kind which has yet come to our notice is Decker's piano store, la,tely erected on the western side of Union square from design of Leopold Eidlitz. Everything about this little front: —the bold arrangement of the stoop at the entrance,—the pleasing sunk paved space leading to the store below, and oc¬ cupied by Brentano's literary emporium,—the variety of ingenious forms adopted for Avindows in the several stories,—the distribution and meaning of the ornamentation,—the tasteful combination and contrasts of different stones and brick work,—aU exhibit traces of artistic thought and skUl. The windows are large and -wide enough for all the purposes for which they were intended, and although the architect has freely availed himself of the pointed arch, the mould¬ ings and other ornamental forms of Gothic archi¬ tecture, there certainly is nothing either gloomy or monastic about the building. An apparent rival has just appeared in a new narrow front noAv approaching completion on Fifth avenue, near TAventy-third sti;eet. This example—designed, Ave beheve, by Mr. Pfeif¬ fer, does not at aU compare with the former in taste or judgment, and is calculated to draw attention more by its grotesqueness than by any beauty of Gothic art which it displays. The tour de force of this front seems to have been reserved for a queer oriel window—^if such it can be called—projecting from the fourth story and, towering independently above the roof, -with conical slate covering which is to be crowned with an immense sign. This window is of most extraordinary and uncouth shape, being formed of only two sides sloping together to a sharp angle in front at an angle of 45 degrees, and arched below in the most clumsy and incomprehensible manner, so as to escape the centre -window- head, of third story. We were relieved when we found that a large portion of the superstructure of this assumed stone'oriel was being made of wood instead of solid stone, for we did not other¬ wise understand how such an arch could carry the weight to be put upon it. Such freaks in design, defying all well-known and obvious laws of construction, are, at best, but mere architec¬ tural legerdemain, and may weU succeed in being stared at, but can never be admired; certainly never help to popularize Gothic architecture in our streets. THE NEW YOKK CLTJB. The inevitable hand of progress has been laid upon Fifth avenue, and almost daily we find the uprooting of some old landmark there, which, when planted, seemed destined to remain for a far longer period of time. The latest of these changes is caused by the volun¬ tary dissolution of the New York Club, after an existence of twenty-five years. The head¬ quarters of this club was at the fine brovm- stone mansion of Eichard K. Haight, on the southeast comer of Fifth avenue and Fifteenth street, where they located iiiemselveg in 1861, on removing from the corner gf Astop Place and Broadway, which they had occupied ever since their foundation in 1845. Some idea of the increase in the value of property in the neighborhood of their. last mansion can be gleaned from the fact that the rental, which in 1861 was $5,000, had gradually risen up to $18,000. The house is now undergoing altera¬ tions for the purpose of converting it into independent flats, upon what is knoAvn as the European system, for the purpose of accom¬ modating such families as are Avilling to pay high prices for elegant and luxurious suites of apartments. That these prices wiH run very high iu such a locality is naturally to be ex¬ pected, from the great value which the grotmd can command for business purposes. It is singular that while so much is being done, in many of the most expensive localities in the city, towards accommodating several families conveniently under one roof, the im¬ provements should have hitherto been carried out on a scale only intended to meet the require¬ ments of those who are able to pay compara¬ tively high rentals. These rentals for suites of apartments range, in many instances, as high as $1,000 and $1,500 per annum, and evexi higher; and it is all but impossible to obtain such conveniences as we allude to for $750. But there are thousands of families in this city, of the highest respectability and refinement, who are really not able to pay more than $400 or $500 for house rent; and for this large and valuable portion of our population no adequate proArision seems to have been hitherto made beyond the miserable accommodations of ordi¬ nary tenement houses. There is no reason Avhatever why the same accommodations—on a less expensive but equally convenient scale— should not be provided for this class of our poiDulation as well as for those of larger means; and if the impediment Hes in the costliness of land in our best localities, surely a remedy could easily be found in erecting buildings of the same character, but less expensively, on land of less value in the city, or in the most accessible portions of Brooklyn, Hoboken, and other immediate and desirable suburbs. MECHANICS' LIENS AGAINST BUrLDINGS IN NEW YORK CITY. [Tlie date 1 is for Dec. Tlie others are for A'ou.] 28 Baxter st., s. or w. s. (ISTo. 20, rear house). Nolen & Steers agt. D. Fiaelite,....................... $474 70 29 Bowery, E. s. (No. 21). Charles NeAvbauer agt.---------............ 22 93 Same property. Peter Wagner agt. ---------........................... 26 13 30 Broome and Essex sts., n. e. cor. (No. 226 Broome st.) Small & Nolan agt. Sainuel Ingraham............ 275 00 1 Same property. Nathan Abra- hams agt. Samuel Engle.......... 160 00 26 Chrystie bt., e. s. (Nos. 174 and 176.) D. D. Boyce agt.------— .... 650 00 29 C. AV. w. s. (No. 269). Wm. & T. B,. A. Hall agt. —•. Sheridan...... 245 00 25 Eighth av., w. s. (No. 273). Donald McQuinn, agt. —. Barker... -....... 121 12 26 ElSHTEENTH ST., S. S. (NO. 162). "W, ' D. S, Schanck & Sons agt. Jamea DoAvd..................,';,, ?;*:r; isp oq 28 Eleventh st., s. s. (No., 339 E.). Rpbert Julian agt. James KeUy.... 80 ^ 3Q giGHTY-rSIXTN ST., S. S.,.ADJOINING "the il. e. cor. of Old Beservoir. W. H. CrommeUn agt. Mayor, Alder- nien,&c.......................... 7,000 00