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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 11, no. 256: February 8, 1873

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AND BUILDERS' GUIDE Vol. XL NEW YORK, SATURDAY, F.EBRUARY 8, 187 ^o No. 256. Published Weeklu by THE REAL ESTAIS RECORD ASSOCIATION. TBtlMS. One ye:ir, in advance......................Ç6 00 AH commiiiiicatious should be addressed to ■7 AMI a WAllREX STIIIîKT. No receipt for money due tlie Rioal Estate Rkcoro WiU he acknowledgod unless sitçued bj' one of our rc.s?ular collectors. Henry D. Smith or TnoM.vs F. Cu.m.mings. AU bills for collection will be sent from theolUce on a regu- I.arly printed form. It is clear that Commodore Vanderbilt will not touch tlie underground road nntil lie gets additional législation. He now sees what has long been patent to ail who hâve investigated the matter, that an nnderground road to be as- snred against possible rivaliy must run under the line of Broadway—the back-bone of the island. It was this journal which first urged upon the Commodore the project of uniting down-town with his 42d street dépôt—thus utilizing for local traffîc the steam roads above that point—and we hâve reason to believe that to the Record is due Mr. Vanderbilt's conver¬ sion to the necessity of taking hold of this enterprise. But we naturally supposed that any charter he might procure would give him the best available route. It so happens that the road he has got is an impossible one, and, if built, would not supply the demand for local travel, the bulk of which will always be along the line of Broadway. So this improvement is at a stand-still until the Commodore corrects his blunder. But, after ail, New York City wants a road of its own built by the municipality, not to take people off the island, but to help populate the vacant spaces on each side of and above the Central Park. The Vanderbilt and Gilbert schemes are, after ail, in the interest of railroads which want to convey people beyond the city limits, for which they propose to charge a very heavy tariff. The interest of our property- holders is very différent. They désire to keep people upon the island, to increase the area of taxable property, and make available our splendid parks and pleasure drives. Even if, as an investment, the municipal road would not pay, it would be worth ail it would cost as an accommodation to our citizens, and in adding to our taxable property. If we sunk as much in it as it cost to construct the Central Park it would be woi-th twenty times that magnificent improvement. By ail means let us hâve our own road. The cost of transit from one end of the island to the other should not be more than ten cents, and during certain hours of the day only cents should be charged. THE JEHÏÏS OP NEW YORK. Few matters of public interest are more closely connected with the prosperity of owners and renters of city property than the clogging of the great arteries of commerce—the down- town streets. Their obstruction is becoming a chronic evU. But curiously enough. not the least of the bad results of the shortsightedness of our ancestors in making narrow streets is found in the fact that it has produced an exceeding demoralization among the drivers of vehicles. The truth is that the New York driver is one of the most extraordinarj'^ spécimens of the human famiiy. He is a striking corroboration of the truth of Darwin's theory as to the survival of the "strongest" if not of the " fittest." The ty-pe that now prevails universally, and has crowded off almost ail the others, is a lineal descendant of the Broadway omnibus driver of thirty years ago, who prided himself on his ability to race down the great thoroughfare at ten miles an hour, brushing past his competitors by a hand's-breadth at f arthest. But the later developments of this genus show an aggravation of the most vicions pro- pensities of the old stage driver. The crowded state of the streets now usually preventing rapid locomotion, the force and ingenuity of Jehu are exercised in the "direction of worm- ing forward, "by hook or erook," through the struggling mass of vehicles, and pushing aside ail those of lighter build, and drivers of less brawn and pughacity. This necessary class of citizens seems to hâve accepted as its motto the saying of the first Napoléon, " Heaven is on the side of the heaviest artrllery. ' ' Wo be to the carriage or light wagon that stands in the way when one of thèse vehicular Dick Turpins and kings of the highway sees a gap ahead into which he may possibly squeeze. If, no watch- ful and impartial '"Cop" is in sight, there shall be presently a battered hub or a gouged panel. Lucky, too, the remonstrating victim if he escapes with an nncracked sconce. The golden rule has been utterly abolished by your représentative New York driver. The man who will not shove himself past ail weaker-w^heeled and weaker-armed competitors is voted an ass. Anything like ordinary human courtesy is despised. The buUy-rook rushes past any one w^hom his torrent of Billingsgate induees to yield the way with shouts of dérision and volleys of contemptuous profanity. The necessities of the situation hâve com¬ pelled the merchants to countenance this dé¬ plorable state of things. They hâve found that respectable drivers did not get their goods through the blockade half as quick as the " Rip-tearing Johnnies," and so, in many cases of course with great reluctance, hâve dismissed the décent drivers and taken on the energetic shoulder-hibters. Perhaps after a îevr more murders, like that in Chatham Square, the public will begiu to think that mère brute force and energy must not be allowed to override the gentler virtues even in so rough a business as wagon-driving. The prodigious energy of thèse drivers often leads them to overshoot the mark. In their eagerness to transport the greatest isossible number of packages in a given time, they over- load their trucks, and then their horses get stalled—e.specially in snowy weather. Again, ill their détermination to get forward, they will often push into a gap in a way that comiiletes the blockade, and the whole street is jammed for half an hour. As for pedestrians, they hâve no rights any more that drivers are bound to respect. One hundred and sixteen were killed outright on our streets and last year, hundreds more were wound- ed. This thing has gone so far that a " Pedes¬ trians Rights Association " has been proposed. London has narrower streets than New York and many more vehicles in them. But a blockade seldom occurs there, because the dis¬ cipline of the police is so perfect. We hâve found the English sparrows effective for the abating of one nuisance ; let us import a few English police captains, as one means of re- opening the thoroughfares. Then, with the widening of Ann street, and a few others, we may begin to see the waj^ out of this difficulty. ARCHITECITJSAL EDIJCATIOIf. The whole system of modem éducation has of late years undergone a thorough sif ting, and many of the most gifted minds of phe âge hâve come to the conclusion that we hâve been hitherto utterly wrong in the application of studies to youth—to use a homely simile—literally putting the cart before the horse. And what is true of éducation in the universal acceptation of the term is equally true when applied to the study of Art in spécial, and Architecture in particular. Helvetius, in his work on " Man," says se- verely, that "there are many books and many schools, but few persons of understanding ; there are many maxims, but they are seldom applied ; man is old, but still a child. " Her¬ bert Spencer, Comte, Dr. Spurzheiji, and other deep thinkers of that school, hâve equally shown that our whole system of modem éduca¬ tion is irrational, inasmuch as it necessarily gives results quite incommensnrate with its influence. The radical error in the prevailing system ^ according to thèse authorities, is in not paying proper attention to the physical laws of nature