crown CU Home > Libraries Home
[x] Close window

Columbia University Libraries Digital Collections: The Real Estate Record

Use your browser's Print function to print these pages.

Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 22, no. 560: December 7, 1878

Real Estate Record page image for page ldpd_7031128_022_00000433

Text version:

Please note: this text may be incomplete. For more information about this OCR, view About OCR text.
Real Estate Record AND BUILDERS' GUIDE. Vol. XXII. NEW YOEK, SATÜRDAY, DECEMBER 7,1878. No. 560. Published Weekly by €\yt Sed ® skls %mx)s otmiian. TERJIS. ONE YEAJR. in advance....SlO.OO. Communications should be addressed to C. \V. SWEET, Nos. .345 AKD 347 Broadway THE CENTRE OF FASHIONABLE GRAVITY. In ancient times, that is, about thirty-five years ago. when tbe building line extended no further than Fourteeuth street, tbe expectation was cherished thafc the fashionable growth of tbe city would follow tbe line of Broadwaj- as bad beeu the case in its previous history. Even after the projection and eompletion of Central Park the belief was .still entertaiue'd thafc tbe trend of ex¬ pensive building improvemeuts, though for a long time deflected in tho direction of tho East side, would ultimatelj- take a westerly course. The hope was foudly indulged that the resistless march of improvements would surge and eddy about tho two southerly angles of Central Park, and distribute itself equallj- on either side. These expectations, however, remaiii totally un- realized. Either the curreut of public improve¬ ments lacked volume aud force enough to eircumveut at oue uud the .same time the two ungles of the Park, or eise the Park itself pre¬ sented so formidable a suag that the curreut naturally diverted itself to oue side; namely, the easterlj', and there formed a separate and inde¬ pendent Channel for itself. AVithin the last few j'ear.s', tbe settled course of building improvements has determined beyond peradventure tbat the easterly side of the Park will be the field of the uiost extensive und imposing enterprises at least for oue or two generations. The tj[uestiou once in debate has been completelj- aud irrevoeably de¬ cided. The momentuiu of building iudustry has now set in so sfcrouglj' on the easterlj- side of the Park thafc ifc will be able to easilj' overcome aay obstructive obstacles and to resist anj- attempted diversiüus. Ib would perhaps be veiituriug too much to say that the easterlj' side will be completely built up before the improvemeuts ou fche westerlj- side are begun; but the statement has the support of phy- ijical demonstration tbat the improvement of tbe east side will be ruade long in advance of that of its former competitor. The fashionable element is che one which gives superior and special value to New York residence property. In past experience tbere has been a distinctive ceufcro of fashionable gravity obsarv- able in the march of improvements. The so-called backbone of tha island, following the line of Fifth .avenue, has been tbe^ recognized centre of fashion for more than twentj--five j-ears. As Fifth avenue has but one .side above Fifty-ninth street it becomes an interesting question to determine where this centre line maj- be located in the ram¬ ifications of fashionable residences above Fifty- ninth street. AVe have examined this question crifcically from the staudpoint of personal Obser¬ vation and have little doubt as to fche correccness ■ of our conclusion. An intelligent survey of the easterly district must satisfy any expert in these matters that Fourth avenue, as at present graded and improved, is likely to be for ali time tbe east¬ erly liinifc of fche new fashionable quarter. Tbe idea of renewing and perpetuating the traditions of old Park avenue in upper Fourth avenue, is too chimerical to be seriouslj' entertained. Alreadj- the building iinpi'ovements on Fourth avenue partake of the character of the common tenement and Store. While all along its liue corner lots have been improved, as street fronts presentiug the gable ends of buildings on the avenue, thus practically ignoring aud subordinating Fourth avenue frouts. The uninfcorrupted successiou of vents in the tunnel enclosures, some of \vhi<'h extend the length of a block, present drawbacks to the fashionable occupation of this avenue which connot be overcome. Tho project of enclosing these tuunel vents in miuiaturo parks is a praise¬ worthy aud practicable scheme which [should be carried through without delay. The district east of Fourth avenue preseuts op¬ portunities for the erection of low priced dwell¬ ings, whose desirableness and intrinsic value are likely to be enhaneed by proxmity to the re¬ stricted area ofthe new elite quarter. Iu the near future we may safely assume thafc Madison avenue will be the centre liue of fashionable residences from Fifty-ninth street fco the crown of Observa¬ tory Hill. The buildiug developments both com¬ pleted and in progress in this quarter present spirited aud eneouraging auguries of its future. There is some tardj' and isolated work being pi'osecuted on the Fifth avenue face. The future of the avenue, however, is more problematicai than many suppose, and altogether less defined than the interior of this section. Who can teil whether it will be the localitj' of rcsideuces, apai'tment house-, hoteis. public buildings, or ofa medley of all combined ? Ifc is a noteworthy fact that building improvements in the interior of the uew districts do not follow a closelj' consecutive Order, but are scattered over a greatlj' extended area. As migbt bave been expected the elevated points, such as Lenox Hill and Observatory Hill, are receiving the share of attention. A %vorfclij- example was set by Messrs. McCafferty Sc Bucklej', architects and buildei's, in their elab¬ orate improvement of the southeast corner of Sixty-eighth street and Madison avenue, consist¬ ing of a Cluster of buildings whose workmanship and finish have excited general and appreciative admiration. These buildings found ready pur¬ chasers at füll prices and are now occupied by representatives of prominent families. This pioneer exposition of tasteful and meritorious building construction has not been lost on com¬ peting buildei's, but has quickly excited their emulation and enterprise. The Messrs. AVilliams ai'e about completing a row of five elegant and costly houses ou Sixty-eighth street, between Madison and Fourth avenues, which have no su- periors of their class in the old fashionable quarter. At the southwest corner of Sixty-eighth street and Madison avenue Mes.ers. Muldoon & Mow¬ bray, both builders of long experience and excel¬ lent reputation, are engaged in erecting a block of ten houses uot a whit less pretentious in archi¬ tectural appointments than tl e best dweUings to be found in the lower part oi the city. On Sixty-sixth street, between FiftV and Madi¬ son avenues, Messrs. Breen & Mason have com¬ pleted, and are now ofTering for sale, ttve houses of exceedingly creditable construction and elabo¬ rate finish. Ex-Judge Pearson is the proprietor of improve¬ ments at the southwest comer of Seventieth street aud Madison avenue, which have ah'eadj- assumed impressive proportions iu this most eligible lo¬ calitj-. "We have culled, for illustration, these few choice specimens of the building enterprise that is being so activelj- displayed in this quarter. Here and there are some exhibitions of tbe trashy productions of building loans, but, as a rule, even inferior buildings in this i[uarter conform to ac¬ ceptable Standards of taste nnd merit. Altogether these new buildings furnish a hand¬ some uucleus for the new fashionable quarter, and already mark the outlines of a substantial addition to the physical attractions of the metrop- oli.s. Thus far the public response to these build¬ ing efforts has been prompt and appreciative. As this region becomes more settled, thi'ough multi¬ plied improvements, the objeetions of loneliness and Isolation will be removed. Exploring a new section in city localities is like the settlement of a new country, the fii'st emigrants have the hardest times. TV ith a successful marketing of existing productions, the work of the builder is likely to become more remunerative, and consequently more invitiug. Tbe extremely narrow section to which fashion is hero likely to restrict itself, will detei-mine the speedy eompletion of its improvements, unless they are met and thwarted by the perversity and obstinacy of real estate owners. That ever-pres- ent temptatiou to force the values of vacanfc land above their legitimate capabilities isthe one Single obstacle to the rapid and consecutive iniprove- meiit of this district. Experienced persons are of fche opinion that the prices now being paid for vacant land in this quarfcer are fuUv- up to the legitimate capacitj' of the building business, and they are conceded to be much higher than the prices which prevaiied in the old building quartor when it was first opened up. --------------------♦■«-*-------------------- REAL ESTATE TAXATION. üisregarding the experience of David A. Wells and George H. Andrews, those sturdj' Champions of an exclusively real estate or monobasic taxa¬ tion, whose retirement into private life has here¬ tofore been celebrated, Mr. James A. Briggs now enters the lists wrapped in the panoply of their musty ideas, and i roclaims himself to be their true successor and steadfast follower. We have looked in vain through the publish¬ ed Synopsis of Mr. Briggs' address, read before the State Bar Association, to find the slightest glimmer of a valid or tenable rea.«on for a fresh advocacy of this mischievous measure. He invokes as his Single authority an obscure and forgotten Freuch economist who propound- ed such a scheme öne hundred and fifty years ago. At the same time he effeetually establishes the lameness and impotency of the author's conclu.