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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 25, no. 633: May 1, 1880

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Real Estate Record AND BUILDERS' GUIDE. Vol. XXV. NEW TORK, SATURDAY, MAY 1, 1880. No. Qf:: Published Weekly by TERMS. ONE YEAR, in advance....SIO.OO. Cnniraunications should be addressed to C. MV. SWEET, No. 137 Broadway ANDREW H. GREEN AND THE PARKS. IXTRUVIEW WITH THE NEW COMMISSIONEK — THE NEGLECT IN THE CENTRAL PAllK, DECAY OF FOLI.iGE .KSV STKUCTaRES—A'ANDALISM BY EX-COMMISSION- EIW—TIME RIPE FOR I3IPROVEMENT3 EVERYWHERE —TIIE world's FAIR THE GREAT AGENCY FOR milLDING UP THE WEST SIDE—WHAT MUST BE DONE. The appointment of Mr, Andrew H. Glreen as Park Commissioner, is regarded by property own¬ ers as the return of an eflicient public officer to the labors of his first love. It was as the organizer of a commission which had no precedent in our undst that Mr. Green first won his municipal spurs ill ISG5. The ring times, and the period of business depression have filled the gap that intervened be¬ tween the time of Mr. Greens exit from that de¬ partment and his return to his accustomed seat. Times havo changed, but the sturdy official has not, as will be seen by the following conversation, had witb Mr. Green a day or two ago, after he had been informed that numerous property owners desired The Record to obtain his views as to matters and things in general, over which he had once more, if only partial, control. "How do you find the management of the Cen¬ tral Park, since your return tb the Board?" asked a representative of The Record. 'There is a want of system in its control, I find men having charge of work there, many of whom are not adapted to the business they have in hand. Tho Park Commissioners themselves, perhaps, do not know that some of their ' subordinates are unlit for the work required of them. None but first-class men should be used for such work, or rather specialists. They may be good men, but if so they aro very good men in a wrong place. In fact, Tammany Hall seems to exercise much influence in running the machine of the Park, and that is the entire story. I cannot betteii illustrate it than by supposing that the Western Union Telegraph Company should place in cliarge of their operating department a man who never had handled a battery in his life. True, we hear a great deal of architects in the employ of the P'lrk Department, and they may be very good arcliitects, but at present, we don't want architects, we require good landscape gardeners of the very best ability, and the very highest talent. I am sure, there is not a very large supply of such men in onr midst. You cau easily count them on your liugers." DECAY AND NEGLECT IN THE PARK. " Has there been any decay of architectural structures and neglect of the Park's foliage, Mr. Green?. If so, what should be done to prevent It; what, in fact, should be done to fully complete the Central Park?" " There has been fearful neglect and considerable decay—not, mind you, solely by the present incum¬ bents, but their predecessors m office. It is im¬ possible to specify iu a few mimites of oar conyer- sation all the various improvements that ought to be done in the Park. It seems to have been for¬ gotten that the most attractive features of the P.ark are, the lawns, the foliage, and drives, the flowers and walks. Of "late years this does not appear_to have been uppermost in the minds of the Commis¬ sioners, and too little attention has been paid to it. When I practically ceased to have any control of the Department in 1870 a variety of improve¬ ments were proposed for the Park. The conserva¬ tory was cut off in 1874, the Belvidere plan has been, disfigured, a ridiculous sheep-fold has been erected better fitted for a regiment of artillary than for sheep, and since my return to the Board I have introduced a resolution for the purpose of having an ornamental clock placed in the Belvidere as originally intended. But there are a thousand things of interest that might be introduced in the Park for the amusement of the people, and which would not cost much. Even that picturesque scene of feeding pigeons and other birds on the Mall I see has been abandoned. The rustic structures are very much decayed and others neglected. Now, you will remember that there were three rows of trees near the Fifth avenue entrance. These trees were purposely planted there to ob¬ struct the fast travel when rushing from the Park to the avenue. Police regulations will not stop the rush when coming through that so-called thi'oafc into the open plaza, hence the trees as we had originally planned them were placed there so as to divide that travel. The centre rows of trees, after they had been there for sixteen years, full grown, and for a useful as well as orna¬ mental purpose, have been cut down during the past three years, and I believe by order of the present Commissio ners or some of them. More than that, the limbs of the trees along the Mall have been bai'barously cut, why, I do not know. They claiaa they did not have money enough to keep the Park in good order. It certainly cost money to do all this unnecessay, wanton and irreparable cutting of the trees." MORNINGSIDE AND OTHER PARKS. " What is your idea, Mr. Green, as to the bills now before the Legialature appropriating money for Morningside Park, Tompkins Square and the Fourth avenue Parks ?" " The time has come at last to do all this work, and do it well. Morningside Park should at once be taken in hand and improved. The question, however, to decide is, how it is to be done. No money should be placed in the hands of any one who does not spend it appropriately, who has no ideas of what is actually required. Mr. Calvert Vaux, the best landscape gardener among us, should have charge of this work. The Fourth avenue Parks should also be attended to, and Tompkins Park ought to be completed. The plan of this last park, as now done, looks like the worK of a child, and if the concrete pavement which they intend to put down there is no better than some of that on the walks in the City Hall Park, they'd better leave it alone." "How about Riverside avenue and the petition before your Board requesting it to be opened to the public at once ?" " I have never heard of such a petition having been received by the Board. This Riyersid* con¬ troversy, maj, however, soon come up, when I will look into its various phases. As yet I have not fully done so." " NO 0CC.\.SI0N " FOR MEETINGS. " Is it not singular that this question has not been discussed at length at the meetings of your Board recently?" "My dear sir, we have only two meetings a month now. When I say anything about this I am told, ' there is no occasion for more meetings,' just thinkof it, a department having charge of such vast interests only meeting twice a month. When I was Commissioner before, I gave up my entire business, devoted my entire time to the important work, and there is just as much to be done now, if not more. The entire annexed district is in our charge, a great deal of work is to be doae there, but I am told there is no occasion for more frequent meetings. The reason for this will very likely soon appear." THE WORLD'S FAIR TO BE THE GREAT AGENCY FOR UP-TOWN IMPROVEMENTS. " What do you think are the prospects of other improvements in other parts of Manhattan Island, outside of those previously spoken of? " " The World's Fair, of which I have been named as one of incorporators, as I have been informed this morning, will be a most important agency in developing the necestity for pressing forward certain long since planned improvements in the north part of the city. It is now the proper time to go on with these improvements, as New York is quite ripe for it. It was in 1865, T think, that I suggested the Riverside and Morningside Parlss, the laying out of the northern end of the island, the addition of the new wards, and the improve¬ ment of the Harlem River. The United States Government has taken hold of this last import¬ ant matter, and we will, ere long, derive the bene¬ fits from it. At no previous time but the present, has there been greater necessity for pushing for¬ ward needed improvements. The increased im¬ migration to this country keeps pace with the increased population of the city. We are now on a solid financial basis, and the influx of commerce to and from this city, all these combined, have brought us to a period during which the growth of our city will be exceedingly rapid. But, when I speak of improvements, I mean only improvements devised upon an intelligent plan, executed by men of intelligence and needed to meet the pres¬ ent growth of the city." " No money must be raised on the pre¬ tence of making improvements, for the sake of helping Tammany politics, or any other politics, but simply for the business in hand. Property holders, also, before the city enters upon these various works, whether on the West Side or anywhere else, must regard it, for once and all time to come, as a sound principle of adminis¬ tration, that wherever the city throws actual bene¬ fits upon thera they must share the cost. Of course there are a number of things that must be borne by the city, like the cost' of an increased water supply, the improvement of Riverside or Morningside Parks, etc. These matters are for the people at large, and the city must bear the cost, but wherever a property owner has a plot or twenty lots, and they are not come-at-able, and the