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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 32, no. 801: July 21, 1883

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July 31. 1883 The Record and Guide. 621 THE RECORD AND GUIDE. 191 Broadway, N.Y. TERMS: ONE TEAR, in advance, SIX DOLLARS. Communications should be addressed to C, W. SWEET, 191 Broadway. J. T. LINDSEY, Business Manager. JULY 31, 1883. Oar Oossip column in the Real Estate Department this week is highly encouraging to owners of West Side properly. Messrs. Mordecai & Bellamy have negotiated the sale of twenty-three lots, fourteen of which are on Seventy-second street, three on Seventieth street^ tivo on Seventy-sixth street and two on Seventy-sei-enth atreet, and two on Central Park west, late Eighthavenue, nearly alt of which are to be immediately improved by the building of first class houses. Seventy-second street, between Ninth and Tenth avenues, loill have thirty new hou,ses built upon it within the next few months. Messrs. Smith & Luyster last week filed plana for the erection of ten which will cost $35,000 each. The Twenty-third Ward in our colinnn of Out Among the Builders has this week a record of sixty-two neio buildings, tvhich a syndicate of capitalist* intend to erect vpon one block. The building business in this Ward is not likely to be dull the coming season. The same column contains the particulars of a new hotel to be built on the southeast corner of Broadway and Thirty-eighth street, with a frontage of IS feet, to cost about $dO0,Q00. The owner is Mr, Joseph Fisher, who is now in Italy, and the lessee of the hotel when completed will be Mr. F. P. Earle. Mr. E. V. Smalley has an article in the July Scribner about the late Philadelphia ring and how it was broken up by the Committee of One Hundred, whic'h should be read by every citizen who wishes to know the best means of securing good and responsible muuicipal government. The ring in Philadelphia was as unscru¬ pulous and rapacious as the Tweed ring in New York, but it was more dangerous, because more circumspect. It had the leading politicians of both parties in pay, aud it was so wise and politic that it seemed as i£ it was impossible to destroy it. Bat this feat was finally accomplished by the citizen's committee. This organi¬ zation had but one aim, responsible and economical municipal government. It would have nothing to do with state or national politics. Every voter was supplied with tickets, the ^jersonjid of vphich were pledged to certain definite reform measures. The city thieves were mentioned by name, and their misdeeds deliberately set forth. A cardinal principle of the committee was that no one of their number should hold or become a candidate for office. It will be remembered that tliG Committee of Seventy and the various citizen and reform associations of New York were composed in great part by persistent ofBce-seekers, and this always discreditpd them with the great mass of our voters. At the opening of the campaign, the Philadelphia Committee found every newspaper but one opposed to them. They had all been purchased by advertising patronage, but after the power of the rinj; had been broken the press ranged themselves upon the side of refoi'm, as they found finally that it was more profitable to serve the public than to help the public plunderers. It is high time that a similiar organiza- was at work in New York, Whoever thinks of forming such a commission must bear in mind that its members cannot be office seekers, and must be willing to give hard work and a good deal of money to the cause, without any hope of personal gain. --------------------■—»-----------------------— How curiously matters come about. Years ago in discussing proposed reforms in the city charter, this journal urged that the leading tax-payers be required to employ experts to overhaul the books in the various departments of the city government. The tax-payers' representativ, s were to be always at work, but were never to have any authority except to report. Had such a machinery been in operation, the coupon frauds in the Compi.rollers office would have been discovered as soon as the first double payments were made. Then we would have known, long ere this, about every sinecure, and of every discrepancy between bills and the work they represented, i'he Grand Jury has just determined that the coupon fraud shall be investigated by experts chosen by three national banks. The purpose is to get an unbiased but thorough examination. No official body chosen by the voters could ever demand entire public confidence in unearthing frauds, but a com¬ mittee of experts such as recommended by the Grand Jury would be open to no suspicion. Whenever there is another serious at¬ tempt to revise the charter of New York, we shall propose to give the oversight of our city expenditures to those who pay the city taxes out of their own pockets. Millionaires' Houses- The house of Mr. Cook, a California millionaire, at Fifth avenue and Seventy-eighth street, is one of the most conspicuous, perhaps the most conspicuous, of the new mansions going up opposite the park. The roof is on, and the exterior advanced enough to be fairly judged. The architect is Mr, Wheeler Smith, It is evident that the idea, either of the owner or of the architect, has been to secure an expression of great strength and massiveness and simplicity, together with a liberal and generous air. This is not at all a bad purpose to start with. The liberality is attained by the genei'ous dimensions of the site, which has half the frontage of the blo'^k, but is somewhat impaired by surrounding the house on tbe street sides, with tbe sort of deep dry moat, heavily balustraded, to wiliicb we are used in lower Fifth avenue, and which gives the impression that even a millionaire cannot afford to have his domes¬ tic affairs all transacted above ground, but must resort to ono or two subterranean stories. The house is ample in dimensions, and ia as simple as possible in its general form. It is in reality a rectangular substructure, with a single pyramidal roof of unusually steep pitch. There are small appendages, but they do not count iu the composition, the projec¬ tions being very trifling and not sufficient to do away with the monotony that comes from the application of so very simple a scheme to so large a house. The material is granite with a slate roof. There are three granites used, white, bluish gray and red, and an attempt has been made to produce with them a harmonious effBct of color. The attempt amounts to nothing, however, for except under polish the tints of tbe granites are too faint to produce any effect of color which modifies tbe prevailing grayish white of the walls. In a sense tbis is fortunate, for the dressed granite of which the emphatic features are wrought is lighter upon the north side of the building than the field of tbe wall, which is there rock-faced, so that if the contrast were stronger, it would tend to produce the negative of the intended building. The treatment of the walls, however, in exhibiting the masonic structure is admirable. We know of no other recent building, ex¬ cept the basement of tho "Columbia," noticed some weeks since, in which the sense of masonry is so thoroughly given. A narrow course of red granite binders is laid between every two courses of the gray granite, and the result is evidently a bonded wnW. The effect which is gained in the "Columbia" by the correspondence between these courses and the voussoirs of the arches is wanting here, the openings being all square headed, with large hanging keystones. The massiveness of the building is its main general merit, and its monotony its coain general defect. The roof has the effectiveness inseparable from its size and pitch, but is also monotonous, and the designer has attempted to relieve its monotony by "features." These features take the form of monumental chimneys, apparently purely monumental. It is difficult to see, at least, how the chim¬ ney over the centre of the south front can contain any prfctical flues, perched as it is over a window, between which and itself is interposed a curved gable. The flues, if flues there be, must be led through tbe flanks of this monument, at an angle which threatens much inconvenience to the in. nates of the rooms which depend upon them to carry off the smoke. There is another monu¬ ment of the same kind on the same front near the corner, only this one stands over a triangular pediment which incloses a blank dormer, Tliese monuments serve their purpose of relieving the roof line, bat at a frightful expense—not in money we do not mean, but in strain upon the intellect. In themselves they are entirely uninteresting, their detail being marked by the " Batavian grace" of the Flemish Renaissance, and their bases being expanded by means of ailerons which the unlearned would describe as curie- cues. Let the unlearned stick to it. They ar^: curlecues. Another device for relieving the monotony is a queer projection of tbe wall in tlie second stoiy, which has no apparent purpose beyond that of accounting for the corbels on which it stands, and which are furnished with dwarf capitals. This is a piece of mon- striUcation which seems to be growing in favor. None of the detail of the building, as has been intimated, is of architectual interest, though most of it shows a practiced hand. It is useless to remonstrate with architects against the introduction of mean¬ ingless and ugly features and forms, until the public comes to see that they are meaningless and ugly as clearly as the designer eees it already. The purely decorative carving ia well cut, and in design