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The Record and guide: v. 36, no. 913: September 12, 1885

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September 12, 1885 The Record and Guide. 991 THE RECORD AND GUIDE, Published every Saturday. IQl Broad^w^av, IST. "ST. Our Telephone Call ts JOHN 370. TERMS: ONE TEAR, in advance, SIX DOLLARS. Commimications should be addressed to C, W. SWEET, 191 Broadway. J. T. LINDSEY, Business Manager. Vol. XXXVI. SEPTEMBER 13. 1885. No. 913 On Monday next the Real Estate Exchange will begin to justify its name and organization by doing business in the same manner as otlier exchanges; that is to say, the brokers will meet at stated hours on the floor of the Liberty street building and make their bargains witli one another. This ought to save time and largely increase the number of transactions. The Record and Guide will shortly issue a supplemental sheet to record the transactions at these daily gatherings. Two surface railroad companies struggle at once for the posses¬ sion of Fifth avenue ; yet Fifth avenue may prove very coy to win, immediately, even by one suitor. The desire to build railroads in New York seems to be developing into something of a craze, the cable company having appeared before the Board of Aldermen in behalf of their scheme with a petition as long as Broadway, while reports of cases in court for the promotion or prevention of new schemes have become about as familiar as a morning newspaper. There are two things to be kept in view when considering this question. We want all the new facilities for transit to be had ; but it is a nice point in fiuance to know just when and where a new road can be built without taking the amount of the new investment from tlie value of roads already in operation. When a new road injures materiaUy the value of an old road it is not needed by the public, except in cases where the route is better chosen for public convenience. It is a Jittle curious that, in a city which depends for its continued supremacy on its commerce, the means for passenger traffic should be alone studied, while the movement of merchandise, handled here in a more extravagant aud wasteful manner than anywhere else in the world, is alto¬ gether neglected. Y^et, there is more money to be made in enter¬ prises for conveniently warehousing and moving freight than in all the passenger railways that can be conceived. Tbe cost of useless work in handling merchandise in New York is greater than the gross receipts of all the elevated and surface railroads put together. It is moi'e than possible that the Legislature, in the attempt at protecting buildings against the danger of fire communicated through elevator shafts, has made conditions that will lead to addi¬ tional risks. Under the new law all elevators must be operated within an enclosure of brick walls. Such a system of construction necessarily makes a flue, opening out upon each floor of a building, through which flames, propelled by a strong draft, could readily leap from story to story without meeting with much resistance. But elevators are not necessarily run in enclosed shafts. As a matter of fact, the arrangements of many of these now almost indispensable conveniences for reaching the intermediate and upper floors of tall buildings do not create a flue at all. This is true of the elevators in the Boreel building, and wherever stair wells are utilized in construction no flues are formed. A law then which compels the erection of flues in all instances, even though com¬ posed of brick or other fire-proof material, seems like a defective law. Undoubtedly, in all cases where flues are created in the con¬ struction of an elevator fire-proof material should be used; but in cases where such a conductor of fire and smoke is unnecessary its construction should not be forced. Hatches for each floor to be kept carefully closed when the elevator is not running, or closed immediately on the appearance of fire, would be the best protec¬ tion in a great majority of instances. The construction of a shaft which becomes a flue when fire makes its way inside through any opening should be avoided whenever possible. The Gibbs' committee ought to find a good deal of matter for investigation in the building of the new regimental armories. The project was monstrously extravagant in the first place, and the Legislature is to blame for sanctioning the extravagance. Probably this is becau .e no legislator cared to encounter the hostility of the National Guard. Because the Seventh Regiment built itself an armory by the aid of its friends, it was argued that every other regiment should have an armory at the public expense. The argu- seent isveiylame. In fact, t'wo or three armories would amply suffice for the whole city. If the project had been for brigade instead of regimental armories, there would have been more sense in it. The enormous drill-room required constitutes the main expense of an armory. There is no reason why this should not be used by three or four regiments in common since none of them holds a battalion drill every evening. The project, as it now exists, is practically to present a $300,000 club house to every organization mustering, say 500 active members. There is no reason in this, and it is fair to presume that unless somebody had a strong personal interest in its execution, so extravagant a i>rogramme would not have been carried out. It remains to be seen whether the commit¬ tee is working at random or upon information in investigating tho purchase of the land for the armories. The commissioners of accounts have spread a very thin coat of whitewash over the office of the corporation attorney. In their report submitted to the Mayor they blame the civil justices and tlie police. By the law the duty of the corporation attorney is to conduct *' all actions to recover penalties for a violation of any law or ordinance." It is notorious that many laws and ordin¬ ances are continually violated, and that no penalties are recovered for their violation, nor any other measure taken to discourage the violators. If the civil justices do not do their duty when cases are brought before them, it is evidently the business of the corporation attorne)^ to expose and prosecute them. He can at least make it under¬ stood where the fault lies, and if he cared anything about the duties of his office he would not be content with doing less than this. But nobody has heard any complaint from the corporation attor¬ ney until a complaint is made of him. Then he undertakes to screen himself behind the civil justices and his investigators help him to do so. The ordinances will never be enforced by an official of tbat kind. The cars on the Tenth Avenue Cable road are now running with reasonable regularitj^ and despatch, and the road is undoubtedly the ideal road for climbing a hill. Up the steep grades from tho level of One Hundred and Twenty-fifth street to the altitude of Highbridge, the cars move swiftly and without friction. But it is not quite the ideal road, we fear, for level grades. In the first place, at the bend of the road from Tenth avenue into Manhattan street, the noise of the cable is like the rumbling of a huge factory, and throughout the line there is a continuous and monotonous whizzing distinctly and disagreeably audible at a considerable dis¬ tance, and somewhat trying to unstable nerves. Then, again, the grip car, made to carry passengers as well as its following car, does not move smoothly, the jar being decidedly uncomfortable, while the rumbling of the two cars together is exceedingly pro¬ nounced. It is to be hoped that all these disagreeable incidents to a ride on the Tenth Avenue road will disappear when the machin¬ ery has been longer in use. But there is one thing wrong in the construction of the road that was evidently not meant to disappear. The tracks are not laid side by side in the centre of the street, like the tracks of a horse railroad, but about equi-distant from thecurbh and from each other, thus dividing the avenue into three nearlj equal parts. It is easy to see that on a crowded street with the road running frequent cars this arrangement would prove very inconvenient, leading to frequent collisions and making traffic, in fact, almost impracticable. We will not say that the Treasury Department is not right in attempting to force silver into circulation by withholding small notes. It was imdoubtedly the purpose of the Silver Coinage law to make silver circulate, but we all know the force of habit. When sub¬ sidiary silver coins were first made to take the place of the fractional notes we all remember with what fond regrets some men clung to their shin-plasters, and how unwillingly they yielded them up to either of the twin destroyei's—Time or the Treasury. We have used a paper currency for so long a time now that it seems almost impossible to get either gold or silver into circulation. But it is unquestionably true that the use of paper currency, founded on the credit of the government, even after it becomes convertible into gold or silver, is demoralizing. We would never have had the legal tender decision, with all its extreme and revolutionary significance, had gold and silver been the only currency bearing the government stamp. It would be a good thing to get rid of some of our paper legal tenders and substitute the precious metals in their stead. Sil¬ ver, up to the amount where it cau be replaced by a $2.50 gold piece, will not prove an inconvenience; and men will soon learn to like it better than these greasy and often mutilated one and two dollar notes. The change is only a mechanical question. We must change the fashion in purses. If any persons want to pay a premium foi small notes that is their kettle of fish, and not a matter of public concern. There is too rauch reason to fear that a prolongation of the rail¬ road war, made manifest by a continued cutting of rates from the West, is contemplated, If thia be true there can be but one reason