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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 43, no. 1110: June 22, 1889

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frJime'SS, 1889 Record and Guide. 867 "^ ^^ ESTfcBL]SHE3)"^WARpH21"'*'ia69.'_^ De/o]EO to f^L ESTME , BuiLDIf/o ARCHITECT J R,E ,h(oUSE[IOli) DEQORATOrJ, BUsWess a(Jd Themes of GeHei^I Ikhi^es^ FRICG, PER VEAR IIV ADVANCE, SIX DOLLARS. ') Ihtblished every Saturday. TELEPHONE, - - -. JOHN 370. ^JommuuJcatioiis should be addressed to C.W. SWEET, 191 Broadway. /. T: LINDSEY, Business Manager. Vol. XLIII. JUNE 38, 1889. No. 1,110 ■ Good returns to a raih-oad imply two things—good business and good rates for cari-ying it. The former, the weather permitting, is to be expected for the current year, but the latter during tlie past week has been threatened. Without the continuance of the Inter¬ state Railway Association there is really no security to the market. Fortunately, the withdrawal of the Alton by no means imphes the association's discontinuance, for the pressure wliich led to the presidents' agreement can be and would be exerted again, if neces¬ sary; and the other roads are strong enough to stand alone as long as they can stand togetlier. Indeed, there is already talk of the cancellation of Alton's withdrawal from the association. As to the mei'its of the controversy between the Alton andSt. Paul management it is difflcult to decide, Alton may be right, but to an outsider it would seem frora the statements of President Miller that the road was in the wrong. It took a great deal of persuasion to induce that cor¬ poration to join the asaociation, and ever since Alton has played the part of the balky horse. The letter of Vice-President McMullen to President Miller was in the worst possible taste, containing insinu¬ ations which no gentleman should address to another. What if St. Paul did, as Mr. McMullen alleges, carry more cars of cattle proportionally this year than last? The essential point to the stockholders of Alton is not the number of oars of cattie, but the return received for moving tbem. If there arises from Alton's action a war of rates which throws the Granger roada back into that melancholy condition from which the Interstate Association rescued them, its stockholders will recogaize that a road ruu in their interest and a road run in the interest of the cattlemen are t«'0 very different things, Quite contrary to what might be expected, the first to move from the districts in a city where the price of land is high and increas¬ ing in value, in consequence of the demand for it for commercial purposes, are the well-to-do; whereas the very poor are tbe last to move. There ai'e many instances of this here in New York, Tlic "seamy side" of the city ie "down town" and the poor are the last to leave old residential wards such as the 6th, Tth and 13th, Xtmay be said that, as a rule, the weU-to-do meet the changed conditions by "expansion"—by spreading over a wider area into the new parts of cities, the outskirts and the suburbs ; while the poor meet them by the very opposite course—by "concentration" by squeezing iuto a smaller area than that occupied before and within the same district. We are speaking now of the very poor, who are the prin¬ cipals in the '' overcrowding " which creates those moral and physi¬ cal plague spots to be found wherever under the sun men have gathered themselves together into great cities. sanitary way have repeatedly been defeated, and their "model" buildings have become the homes of the artizan and the clerk. This circumstance, that ae land increases in value, the poor, whose rent-paying capacity may be said to be fixed, have to concentrate themselves into a smaller houeespace, makes the problem of housing this class increasingly difficult. It is imreaeonable to expect them to migi-ate to suburban disti-icts. The fact that this com'se is never pursued anywhere, clearly shows that there are great obstacles in the way of it. In the first place, the poor cannot afford the cost that would be entailed traveling to and fro from their work daily, and secondly—a fact no one ever thinks of—suitable homes are never provided for them in the newer districts. Tenements, and in eome cities " model" lodgirg houses, are erected, but these are not for the really poor; tbat is, for the very class concerned in "overcrowding." No one builds for them. Not until houses have served better purposes; become, a- it were, degraded from ioigher uses, do they serve as the habitations of this not inconsiderable poi'tion of humanity^ Indeed, it is a question whether if buildings affording suitable accommodations were erected in the new districts, they would attract thie class from their ancient haunts, so long as they could remain there; for the old sun-oundings, the old stores, saloons, etc., that meet the requirements of a certain kind of life would naturally be missing, and consequently the district would be lees agreeable and attractive to the very class the buildings were intended to accom¬ modate. The eflEorta of philaatbropiBtB ta^Jiouse thia class in a Now, aloug with the overcrowding due to the concentration of the poor in consequence of the increase in the value of land there goes overcrowding due to municipal improvement within the over¬ crowded districts. It was determined last year to make " breath¬ ing spaces "-rsmall parks—in different parts of the city. The wort bas not progressed with any great rapidity so far, but aU arrange¬ ments have been made and it will, of course, be carried out. Nat¬ urally most of these parks are to be placed in the overcrowded dis¬ tricts of the city, for it was " overcrowding " that necessitated them. But to make these'parks tenements will be torn down, and after the foregoing it is easily seen that one of the effects of this will be to increase overcrowding. For instance, the Mulberry Street Park will cover 2.73acrfcs, and ninety-three buildings, includ¬ ing eighty-six tenements, wUl be razed. Fifty-five of these latter are front and thirty-one rear buildings ; the former with stores and the latter without. Roughly estimated, they accommodate at the very leaat 6,000 people, probably over 7,000 ; but, accepting the smaller figure. Jet us ask what is to become of these people. Most of them will concentrate still closer in the old district and sonSe will go into neighboring districts of a similar character and intensify the overcrowding there. What has happened in London wUl happen here. Recently, when the Cadogan estate was " improved " by clearing away hundreds of small cottages in which 4,000 persons were housed, and erecting instead dwellings of a. better class, the people displaced found refuge in West Chelsea, which is now described ae a "rabbit warren." The conclusion to be drawn from these facts is not that the municipahty should desist from the making of parks and other improvements, but that all the results of these improvements should be recognized and steps taken to provide dwellings for the displaced population. This will not be done by private enterprise. It ie not profitable enough to house the very poor except in very inferior dwellings. To make parks and widen streets in overcrowded dis¬ tricts does not improve the condition of the city. It simply shifts the overcrowding from one spot to another. What the city should do is to erect sanitary buildings for the people its improvements displace. In Europe, where municipal action covers a field so much wider than it does here, there are public lodging-houses and tenements in most of the large cities, which, in addition to bettering the condition of people, increase the revenue of the municipality and makes taxes so much less. So far we have addressed ourselves to only one side of the matter. The fact that an oifice held by a technical expert is abolished by politicians, " to save the salary," does not create any presumption whatever against the oiE.ce or its incumbent, Mi-. Church was made Chief Engineer of the new aqueduct simply because he was supposed to know more about the water supply of New York than any other man. No evidence has been adduced to show that this reputation was not deserved, and if such evidence were produced the members of the Aqueduct Board are not fitted by training to appre¬ ciate its weight and bearing. They base their action iu removing Mr, Church from the place of Consulting Engineer on the faot that the aqueduct is so nearly completed that there is no longer any necessity for that office. This is a mistaken assumption. After the new aqueduct is completed there will be abundant work for an expert of the fli'st class in determining the situation of reservoirs and the construction of dams. Even after this work is done the city of New York will require the services of a specialist to look after its water supply, and should retain the best man for the pur¬ pose in its service at a suitable salary, which means in this oaae a handsome salary, -----------------------------------------------------------—•—■■---------------------------------------------------------------- The Commissioner of Public Works should by no means rely on his own knowledge or judgment in preparing to execute the legis¬ lation authorizing the expenditure of a large sum upon repaving. For a long time, we think before any daily paper had paid any attention to the subject, The Record and Guide has been urging the great needs of the city witii respect to its pavements. The first of these is tbat the pavements should be differentiated so tbat heavy pavements should be used for heavy traffic and smooth and noise¬ less pavements for Ught traffic. If this were done it would be nec¬ essary to exclude the heavy traffic from the smooth pavement, which, in tlie absence of any restriction, it would naturally seek and destroy. The next need is that the pavements should not be disturbed after it is once laid. To supply this need it is necessary that subways should be provided in which all the systems of under¬ ground communication should be housed, and in which they should be accessible. It is gratifying to us to note that this view has at last been officially adopted. In an interview, a day or two ago, Mr, Gilroy said that "there is no question that the main thoroughfares should be provided with capacious tunnels." The city has now, as I he pointed out, no powei- to, build these tuunela. But inasmuch