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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 44, no. 1135: December 14, 1889

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December 14, 1889 Record and Guide. 1663 d ESTABUSHED "^ NlARpH 21^^ 1B68/^ Dev&JeD to R^L Es we . SuiLoif/o Af^cKiTECTMi^ .Household DEOOR^noii BJsit^Ess a(/dThemes of Ge^eivI- '/'H.^st J pitr^ 1 ftfiH ^ PRICE, PER YEAR IIV ADVANCE, SIX DOLLARS Published every Saturday, TELEPHONE, - - - JOHN 370. /Tommunicatlons should bo addressed to C. W. SWEET, 191 Broadway. /. T. LINDSEY, Business Manager. Vol. XLIV. DECEMBER 14, 18S9. No. 1,135. Tlie next issue of The Record and Guide (December 21si) 7viU contain a special sixteen page Supplement devoted to illustrations of the Pans Exposition. It will he printed in colors on superfine paper, and in the preparation of the engravings and the jjccss- work no expe^ise has been spared. Among the illustrations will be pietures of the Argentine, Brazilian, Bolivian, Gi'ecian and United States exhibits, Le Dome Central et les Fontaines, Entree de la Soierie, Palais des Beaux-Arts, the exterior of the Main Building, Palais du Camhodge, Kampong Javanais, Palais de I'Industrie, Pavilion de.t Aquarellistes, the Galerie d'Honneur, and several othei- views of the exteriors and the interiors of buildings. Single copies of the Supplement -may he ordered from, this office. No. 191 Broadway, or from newsdealers, or at the Elevated stands : price, 10 cents a copy. For subscribers wishing to send copies to their friends we will mail ten copies to any number of addresses upon receipt of $1.00. Advertisers who wish to avail themselves of fhe special opportunity which this number presents imist secure space not later than Thursday, the 19f/i inst. Partisan newspapers of the class of which the Tribune, the Sim, tlie Mail and Express are conspicuous examples, are of course merely exercising one of their functions by being partisan. In a sense they are expected to be more or les** without fairness, reason¬ ableness or intelligence in deahng with one-half of the jjolitical life of the nation, aud without freedom, candor or discrimination in dealing vvith the other half. Of course there must be readers who flod pleasure in thus having their pohtical prejudices tickled every morning-, and who would feel very much as the Piirif-an elder did when he was told that the devil was sometimes right, if they should read in their favorite "organ" anything commendatory of the ' other side," otherwise there would be more newspapers than there are with opinions on political matters meriting the consider¬ ation of broad-minded people. The Evening Post has always affected to deal with politics according to a somewiiat higher standard than that which is thoroughly pleasant to partisans. To an extent it has done so ; but there ai-e times, especially when poli¬ tics can be associated with some person, when it would be diffi¬ culty to match the Post for rank pre,iudiGe and wilful one-sidedness. An example of this is furnished by its attitude towards Post¬ master Genera' Wanamaker. Fi-om the hour this man's name was spoken of in connection with the offiee he now fills, the Post has assailed him as a hypocrite in religion and a niouey-made politician absolutely without any other idea in conducting one of the most important of the governmental departments than to make it subservient to the interests of his di-y-goods store. The conception of Wanamaker as a cabinet officer that it sets with seriousness before its readers almost daily is simply burlesque. If the man contemplates a change in tlie rates of postage, or considers the advisability of establishing a postal express service, then he is planning so that samples and goods from the Chestnut street store may he distributed throughout the country cheaply. If lie recom¬ mends the appointment of a Fourth Assistant-Postmaster-General his intention is to add to the staff of the Wanamakera; if he attends a cabinet meeting it is solely for the pui-iioae of distributing sam pies from the Philadelphia bargain counter among his associates; in short, according to the Post, the man is arank humbug, in Wash¬ ington solely to hunt dollai-s for his shop. On the face of it, tlie picture which the Post draws of Mr. Wana¬ maker is a broad caricature, which might be in place in a comic Democratic paper, but wliich is decidedly inappropriate to tlie col¬ umns of a serious journal. There is reason, no doubt, for thinking that Mr, Wanamaker obtained his position in the cabinet as a reward for assistance rendered .to the Republican party in the last national campaign. But the same may be said practically of every Postmas¬ ter-General, Democratic and Republican, since Jackson, in 1889, raised tbe office to its present dignity. There is no reason why the jreBent incumbent should tu singled out for speciR.! htuek oothn.t score. So far as his qualifications to fill tbe position are concerned there was much to justify the appointment of Mr. Wanamaker. If a lawyer is a proper person to appoint to the office of Secretary of the Navy, as in the case of Secretary Tracy, or as in the case of Mr. Whitney, no one should object to the selection of the head of one of the largest commercial enterprises in the world to conduct the Post-office Department. The hostility to Mr. Wanamaker because of his trade is In many respects like the hostility which W, H. Smith, the London newspaper distributor, encountered upon his appointment by Bcaconsfield to the head of the Admiralty in Eng¬ land. Yet Mr, Smith proved to be one of the most efficient admin¬ istrators that ever held the position, and we would not be surprised to find the same result in the case of Mr. Wanamaker. The judgment of the public on most matters runs to extreme. Before the recent conflagration in Boston the popular faith in the virtues of the modern fire-proof building was unlimited. The disaster in Massachusetts is now widely regarded as evidence that the "absolutely fire-proof" building, of whicii so much has been said, does not exist. As to the buildings destroyed in Boston it may be said at once that not one of them was "fire-proof," in the sense that the term is used by architects and builders of repute, despite all that has been said to the contrary in highly-colored newspaper reiiorts. As a matter of fact there are very few build¬ ings iu Boston towhieh the term fire-proof can properly be applied. Practically all those that can be described as such have been con¬ structed within the last five years, and the buildings that were burned were at best built on the slow-combustion principle which is so popular in New England. An absolutely fire-proof building probably does not exist anywhere—that is, a building that could not. under any circumstances, be destroyed by fire. Stoue will disiutegj-ate when subjected to sufficient heat—such a degree of heat, indeed, as is ofteu created in a large conflagration—and brick, even brick of good quality, will melt. The materials tliat will withstand extreme temperatures unimpaired are few, and none of them are used to the exclusion of all others, even in the vital parts of buildings that may justly be considered fire-proof. The vitrified hrick that is coming into general use to-day may be regarded as such a material, for in the process of manufacture it is subjected to a temperature that would melt the best brick of the ordinary kind. But, if there be no build¬ ing that is strictly "absolutely fire-proof," there certainly are buildings the total destruction of which by fire of a character that can be conceived as likely to occur is an extreme improbability. The Times building in this city, the Union Ti-ust Company's building and most of the new bufidings on Wall street are absolutely flre- proof so far as any conflagration arising within their own n'liUs is concerned, and the probability is very sti-ong that they would remain practically uninjm-ed in the midst of a fire surrounding them, such as that in Boston. After all, the chief requh-emeut of a fire-proof building is that its construction shall be of such a nature that a fire originating within its walls cannot spread beyond the room or compartment in which it occurs. There are many such buildings in this city, in Chicago and other large cities in this country and abroad. But the building that could have been put into Nebuchad¬ nezzar's "burning firey furnace" and not be destroyed has yet to be built. Nevertheless, we may continue to speak of fire-proof buildings, meaning thereby structures of a much more substantial character than those destroyed in Boston. The purpose of Mr. Gilroy, the Commissioner of Public Works, to make a flying visit to the capitals of Europe is an admirable one and should be carried out. No duties here of the ordinary kind should detain him. Tliere are many New Yorker.-s whose fre¬ quent visits to London, Paris, Berlin and the Southern continental cities fui-nish them with valuable ideas for home development of the public works of this city, but they are without influence, even if they put their ideas before the public. They rarely advance them to matured plans. This is left to the public officer here who has charge of the like duties. No Commissioner of Public Works has yet, while in pitblic office, made such a study in Europe. He is in the superior position of being able to carry out his views. Much is to he learned, and Mr, Gilroy will become a public bene- faecor. The subject of street pavements and the qualities and merits of asphalt is of great importance. These pavements have been in use in Europe for half a century, and the quality of the material, the composition and method of laying and keejiing in repaii" have teen tested uuder all conditions of climate and of light and heavy ti-affic. He could give these results, which would be of great value in the new era of improved street paving upon which we are entering. The placing of works under the street pavement is also of great importance. It is clear that the present method is expensive and that it makes a good pavement impossible. We have every street opened now continually for one piu-pose or another) and some other plan Iuust be adopted; This must be superseded by R» Otvchway or tuunel under the street within which;