crown CU Home > Libraries Home
[x] Close window

Columbia University Libraries Digital Collections: The Real Estate Record

Use your browser's Print function to print these pages.

Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 62, no. 1591: September 10, 1898

Real Estate Record page image for page ldpd_7031148_022_00000413

Text version:

Please note: this text may be incomplete. For more information about this OCR, view About OCR text.
September lo, 1898. Record and Guide ^ 11. ESTABUSHES'^llgWfUeUi^ 1668. De^iAiQf^EsTATE.BuiLDir^ A^iTEctui^ >{auaEi(aii) Ossit^inC Bi/SD/ESS AlbTH04ES Of GE)^^ ltfl04P1« PRICE PER YEAR IN ADVANCE SIX DOLLARS. Published every Saturday. Telephone, Coetlandt 1370. Communications should be addressed to C. "W. SWEET, 14-ie Vesey Street. ■7. 1. LCNDSET, Business Manager. •'Entered at the Fost-O.ffice at Kew York, N. I'., as second-class matter." Vol. LXII. SEPTEMBER 10, 1898. 1,591 ■n|"HB prominence given to the Sght between Sugar interests and ■^ the Arbnckles and the disappointment of the speculative public over the failure of the St. Paul directors to increase the rate of dividend on the common stock have served to give impetus to the reaction in prices that has been going on quietly for a week or two. Tbe short side of the market is now likely to attract professional attention more than the other until prices have gone down suffi¬ ciently to attract new investment buying. This movement is as¬ sisted by higher rates for money under renewed commercial de¬ mand, which such imports of gold as may be brought about by the rise in rates on this side, will not be sufficient to relieve. So far as it is influenced by the commercial demand, this rise in the rates for money is a good sign; but if, and to the extent that it is due to the accumulations in the Treasury it is not. While one thing indicates an improvement in the business and manufactur¬ ing of the country, the other is another illustration of the clum¬ siness of the national fiscal machinery, which is incapable of keeping money in the Treasury when it is needed there and will not let it out when it is not. It is true that the Secretary of the Treasury has power to release the money in the Treasury in cer¬ tain contingencies, but as such action always interferes with the disposition of government bonds, mainly used to secure national bank issues, it generally neutralizes itself by contracting in one direction while expanding in another. We have seen the injury the evils of our treasury and currency conditions can do in times of distress, but it is to be hoped that their powers for mischief, potent as they are, will not he permitted any play now that we are on the road to prosperity. FOLLOWING quickly upon the Czar's invitation to the Powers to attend a Peace Congress,comes the intimation that the sit¬ uation in China is improved and that matters in SouthAfrica are shaping themselves satisfactorily. The Mahommedan uprising in Crete will doubtless compel a better arrangement for the gov¬ ernment of that island than now exists' and remove another danger to the public quiet. If we could judge by appearances, wjiich in international politics we never can do, it would seem that a Congress to secure the world's peace was unnecessary, the general policy being one of avoidance of war and a policy ol lessening armament will naturally follow in due course, though probably slowly. Meantime it is becoming the general impression that the Czar's congress will never convene, or if it does it will simply do so out of courtesy to so powerful a mon¬ arch. How quickly trade improves under hopeful foreign politi¬ cal conditions is shown by the reports of Britain's foreign trade for last month, which records substantial increases in both im¬ ports and exports, in the latter the flrst increase for a long time. A blue hook containing the evidence given before the Indian Currency Committee was recently issued. "The Economist," of London, in reviewing it expresses the opinion that the testimony condemns both the Government's proposition and the suggestion for the reopening of the mints to the free coinage of silver, but concludes that, "while the scheme of the Govern¬ ment for forcibly holding up exchange and establishing a gold standai-d is undoubtedly much too drastic, it is in that direction and not in the direction of undoing what has already been done (dlosing the mints) that action must be taken." In a pamphlet, issued under official sanction, the financial condition of Chili for three years—1897-9—is reviewed, and s-hows an estimated sur¬ plus in the last budget of sometbing like $6,500,000. Such a show¬ ing creates surprise at the recent authorization of $50,000,000 paper, to meet a crisis. Anothef South American state in diffi¬ culties, Brazil, is considering ways and means to keep the Gov¬ ernment afloat financially. The Minister of Finance recommends the lease or sale of certain national properties or the raising of a loan, so that the Government may be able to obtain the gold which can alone keep it out of the exchange market. He also ad¬ vises that the gold-interest on the internal loan should be con¬ verted into currency interest, that commissions for the purchase of materials in Europe should be suppressed, that the contracts for the guarantees should be "revised," and tnat the expenditure upon diplomatic representation should be reduced. It is also proposed that the Government should be provided with the means of withdrawing a part of the circulating medium, and that a part of the dutie& on exports should he collected in gold. THE ST. JAMES. THE St. James, not long ago erected upon the site of the hotel of the same name, at the corner of 26th street and Broad¬ way, is one of the most interesting of the skyscrapers of the mid¬ dle city, of the shopping district. It has enough neighbors of ap¬ proximately equal altitude to show that it "is not only in the congestion of the narrow lower end of the island tha,t sky¬ scrapers will pay. Although the tall buildings of the Madison Square region are as utilitarian as those of the lower island. In their design there may properly be relaxed'^some of the grimness of severity which is proper to the down-town scyscrap^rs. Some¬ thing is due to the genius of the region, which is devoted not merely to business but to pleasure, and even its business is in great part that which ministers to pleasure. Moreover, a tall building erected just here, seen a,cro;ss Madison Square'and part of the same scene with the Gai;den and its tower, ought to have something of gay and festive in its expression. This, at any rate, is evidently the view that Mr. Bruce Price, the architect of the St. James, has taken of his problem, as may be seen by comparing his solution of it with that attained in the building of the American Surety Company, which we remember praising for the strictness of its conformity to the utilitarian requirements, and the refusal of the designer to make any prac¬ tical sacrifices, even to what seemed essential architectural re¬ quirements. That is not only strictly a business building, but it is in a strictly business quarter, and anything of fantastic in its general aspect would be unbusinesslike and therefore ih bad taste. The defects of the American Surety Building, such as they 'are, are not at all in this direction. If it were erected oi^ Madison Square, however, its plainness and severity, although still appropriate enough to its specific purpose, would be in con- fiict with its surroundings, would be "unneighborly," while if the St. James were transplanted to" Pine street its pioturesqueness would he equally out of place, which goes to show that there are a great many things to be thought about in the design of a suc¬ cessful building. The contrast between there two buildings is interesting in another aspect. Each of them conforms strictly to the type which has established and imposed itself as that proper to a many-storied oflice-building, and of which the prototype is a column with a low base, a low capital and a tall shaft, in which the stories are repeated without effort after variety or fear of monotony. It might seem that this scheme is Procrustean in Its rigidity, and that the buildings constructed in conformity with it would become tiresome in their likeness to each other. Tho St. James and the American Surety, not only both follow the analogy of the column, but each is'even more specifically, in the likeness of the "rusticated pillar" to which the architect likened the earlier. Yet we see that within the limitations abundant variety may be obtained and very widely different expressions, insomuch that two buildings designed upon the same general scheme could not be interchanged without loss, nor even withouc incongruity. The area of the St. James is so ample, about 90 feet on Broad¬ way hy 110 on 26th street, that it carries even its sixteen stories without giving the sense of something gaunt and spindling which belongs to the usual skyscraper. A column, or even a rus¬ ticated pillar, of two and a-half diameters or less; makes the effect of a mass of three dimensions, and not of altitude alone. But its three part's are distinguished not only by design hut also by material. Ordinarily, the aim of the projectors of skyscrapers is to produce an effect of monochrome. Even when there is in fact a change of material, the two materials are obtained as nearly as possible of the same tint, or at most one is used as "trimmings" to emphasize the O'ther. The St, James must be nearly a unique example in these modern buildings o, the change of material, and the use of color, in order to emphasize the dis¬ tinction between the principal parts of the structure. Certainly color has not been employed for this purpose in any other ex¬ ample in so interesting and successful a way. The architectural basement of the building, the first fwo stories, is executed in a pale hut warm granite. The shaft, the succeeding ten stories, is in red brick, heavily quoiued in terra¬ cotta aa nearly as may be ot the tint of the granite of the base¬ ment, and of 'this the sills and lintels of the openings and the panels between them are also composed. The sill and lintel