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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 81, no. 2079: January 18, 1908

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January l8, 1908 RECORD AND GUIDE 123 ESTABUSHED-^)ARRPH£Lir*186a Dented PJ R^L EsTArE.EUlLOlffc Af^,ITEeTUR.E .F{oUSEHOLD DEGOHATlOlf, BusnTESBAfto Themes'of'Gei^I- Irfttt^Esi.^ PRICE PER YEAR IN ADVANCE EIGHT DOLLARS Communications shonld be addressed to C. W. SWEET fabtished Every Satttrdas By THE KECOKD AND GUIDE CO. President. CLINTON W. SWEET Treasurer, F. W, DODGE Vice-Pres, & Geal. Mgr., H. W. DESMOND Secretary, F, T. MILLER Nos. 11 to 15 East 24th Street, New York City (Telephone, Madison Square, 4430 to 4433,) ''Entered at the Post Office at Nan York . N. y.. as S^C'»lll- rjiix^i ni'it '"r. ■ Copyrighted, 190T by Tbe Record & C.ui'le :o. Vol, LXXXL JANUARY IS. 1308. No. 20 (9. INDEX. TO DEPARTMENTS. Advertising Section. Page, , Page. Cement ......................xiv Lumber ......................xiv Clay Products ___'............xvi Machinery ....................jv Consulting Engineers .........xii Metal Work ....................x Contractors aud Builders.......ii Quid! Job Directory..........vii Electrical Interests ...........xii Real Estate ....................v Fireproofing .................xiii Roofers & Roofing Materials .xiv Granite .....................xvii Stone .........'.............>;vii Iron and Steei.................xi Wood Products ........' ......xw THE Parker building flre disclosed a state of affairs in connection with the flre department and the water supply not pleasant to contemplate, and which it is hoped, in behalf ot the safety of property, will be corrected at the earliest moment. AH other questions raised by the fire are overshadowed by the startling revelation that the fire-flght- ing forces of the borough are not equipped to cope with emergencies like this. The water pressure was insufficient and the hose like a staff which breaks when one leans upon it for support. Little more than the walls of the building are left in consequence, and criticisms of the huilding as a type of construction based upon the manner in which it withstood unaided the flerce flames that raged unchecked on all the floors in the upper half need some qnaliflcation, except as to deductions that may be drawn therefrom i.n favor of more recent building practise and the necessity ot improving on old methods,—in respect to protecting open¬ ings by which fire may communicate from one floor to an¬ other, for example. The building was erected in accordance with the law in force at the time, whicli did not give as much consideration to some things as is customary now; but the general strength of the building seems to be proved. Tbe kind of structure which could withstand the burning of such great quantities of goods all at one time in large areas, and not collapse, was not being built in the last decade. One subdivided into smaller areas by fire walls or reliable cut¬ offs, and with windows impregnable and interior vertical openings impassable to flames, might have resisted, and this would he one of the lessons taught by the conflagration if the shortcomings of the flre department's apparatus could be overlooked. But with these to complicate the case, it is not easy, if not impossible, to pass judgment solely upon the character of the building, especially as the flrenien are understood to claim that their defeat was owing to tem¬ porarily defective facilities for flghting the fire, A more decisive defeat has never been-sustained by the department, and possibly it signalizes the advent of an era in which there must be a radical improvement in means and methods if the department is to protect the city successfully. New York has depended too long solely upon portable engines, and without knowing it has become antiquated in some flremanic essentials, as will be better realized when the new high-pressure service goes into action. THE Association of Bronx Real Estate Brokers, at whose call the representatives of nineteen taxpayers' socie¬ ties assembled on Tuesday evening, is opposed to changing the Elsberg law so as to extend the term of subway leases beyond twenty years with a twenty-year renewal. It stands upon the resolution of the Board of Aldermen last April, that the City should "reject ail propositions save those made for construction alone," so the City may lease the subways after their completion or operate them itself. To the Bronx mind the City would have no difficulty in pro¬ curing a bidder under the City's terms for au entirely in¬ dependent line through the East Side and into the Bronx, either via Lexington Ave, or First Ave,, and thence by two branches, one on Jerome Ave. and the other by way of ISSth St., Southern Boulevard, Westchester Ave,, etc., to Pelham Bay Park. Moreover, it is argued that with the $23,000^000 which Chairman Willcox says is available for the F,ourth Ave, tube in Brooklyn, added to other possible resources, there would be abundant funds with which under a fair distribution between the three boroughs to start and carry forward the construction of a tri-borough system until a constitutional amendment cotvld be obtained permitting the enlargement of the City's borrowing capacity—by ex¬ cluding from .the calculation the cost of subways, for exam¬ ple. No money has yet actually been appropriated for the Brooklyn subway, and the Bronx interests pray that none shall be for this purpose alone, hut for subway construction in all three boroughs at the same time. On some points the position of the Bronx brokers and their colleagues may not be approved, especially by those who hold different views in regard to the Elsberg law; but there will be no dissent from the main contention that public utilities should be fairly distributed aud the City funds not used to benefit merely one borough and work havoc for another. The issue rises above all others at the present time, and the people of Manhattan should be more alive to it than they are. With one subway to the heart of old Brooklyn nearly finished and a third bridge in course of erection, it is felt that Brooklyn has had her fair allotment of transportation facilities under the present dispensation, and that in the next one Manhattan and the Bronx should share 'equally with her. THE fate ot the Belmont tunnel to Long Island City still remains in doubt, but the City authorities can¬ not be urged too strongly to consummate its purchase. In its present condition, even if it were in operation, the Bel¬ mont tunnel would be of very little use to its owners or to the public, whereas if it were owned by the City, aud con¬ nected with the Subway, it would be both a profitable prop¬ erty and a great convenience to the residents of Queens. Mr. Belmont has every reason to sell, and the City has every reason to buy; and such being the case it should be easy to strike a fair bargain. Neither is the City, in the event of consummating the purchase, merely pulling Mr. Belmont's chestnuts out of the fire. No doubt the tunnel cannot be profitably operated with its existing Man¬ hattan terminal, aud no doubt in case the City does not buy, the Interborough Company will have a white elephant on its hands. But if the city took advantage of this condition to force Mr. Belmont to sell at bargain prices, it would indefinitely delay the purchase, and at the same time in- delinitely postpone the advantages which its own citizens may reap, therefrom. It seems scarcely worth while for the City to do an anjury to a portion of its own popula¬ tion for the purpose of making Mr. Belmont lose some money. The City should-pay a fair price; that is, approxi¬ mately what the tunnel has cost, and it should lease its purchase to the Interborough Company for the interest on the purchase price, plus a sinking fund of one per cent. There may be some difficulty in arranging the length of the lease, but under the circumstances the Belmont Company should be satisfied with a concession of twenty years with the option of a similar term at a higher rental. Of course the lease would be conditioned on a connection of the tun¬ nel with the existway Subway at Park Ave. and 42d St. Such a connection would have to be carefully arranged, so as to avoid a conflict with the future Lexington Ave. and 3d Ave. Subways, but such arrangements should not be a difficult engineering problem. It is particularly important that the Belraont tunnel should be connected with Times Square, so that the residents of Queens will have immediate access to the theatres and the restaurants in that neighbor¬ hood. We presume that for the present the trains in the tunnel would have to be operated as shuttles, but eventually it should be possible, to put on at regular intervals trains which would run as expresses from the Bridge to 42d St, and would then take their passengers under the River to Long Island City. Whenever such an arrangement is con¬ summated it will mean millions oi! dollars to the owners of real estate in Queens,