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. 81, no. 2086: March 7, 1908

Real Estate Record page image for page ldpd_7031148_041_00000441

Text version:

Please note: this text may be incomplete. For more information about this OCR, view About OCR text.
March 7, 1908 RECORD AND GUIDE 399 ESTABUSHED'^ WlBpaSlsi^ 1868. DntrpS TO RfM- EsT/jE,BuiLoiife Af^p^rretrruRE .KousnIoiD DEcoRATiorf, BJsnfcss A'i'tHEMES or GEjtoiiiUrfrERf Sl., PRICE PER YEAR IN ADVANCE EIGHT DOLLARS Communications should be addressed to C. W. SWEET Published Every Saturday By THE RECORD AND GUIDE CO. Prealdenf, CLINTON W, SWEET Treasurer, F. W. DODGE Vice-Pres. & Genl. Mgr., H. W. DESMOND Secretary, F. T. MILLER Nos. 11 to 15 East 24tli Street, Nott York Cl(r (Telephone, Madison Square, 4430 to 4433.) "Entered at the Post Offioe at Neto York, N. Y.. as sccoiid-rlass matter." Copyrighted, 1907, by Tbe Record & Guiile Co. Vol. LXXXl. MARCH 7, 1008. No. 208(3. INDEX TO DEPARTMENTS. Advertising Section. Page. Page. Cement ......................zil Lumber .....................xiii Ciay Products ...............xiv Metal Work .................ix Consulting E'ngineers ...........x Quick Job Directory..........vii Contractors and Builders ___iii Real Estate ...................v El::ctrical Interests ..........vii Roofers & Roofiug Materials, .xii Fireprooflng ..................ii Stone .......................xv Granite .....................xv Wood Products ..............xiii Iron and Steei................xi THERE cannot be too many ways of escape from a burn¬ ing school house. Circumstances arise in such a crisis which no architect and no buildiug laws can forsee, to defeat all the usual precautions. Danger lurks at every doorway through which a large number of children are expected to find safety—at the foot of every flight of stairs, and at every turn in a crooked hallway. Double doors that should swing open are sometimes immovable, or only one side wil! open, and that is not enough. How many school doors in this country are locked during school hours? Tbe flre drill is sounded ancl the children are hurried down to their death, as at CoUinwood this week—piled six and eight deep in the vestibule, and there suffocated and burned. The exit was jammed by too many trying to pass out at once. These chil¬ dren had been exercised in a "flre drill" which ordinarily took them out by two divisions, for there were but two exits, and in this case the fire drill proved fatal, as it may in others where ample flre escapes are not provided. In New York it is proposed to construct no more exterior fire escapes, but rely on incombustible stairways. The authorities should be very sure that these are not only absolutely flreproof, but also smoke-proof and panic-proof, and that there are twice as many provided as ordinarily there is need for. Most of the school houses in New York are unburnable, their doors swing outward and in none could such a holocaust as this happen. But there are other cities which have reason to fear that they have been taking too many chances with crooked halls, unprotected stairways and locked exits, and putting too much dependence on the efficacy of fire drills when there is no fire. Rapid dismissal exercises are well enough when children see no smoke and flames, are not frightened, nor tripped and thrown down or otherwise con¬ fused. What may happen when one of the regular exits is blocked was terribly illustrated at CoUinwood, where the classes were marched into a trap. In cases of serious fire one or more of the regular outways is nearly always shut off. Therefore numerous emergency exits should be provided, so that the smallest possible number of children will be sent to any one door. MUCH was heard last year concerning the increase in the cost of building and contract work over the pre¬ vailing rates of ten years previously and occasionally some one paused to attempt a mathematical comparison, which was scarcely ever decisive. For the reason that methods of planning work, of handling materials and of directing work¬ ing forces had changed, the totals, quotients and products of such computations rarely if ever gave a true answer. Building practice had so changed the relative standing of materials and their proportions in the building that even the best knowledge of price lists was of little assistance in mak¬ ing the comparison. Five years ago building costs had ap¬ parently advanced thirty per cent, for average work, yet first- class offlce buildings were actually being erected at that time at a cost only ten per cent, greater, which proved that there are elements and forces contributing to the construction of a building which cannot be represented in price lists and wage schedules. We cannot express in figures the higher t;kill with which engineers and architects now draw their plans and speciflcations, so as to produce equal or as good results for the same money; the time saved by builders through more expeditious methods of handling structural materials, or the interest money saved by the avoidance or labor strikes. The only place where one can discover what the actual per cent, of increase has been in the cost of build¬ ing in the last decade is in the cost books of owners and genera! contractors, and even there account is not taken of all the elements and factors. The average taste is not satisfied to-day with what was passable in architecture and fittings awhile ago, and almost unconsciously requires costlier habi¬ tations. The prices of materials, metals and tools used in building and public works reached their highest level in De¬ cember of 1906, since which time there has been a gradual decline; and except in the item of wages, building costs have returned to near the level of the year 1904, when con¬ ditions were considered very favorable for building after the long labor war of the previous year. In a group of twenty- seven building materials there was an average increase in 1906 as determined by government statistics of 9.6 per cent, over the preceding year, the largest advances being in lum¬ ber. Considering the large demand for materials, and the exceedingly prosperous condition of business, this was not then unreasonable and would have received no consideration if building money had continued easy. Conditions in the material market now resemble those which were prevailing at the opening of the year 1904, and the general expectations are still for a similar course o'f business during the current year. THE Public Service Commissioners have asked the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad Company for definite information as to why the work of constructing the Westchester four-track electric railroad has been dis¬ continued, when the construction will be resumed, and when the sections will be completed and operated. It is scarcely expected that there will be much satisfaction either to the Commissioners or the property owuers along the projected line from the answer that will be received. President Mellen recently stated that until there shall come a final decision of the Court of Appeals sustaining the validity of the West¬ chester charter, or an approval of the Portcbester Company's plan to build on the Westchester's route, "little progress can be made." So far as known, the decisions of the courts on the legal points involved in both cases have been adverse to the company, and the Board of Estimate is still under an injunction against giving its consent to the Portchester to change its route. The franchise which the City gave the Westchester company in 1904, to construct and operate its railway over certain streets in the Bronx, will expire on July 26th of next year, unless the road is then completed from the city line as far south as^ the Southern Boulevard and Westchester av. If Mr. Mellen set his forces right to work they could scarcely finish in time, and altogether tbe twin enterprises which promised to be the motive for a great real estate development in the Bronx seem to have almost faded out. THE business interests of New Jersey are assured by Mr. Calvin Tomkins that their opportunity will not always be so pronounced as at present. Up to the opening of the Hudson River tunnel, New York did not, he says, appreciate the danger of the future competition of New Jersey, but now, with its better political organization, it will endeavor to create conditions in the outlying boroughs that will make residence and occupation there comparatively more desirable than in New Jersey. But as a number of years must elapse before these improvements can be made, Mr, Tomkins points out that the interim constitutes the opportunity of New Jersey for obtaining its initial advantage; and he therefore advises in a public letter, appearing in a Newark paper, a comprehensive development plan—with a view to its subse¬ quent evolution—which would include the deepening of New¬ ark Bay and the Hackensack and Passaic rivers for steam¬ ship terminals, these to be equipped with ample warehouse service and connected by rail with each other and witb the general railroad lines; also to include boulevards, streets,