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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 84, no. 2156: July 10, 1909

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July 10, 1909 RECORD AND GUTOE 55 ESTABUSHED'^ M.iyV:H 21 Dented pRpj^L Estate.BuiLDif(oAR,cK'TECTUi^E,KoiiSErioiDD£Gts^TK)(l, Btfsii/Ess aiId Themes orGEjjERftl 1Kte!i.est., PRICE PER YEAR IN ADVANCE EIGHT DOLLARS Communications should be addressed to C, W. SWEET Published Every Saturday By THE RECORD AND GUIDE CO. President, CLINTON W, SWEET Treasurer, F, W. DODGE Vice-Pres. & Genl. Mgr.. H. W. DESMOND Secretary, F. T- MILLER Nos. 11 to 1." East 24th Street, New VorU City (Telephone, Madison Square, 4430 to 4433,) "Entered at tiic Post Office at New York, N. )'., as second-class matter." Copyrigbted, 1000, by The Record & Guide Co- Vol. LXXXIV. JULY 10, 1009. No. 215G THE MUNICIPAL CAMPAIGN has not been assuming a desirable complexion from the point of view of those citizens who are interested, exclusively, in better and more economical government. The removal of Police Commis¬ sioner Bingham will have the unfortunate effect of making the administration of the Police Department once more an issue, and in this way attention will be diverted from the fundamental matter of more efficient and economical ad- rcinistration. Furthermore, it looks as if those property- owners who are interested primarily in municipal economy will find it difficult to cast a vote that will count decisively in favor of a better business administration o£ New York- As the Record and Guide has frequently pointed out, muni- c-ipal economy under existing conditions in New York is less a matter of officeholders than of organization. During the past few years both Mayor McClellan and Comptroller Metz have earnestly and intelligently tried to keep down municipal expenses, but neither the executive officials nor the mem¬ bers of the Board of Estimate are empowered or are proper- Ij' constituted for the purpose of securing an economical and efficient administration of the city's business affairs. It cannot be expected that this essential consideration will be brought out by the party speakers during the coming cam¬ paign. The opponents of Tammany will seek to hasten the responsibility for every difficulty, error, failure cr excess upon the officials elected four years ago by Tammany, while, of course, the Democratic speakers will have to accept the chal¬ lenge and will be able to make a strong argument on behalf of the persona! good faith and the excellent record of the administration. But in the meantime the fact will he ob¬ served that even the best intentioned and' most energetic officials cannot, under the existing system, introduce the nec¬ essary amount of economy into the administration of the city. It is only a relatively non-partisan association and set of candidates that can afford to make an issue, not out of the candidates, but out of the Charter, and the only non-par¬ tisan association that has been formed seems to be lacking in weight, coherence of purpose, and defluiteness of program. The committee of One Hundred is already afflicted with in¬ ternal divisions, and in its platform of principles has failed to emphasize sufficiently the necessity of reorganization. It looks, consequently, as if the election next November and the campaign preceding it would do little to promote the cause of good government. The cause of good government is primarily, though, of course, not exclusively, the cause of the Ivins charter; and the Legislature will never pass the Ivins charter in anything like its existing form unless public opinion pronounces emphatically and decisively in its favor. It is an extraordinary fact that after bitterly and continually reproaching the State Legislature for interference in local affairs the citizens of New York are apparently indifferent to the one serious and well-considered attempt which has been made to give the voters of New York an efficient and sufficient measure of home rule. IT IS DIFFICULT to understand why any real estate com¬ pany should want to build a twenty-story office huilding on the "orner of Thirty-eighth Street and Madison Avenue. Ofiice buildings of that size are justified only on very expen¬ sive property in very expensive business neighborhoods. They abound naturally in the financial district, and they will eventually become almost as numerous in and around Madi¬ son and Greeley Squares, Blit as yet no twenty-story office building has been prected anywhere on Fifth Avenue, or on any other avenue uptown. Several eighteen-story loft build¬ ings have been constructed on Fifth Avenue, but the eco¬ nomic function of a work-house is very different from that of an office huilding. If huge structures, divided into small offices, constituted a good investment on high-priced Fifth avenue property, they would already have been run up in large numbers, and the fact that they are scarce even on that expensive thoroughfare shows that they are not likely to pay except at rare intervals. Why, then, should a twenty- story office building be planned for a corner ot an avenue, whose development for business purposes is only be¬ ginning, and which in this particular vicinity has retained an exclusively residential atmosphere? We must leave the answer of this question to others; but while it is being an- .swered the prophecy may be ventured either that no twenty- story office building will he erected at Thirty-eighth street and Madison avenue, or, if it is, the investment will prove to be a very expensive one to its perpetrators. There is every reason to believe that Madison avenue, between Thir¬ ty-fourth and Twenty-sixth streets and between Forty-second and Fifty-ninth streets, will be rapidly transformed into a business thoroughfare, but the blocks between Thirty-fourtli and Forty-second streets are at present more valuable Eor residential than for business purposes. While they will not remain so indefinitely, it will he some time before large busi¬ ness improvements can be legitimately erected within the described district. '-T^HE LATEST PROPOSALS of the Interborough Company ■*- have been submitted to public criticism for some ten days; and while they have been on the whole favorably re¬ ceived, they have not, we are very much afraid, been favor¬ ably enough received to secure their adoption. The Record and Guide has always believed that the city should continue to do business exclusively with the Interborough Company, provided that the corporation offered sufficiently favorable terms; but the difficulty has been that the company has re¬ fused to come up to the scratch. In 1907, when it was the only possible bidder on the routes laid out by the old Rapid Transit Commission, it would not accept the terms offered by the city, and its refusal was as much the result of the pre¬ carious condition of the company's finances, due to grave mistakes of management, as it was to the character of the proposei^ contract. Last spring the company spent a great deal of money in the attempt to persuade New Yorkers that it was doing a most generous thing in offering to build Subways wilh its own money on a seventy-five years' lease, and its failure at that time to place an accurate estimate upon the condition of public opinion was nothing short of ridiculous. Now it offers to build four instead of two-track Subway extensions up Lexington and Third and down Sev¬ enth avenues at its own expense and under the provisions for an indeterminate franchise prescribed in the new Rapid Transit Law. Our own opinion is that this offer is the most advantageous one which has been submitted to the city, and that it should be accepted; but we are afraid that the Public Service Commission will not see it in that light. The plans proposed by the Interborough Company are in absolute con¬ flict with the Commission's own scheme for a Broadway-Lex¬ ington avenue-South Brooklyn Subway, The granting of the proposed extensions to the existing Subway would kill the Broadway-Lexington avenue route, and if a franchise for the Broadway-Lexington avenue^ route is granted the whole In¬ terborough proposal falls through, because the company will not build south aiong Seventh avenue unless it can also build north along Lexington avenue. It is a case, consequently, of the Interborough company's plan or those of the Commis¬ sion; and the Commission will be inclined to favor its own pet project. No argument has availed hitherto to shake its loyalty to a scheme which merely duplicates existing means of rapid transit from Forty-second street to the City Hall, and the Interborough Company in making its proposals should have considered more carefully this fact. It should have considered whether it could not have preserved its monopoly and done away with the dangerous competition of a Broadway Subway by making a generous rather than only a fair offer. The possibilities of traffic development in New York are such that it could have proposed to build not merely one additional four-track Subway, but two of them, provided the period to be occupied by construction was ex¬ tended over six or seven years; and such an offer the Public Service Commission would have been obliged to accept. The