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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 84, no. 2165: September 11, 1909

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September ii, 1909 RECORD AND GUIDi^- 469 if ESTABUSHED^ UJiRPK Sm"^ 1858, Db6teB p Rful- EsTAjE.BuiLDii/c ^Rjiu^iTEeTURE .HouseUoih DEanjTOft BiTsn/ESs AffoThemes OF Grjtoi^l IKter^I^ PRICE PER YEAR IN ADVANCE EIGHT DOLLARS Communications should be addressed to C. W, SWEET Published EVerg Saturday By THE RECORD AND GUIDE CO. President, CLINTON W, SWEET Treasurer, F, W. DODGE Vlce-Pres, ft Genl, Mgr,, H. W. DESMOND Secretary, F. T. MILLER NoH. 11 to 15 East 24tli Street, New York City (Telephone, Madison Square, 4430 to 4433,) "Entered at the Post Office at Niw York. N. Y.. as second-class matter." Copyrighted. lliC'J, by The Record ft Guide Co. Vol, LXXXIV. SEPTEMBER 11, 1909. No. 2165 TH'E CLAIM of the merchants and property owners in¬ terested in the vicinity of 23d Street that an express station on the new Snbway should lie situated on that street is deserving of unqualified approval. Twenty-third Street is such an important line of crosstown traffic and Madison Square such a grfiat and growing center of business activity that it has every reason to demand the convenience of au express station. The plans of the Commission at present provide that express trains shall only nialie one stop in the whole middle district of Manhattan, viz., at 42d Street, aud they ignore, consec[uently, the fact that this middle district is destined to be a centre of concentrated business activity, second only to the financial district. In case no provision is made for an express station nearer than 42d Street and Fourth or Lexington Avenue, the Commission will be makin.g the same kind of a mistake that the old Commission made when it situated the West Side express station at 72d street instead of Columbus Circle. It has always seemed to the Record and Guide that 59th and 23d streets were the proper points at which express trains on the new subway should stop, on the principle that different subways should provide express stations at different points, and so distribute this sort of accommodation to the public. Bul apparently the Commission, to judge from its recent letter to President Shouts of the Interborough Co., has fully decided to place another stopping point for express trains at 4 2d street, on the ground that the traffic originating there requires it. We are not convinced that, after the Lexington Avenue Sub¬ way is built, the existing Subway will not be fully adequate to accommodate the remaining traffic; but even if the 42d street station is not abandoned, the argument in favor of a station at 2 3d street loses none of its force. Doubtless the time which would be lost by making such a stop can be ill- spared, but there can be no doubt that the advantage of making the stop would be sufficient to outweigh the disad¬ vantage of the loss of time. In the course of a few years the whole district between Fourteenth and Fifty-ninth streets will have almost as dense a business population as the flnancial district, and it should receive a correspondingly abundant accommodation. There is no sufflcient reason why express stations should be distributed along the line of transit at approximately equal distances. The prime object of this, as of all other details of a transit system, should be that of providing the most convenient possible service for the largest possible number of people, and this object can be best served by arranging, for a stopping place for express trains at 2 3d street," In deciding this point the Commission should keep in mind one important consideration. If there is no express station at 23d stieet, passengers will board the Subway at 23d and will transfer to express trains at 42d street in such large numbers as considerably to diminish the running time of those trains. In this way a large part of the time saved b? the abandonment of the 23d street express station would eventually be lost. Co. an interest in bidding on the Broadway-Lexington ave¬ nue route, and in the second place, it would afford a subway connection for traffic seeking or originating at the Penn¬ sylvania Terminal. A little consideration will, however, sh'ow that the idea is only a temporary expedient, which would accomplish an immediate result iu an inferior man¬ ner, and tend to postpone a much more necessary and desirable improvement. Seventh avenue is needed not merely for a connecting link between the West Side aud a Broadway Subway or for a subway passing under the Penn¬ sylvania Terminal, but for an independent lower West Side route, which will give subway accommodations to the whole of that section. The Seventh Avenue Subway as planned by Ihe old Rapid Transit Commission had this character and lunction. The lower West Bide is a district of considerable and of increasing business importance. ' It deserves and needs a subway just as the upper East Side does, and in case Seventh avenue were appropriated by a link, which turned east at 32d street, it would be deprived of the ser¬ vice to which it is fairly entitled. No doubt it will eventually obtain such a service by means of a Hudson street-Stli ave¬ nue subway; but this tunnel will not be built for many years and Tth avenue and Varick street Is a better route than Sth avenue and Hudson street, because it will accommodate the more densely populated territory to the west of Broadway. If it is urged in answer to these objections that the Seventh Ave. Subway could eventually be extended south of 32d st along the route already selected the retort is obvious. Its extension into an independent line would render it unneces¬ sary as a link. If a link is co be constructed between the existing subway at Broadway and 42d st to the proposed new subway at Broadway and 14th st, it should obviously follow the line of Broadway itself. A connecting subway under Broadway would be more useful and much easier to operate than the circuitous route suggested by the 23d St Association. Seventh av as far down as 32d st has been selected for the purpose, only because of the desirability of reaching the Pennsylvania Terminal, but what the Pennsyl¬ vania Terminal needs is an express station on an independ¬ ent four-track lower West Side route. Every other plan would constitute a more or less ingenious makeshift. A SUGGESTION has recently been made that the Broad¬ way-Lexington avenue route could be rendered much more useful by constructing a connecting link down Ttb avenue to 32d street, under 32d street to Broadway, and thence along Broadway to llth street. This idea looks good, because it accomplishes apparently two desirable ob¬ jects. In the first place, it would give the Interborough ONE CIRCUMSTANCE in regard to the building and real estale situation has received but little public notice. It is a circumstance as important as il is peculiar, and is indi¬ cated in part by the suspension of construction for 5-sly non- fireproof houses on Manhattan Island. The public have begun to ask the reason. Does it mean that there is no more room for this class of construction? Or, is it because such houses no longer pay the builder; that the land has become too valuable for them, and that a better quality of house is more profitable to erect and invest in? These are the surface questions that one hears, and the responses are most often in the aflirtnative. But there are other que'Stions which probe deeper into the sub¬ ject. In some financial circles it is believed that a revival of small-house construction will be compelled by the rapid growth of population to follow from good times. Eighty thousand Italian people, for example, left this city in the winter of 1907-S and in the following spring. About forty thousand of them have so far returned. The rest are coming with others. New housing must be provided for that number, even if not for these par¬ ticular folk, because the percentage of occupancy of all classes of houses at the present lime is at least normal. A large oper¬ ator e.vpressed the opinion this week that the percentage of vacancies in tenements is ONLY ABOUT TWO PER CENT. New people are coming in daily, from the interior as well as from abroad; Long Island and the Jerseys cannot build fast enough to hurt Manhattan, and consequently the conslruclion of non-fireproof tenement houses must soon be resumed some¬ where on this island. In this connection 11 can be said that negotiations are now in progress for the adoption of a con¬ vention, or arbitration plan, between the operators in this class of houses and the contractors to whom they have been ac¬ customed in the past to let the mechanical work. We under¬ stand that a working plan for arbitrating such disputes as may arise is being formulated at conferences now being held, the result of which is expected to add to the amount of construc¬ tion work in progress. The importance of this news will be realized when considered wilh the large amount of commercial and residential work already in hand, a total which is already engaging present forces and facilities very fully. It seems tn confirm the prophecy of an unusually busy Fall, Meanwhile, new projects continue lo be few in number, as indicated by the reports of plans filed; but the total number of plans on file is very large. The current renting season seems to he emphasizing the need for more apartments, but the next fortnight ought to disclose to builders and investors the exact state of the market for this class of property.