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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 84, no. 2166: September 18, 1909

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September i8, 1909 RECORD AND GUIDE 507 DlV&^TOftE*J.EsTAJE,BmLDllJ'G Af!P^ITEeTUR,E.KoiJSElfOU)teMI(«lCii) Bifsi»/ESs AiJoTHEHtEs OF GejIer^UKierPI,^ PRICE PER YEAR IN ADVANCE EIGHT DOLLARS Communications should be addressed to C, W- SWEET Published Every Saturday By THJE RECOBD AND GUIDE CO. President, CLINTON W. SWEET Treasurer, F, W, DODGE Vlce-Pres. Sc Genl. Mgr., H. W- DESMOND Secretary, F. T, MILLER Nos. 11 to 15 East 24tb Street, New York Ctt-y (Telephone, Madison Square. 4430 to 4433.) "Entered at the Post Office at New Yorlc. N. Y., as second-class matter." Copyrighted,- 1909, by Tbe Record & Guide Co. Vol- LXXXIV. SEPTEMBER IS, 1909- No. 2166. CITIZENS of New Tork who are intelligently interested in the better government of tlieir city should nialte a care¬ ful study of a hook by Professor Prank J- Goodnow, entitled "Municipal Government," and just published hy the Century Company. Prof. Goodnow is. perhaps, the foremost Ameri¬ can authority on local political organization; and in this hook he discusses with candor, impartiality and knowledge the problem presented hy the political and economic conditions of the American city. The peculiar interest which this discus¬ sion has for the citizen of New Yorlc consists in its bearing upon the new charter, which will be passed, rejected or amended hy the State Legislature at its next session. Prof. Goodnow does not, indeed, specifically discuss this proposed instrument of local government, but after a careful survey of the facts, tendencies, failures and successes of municipal government both here and abroad, he lays down certain gen¬ eral principles, which have a specific and immediate appli¬ cation to the situation now confronting New York City. Start¬ ing with the rule that the term of government which most cities should have is "one which is calculated to secure, un¬ der most adverse conditions, both social co-operation and technical efficiency," he infers therefrom tliat the number of elective officials should he reduced to a minimum, and that whatever system of representation is adopted, the supreme powers of the city should be concentrated in some one author¬ ity. Prof- Goodnow does not definitely claim that this su¬ preme anthority should under all conditions consist either of a council or a commission. He himself tends to believe that the concentration of the supreme authority in a council, elected by districts, would be likely in the long run to pro¬ duce the best results; but he admits that under some condi¬ tions government by commission would worlt better than government by council. Whatever system is, however, adopted, should be pushed far enough to obtain a substan¬ tially complete concentration of authority, because when governmental powers are distributed among many officers and authorities, each one of whom is within the limits of the statutes a law unto himself, official responsibility for acts of government is so difficult of attainment as to be prac¬ tically impossible. THE application of these genera! principles to the new charter is obvious. The new charter substantially or¬ ganizes a commission form of government for New Yorlt City, It considerably increases the responsibility of the Board of Estimate and Apportionment for the good government of New Yorlc, and of the Mayor for the economical and efficient administration of its affairs. Consequently, it is a long step in advance towards the improvement of our local political or¬ ganizations. That it is a thoroughly consistent and entirely satisfactory instrument of municipal government cannot be claimed. It does not go as far as it should in the reduction of the nnmber of elective officials and in the concentration of authority. The commission form of government has been adopted, but a council has been retained, whose powers are so small that they will never be responsibly and efficiently exercised- In this and in certain other respects it is proba¬ ble that in the course of time the new charter would he further modified and that a council would either be abolished entirely or else given an organization and powers similar to those proposed in the new Boston charter. It would be ab¬ surd, consequently, to assert that the Ivins charter is a per¬ fect piece of legislation and that it will not in the future demand considerable alteration. One must even recognize the possibility that eventually it may be necessary to concen¬ trate the local governmental powers in the hands of a coun¬ cil instead of a commission. But for the present the com¬ mission form of government has the better chance of success in New York City, and it deserves a thorough trial. The Ivins charter gives it a trial, which if it is not as thorough as it might he, is sufficiently thorongh for practical purposes; and every taxpayer who is alarmed by the tendency to extrav¬ agance and inefiiciency of the existing government, suould never forget that these dangerous tendencies will continue until a responsible commission is granted the necessary power to check them. We have had for the last four years a IVIayor who is honestly and intelligently desirous of .giv¬ ing the city economical and efficient government; and during the same period the majority of the Board of Estimate has also been well intentioned. But nothing has availed to check the excessive expenditure of the taxpayers' money aud noth¬ ing will avail until authority is concentrated, and the re¬ sponsibility for extravagance can be brought home to its perpetrators. IT is announced definitely that the Pennsylvania station will be opened some time between" December 1st and January 1st next, but the opening at this time will be only partial. In the beginning the new station will be used only for the express trains of the Pennsylvania R, R. Co, and the trains of the Jamaica branch of the Long Island Road, Not until next summer will a large proportion of the local traffic of the latter company be carried to Thirty-third Street and Seventh Avenue, and it may be several years before the new service is completely installed- The actual effect of the Pennsylvania improvement on the local real estate situation will, conse¬ quently, be disclosed very slowly- The greater part, if not the whole of the commutatiotf traffic to New Jersey will reach New York by the trolley tunnels, and only very grad¬ ually will a demand be created for the running of commuters' trains to the new Terminal, On the other hand it is planned little by little to run all the Long Island trains into the new station, as may be seen by the fact that there are four tun¬ nels'under the East River against only two under the Hudson River. Many commuters who are landed at Thirty-thii'd Street and Seventh Avenue will not be much better off than they are under e.xisting conditions; and it is only very slowly that the full effect and infiuence of the new terminal will be developed- Little by little an improvement of this kind cre¬ ates a trafflc, dependent absolutely upon the new and better means of communication. Business men and wage-earners, whose offices are situated between Twenty-third and Forty- second Streets, will have a much stronger inducement than they have at present to live on Long Island. People who live on Long Island will have a much stronger inducement to carry on their business in the vicinity of the new Terminal. Thus little by little the number of commuters to Long Island will grow, and their growth will be very much accelerated as soon as the new Terminal is provided with adequate subway connections- A Seventh Avenue subway will enormously in¬ crease the radius within which commuters on the Long Island road can make journeys twice a day, and until such a subway is constructed the new local Pennsylvania system will remain a mutilated object. ACCORDING to the most recent reports the management of the Interborough Company is reconsidering the stand which it took a few months ago. At that time Mr, Shouts declared that the company stood upon an all or nothing plat¬ form. Either it must obtain from the city the routes and franchises it had claimed or else it would retire from the business of subway extension. This was au extraordinary attitude for the directors of an important business enter¬ prise to assume, even though they had some right to com¬ plain of their treatment by the local authorities, and even though the plans proposed by the Interborough management did offer the best and most economical immediate extension of the subway system. But if these plans did not meet with official approval, the only attitude for business men to take was to consider whether the official plans could not be turned to profitable account by the Interborough management. Ap¬ parently this is the problem now under consideration in the offlce of the company, and it is to be hoped that the results thereof will soon be announced. Report has it that Mr. Shonts rather likes the idea of a Madison Avenue extension