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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 84, no. 2171: October 23, 1909

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October 23, 1909 RECORD AND GUIDE 717 ESTABUSHED-^M.ftRCH51'4^ia68, tofrrEfipf^LEsTJ^JE.SuiLDll/c i(^R,C.l(!TE(3TURE.K0USElf0U)pEKS(fcn0ri. BusiVess aiIdThemes of GESeRfiV Ir/TEH,Esi.; PRICE PER YEAR IN ADVANCE EIGHT DOLLARS Communications should be addressed to C. W. SWEET Published EVerg Saturdag By THE RECORD AND GUIDE CO. President. CLINTON W. SWEET Treasurer, F. W. DODGE Vice-Pres. Sc Genl. 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 New York, N. Y.. as second-class matter," Copyrighted, 1909, by The Kecord & Guide Co. Vol. LXXXIV. OCTOBER 23, 1909. No. 2171. WHEN tlie present municipal campaign flrst began it looked as if its chief educational value would consist In the educational value of the discussion which would take place of tbe financial condition of the city. As a matter of fact, however, such has not been the result, Financial issues have been obscured 1)y the personal issues which have come to the front during the past two weeks, and the speeches of the several candidates, Mr. Bannard excepted, do not place much emphasis upon the problem of a more economical ad¬ ministration of the vast business interests of New York. Nevertheless, the campaign will not be wholly wanting in educational value. The people of New York are, at any rate, being taught something about the real meaning and effect of the machinery of government that obtains under the ex¬ isting charter. In the last two campaigns everything tended to emphasize tlie personalities of the several candidates for Mayor, and the fact was obscured that important as the Mayor is in the machinery of local government in this city, the Board of Estimate is of still more importance. The Board of Estimate is substantially a "board of directors" (hat is responsible for the settlement of all really Important questions of public policy; and a Mayor, no matter how well- intentioned he might be, would be powerless unless he could secure the co-operation of an equally well-intentioned Board of Estimate, But it is I'ust this truth which is now being fcTrced upon the attention of the voters of New York. At least one of the three candidates for Mayor is constantly telling his hearers that it makes very little difference which of the competitors of that position is elected, whereas it makes an essential difference whether or not they give the new Mayor the support of an efficient and disinterested Comptroller and President of the Board of Aldermen. And this is undoubtedly a great gain. Never before has the peculiar importance of the Board of Estimate been forced upon the attention of the voters, and it may be hoped that the lesson will not be soon forgotten. Por the Board of Esti¬ mate is assuredly destined hereafter to become of more, rather than of less, importance. The new charter makes it even more exclusively responsible for the good government of the city than it is at present; and it Is made better able to redeem its responsibilities, because il; is supplied with a better organization for the purpose. Tbe Ivins charter may not be passed at the coming session of the Legislature; but we are confident that in the course of time the work accom¬ plished by Mr. Ivins and his associates will not be thrown away. The new charter will prevail in substantially its ex¬ isting form, because it is really necessary for the good gov¬ ernment of New York; and the day will come when the people of the city will realize the futility of electing good men to office without at the same time supplying them with the organization and the authority indispensable to the re¬ demption of their responsibilities- THE difflculty which the Board of Estimate is having in dealing with the question of widening Thirty-second street constitutes one more illustration of the enormous ob¬ stacles which in Manhattan are encountered in all street- widening proceedings. In the case of Thirty-second street, it is proposed merely to widen one street for the space of one block; and it would seem as if that ought to be a com¬ paratively simple and economical thing to do, particularly in view pf the fact that the vehicular traffic created by the new Pennsylvania Terminal will absolutely demand some such accommodation. Nevertheless, the same kind of obstacles are encountered which have prevented the wideniug of Fifty- ninth street as an approach to the Queensboro Bridge. The project meets with almost unanimous opposition on the, part of th'e owners of contingent property, and its expense prom¬ ises to be very much larger thau was originally anticipated; larger, indeed, than the city can apparently afford for such a modest improvement. In the present instance another and less expensive alternative will' "probably in the end be adopted. It is now proposed to abolish the stoop privileges not only in Thirty-second street, between Sixth and Seventh avenues, but also- in Thirty-first and Thirty-third streets, and in this way to obtain space for widening the roadways of all three of these streets. Inasmuch as all of these streets will in the course of the next few years become lined with shops, the abolition of the stoop privilege will be attended with little or no hardship to the property owner, while it will at the same time afford a considerably increased space for the movement of vehicular traffic. The comparative lack of expense and opposition which this project will involve will be likely to commend it to the Board of Estimate, and there can be no doubt that the same means will be frequently adopted to diminish the congestion in other parts of Man¬ hattan. IT is already sufficiently apparent that the widening of Fifth avenue has within limits been a great success. The dense vehicular trafflc on that avenue is enabled, be¬ cause of the widening, to move with rauch more freedom, aud there is to be remarked also a decided improvement in the appearance'of the avenue. The removal of the stoops, and of the areas which were a legacy from the old stoops, has given the 'avenue a uniformity and propriety of aspect adapted to its standing as the most important retail avenue of the largest city in the country; and the change should be attended by an increase in the business transacted by the stores on the avenue. These stores have been made more sightly and more accessible both for people who travel in vehicles and people who travel on foot. There can be no doubt that similar results would follow frora the abolition of the stoop privileges on all tbe important cross-town streets- Steps should immediately be taken to widen by sim¬ ilar means the roadway of Twenty-third, Thirty-fourth and Forty-second streets; and in the course of time similar changes will in all probability have to be made on certain other cross-town streets between Twenty-third and Forty- eighth streets. Throughout tliis whole district business is pushing farther east and farther west than it did south of Twenty-third street. The cross-town traffic is destined to be increasingly dense; and for the present the best way in which it can be handled is by means of a widening of the carriageways and the abolition of the stoops and the areas. In the end, of course, this device will prove to be wholly ineffective for the purpose it is intended to serve, because with the Increase both of lateral and longitudinal traffic, the congestion at the several points of intersection will become more, rather than less, annoying and delaying. In the end, tliese delays will become intolerable, and some other means will have to be taken to get rid of them; but for the next few years a great deal of relief can undoubtedly be obtained by the widening of the carriageways of all the streets and avenues which have been changing from a residential into a business employment. THE plea emanating from the Greenwich Village Public Service Committee for the extension of Seventh ave¬ nue to the south deserves the attention of the Board of Esti¬ mate and Apportionment- The extension of Seventh avenue to Varick street, and the extension of a widened Variclv street to a junction with Broadway, is one of the few im¬ provements to the street lay-out of New York which -would be very useful and comparatively inexpensive. The whole district affected by the improvement has been hampered in its development because of its confused and inconvenient street plan; and the best means of improving that plan would be by means of the proposed extension of Seventh ave¬ nue. Seventh avenue is a fine, wide thoroughfare, capable of accommodating very much more traffic than it does at present, but of comparatively little use to the business of the city, because it terminates in a brick wall at Eleventh street. Its extension to the south would, consequently, not merely contribute to the development of the territory in the imme¬ diate vicinity, which would be thereby opened up, but it