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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 84, no. 2179: December 18, 1909

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December i8, 1909 RECORD AND GUIDE 1083 Biftn/ES5 AJfe The«es of GeiIeraI Irfttupi^ PRICE PER YEAR IN ADVANCE EIGHT DOLLARS CommuQicatlons should be addressed to C. W. SWEET Published Every Satarday By THE RECOBD AND GUIDE CO. President, CLINTON W. SWEET Treasurer, F. W. DODGE Vlce-Prea. & Genl. Mgr., H. W. DESMOND Secretary. P. T. MILLER Nob. 11 to 15 East 24tli Street, New York City . (Teleplione. Madison Square, 4430 to 4433.) "Entered at the Post Office at New York, N, Y., as second-class matter." Copyrighted, IflOO, by The Record & Guide Co. Vol. LXXXIV. DECEMBER IS, 1909. No. 2179 JUDGE GAYNOR'S ASSURANCES. As someone has said, it is so mucli easier to see, after the procession has passed. Pacts then begin to fit into their proper places, and the piecemeal mosaic pre- "sents a well-defined picture. This, perhaps, explains why New York is only beginning to appreciate how much was gained for tbe cause of good government by the recent elec¬ tion. Almost the incredible happened, and the extraordi¬ nary thing is that every contending element of the contest, without exception, contributed in some measure to the fortu¬ nate outcome. Some of the contributions may not have been intentional, but in the end they constituted a part of the result. If everything had been carefully planned, all could not have come out better. People are beginning to see that although there may have been more thrilling elec¬ tions and far more rhetorical contests, a completer victory for good government has not been secured anywhere for many years. The new turn for hope given to public thought is un¬ doubtedly due to the recent utterances of Mayor-elect Gay¬ uor. Every speech he has made since election has been i very positive contribution to public assurance. Peopk are saying "the judge is back to the bench again." Cer- tainfy nothing could he better than the spirit aud tone of every one of bis post-election speeches. The moral assur¬ ance which they give as to his attitude in regard to the city government is not only indubitable, but of the highest order. Not even the most fearful can spell "politics" out of any of his words. He has restored, within the last few weeks, the almost defunct hope for good government, and the better forces of the city are visibly encouraged. Tbe encouragement lies not in the words, but in the character of the man and the bent of the mind that is revealed behind the words. Real estate, which is so very intimately related to all that is meant by good government, is beginning to feel the bene¬ flcial flnancial effects of the personal guarantee which the Mayor-elect is extending to the solid interests of the city. The great body of taxpayers whom this paper serves, per¬ sonally contribute the major part of the taxes collected. They come directly out of their pockets. Real Estate Owners are the unofficial tax collectors of the city. They underwrite the total tax bill. Conseciuently the honest, efficient and economical use of tbe city's revenue directly affects every square foot of realty, and unquestionably some of the perplexities that to-day disturb the real estate situation at large have arisen from what some one has called the "defalcations of mal¬ administration," meaning thereby not outright dishonesty so much as the less criminal but more costly, effects of geaeral inefficiency. Moreover, the conditions of New York city to-day are such that they impose upon the government an extensive and intricate program for betterments of all sorts. Many nations have nothing like the problems that con¬ front New York City. The housing, under sanitary condi¬ tions, of our growing population, the providing of adequate transit facilities of all sorts, the regulation of fully a score of administrative functions that must some day be put upon the fundamental basis of equity and efflciency, are matters that must sooner or later be dealt with, and must then be governed by something higher than the principles and meth¬ ods of impure politics. The permanent and profltable value of real estate depends ultimately upon how wisely these matters are handled. And the first condition to their ade¬ quate solution is the impartial honesty of the municipal gov¬ ernment itself. After that, or rather, linked with it, is the question of administrative efficiency. So it happens that every thorough student of the real estate situation recog¬ nizes h'ow intimately to-day real estate values are involved in the nature of the personality that rules in the City Hall. As Judge Gaynor has pointed out, we are living under a one- man government. We have, wisely or not, centralized our interests within the hands of a single individual. He and he alone is responsible for the tone and character, if not the detail effects, of our government. It is his influence that dominates. It is easy to see, therefore, how deeply the real estate men of this city are concerned in the results of the last election, aud why the more they study the situation, the more satisfled they are becoming, to flnd a man of Judge Gaynor's standard in the seat of power. THE Record and Guide publishes a carefully prepared account of the meaning, condition and probable scope of the existing movement in Manhattan real estate. There is every reason to believe that the speculative aud invest¬ ment operations that are now being undertaken in the Mid¬ dle District of Manhattan will prove to be the forerunners of one of the most extraordinary transformations that bave ever taken place in the business section of a great city. Aud a consideration of the reasons for the activity which are fully set forth in the accompanying article should convince even the most skeptical that the movement is justified by the changes that will take place during the next few years in the condition determining the value of this section for legitimate business purposes. But it should be added that there is one serious impediment, from which for some years at least the business development of this district wiil suffer. The local authorities have as yet done absolutely nothing lo aid this development by providing any sufficient means of transit. The existing subway does, of course, run along its eastern boundary, but that subway is too far removed from the centre of the district at Broadway and 34th street to meet its needs for proper meaus of communicaion with the rest of Manhattan and the Bronx. The other subway, which the Public Service Commission is trying to have built at an early date, viz.: The Broadway-Lexington avenue route will add little or uoLbiug to the transit conveniences of those firms, who are transacting business along the central line of the middle district, because it is designed particularly for the purpose of paralleling the existing subway from 4 2d to 14th street; but along an avenue which is still further removed from the central liue of traffic. It is certainl; time that the Public Service Commission aud the Board oi Estimate should begin to understand how little their plans are assisting the most profound alteration in business con¬ ditions, which has ever taken place in Manhattan in so short a time. What the Middle District needs above all is ; direct local and express subway connecting it with lower Manhattan and with upper Manhattan and the Bronx, and the only way, in which such a conuection can be obtained is by means of the proposed extension of the existing subway south from 42d street aud Broadway along Seventh aveuue. To delay the construction of such a subway, until arrange¬ ments can be made for additional subways in Brooklyn is deliberately and flagrantly to sacriflce the essential interests of Manbattan to the far less immediately important interests of another borough. There is only one consoling aspect to the existing situation. In March the Pennsylvania Termi¬ nal will be opened, aud the failure of the city to provide for the collection and distribution of the traffic, centering in that neighborhood will raise such a storm of protest that something will have to be done very soon. By that time the Broadway-Lexington avenue line, to which the Commis¬ sion has sacriflced the normal and wholesome development of the Manhattan transit system will be out of the way; and perhaps then the Commission will feel free to take some active steps to improve the transit service of the rest ol the borough. Some of Judge Gaynor's recent remarks stir us to reprint, elsewhere in this paper, an ' article that appeared in our columns more than twenty years ago. It deals with prob¬ lems which have evidently occupied the mind of the Mayor- elect, and is worth reading as a theoretical speculation and practical criticism regarding problems that are just as alive to-day as they were almost a generation back. The eye reads what the eye brings the means of reading, (There is much in these pstees: Read.)