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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 85, no. 2182: January 8, 1910

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January 8, 1910, RECORD AND GUIDE 51 ESTABUSHED^ W^ARf.HSiy^ 1868, Dev6te3) 10 f^Ej^LEstate,BuiLDiffo i\kcKitecture,HouseholdDEGOfiATiotf. B[Jsl^/ESS AffoThemes or GEKERftL lfiTER,Esi., PRICE PER YEAR IN ADVANCE EIGHT DOLLARS Communicatlous should he addressed to C. W. SWEET Pablhfied EVerp Saturdap By THE RECORD ANTt GUIDE CO. President, CLINTON W. SWEET Treasurer, F, W. DODGE Vice-Pres. £ Genl, Mgr., H. W. DESMOND Secretary, F. T, MILLER Nos. 11 to 13 East 24t!i Street, New Vorli City (Telephone. Madison Square, 4430 to 4433,) "Entered at the Post Office at New York, N. I'., as s cniid-class matter." Copyrighteil. ISllO, by The Record & GuiZe Co. Vol. LXXXV, JANUARY 8, 1910. No. 21S2. THE new Administration has made an excellent start. Mayor Gaynor's appointments indicate that his only interest in making them is to secure for the city efficient and economical administration. Particularly encouraging is his admirable appointment for Corporation Counsel, because this official will during the next few years have an exceptional opportunity for public service. Pew of the reforms that ' have been discussed recently will save the city more money than the reform in the methods of condemning land for public purposes—a reform, the importance of which IVIayor Gayuor has repeatedly emphasized in his public addresses. It is probable that the only way in which all graft and waste can be eliminated from condemnation proceedings will be by the establishment of a court, whose exclusive function it will be to fix the price at which the City shall acquire land for public purposes; but this remedy is remote, because it can¬ not be secured without a constitutional amendment. In the meantime much can be accomplished by an agrec-ment to hasten condemnation proceedings between the Supreme court and the Corporation Counsel, Of course the ultimate respon¬ sibility for the appointment of competent and disinterested commissioners rests witli the Supreme court justices, and if they really want to save the City time and money, they can always do so, as Mayor Gaynor did in this conspicuous instance, by appointing Commissioners who are pledged to the economical and quick transaction of the necessary busi¬ ness. Presumably the Justices will be more willing than they have been in the past to secure such pledges from their appointees. They have been severely and justly criticized of late for the extent to which they bave allowed the politi¬ cal machine to dictate appointments of this kind, and in all probability they will wish to avoid hereafter a renewal of such disagreeable and well-justified attacks. They now have an excellent opportunity of doing so. They can depend absolutely upon the fact that the new Corporation Counsel will not suggest men for commissionerships who will look upon the office as an opportunity of sitting as long as pos¬ sible and collecting a maximum number of ten dollar bills, and if they oppose him in the effort he will make to reduce the cost of these proceedings, they will come in for an amount of public reprobation, which they will not care or dare to face. It may be hoped and expected, consequently, that the new administration will be able to effect for the city a sub¬ stantial saving in this important source of graft and waste. IT is to be hoped that the peculiar interest which Mayor Gaynor has always exhibited in new subways will lead him to mark the close connection existing between a lower West Side subway for Manhattan and the extension of Seventh avenue south from its existing termination at lltb street. Within the next few months the contract for the Broadway- Lexington avenue route will in all probability be let, and after that event has taken place the prior claim of the Lower West Side for some kind of subway accommodation can hardly be disputed. One of the most important func¬ tions of such a subway will be to provide a quick express service between the financial district and the centre of up¬ town business at Broadway and 34th street, and in order that such a service may be made as quick as possible, the lower West Side route should be made as straight as possible. But the one way in which such straightness can be secured will be by extending Seventh avenue to Varick street and by widening Varick street as far as its junction with Broadway. A four track subway which followed the course of such a street improvement would do more for the business develop¬ ment of Manhattan than would any other proposed subway. Not only would it connect by a direct path the two busiest districts in Manhattan, but it would open up an intermediate section, which is now practically wasted because of imper¬ fect means of communication with the rest of the city. It would provide that room for business expansion in a terri¬ tory where real estate is still comparatively cheap, and would thus increase the business efficiency of the borough. The arguments which can be urged in favor of this combined rapid transit and street improvement are over-whelming, and the new administration cannot afford to delay the serious consideration of the project. Every year of delay will increase the cost of the land needed for the purpose without rendering the ultimate extension of Seventh avenue any less necessary. Already the more progressive policy adopted by the Corporation of Trinity has resulted in the planning of several new business buildings in Varick street, and un¬ questionably these new buildings are only the fore-runners of many similar improvements. Admitting the necessity of the proposed extension of Seventh avenue, the city will only lose money by delaying its execution. In order to bring about this combination of a street extension and subway construction, there will be necessary a cordial co-operation between the Public Service Commission and the Board of Estimate, and fortunately there is, apparently, a fair chance that such co-operation can be brought about in the near future. THE fact that the northeast corner of Pifty-second street and Fifth avenue is being offered for sale for business purposes is an extremely significant indication of the rapidity with which business is likely to take possession of that part of the avenue. The plot cannot become the site of a'busi¬ ness building without the consent of the Vanderbilts, aud If they are willing to give their consent, it must mean that they have agreed to abandon their opposition to the trans¬ formation of the district. It has been apparent for tn^. last two years that the only way In which the part of Fifth avenue north of Fiftieth street could be reserved for resi¬ dential occupancy would be by the purchase of practically every lot which was owned by a doubtful person; and appa¬ rently, not even the Vanderbilts aud the Goelets are willing to undertake the expense of such a task. Business, conse¬ quently, is to be allowed to take its course. Its course will be slow, because the number- of desirable plots for sale is small, and because the millionaires who own houses in that neighborhood will not move in a hurry and then only when business men can afford to pay even higher prices for their property than those which now prevail on the most expensive parts of Fifth avenue. But the process, although slow, will be inexorable. Practically the whole of Manhattan, south of the Park, must within the next twenty years, be overrun and occupied by huge business buildings, simply because that part of the borough will become more valuable for busi¬ ness than for any other purposes. The Vanderbilt man¬ sions at Fifty-second street will meet with the same fate as the old Astor and Stewart mansions at Thirty-fourth street and Fifth aveuue. The brownstone houses* buUt In 1SS4 by William H. Vanderbilt, occupying as they do a whole block front will form a peculiarly desirable loca¬ tion for a huge store, and It Is not impossible that they will be sold for such occupancy some time within the next ten years. The Increase in the value of Fifth avenue real estate for business purposes has been large enough, even to swallow up the million or more which was Invested in the old brownstone houses. AN extremely interesting piece of real estate news was recently published In relation to the proposed combi¬ nation of the Metropolitan and Hammerstein operas. It was officially admitted that negotiations have been underway for some time between Marshall Field & Company of Chi¬ cago, and the owners of the Metropolitan Opera House for the sale of the block on Broadway occupied by that building. The admission is of altogether unusual importance, not only because of the removal it foreshadows of the Opera House, but because of the new purpose to which the site of that building will be put. It has been well known for some time that the directors of the Metropolitan have wanted to sell the ugly aud inconvenient building in which they are housed at present and move further up-town, but the diffi¬ culties of removal were so great that many years were ex¬ pected to elapse before the project was carried out. Not only was it necessary to secure a purchaser for the old opera house, but it was equally necessary to secure before tbe sale No official record is OMITTED from these pages.