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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 85, no. 2189: February 26, 1910

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February 26, 1910 RECORD AND GUIDE 427 ESTABDSHny^ MARf'H 21«> 186 8, DtAteD to RpA,L Estate. BinLDijJo A^Ro^rrEcruRE.KousEitOLDDEGffliATBiti Bi/sif/ESs Afto Themes of GeiJer&L Ir/toi.Esi., PRICE PER YEAR IN ADVANCE EIGHT DOLLARS Communications should ba addreaaed tO J C. W. SWEET Published Every Saturdap By THE RECORD AND GUIDE CO, President, CLINTON W. SWEET Treasurer, F. W. DODGE Vice-Pres. & Genl. Mgr,, H. W. DESMOND Secretary, F. T. MILLER Nos. 11 to 15 East 24tli Street, New York City (Telephone, Madison Sqtiare, 4430 fo 4433.) "Entered at the Post Office at New York, N. Y., as srcond-class matter." • Copyrighted, 1910, by The Record Se Guide Co. Vol. LXXXV. FEBRUARY 26, 1910. No. 21S9. THE Twenty-third Street Improvement Association has requested the Public Service Commissi ou to change the route of tbe Broadway-Lexington Avenue Subway, so that it will take the line of the Bowery instead of Broadway south of Fourteenth Street, but there is not the remotest chance tliat the Commission will seriously consider the ap¬ plication. The change in plans would mean a delay in sub¬ way construction for an indefinite period; and the laying out of a new route would have to be of indisputable advantage in order to justify such a delay. It cannot be reasonably claimed that the proposed change would be sufficiently ad¬ vantageous to compensate the city for any further postpone¬ ment in new subway construction. Doubtless the idea of the Association, that a continuous route along Broadway would constitute the most useful and popular subway which could be constructed in Manhattan, is a sound idea; hut that idea has already been rejected by the Commission, and this re¬ jection has become final. The Commission in laying out the Broadway-Lexington Avenue route has proceeded on the theory that the new subway should compete with the exist¬ ing subway instead of supplementing it. The only possible tenant of a continuous Broadway line would he the Inter¬ borough Co., and the Commission has decided that it is more advantageous for the city to quarrel with that corporation than to co-operate with it. Assuming then that the new subway is to be independent, it is far better to lay out the independent route along the line of densest traffic—which is assuredly that of lower Broadway, Moreover, inasmuch as the Bowery forms an essential part of one of the four longi¬ tudinal thoroughfares contained in the street plan of Man¬ hattan, it should be reserved for a subway, whose upper portion would continue along Third Avenue. The other sug¬ gestions of the Association, namely, that an express statioii should be established at Twenty-third Street, is, however, both sound and practicable. To change the existing plans in this respect would mean little or no delay and would be of the utmost convenience to the travelling puhlic. In refus¬ ing to establish an express station anywhere between Canal and Forty-second Street the Commission is proceeding on a false principle. Express stations should he distributed, not concentrated. The one at Forty-second Street should be abandoned, and be replaced by new ones both at Twenty- third and Fifty-ninth Streets. Considering the rapid and prodigious increase of the business population in and around Madison Square, the failure to provide that central point with the convenience of an express station is wholly inexcusable, and will cause exasperating and unnecessary delays to hundreds of thousands of people as long as the Broadway- Lexington Avenue route continues to be used. existing subway south of Fourteenth Street with the new- subway north thereof, the whole system could be operated with a minimum of expense to the company and a maximum of advantage to the public. Why then, have not the incon¬ testable and considerable advantages of such an arrangement appealed to the management of the Belmont Co.? There is only one explanation which seems adequate. The manage¬ ment of the Interborough Co. must have been warned off the premises by more powerful financial interests. The Broad¬ way-Lexington Avenue route is to all appearances being re¬ served to provide the New Haven Railroad Co. with an en¬ trance into Manhattan and competition is heing suppressed for that purpose. Messrs. J. P. Morgan & Co. are dominant in the management of the New Haven Railroad Co. They are also the bankers of the Interborough company. Without their assistance the Interborough Co. is powerless to raise the money needed for subway extensions, and it is being com¬ pelled to stand aside and to allc)w the New Haven Co. an entrance into Manhattan. Such is the explanation, which appears to account most satisfactorily for the peculiarities of the existing situation, and if it is true, it is certainly a great pity. The Broadway-Lexington Avenue subway forms by no means a perfect supplement to the existing subway, but the two routes could he operated together with much greater convenience to the travelling public than they could be oper¬ ated independently. Independent operation means substan¬ tially that the interest of the inhabitants of Manhattan in a well-articulated rapid transit system will he subordinated to the interest of Long Island in a tri-borough system. For it is very probable that the so-called tri-borough route as planned at present constitutes at bottom a development of the joint plans of the New Haven and Pennsylvania Railroad Companies to develop Long Island both for manufactur¬ ing and domestic purposes at the expense of Manhattan. IN SPITE of the fact that the Broadway-Lexington Avenue route is planned to compete with the present subway instead of supplementing it, the Record and Guide has never been able to understand why the management of the Inter¬ borough Co. has apparently rejected the idea of bidding upon it. Whatever its defects, this proposed new subway should develop a traffic as dense as that now carried on the existing subway, and if it can .be operated profitably by an indepen¬ dent company, it can assuredly be made equally remunera¬ tive by the Interborough. Indeed, it ought to be even more remunerative, because in that case by means of a connecting link along Broadway, from Fourteenth Street and Forty- second Street, and hy means of another link connecting the IF it is true, as reported, that the Board of Estimate has decided to build future subways on the city's credit, it is at least conceivable that the Interborough Co. would be thereby enabled to become a bidder on the Broadway-Lexing¬ ton Avenue route. In that case the operating company, in¬ stead of being obliged to raise over $100,000,000, both for construction and equipment, would not be obliged to supply more than the cost of equipment, and it is conceivable at least that the Interborough Co. could raise this compara¬ tively modest sum, as it did before, without the assistance of J. P. Morgan & Co. The Record and Guide sincerely hopes that such will be the case, not because it has any preference for the Interborough Co., but because it would like to see the inhabitants of Manhattan 6btain the utmost possible local benefit from local subway construction. What is wholly wrong about the existing situation is the unmistak¬ able evidence it affords of the operation of powerful subter¬ ranean interests; and the crying need of the immediate fu¬ ture is the disclosure of the real nature and intentions of these underhand influences behind the so-called Gaffney syndicate. Is it or is it not the New Haven Company? If so, is it in the interest of New York City that a powerful firm of bankers should dictate the policy both of the Inter¬ borough Co. and the one possible competitor? All these questions will be answered by the events of the next six months. When the time comes to hid on the Broadway-Lex¬ ington Avenue route the plans of the New Haven Co. wiU have to be disclosed, but it is certainly most unfortunate that during the whole period of preparation public opinion has been left in the dark as to the forces which are actually determining the future of New York City in relation to the essential matter of rapid transit. The Broadway-Lexington Avenue route as a transit improvement depends for its pecu¬ liar effect wholly upon the nature of its control. If leased to the Interborough Co, its influence upon the future of the city would he very different than if it were leased to the New Haven Co. In the former case it would be operated for the beneflt chiefly of Manhattan. In the second case it would he operated chiefiy for the benefit of the outlying bor¬ oughs, and this distinction should be thoroughly understood before public opinion approves or disapproves of any par¬ ticular contract. IT is an interesting piece of news in relation to the de¬ velopment of loft-construction in Manhattan that a sixteen-story building is to he erected in Twenty-second Street, between Fifth and Sixth Avenues. When loft-build¬ ings began to be built north of 14th Street over ten years ago, six-story structures, were being put up on the side