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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 87, no. 2236: January 21, 1911

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January 21, 1911. RECORD AND GUIDE 99 ___^.^^yaJIil. ^ - ESTABUSHED^ MARCH 21^^ 1868. Dev^teO p REA|rEsTMT.BuiLDif/G ^ro^itecture.Housnlou)DegoratimI, Bifsit^Ess Ali) Themes of GeHeraI IHteresi., PRICE PER YEAR IN ADVANCE EIGHT DOLLARS Communications should be addressed to C. W. SWEET Tublished EVerp Saturday By THE RECORD 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 24tli Street, New lEorJc City (TelepUone, Madi.wn Square, 4430 to 4433.) "Entered at tho Post Office at Ncm York, N. Y.. as second-class matter.' ('opsrighttd, 1011. by The Record i& Guide Co. Vol. LXXXVII.- JANUARY 21, 1911. No. 223G THE COMING BUILDING SEASON. DULNBSS is a normal attribute of tlie building situation at every midwinter season, and the present one is no ex¬ ception. The number ol visible operations in hand is prob¬ ably less than in a long period of years, taking the city as a whole rather than any particular part of it. Yet there are underlying conditions of financial soundness, and a tech¬ nical position occupied, that strongly indicate that the year 1911, before it ends, will have given to the building interests fairly satisfactory proofs of activity. Money is steadily tending toward a lower rate for loans, because of the steadily growing total of available funds in financial centers. The railroads, with brighter prospects, are loosen¬ ing up in their orders for materials. In the steel busi¬ ness there is piling up an aggregate of waiting orders that will strain even the capacity of this great business when the dam breaks. Liquidation of securities has largely subsided, and the decline in prices of food stuffs and house supplies, which has been particularly noticeable within a fortnight, has begun to stimulate general retail trade. In the build¬ ing trades, considered apart from the real estate market, it is easy to count up fifty or sixty million dollars' worth of work for the coming season. Only a part of it can be executed within the calendar year, it is true, but never¬ theless there is this vast amount of work waiting to be done, some of it already started and the rest to be started during the year. The iHunlcipal Building, the Grand Central Passenger Station, tbe new U. S. Post Office, the Wool- worth Building, the Greeley Square Hotel, the Bankers' Trust Building, a three-million dollar hotel on Seventh ave¬ nue, the East Elver Savings Bank, the new Masonic Build¬ ing and half a dozen structures to cost a million dollars eacli—these constitute a vision of activity that will remind central and lower Manhattan of the "skyscraper races" of the years 1905 and 1906. Then there are several large works for the suburbs, as the Sea View Hospital on Staten Island and the new State Prison at Wingdale, not to men¬ tion the continuation of the rebuilding of the U. S. Mili¬ tary Academy at West Point. From a long schedule of this new work that lies before us (see Record and Guide of December 31) it is perceived that while there may be for a time a diminution of activity in some departments of construction, the year 1911, before it closes, will see a pronounced revival in other departments. There will be on the whole a greater variety of work than presented it¬ self last year, so far as I\lanhattan is concerned. For the suburbs, and especially for Queens Borough, Westchester County and Northern New Jersey, the indications for good building activity in the latter half of the year are very strong. CO-OPERATIVE HOUSES. EVER since last Spring there has been a noticeable fall¬ ing off in the number of new buildings planned as cooperative apartment houses. This falling off has been due chiefly to two causes. In the first place, there has been a certain over-production of this as of other classes of residential building; and, in the second place, several of the later enterprises of this class have not been bril¬ liant successes. The knowledge that the stockholders in some of these buildings have been heavily assessed has spread, and has discouraged promoters from attempting to put through other enterprises of the same kind. In the case of one enterprise there was a complete failure and a heavy loss, because certain inexperienced promoters had gone ahead without making sure that they could fin¬ ance the new building. There is no reason to suppose, however, that the check to these enterprises is anything but temporary. The cooperative apartment bouse is based upon a sountl business principle, and it has come to stay. It enables a well-to-do family to obtain a home, designed to suit its own tastes, for a smaller sum than a similar floor space could be obtained in the same neighborhood either in a private house or in an ordinary apartment house. It has the advantages both of a private residence and of an apartment; and it appeals particularly to the ever-increasing number of well-to-do people who do not pass more than half of the year in New York City. Co¬ operative apartment houses will, consequently, continue to be built, but a man buying ,an apartment should be very careful of the standing of his proposed associates in the enterprise, and of the soundness of the financial scheme on which it is based. These enterprises ought to be managed by experienced people, who make themselves responsible for the financing of the building and Its erection. Of course, the stockholders have to pay for such services, but they are worth the price. RIVERSIDE PARK FOR NEW YORK PEOPLE. NOT for the puiposes of Commerce, for steamship docks and railroad tracks, were the lands comprising the orig¬ inal Riverside Park purchased by the City with the money of her taxpayers. The world's commerce can have all the rest of the Hudson River shore, but this much is a heritage to be kept inviolate for the enjoyment and benefit of our citi¬ zens through all posterity. Tbe lands under water fronting the Park are as much a natural part of it as if they were vis¬ ible. Between 9GtIi street or thereabouts and the public pier at 12 9th street especially, where the Park Commissioner has proposed to reclaim the land under water, the river edge—■ the littoral zone—is so essential to a riverside park, and so susceptible and ready for a natural and obvious improvement, that we doubt if even Commerce, unemotional and dollar- benumbed as it is, will ever think of turning the people away from it and making it a lauding place for foreign vessels— and a covered freight yard for railroads. We doubt if this wruld ever be permitted. The fear of such a thing is mo¬ mentarily allayed by the remarks of the Commissioner of Docks and Ferries, Hon, Calvin Tomkins, as reported in an¬ other part or this paper. There is no immediate intention to enter upon the development of the "commercial opportuni¬ ties" of the Riverside Park district, but ultimately, he assures us, it will be necessary in his judgment to avail of the wa¬ terfront of "Riverside Drive" as well as the districts above and below for these uses. In any event a distinction should be made between the Park proper lying south of 129th street, and the "Drive," as extended north of the "Loop" at Claremont. But leaving the largei' question lo the future, it is interesting to know that the beautiful stretch of shorefrout opposite Claremont, Morn¬ ingside Heights aud Old Bloomingdale is to be reclaimed and made accessible from the Park by arcading over the railroad tracks. Treated as park landscape solely, and indented with little harbors and landing places for motor boats and yachts, the new land would not only add a new feature to the enjoy¬ ment to be derived from the park, but the improvement taken together with other movements for the beautification of the West Side, such as the Hudson-Fulton Water Gate, would so enhance tbe desirability of residence in the district as to threaten in after years the social primacy of the other side of town. I EXPRESS STATIONS. F, and when a lower West Side subway is ever built, it ought to be planned so that the express trains would not stop between 33d street and Cortlandt street. In the building up of a business center on the middle West Side the quickest possible connection with the financial district is necessary, so that a man can conduct business both up and down town with very little delay, A connection of this kind cannot be furnished by any other subway so well as by one which runs on almost a straight line from the Pennsylvania Terminal to Canal street, because it so hap¬ pens th;i.t Seventh avenue is a comparatively central ave¬ nue and runs into the heart of the district which is destined to be the best location for general business in mid-Man-