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June 6, 1885
The Record and Guide.
THE RECORD AND GUIDE,
Published every 8atui-day,
191 Broadwav, IST. "ST.
ONE TEAR, in advance, SIX DOLLARS.
CommimicatioDs should be addressed to
C. W. SWEET, 191 Broadway.
J. T. LINDSEY, Business Manager.
JUNE 6, 1885.
There is no improvement in the business outlook. The rate cutÂ¬
ting on the railroads continues, and tlie reports show constantly
diminishing receipts on all the lines. Jay Gould and liis following
have succeeded in slightly advancing prices which is not diflScult to
do with money so great a drug in the market and so little stock is in
the street; but there is no backbone to the market. General trade is
quiet and real estate dull, but strong. The reduction in the price
of money ia Europe shows that business is stagnant everywhere.
Plans are in preparation for a new depot for the New York CenÂ¬
tral Railroad at Mott Haven, in the neighborhood of One Hundred
and Thirty-eighth street. This is for the accommodation of the
large number of travelers wlio reside above Forty-second street, and
who naturally object to riding so far down as the Grand Central
depot. There has been no oflScial announcement of this improveÂ¬
ment, but it may in time involve the turning of the Forty-second
street terminus into a local depot. The line between the Harlem
and Forty-second street may yet be a branch of the Broadway
Arcade Road, and a mere feeder to the raUway system beyond the
There has been some talk of an anangemeut between the ManÂ¬
hattan Company and the New York Central, by which the former
would collect passengers and baggage at all its stations and convey
them to the Central's depot to be located on the other side of the
Harlem. The high valuation of Manhattan stock is partly due to
rumors of an alliance with the Central Road, this end being in view.
But this report may be set afloat merely to artificially enhance the
value of Manhattan stock. It would uudoubtedly advantage travÂ¬
elers from elsewhere as well as our own citizens if the elevated sysÂ¬
tems could be used to distribute as well as collect passengers using
the steam roads in and out of the city.
The full text of the Mechanics' Lieu Law, just signed by
Governor Hill, will be found elsewhere. It is a verbose document
and its text is confusing, except to technically trained lawyers.
The new enactment will be a nuisance to buildersand wUl subserve
no purpose, except to give more business to lawyers. This seems to
have been the design tn the passage of the law. The Real Estate
Exchange protested against the passage of any new law affecting
mechanics' liens, not because the old law was perfect, but for the
reason that all experience went to show that the changes made by
legislators were never in the interest of the buUding trade. It is to
be hoped that some day the Exchange wiU be in a position to make
its wishes felt at Albany on matters affecting buUding interests.
Mr. O. B. Potter is desirous that Governor Hill shotdd veto the
bill prohibiting the erection of tall apartment hoases in New York.
The enactment that passed the Legislature, it should be rememÂ¬
bered, does not limit the height of office buildings. Mr. Potter's
remarks are worth considering. The prohibition of high buildings
in Europs was before the invention of the elevator. That " vertical
raUway " has made tall buUdings not only possible but desirable.
They can be made safer and more wholesome than the old-fashioned
dweUings. The land of this island is limited, and the growth of
the population wi?l be checked if high structures are not jjermitted.
StUl there is a good deal to be said in favor of the proposed law.
Unless the streets are widened adjoining property is injured by
these taU buildings and the lower floors are necessarily deprived of
light and au\ These high structures should be permitted when they
occupy the entire block, or when they front upon a public square.
Architecturally these splendid buildings have advantaged the
metropolis very greatly.
Cortain interested persons have been endeavoring to use the
name of the Real Estate Exchange so as todescredit the bill now
before Governor Hill, amending the charter of the company which
has a right to build a steam railroad under Broadway. The board
of directors, however, at its meeting last Tuesday passed au unanÂ¬
imous resolution requesting tbj Legislative committee not to comÂ¬
mit itself or the Exchange for or agaiust any of the biUs now
before the Governor, The Legislative committee at its meeting on
Wednesday did as they were requested, and the Exchange stands enÂ¬
tirely uncommitted on the Arcade scheme. The directors felt that
they had no moral right to pledge the five hundred shareholders of
the Exchange for or against any alleged public improvement withÂ¬
out taking a vote of all the members.
There are certain matters which the directors and the Legislative
committee can act upon without having their motives questioned.
The business of the Exchange is of the first importance, and it is the
duty of its officers to in every way develop its trade possibilities.
They can also take action to induce legislatures to amend the land
laws and simplyfy enactments affecting real estate and building
operations. But the officers clearly have no right to commit the
Exchange for or against works of public improvement, respecting
which there is an honest difference of opinion. If any action is
taken it should be at a general meeting of the shareholders. It is
unfortunately the tendency of all corporations and large real estate
owners to oppose all public improvements, no matter how necessary
or useful, and if the Exchange was to go upon record upon such
matters it would probably soon become discredited as a wise organ
of the real estate interest.
The Garden City Cathedral.
The late A. T. Stewart would not have been amused if he had
known what was to become of his pet real estate investment.
Nothing in the nature of a pecvmiary sacrifice was amusing to him.
He would, however, have been greatly puzzled if he had been perÂ¬
mitted to revisit Garden City on Wednesday and see what his heirs
and executors had made of it. Mr. Stewart was by no means
devoid of charitable impulses. But lus owu idea of his own monÂ¬
ument was the Workingwomen's Home in Park avenue. His sucÂ¬
cessors judged that it would be a shame to waste upon charity
what might be made a paying investment, while there would be an
appropriate object for charity in au investment that had failed to
pay. So the Workingwomen's Home became a hotel, and the
unprofitable suburb was converted into an asylum for bishops and
other distressed persons of that class. Although this transposition
would have faUed to amuse Mr. Stewart, it cannot faU to amuse
many of his survivors.
There has certainly been nothing niggardly about the manner in
which the scheme to convert Garden City into a cathedral city has
been carried out. The church was begun, it is understood, merely
aa a memorial chapel to Mr. Stewart, and was afterwards expanded
into the project of a cathedral for the diocese of Long Island, its
dimensions remaining virtually what they were before. The origina
plan would have provided a building appropriate enough in
size as a memorial chapel, and ample, even extravagantly spacious
as a parish church for the Episcopalians of Garden City; but it is
absurd and inflated to describe as a " cathedral" a church 170 feet
in extreme length, and gives a very wrong idea of a buUding which
is simply a large parish church of extremely ornate architecture
with a jjrivate vault of great gorgeousness attached to it.
Nevertheless, money has beeu very freely spent upon the catheÂ¬
dral. The question whether, in an architectural sense, it has been
well spent is another question. It is probably the richest church
of its dimensions in this country. We know of no other in which
there is so profuse an employment of carved stone on the outside.
The windows are richly traceried, the gables are all crocketed, the
pinnacles of the aisles and of the clere-story are aU furnished with
gargoyles, the mouldings are generally elaborate, the tower and
spire are especially rich.
The general composition of the church is not ineffective. SpringÂ¬
ing as it does from a level and nearly treeless plain, it makes an
agreeable silhouette from almost any point of view. The rear, howÂ¬
ever, or either flank makes a better impression than the main
front, whicli is the east front, instead of the west front that it
should be according to the usage of cathedrals. The transposiÂ¬
tion has no apparent motive.
The principal front is weakened by the tower. This with all
its elaboration is a singularly feeble piece of design, being nowhere
emphatically belted and visibly tied together by strong horizontal
hnes. The gabling of each front of the tower conduces to this
aspect of weakness, which is carried stiU further by the treatÂ¬
ment of the spire, in which the " web " between the ribs is studded
with pinnacles which are obviously of no use in such a situation.
The apse is much better, although here the architect has thrown
away the opportunity of distinguishing his work from the convenÂ¬
tional Gothic church without straining after the difference. The
point in which it does, in fact, differ from otiier churches is that
it was buUt mainly as a Stewart mausoleum. The mausoleum was
placed appropriately enough under the chancel. If it had been
marked from the outside by appropriate features, the marking
would have given this end of the church a character of its own.
Nothing of the sort has been attempted, the crypt being lighted by
mere " basement windows," and a legitimate source of effect and
distinction has been wasted.