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August 3, 1901.
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^ estabusheh ^ (JWpaei-^ i^se.
DEVb-TEi) TO f^L Estaie . BmLD^^fG A^rrEcmiRE .KousEbloiD DegohuioiI.
BusiiJess aiJd Themes of GEtJER^l. IiftERfST-
PRICE PER. YEAR IN ADVANCE SIX DOLLARS
published eVerg Saturday
Commxinlcatloiia should be addressed to
C. W. SWEET, 14-16 Vesey Street, New YopR
this cannot always continue, and we must surely now be on the
verge of a better state of things," The first is a typical stateÂ¬
ment and the second rather exceptional in its tone of encourageÂ¬
ment for the future and from these the general condition of feelÂ¬
ing can be gathered.
J, T. LTOTiSET, Businesa MaoaEer
Telepiione, Cortlandt 1370
"Entered at the Post Office at New York, N. Y.. as second-class raatter."
AUGUST 3, 1901.
The Index to Volume LXVII. of the Record and Guide, coverÂ¬
ing the period between January ist and June 30th, 1901, is now
ready for delivery. Price, $1.00. This Index in its enlarged
form is now recognized as indispensable to every one engaged or
interested in real estate and building operations. It covers all transÂ¬
actionsâ€”deeds, mortgages, leases, auction sales, building plans Hied, etc.
Orders for the Index should he sent at once to the office of publication,
14 and 16 Vesey Street.
IN Wall Street there is no improvement or sign of any coming
in the near future. Investment houses are as dull as those
making a specialty of speculative accounts, and it follows that
no matter how good the news, the market will respond only
feebly and perfunctorily. There is always more or less stock
coming on the market and in dull times this is more noticeable,
because sellers must make concessions and when bad news inÂ¬
creases speculative selling breaks are the natural consequence.
Our troubles, including crop damage and strikes, have one good
result, even if they are not good for business generally, and will
reduce railroad earnings, and so forth. They are recalling the
caution that was such an admirable characteristic of the people
in the period of currency agitation and whichseemed to have enÂ¬
tirely departed last spring; in the long run this will prove better
for the community than a prolongation of price-inflation on the
Stock Exchange would have done. "While the consequences of
over-speculation, crop damage and strikes cannot be avoided
they can be met best by a people in a cool, prudent state of mind.
Wall Street may suffer, but the country generally will benefit
NEWS from European trading and financing centres conÂ¬
tinues to be bad and yet not to have that element of senÂ¬
sationalism that proclaims the. worst is over and the time has
come to buy for advances or to get tKe house in order for a new
stretch of activity. Pecuniary trouble and consequent failure
â– are reported from this point or that, taking a new direction each
week, but rather arousing apprehension of what is to come than
creating the feeling that all the bad and weak spots had revealed
themselves and were, therefore, less dangerous. Judging
from our own experiences, the German tariff discussion opened
by the publication of the government's proposals would check a
revival of business, even if the world were ready for it. The conÂ¬
tinued heaviness of leading government securities, in spite of a
prevailing cheapness of money, is the feature that most reveals
the general want of confidence in the future, and when we
find the German iron trades saying that their only hope for
strength is in the prolongation of the strike on this side of the
Atlantic, we may be sure that their condition is bad, a fact, inÂ¬
deed, that the journals of the country are taking some pains to
express. This frankness, though, is pretty general. In the reÂ¬
port of a recent meeting of one of the prominent London banks,
we find the chairman addressing his sliareholders thus: "As reÂ¬
gards the future, if I were, in a prophetic mood, what I might say
would perhaps be thought too pessimistic. We are, however, acÂ¬
customed to await events and not to prophesy, but with more or
less dangerous position in Berlin and New York, the probabilÂ¬
ity of an indifferent harvest, and the cost of the war going on
indefinitely, there is much uncertainty before us. Moreover, it
is probable that we. have yet to feel the full effects of the enorÂ¬
mous loss of life and money, and the displacement of iaboi'
caused by the war." At the same time we find the chairman of
a big concern engaged in making cotton machinery telling his
stockholders: 'â– Personally, 1 have been connected with the trade
for over 25 years, and others on the lioard for a longer pei'iod.
We can confidently say that never before have we known such
stagnation in the cotton manufacturing countries of the world
on which we textile machinists principally depend for work. But
The Public Squares of New York.
IT is an unfortunate fact, but true, tliat there are scarcely any
public squares in New York. Tliere are a number of public
places, which 'are called squares, but the name does not square
with the fact. The fa-ct is there are several small parks, and
several crossroads, at which Broadway intersects with some
other avenue, but a square properly so-ealled^a square comÂ¬
parable to a dozen of the smaller squares in a foreign capitalâ€”
is almost entirely lacking in New York. W'ere it not for
Broadway, the 'Metropolis would be merely a wilderness of
streetsâ€”none of them leading to any particular place, and alÂ¬
though Broadway does give some variety and distinction to its
street system, the opportunities that it offers have not been
used ito advantage. In no respect did the officials who laid out
the street system early in the century perform their task more
clumsily than in the ugliness and insignificance to which they
reduced the appearan-ce of New Y'ork by this blunder.
A little consideration will show that our indictment has not
been drawn too strongly. In the first place it must be rememÂ¬
bered that a square is not a small park. Small parks are propÂ¬
erly placed, not in centers of business and traffic, but in quiet
residence sections. The purpose should be to bring them as near
as possible to the doorsteps of large numbers of people. They
are meant as playgrounds for children, and as quiet resting and
breathing spaces for men and women during intervals of leisÂ¬
ure. Squares, on the contrary, are meant to be centere of acÂ¬
tivity. They should, when properly placed and planned, be sitÂ¬
uated at the intersection of important thoroughfares, and in this
way become the great exchanges of city trafii'Câ€”places to which
all the world must go and from which many other places are
easily accessible. They should, consequently, be spacious, be
entered by a number of important intersecting streets, and be
laid out, not as parks with lawns and shrubbery, but should be
paved for tie freer movement of man, beast and oar. It is in
this sense that Trafalgar Square and the Place de I'Opera are
It will soon be seen that in the same sense, New York has
scarcely any squares at all. Union and Madison squares are
merely small parks, formed by putting together three city blO'Cks,
at a place near which Broadway happens to intersect with some
other avenue. But in each case Broadway only skirts the park
on one side, and the park is no more a clearing-house for traffic
than if it never existed. The so-called squares offer little or no
chance for architectural effect; they provide no interesting vistas.
When the Dewey Arch was situated at the intersection of BroadÂ¬
way and Fifth avenue, a proper line on the two streets was obÂ¬
tained only by crowding it much too close to the buildings on
the west side of the square, so that the arch was in some measÂ¬
ure dwarfed by the Fifth Avenue Hotel. As' for the misÂ¬
called Herald and Long Acre squares, they are mere repetitions
of Union and Madison squares, but without the parks. They are
entirely insignificant and ugly, with their long dimensions, the
unshapely triangular plots at either end, and the utter lack of
â– nny opportunity offered for effective architectural treatment
These deficiencies have not made so very much difference in the
past, for the squares in question were lined, for the most part,
with comparatively insignificant houses, but now that handsome
birildings are abont to be erected, now that Long Acre Square
promises to become the central point, not merely of Manhattan,
but of the whole of New York, it is a thousand times a pity that
the square has been planned with such an utter absence of spaÂ¬
ciousness, interesting lines, and proper proportions. It would
cost too much to make any radical changes at the present time,
and New York, when she becomes the greatest center of populaÂ¬
tion and human activity in the world, cannot avoid at the same
time the sorry distinction of a street system more befitting some
provincial manufacturing city.
A little further up town there are two squares, which more
nearly deserve the name. Wc refer, of course, to the Circle at
the intersection ol Broadway and Eighth avenue and the Plaza.
Both of these places are genuine squares, sufficiently spacious,
and designed entirely for the purpose of accommodating traffic.
Moreover their proportions and lines are such that there is no
necessary reason why buildings erected on these squares should
not be architecturallyintei-esting.for they can be seen fromproper
points of view, and at sufficient distances. In the case of the
Plaza this is particularly fortunate, because both the avenues
and streets in that vicinify are gradually assuming an air of
sumptuous splendor, which almost amounts to distinction. The