Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

a

tion in the economy of domestic dwellings; the whole city is laid out in lots of twentyfive feet front and a hundred feet in depth, on the supposition of a perfect equality in the social condition of every family. But, it has been found convenient for some families to live in houses of smaller dimensions, while some others require larger; and two houses are now sometimes constructed on one lot, while the majority of the new buildings are not more than twenty feet in front; and it has been found that quite as spacious rooms may be had in a house of twenty feet front, as in the old style of houses built on a full sized lot. The new style, instead of cutting off a hall or entry of five feet from the parlors, divides the

basement story, or first floor, into two apartments of equal width, one serving as a hall and the other as an office, and putting the parlors on the second floor, the whole width of the house, with a vestibule between the two, making a suite of three handsome rooms when the sliding doors are thrown open. The houses in Sixteenth-street, of which we have given an engraving, are constructed in this manner, on lots but nineteen feet in width, and are much more spacious, elegant, and convenient than any of the old style of twenty-five feet houses we have ever seen. Many of the new blocks on the Fifth Avenue constructed in this manner, though of even a smaller frontage, have a very

[graphic][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][merged small]

imposing and elegant appearance, while ings, gilded cornices, and floors of colored the interiors are finished with a degree of marbles, or inlaid with vari-colored woods splendor which could not have been in

were once very rare, even in the houses dulged in by their owners in houses of of the wealthiest merchants; but now greater extent. The improved methods these elegancies are so common that their of lighting and warming houses, and the absence would be much more likely to use of Croton water, together with the excite remark than their presence. general system of drainage now almost Too many of the better class of houses universally adopted have led to great in New-York are of a monumental chaeconomy of space in the construction of

racter, solid in structure, massive in apcity dwellings, and it seems hardly pos- pearance, and calculated only for the ocsible that any thing more compact, cosy, cupancy of families with almost princely comfortable and elegant in the shape of incomes. They are too costly to be occua dwelling house will ever be invented, pied by the descendants of those who conthan the first class houses now built in struct them, and can be turned to no prothe upper part of the city. Painted ceil- fitable account by any one who may

ers

[ocr errors]

as

purchase them; the absence of a law of primogeniture will prevent them from ever gaining an historical interest, for they cannot remain long in the occupancy of the same family, and must of necessity come to an ignoble destiny very soon after their own

have deserted them. We should imagine that such considerations these would be an effectual bar to the erection of large and costly houses in such a city as New-York, where fortunes are no sooner accumulated than they are dispersed on the death of their possessors, and families rise and fall continually like the waves of the ocean.

The wealthy merchant

PICW builds himself a pal

West Twenty-first-street from Fifth Avenue. ace to-day which will be inhabited by the son of his porter boarding-house by the widow of his clerk. to-morrow; or at the best be used as a There are now remaining in New-York

[graphic]

son

[ocr errors]
[graphic][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][merged small]
[graphic]

a

[ocr errors]

a

but two of the fine old
mansions which were built
before the Revolution, and
one of them is occupied as an
emigrant boarding-house,
and the other as a restaur-
ant. If their builders uld
have foreseen the base uses
to which they have come,
they would probably have
taken less pains and pride
in their erection. Where
the laws of primogeniture
prevail, a man may well
take pride in building and
ornamenting mansion
which he feels assured will
be inhabited through all
time by his descendants;
but where it is quite cer-
tain that his house must
pass into the possession of
strangers as soon as he
leaves it, it can hardly be
expected that one should
build as though he were
founding a dynasty. Yetour
merchants and land specu-
lators do build themselves
houses of sufficient solidity
and grandeur to satisfy the
architectural sentiment of
even the exacting author
of the “Seven Lamps," who
maintains that dwelling
houses ought to be built as

Bowery Savings Bank.
durably as the pyramids.
For our own part, we ought to feel struction of stores and warehouses, and it
grateful to these men who are willing will not be long, we imagine, before these
to lavish their wealth in the erection of materials will enter more largely than
costly houses which so beautify our streets they have done into the construction of
and thoroughfares, and render a walk private dwellings; and the time is prob-
through our avenues as agreeable as a visit ably not very far distant when we shall
to a gallery of art; yet we cannot help have to live in those brittle mansions
thinking that so much wealth, such stores which make people proverbially cautious
of valuable materials, and so much intelli- about throwing missiles at their neighbors.
gent labor as they have cost, might better In the meanwhile, the new city that is
serve the cause of human happiness by springing up beyond the sound of the
being employed in other ways. But we busy wheels of trade, consists of solid and
will not quarrel with those who contribute substantial structures, which will outlast
in any manner to the public welfare, even many generations of our posterity, if no
though in doing so they have no higher disturbing causes interfere to prevent
object than self-glorification. The exces- their gradual decay. A law has been en-
sive ornamentation of the strcet fronts of acted authorizing the formation of a park
some of the new houses is

up town," re- beyond the present lines of city improvemind one of the anecdote.of a noble archi- inent, which will convert the central part tect in London, who built himself a very of the island on which New-York is built showy house after his own designs, and into a pleasure ground, around which will was advised by Lord Chesterfield to hire spring up terraces, villas, and blocks of the house opposite, that he might enjoy dwelling houses excelling in beauty and the view of his own mansion.

magnificence any we can now boast of The use of iron and glass are effecting in the New World, and giving new an architectural revolution in the con- ideas of the beneficent principle of de

[ocr errors]
[graphic]
[ocr errors]

a

mocracy, which permits the mind to find a model for his town house or country expand to its utmost possibilities. The villa, would have laughed at the folly of great obstacle to architectural improve building his packet ship after the manner ment and embellishment in this country, of a Greek galley, or in the shape of the has heretofore been the existing structures gallant vessels that were to encounter the of the Old World, in initation of which Spanish Armada. Yet, in the esthetic nearly all our public and private edifices sense, there would be no greater folly in have been built. Hence our streets have one case than in the other. The difference been filled with costly and meaningless in the two cases is that the ship would be copies of Grecian porticoes, of Gothicized unprofitable, but the house might be indwellings, of ambitious imitations of ba- habited. When we shall have outgrown ronial castles, Egyptian tombs, turreted our childish dependence upon the old churches, useless campanile towers, and World, then we shall be able to boast of every thing else in the shape of a house our own architects as we do now of our of which a drawing could be found in a ship-builders. As yet, there is no such book. Our architecture can hardly be person as an American architect whose called eclectic, though it is composed of name is known beyond the circle of his parts of every known style that has been own employers; nobody asks who dein vogue since the days of Noah, because signed this building or that, our Wrens, it is rather a jumble, than a selection Joneses, and Palladios have yet to be deof peculiarities. The great hope of our veloped; but the names of our shipnational success in art rests upon our builders are among our national boasts, achievements in ship-building, the greatest and George Steers, the yacht builder, has of the arts, for, in that department of in

become renowned wherever the art of dustry, we have been thrown directly navigation is practised. upon the resources of our own genius. As private dwellings form the subject Europe and the past had nothing to offer of the present article, we have not felt at us worthy of imitation; we were placed liberty to give any statistics of the cost in circumstances wholly new, and we re- of the buildings noticed, or to make any quired new instruments to enable us to part of them the subject of illustration or achieve our purposes. The merchant who remark, excepting such as are exposed to saw no absurdity in going back to the the public eye and which may be regarded time of Pericles or Queen Elizabeth to as legitimate objects of public comment.

[graphic][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][merged small]
[ocr errors]

THE GREAT CEMETERY.

Paleontology of Now-York: containing descrip- unceasing action of the billows. In the

tions of tho Organic Remains of the Lorder and still depths of ocean they settle down, preMiddle Divisions of the Nero-York System ; cipitated in an impalpable sediment, but equivalent to the Silurian and Lower Devonian

so slowly, that months elapse while it atRocks of Europe. By JAMES HALL Volumes I. and II. Albany: Published on Behalf of the State

tains the thickness of the pulp which on of New York

the paper-cylinder formed this white sheet.

Though in many local instances, near the THERE is a place of burial

, older and mouths of rapid rivers, or coasts worn by grander than the uninstructed mind impetuous currents, coarse and heavy of man ever imagined, ordained when the sands are deposited much more rapidly, foundations of the earth were laid, destined the general process must be exceedingly to receive, and to perpetuate to the end, slow. For the sea-deposits can be formed the mortal frames of all living forms which no faster than the waste of the dry land our planet has sustained. And in their supplies material, and the filling up of the preserving epitaphs which cannot be dis- ocean's bed must be as imperceptible in trusted, monumental statues and reliepos its progress as is the wearing down of the above the suspicion of incorrectness, nature continents. Slow as the change is, yet herself has provided for those who, dur- year after year, century after century, ing all time, shall desire to trace back the cycle after cycle it continues, and new long order and sequence of the past; a layers are added to the increasing pile in scries of inscriptions, from which the every age. The deposits formed during patience of the student and the earnest this century overlie and conceal those of zeal of the historian may form a record the last; beneath these lie those of preof most certain authenticity.

ceding ages; and, at the base of all, are By a singular paradox, the conservative buried those of the first period of creation. agent by which all the past is made per- But it is not only the inanimate dust of manent, the repository of alphabets which carth which is thus carried into this great can never become obsolete, and of inscrip

storehouse. There the remains of innutions which can never be effaced, is merable forms of fishes and all aquatic the element which has been proverbially things lie, and settle into the oozy bottom. the type of wasting restlessness and in- Thither float reeds, and leaves, and treestability.

trunks, drifted from every shore. Thither The rain which dashes on the hills, tend the skeletons of drowned quadrupeds slowly, but surely, wears away their sube of a thousand species, swept down the stance. The originally pure element de- swollen rivers and across the surf far out scends every slope, loaded with solid earth, to sea. There, too, sink the bones of seaeither dissolved in a limpid stream, or fowl and exhausted land birds. And suspended in a turbid torrent. The mould there, in this latter age of man's dominion, of every field, the banks of every ravine, lic scattered over the bottom the lonely the surface of every rock are wasting and remains of thousands who die on the wearing. Slowly indeed, for in few in- ocean; and thither, year after year, destances can the brief experience of man's scend hundreds of ships, to leave their observation perceive the change. But it oaken ribs for ever in that region of nether is not the less real and certain. Since the gloom. day when the first clouds shed their bur- Over all spreads the sediment. Softly den on the earth, and the eldest of rivers and slowly through the green middle began to feel its slow way to the deepest depths it settles downward, and enshrouds basin, the work of abrasion has gone every relic in its folds. Film on film, steadily on until now, and it must go on inch on inch, fathom on fathom, from the while earth and ocean remain. Every beginning of the world it has accumulated, exposed inch of the earth's surface is send- while the relics of all living forms of earth, ing its tribute through the ever-flowing or air, or ocean, have been committed to rivers to the sea. , Out from myriads of its keeping. And just as the earth now estuaries pour the fresh floods laden with borne to the Atlantic from the rivers of the waste of the land. Far away from Europe and America, is beginning to bury shore, swept out by tides and currents, the huge timbers of the lost steamer Prefloat 'the particles brought from the pla- sident and the skeletons of her crew,--SO teaus of Central Asia, or the prairies of does the deepest"and oldest layer hidden Nebraska; mingled with others, worn below contain the remains of those races. from myriads of leagues of coast by the which populated land and sea, when that

VOI., III.-17

« PoprzedniaDalej »