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2 Magazine of Literature, Science, and Art.
VOL. I.-FEBRUARY 1853.--NO. II.
BUSINESS STREETS, MERCANTILE BLOCKS, STORES, AND BANKS.
“Rose like an exhalation."-Milton.
ONE of the most charming stories in
utensils, turned to gold and silver, like the
gray twilight clouds beneath the shafts of ments" tells us how Aladdin, rising from the setting sun. By night also, a magic his bed in the morning and looking out realm was created for him, and though of the window, sees the
stately and gorge there were neither moon nor star, yet a ous palace which the Genii had erected myriad lamps sparkled from unseen for him during the preceding night, glit sources, filling the enchanted groves and tering in the sunlight with its jewelled gardens, which had risen unseen, unplantwalls and pinnacles, on a spot which the ed, at his word,“ as with the quintessence day before had been a barren plain. of flame," while he himself, but yesterday
To us, who in more modern times and the poorest boy in Bagdad, now walks unin a more practical age, look at the City abashed before princes, and bestow's faof New-York through our editorial win vors, passing the wealth of kings, upon dows, and recall by the aid of History the great and noble. the barren plain, the marshy hollows, and Yet this story which dazzled our childthe stony slopes which but yesterday, as hood's eyes with unimaginable splendors, it were, offended the eyes that are now grows daily tamer and tamer, before the delighted by her growing magnificence, passing wonders of the days in which we the story of Aladdin seems hardly a live. We also are Aladdins, and for us fable. And indeed, what has romance the Genii of the lamp are working. For to offer us which does not fade before us too the farthest Indian shores and the the reality ? At the call of the For Eastern isles yield their treasures gladly, tunate Child, the Genius of the Lamp gold, frankincense and myrrh, diamonds brought the treasures of the earth and and pearls, rubies, chrysopras and carlaid them at his feet. No wish of his buncle; shawls whose threads are preheart, however wild, remained unfulfill cious, and whose colors feast the eye with ed; at his command space dwindled to a woven sunsets, carpets in which the foot footstep, time became an inappreciable sinks as in moss, perfumes that load the point, the rough earth sparkled with gems winter air with summer, vases in whose like solid dew-drops, the walls of his ca lucid clay the furnace-heat seems to have bin, coarser than the shell of the chrysalis, developed the seeds of unearthly flowers, were folded in Indian shawls and embroi and dainties which make our democratic dered muslins, more gorgeous than the tables, groan with the profusion of Luculrarest moth, and all common vessels and lus and the splendor of Al Raschid.
* This paper is the first of a series in which we propose to give a rapid glance, at the progress of NewYork and its architecture. The present article, in addition to a general outline of the subject, commences a notice of the business district of the city. The succeeding papers will revert to this topic, and discuss the Hotels and Restaurants; the Churches; the Colleges and Schools; the Benevolent Institutions; the places of Amnsemnent, and the Public Buildings generally; and also the private houses, and the domestic life of the commercial metropolis. These will be followed by similar papers on Boston, Philadelphia, and other places. These papers are illustrated with engravings from Daguerreotypes, and drawings with one or two exceptions made expressly for this purpo
The home reader does not need to be watched the dry husk of a bud as it informed that New-York city is not swelled and swelled, putting out leaf after wholly ideally magnificent. The foreign- leaf, until at length it reached its present er, whose eye may happen to glance over state of half-developed beauty. Some of these pages, will perhaps smile at the our citizens can remember when Canaldazzling nature of the comparison which street was really traversed by a canal, and the introductory paragraphs would seem when what is now Franklin-street was to institute. That comparison, however, the site of the gallows, being at a retirholds good more with regard to the ra ed distance from town. One old lady pidity with which New-York has grown, of our acquaintance remembers when the than to her actual attainments in splen maids washed their clothes in a stream dor, great as they unmistakably are. which ran through Maiden Lane ; and The energy of her sons, aided by their when also it was their favorite place for immense and increasing wealth, has suc milking the cows, which had browsed all cessfully commenced the work of lining day in the meadow, a part of which we her streets with structures of stone and now call “the Park.” In the youth of marble worthy of her pretensions as men still living, the Hospital, whose little the metropolis of the Union; while inclosure of turf now cheers our dusty her magnificent and unique geographical Broadway in summer, was an out of town position secures the steady and rapid pro resort---a public garden, to which the gress of the already enormous commerce denizens of the city resorted. This was which is daily drawing the wealth of the about the year 1708. In 1767, the inIndies to her warehouses. All this, too, habitants kept their cows in town; in the in spite of the mean and unsuitable docks mornings they were driven to their daily and markets, the filthy streets, the farce ruminations, in the pastures about Grandof a half-fledged and inefficient police, street. Fancy indulges herself with supand the miserably bad government, posing them employed in bovine prophegenerally, of an unprincipled common cies, as to whether their descendants would council, in the composition of which ignor hear “the milkmaid singing blythe.” in ance, selfishness, impudence, and greedi that same region; or, perhaps, as they ness seem to have an equal share. That a were honest, long-horned Dutch cattle, great city like this should still grow and and therefore little used to speculation of prosper under such rulers, is a fact which any kind, we ought rather to suppose goes to show that even bad government them chewing the cud of sweet complamay be only relatively mischievous. When cency, in the assured belief that their milk New-York rouses herself-shakes off this and that of their descendants, drawn from incubus, chooses honest and capable men them year after year, in that same meadfor her servants and comptrollers, and imi ow, would feed generation after generatates the order and cleanliness of London, tion, of stereotyped little Dutch men and or of Boston, what may not be expected women, till Time itself should be no more. from her future career ?
At the same period, the city proper, with A certain preacher commenced all his its business streets and stores, and handsermons with the history of the creation; some town residences, lay below Trinity and our illustrious predecessor, Mr. Knick Church. Higher up, the houses were poor, erbocker, has learnedly and lucidly traced and occupied by poor people; until at the early annals of our city, back to the length, above the present Park, the true times of Shem, Ham, and Japhet, com country began, sprinkled with taverns, pletely exhausting that portion of the gardens, wooded land, and much marshy subject. We will therefore only give a ground. “On the west side of the midpassing glance at some of the landmarks dle road, now Broadway, above what is in the growth of the town, by way of in now Bleecker-street, John Jacob Astor troduction to the "swelling theme” before had a country residence, and beyond him us, viz., the present state and prospects of again William Nielson. These were yet New-York, architecturally considered. country residences, till after the close of Such a retrospect which would hardly be the war of 1812. At the earlier period necessary in writing about most European of 1801, a pale fence stretched across cities, slow-growing oaks, whose yearly Broadway, at about Astor Place, there rings are only to be counted by the micro beginning the farm of Randall, which scope, becomes absolutely essential to the constitutes, by a most noble bequest, the proper appreciation of the Night-blooming endowment of the Sailors' Snug Harbor." Cereus of our metropolis, which can only be From Longworth's Almanack, published truly enjoyed by those who saw the bare in 1800, I gather the following statistics, and naked stalk from which it grew, and with which to conclude the present ne
* President King's Lecture before the Mechanics' Society.