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TOPOGRAPHICAL VIEW OF THE CITY.

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Island, on the other side of the East River, at a distance of about three quarters of a mile.

It is from this point of the Battery, at the extremity of the island, that the topography of the city may be most clearly traced. Advancing from this point northward, though strictly in about a N.N.E. direction, the great avenue of Broadway extends from the Battery, where it begins, to Union Place, where it terminates, a distance of nearly three miles in a direct line. Beyond this two large roads continue the way onward in the same general direction, the Hærlem road diverging a little to the east, and the Bloomingdale road a little to the west, each extending to the extremity of the island. For this length of three miles the city may be said to be compactly built; and for two miles beyond this the avenues and streets are laid out, many of them paved and lighted, and in several of them houses are built on each side. From Broadway, as from a common centre, the lateral or cross streets lead out east and west on either side, terminating at one or other of the river fronts, and enabling the passenger, as he goes up or down this great thoroughfare, to see at almost every opening the ships at the wharves, at anchor, or under sail. Several great avenues, of nearly equal length and breadth with the principal one of Broadway, run nearly parallel to it on either side, or lengthwise of the city, the principal of which are Greenwich-street and Hudsonstreet on the west, near the North River; and the Bowery, which makes a slight curve, and intersects the most denselypeopled part of the town, on the east of Broadway, and these are each crossed by streets at nearly right angles.

The plan of the city is generally regular; much more regular than any of our old cities in Europe, though not so regular as Philadelphia in this country, or the new parts of Edinburgh and London in Britain. The irregularities are here, as elsewhere, chiefly in the oldest parts of the town. From the Battery, for about half a mile upward, or one sixth

a the length of the city, the irregularity is considerable, though even here there are some fine separate mansions, noble hotels, and regular terraces of dwellings. The great fire of

. 1835, which destroyed so large a portion of the eastern part, comprehending all the mercantile quarter near the river, and sweeping away property worth twenty millions of dollars, has had the effect of greatly improving the aspect of this section; as the new buildings, though occupying nearly the same ground as the old ones, are more substantially and more regularly constructed, and give to the whole quarter an air of uniformity which it did not before possess.

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Beyond this half mile of length, which extends to the open space called the Park, the streets become more regu

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lar, and the whole aspect of the city more modern. As you advance higher up towards the termination of Broadway, the improvement becomes more and more manifest, and a considerable degree of elegance as well as regularity reigns in all the principal streets at the northern extremity of the town.

Of the public places for air and exercise with which the Continental cities of Europe are so abundantly and agreeably furnished, and which London, Bath, and some other of the larger cities of England contain, there is a marked

PUBLIC BUILDINGS OF NEW-YORK.

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deficiency in New York. Except the Battery, which is agreeable only in summer-the Bowling Green is a confined space of 200 feet long by 150 broad; the Park, which is a comparatively small spot of land (about ten acres only) in the heart of the city, and quite a public thoroughfare; Hud. son Square, the prettiest of the whole, but small, being only about four acres; and the open space within Washington Square, about nine acres, which is not yet furnished with gravel-walks or shady trees—there is no large place in the nature of a park, or public garden, or public walk, where persons of all classes may take air and exercise. This is a defect which, it is hoped, will ere long be remedied, as there is no country, perhaps, in which it would be more advantageous to the health and pleasure of the community than this to encourage, by every possible means, the use of air and exercise to a much greater extent than either is at present enjoyed.

The public buildings are neither so numerous nor so striking as in the cities of older countries. The principal edi. fice is the City Hall, which occupies a commanding situa

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tion in the centre of the most populous part of the city, and surrounded by the open space constituting the Park. It is 216 feet in length by 105 in breadth. Its front, which is towards the south, as well as its ends towards the east and west, are built of fine white marble; its foundation was laid in 1803, and the building was completed in 1812, at an expense exceeding half a million of dollars; yet, recent as this date seems, the reason universally alleged here for its northern front being built of brown freestone, while the

southern front is of pure white marble, is, that the builders never expected the city to extend beyond the City Hall to the north, this edifice being then at the northern extremity of the town, and New-York being accordingly about half a mile in length; whereas now this hall has six times as many houses north of it as it has south, the city having extended in that direction from half a mile to three miles.

To the houses, therefore, occupying half a mile of length from the Battery to the City Hall, this edifice presents its marble front, while to the houses occupying three miles of length to the north of it, its brown freestone front is alone presented; so that if such a process were practicable, the civic authorities would be glad to turn it right round, and place its fronts just in the very opposite direction to that in which they now stand. The building is much admired by the people of the city, and its advantageous position occasions it at first to make a favourable impression. But on a closer examination this impression is not sustained. The windows are much too large and too numerous for exterior architectural beauty, though they may be advantageous for interior light and comfort. The central tower and dome, surmounted by a figure of Justice, is not of sufficient breadth and massiveness for the size of the building; but the

interior is well disposed, and possesses all the accommodation and convenience which the business of the court and matters of civic jurisdiction require.

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The Custom-house and the Merchants' Exchange, the latter of which was destroyed by the late fire, are described as

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fine edifices. They are about to be replaced by others, both of which are now in course of erection, and rapidly advancing towards completion. The Custom-house is to be an exact copy of the celebrated Parthenon at Athens, and is constructed of fine white marble. It is to be 177 feet long by 89 wide, and will have at each front a splendid colonnade of the Doric order, the size of the pillars 32 feet in height and five feet in diameter; the centre of the interior hall is to rise in a dome 62 feet in diameter; the floors will be supported on arches of stone, to be fire proof, and the cost is estimated at about half a million of dollars. The Merchants' Exchange is erecting not far from the Custom

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house; it promises also to be a very fine building, and not to cost less than the sum above named, the estimate, indeed, being somewhat higher.

The churches and places of worship (of which there are 162-only 24 of them built before 1800, and 138 since) are not so remarkable for the architectural beauty of their exterior, in which they are generally deficient, as for the elegance and comfort of their interiors, in which they far surpass our churches in England. The Episcopalian churches, and the chapels of other Christian denominations (though all are called churches here), are the same in this respect; the arrangement of the seats into separate pews, both below and in the galleries, is the same as with us; but every seat is comfortably cushioned and lined at the back, and furnished with warm carpets or rugs for the feet; the aisles are matted to prevent the noise of the foot, and the whole is well warmed with stoves in every part. In many cases the pews are of highly-polished mahogany, and the seats are cushioned with

VOL. I.-F

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