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built upon; and said commissioners shall not, in any case, lay out any street of less than fifty feet in width.
V. And be it further enacted, That it shall and may be lawful to and for the said commissioners, and for all persons acting under their authority, to enter, in the day time, into and upon any lands, tenements or hereditaments which they shall deem necessary to be surveyed, used or converted for the laying out, opening and forming of any street or road as aforesaid ; and that the said commissioners, or any two of them, shall cause three similar maps of such streets and roads, so to be laid out by them as aforesaid, and of the shores bounding the lands by them surveyed, to be made upon an extensive scale, accompanied with such field notes and elucidatory remarks as the nature of the subject may require: which maps, accompanied by such field notes and remarks, shall be attested to by the said commissioners, or any two of them, before any person authorized to take acknowledgments of deeds and conveyances, and be filed, one in the office of the secretary of state, to remain of re. cord, one other to be filed in the office of the clerk of the city and county of New York, to remain of record, and the other of said maps to belong to the mayor, aldermen and commonalty of the city New York; and that the said commissioners shall erect suitable and durable monuments at the most conspicuous angles, or those which shall be the most eligible for that purpose, and upon the shores of the North and East rivers, to be noted on said maps; and that the said commissioners shall take the elevations of the several intersections or squares above high water mark, within the boundaries aforesaid, or so many of them as they may think sufficient: and shall delineate them, together with all such hills, valleys, inlets and streams as may be necessary on the said maps, so as to render the same explicit and intelligible.
VI. And be it further enacted, That it shall not be lawful for either of the said commissioners, during the time he shall be in office, directly or indirectly, to purchase or contract for any lands, tenements or hereditaments in that part of the city of New York, to be laid out and regulated as aforesaid, and that every deed, contract or conveyance, contrary to the intent hereof, shall be utterly void.
VII. And be it further enacted, That before the said commissioners enter upon the duties of their appointment, they shall severally take and subscribe an oath before the mayor or recorder of the city of New York, faithfully and impartially to execute the duties of their said appointment.
VIII. And be it further enacted, That the plans and surveys of the
16 said commissioners, or any two of them, in respect to the laying out of streets and roads within the boundaries aforesaid, and the maps of the same, so to be made by them, or any two of them, as aforesaid, shall be final and conclusive, as well in respect to the said mayor, aldermen and commonalty, as in respect to the owners and occupants of lands, tenements and hereditaments within the boun. daries aforesaid, and in respect to all other persons whomsoever.'
[Sections nine, ten and eleven of this act repealed by section fifteen, of chap. 174, Laws of 1812.)
XII. And be it further enacted, That each of the said commissioners shall be entitled to receive the sum of not more than four dollars, (besides all reasonable expenses for maps, field notes, monuments, chain bearers and assistants,) for each day they shall respectively be actually employed in the duties hereby assigned to them, the same to be paid by the mayor, aldermen and commonalty of the city of New York, and assessed as aforesaid; and that the powers of the said commissioners shall cease when they shall have completed the maps aforesaid, with the field books and remarks aforesaid, and delivered, attested to, and filed the same respectively as aforesaid; and that in case of the death of one of the said commissioners, the survivors shall have power to proceed in the execution of this act, until a successor of the deceased shall be appointed.
XIII. And be it further enacted, That this act shall be considered, adjudged and taken to be a public act, and be liberally expounded and construed to advance the ends thereof.
XIV. And be it further enacted, That if any person shall be sued for anything done in pursuance of this act, it shall be lawful for such person to plead the general issue, and to give this act and the special matter of defence in evidence under such plea.
XV. And whereas, for the purpose of duly regulating and constructing slips and basins, and for running out wharfs and piers, it is essential that the right to the land under water, below low water mark, should be vested in the corporation of the city of New York,
Be it therefore further enacted, That it shall and may be lawful for the commissioners of the land office, and they are hereby directed to issue letters patent, granting to the mayor, aldermen and
commonalty of the city of New York, and their successors forever, · all the right and title of the people of this state, to the lands cov. ered with water, along the easterly shore of the North or Hudson's river, contiguous to and adjoining the lands of the said mayor, aldermen and commonalty, within the said city of New York, at and from low water mark, and running four hundred feet into the said river from Bestaver's killetie or river, to the distance of four miles to the north along the easterly shore of the said North or Hudson's river; and also all the land covered with water, along the westerly shore of the East river or sound, contiguous to and adjoining the lands of the said mayor, aldermen and commonalty, at and from low water mark, and extending four hundred feet into the said river or sound, from the north side of Corlear's hook, at the northerly boundary of the lands covered with water, whereof the said mayor, aldermen and commonalty are now seized, to the distance of two miles to the north, along the westerly shore of the said East river or sound: Provideil always, That the proprietor or proprietors of the lands adjacent, shall have the pre-emptive right in all grants made by the corporation of the said city, of any lands under water granted to the said corporation by this act. [Note F, Appendix.]
The time of filing the maps mentioned in the fifth and ninth sec. tions of the preceding act, was 1st of April, 1811. .
It is deemed important to insert the Commissioners' remarks in connection with this Act.
The commissioners appointed in and by the act, according to the form and effect thereof, remirk on their maps, as filed, viz., one in the office of the secretary of state, one in the office of the clerk of the city and county of New York, and the other belonging to the mayor, aldermen and commonalty of the city of New York,
That as soon as they could meet, and take the oath prescribed, they entered on the duties of their office, and employed persons to make surveys of Manhattan Island, which they personally reconnoitered, so as to acquire the general information needful to the correct prosecution of their work, which has been much delayed by the difficulty of procuring competent persons, on those economical terms which they prescribed to themselves, and by seasons peculiarly unfavorable.
That one of the first objects which claimed their attention, was the form and manner in wbich the business should be conducted ; that is to say, whether they should confine themselves to rectilinear and rectangular streets, or whether they should adopt some of those supposed improvements, by circles, ovals and stars, which certainly embellish a plan, whatever may be their effects as to convenience and utility. In considering that subject, they could not but bear in mind that a city is to be composed principally of the habitations of men, and that straight sided and right-angled houses are the most
cheap to build, and the most convenient to live in. The effect of these plain and simple reflections was decisive.
Hlaving determined, therefore, that the work should in general be rectangular, a second, and, in their opinion, an important consideration, was to amalgamate it with the plans already adopted by individuals, so as not to make any important change in their dispositions. This, if it could bave been effected consistently with the public interest, was desirable, not only as it might render the work more generally acceptable, but also as it might be the means of avoiding expense. It was, therefore, a favorite object with the commissioners, and pursued until after various unfruitful attempts had proved the extreme difficulty ; nor was it abandoned at last but from necessity. To show the obstacles which frustrated every effort, can be of no use. It will, perhaps, be more sausfactory 10 each person who may feel aggrieved, to ask himself, whether his sensations would not have been still more unpleasant, had his favorite plans been sacrificed to preserve those of a more fortunate neighbor ?
If it should be a-ked, why was the present plan adopted in preference to any other? The answer is, because, after taking all circumstances into cousideration, it appeared to be the best; or, in other and more proper terms, attended with the least inconvenience.
" It may to many be matter of surprise, that so few vacant spaces have been left, and those so small, for the benefit of fresh air, and consequent preservation of beatih. Certainly, if the city of New York were destined to stand on the side of a small stream, such as the Seine or the Thanes, a great number of ample places might be needful; but those large arms of the sea which embrace Mavhattan Island, render its simation, in regard to health and pleasure, as well as to convenience of commerce, peculiarly felicitous; when, therefore, Irom the same causes, the price of land is so uncoinmonly great, it seemed proper to admit the principles of economy to greater influence that might, under circumstances of a different kind, bave consisted with the dictates of prudence and the sense of duty.
It appeareil proper, nevertheless, to select and set apart, on an elevated positioli, il space sufficient for a large rescrvoir, when it shall be found nicellul 10 furnish the city, by means of aqueducts, or by the aid olharaulic machinery, with a copious supply of pure and wholesome uuter. In the meantime, and indeed afterwards, the sitne place may be consecrated to the purposes of science, when public spirit stall iliciate the building of an observatory.
It did not ilppear proper, only it was felt to be indispensable, that a much larger spare should be set apart for military exercise, :s also to assemble, in case of need, the force destined to detend the city. The question, therefore, was not, and could not be, whether tliere shonli bei grum prode, but where it should be placed, and what should be is size. And here again it is to be lamented, that in this late day the prince could not be brought further south, and mule larger than it is, without incurring a frightful expense.
The spot nearest to that part of the city already built, which could be selected with any regard to economy, is at the foot of those heights called Inklängberk, in the vicinity of Kip's Bay. That it is too remote and too small, shall not be denied; but it is presumed, that those who may be inclined to criticism on that score, may feel somewhat mollified when the collector shall call for their proportion of the large and immediate tax which even this small and remote parade will require.
Another large space, almost as necessary as the last, is that which in no distant period will be required for a Public Market. The city of New York contains a population already sufficient to place it in the rank of cities of the second order, and is rapidly advancing towards a level with the first. It is perhaps no unreasonable conjecture, that in half a century it will be closely built up to the northern boundary of the Parade, and contain 400,000 souls. The controlling power of necessity will, long before that period, have taught its : inhabitants the advantage of deriving their supplies of butcher's meat, poultry, fish, game, vegetables and fruit, from shops in the neighborhood. The dealers in those articles will also find it convenient, and so will those from whom they purchase, to meet at one general mart. This has a tendency to fix and equalize prices over the whole city. The carcass butcher, gardener, farmer, &c., will be able to calculate, with tolerable accuracy, on the rate at which the supplies he furnishes can be vended, and the reasonable profit of the retailer being added, will give a price for the consumer; vary. ing rather by the quality of the article than by any other circumstance. It is no trifling consideration, that by this mode of supply. ing the wants of large cities, there is a great saving of time and of the articles consumed. To a person engaged in profitable business, one hour spent in market is frequently worth more than the whole of what he purchases, and he is sometimes obliged to purchase a larger quantity than he has occasion to use, so that the surplus is wasted. Moreover, the time spent by those who bring articles of small value from the country, in retailing them out, bears such great proportion to the articles themselves, as to increase the price beyond what it ought to be. In short, experience having demon. strated to every great aggregation of mankind the expediency of such arrangement, it is reasonable to conclude that it will be adopted hereafter, and therefore it is proper to provide for it now. Neither is it wholly unworthy of consideration, that the establishment of a general mart will leave open the spaces now appropriated to that object, in parts of the city, more closely built than is perfectly consistent with cleanliness and health. The place selected for this purpose is a salt marsh, and from that circumstance, of inferior price, though in regard to its destination, of greater value than other soil. The matter dug from a large canal through the middle, for the admission of market boats, will give a due elevation and solidity to the sides, and in a space of more than 3,000 feet long, and upwards of 800 wide, there will, it is presumed, after deducting what is needful for the canal and markets, be sufficient room for carts and wagons, without incommoding those whose business or curiosity may induce them to attend it.