The New City Government January 1, 1898 Part V


Public Recreations and Amusements

The needs of the grown up children have not been overlooked, for the municipal council is advised to establish public baths and "public comfort stations," and to maintain the fountains now in use, and erect others.

The Department of Parks is urged to do all in its power, and the engagement of a landscape architect is provided for, in order that the public squares and parks may be made as attractive as possible. All the museums will be maintained in the Borough of Manhattan, and in the Borough of Brooklyn the Institute will also be properly looked after, an appropriation of not less than $20,000 a year being set aside for this purpose by the city.

The establishment of an art commission is another matter which deserves notice. This commission will be composed of the mayor, the president of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the president of the New York Public Library, the president of the Brooklyn Institute (all ex-oficio), one painter, one sculptor and one architect to be named by the Mayor, and three other residents of the city, who are not members of any of the professions of the fine arts. Offices will be provided for the commission, and all expenses met by the city, but the commissioners will receive no compensation as such. All works of art which are the property or are to become the property of the city must receive the approval of this commission, which will also pass upon the location selected for their erection or display. When requested by the Mayor or the Assembly the commissioners will also express their opinions with regard to bridges, gates, lamps, or other property of the city.

Sunday performances of plays or other entertainments are forbidden and the sale of liquor in the auditorium of concert halls or other places of amusement is declared illegal, unless the special permission of the Police Department has been secured. it is also forbidden to allow children of less than 14 years of age to attend the theater unaccompanied by their parents or guardians.

Buildings, Charities and Correction Departments

The three commissioners of buildings, who are appointed by the Mayor, will be architects or practical builders of at least ten years' experience. One will serve in the Boroughs of Manhattan and the Bronx at a salary of $7,000 a year; one in the Borough of Brooklyn at the same salary, and one in the Boroughs of Queens and Richmond at a salary of $3,500 a year. They will in their turn appoint superintendents of buildings, and will receive all applications relating to the construction, alteration or removal of buildings, and will keep records of the names of the architect and builder, the owner and the proprietor of the land, in every case.

The Commissioners of Public Charities shall be appointed by Mayor also, and the latter will designate the boroughs in which they are to perform their functions, one being assigned to Manhattan and the Bronx, one to Brooklyn and Queens and one to Richmond. The salary of the first two will be $7,500 a year, while that of the last named will be $2,500 a year. Branch offices of the commission will be established in all the boroughs outside of Manhattan, where the chief office is located. Their powers and obligations are in the main similar to those of the former Board of Charity Commissioners of New York. Provision is made for the employment of such inmates of almshouses and other institutions as can work.

The Department of Correction has but one commissioner at its head, he being appointed by the Mayor, and receiving a salary of $7,500 a year. He will have charge of all institutions for the custody of criminals and misdemeanants which belong to the city, and he will be expected to superintend the removal to Riker's Island and Hart's Island of the Inmates of the workhouse and penitentiary now confined on Blackwell's Island. On him also falls the responsibility of keeping youthful offenders from contact with hardened criminals, and of finding employment for all those given to his custody. All fines imposed and collected for intoxication or disorderly conduct within the City of new York are to be transferred to the head of this department. The commissioner is given power to enlarge or alter any building used for the confinement of prisoners, and to make all needful repairs, providing that he does not exceed the amount of the appropriation set aside for this purpose.

Our Docks and Piers

The commission which has charge of the docks and ferries is composed of three persons chosen by the Mayor, one of whom shall, by consent of his companions, act as president, and receive a salary of $6,000 a year, while the remaining two shall receive each $5,000 a year. The commissioners will have full control of all the wharf property and water front territory of the city, as well as of all ferries and ferry property, and have full authority to change the plans in regard to piers or wharves, docks or water front, Whenever they may deem it necessary. By special provision they may acquire wharf property between the southerly side of Bethune street and the northerly side of Gansevoort street, adjacent to the North River, and between the southerly side of East Eighteenth street and the southerly side of East Twenty-first street, adjacent to the East River, without any bartering or expropriation proceedings whatever, but they may commence at once on any improvements that they desire to make, leaving the Commissioners of Estimate to arrange with the owners.

In order that the residents of the crowded sections of the city may gain additional opportunities for recreation, the Commissioners of Docks are instructed to so construct or rebuild certain piers that a platform or upper story be provided for public use and recreation, which shall be absolutely free to citizens.


Website: The History
Article Name: The New City Government January 2, 1898 Part V
Researcher/Transcriber Miriam Medina


The Brooklyn Daily Eagle January 2, 1898
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