WHAT IS PROMISED.
MAURICE F. HOLAHAN, president of the board of public improvements in this city, has under his supervision no less than six fully equipped bureaus—namely, those of water supply, sewers, highways, street cleaning, public buildings and lighting, and bridges. He will have his hands more than full in attending to them all. He confesses that his pet weaknesses are drainage and sewerage and that he intends to devote a large sum of money to making the whole of the city as healthy as improved systems of each Jean make it, To begin with the borough of Richmond (Staten Island): lie has expressed his determination to rid it of malaria and mosquitoes, and so in time to render it the healthiest part of New York. The unhealthful conditions, he says (on the authority of an eminent engineer) are
due to a “ pocket” just back of the first ridge, in which all the drainage from the hills gathers. He advises a tunnel near Tompkinsville, and his estimates show that it will cost less than a million dollars, If geologists and department engineers confirm this, it will be recommended and doubtless undertaken at once.
As to the sewers in the borough of Manhattan and Brooklyn, he finds on inquiry that south of One Hundred and Twenty-fifth street in the former borough they are “ generally excellent.” In Brooklyn they are “ fair;” but there
the hilly character of the ground necessitates the construction of special sewers for carrying off heavy rainfalls and thaws. In tin Eastern District there will have to be a direct tax levied; for new sewers must be built at once. The condition of its worst streets and sewers is disgraceful.
[He adds that] in one part of the Bronx [the sewers | are splendid, and, in the other, bad. In Richmond | they are] unorganized and without regularity.
President Holahan is in favor of asphalt paving for the streets as being the best from a sanitary standpoint. To say nothing of the decrease of noise—which he regards as a “ menace to public health,” statistics show that the cost of cleaning the sewers since the introduction of asphalt has “decreased fifty per cent, in the last five years.” President Holahan further believes that asphalt is cheaper, and claims that an “asphalt pavement, properly laid, will outwear Belgian blocks ” —of course, downtown he will advocate the retention of such blocks, “because the horses hauling heavy trucks cannot get purchase orf the smooth pavements. But all cobble stones must go.” With respect to the water supply President Holahan said:
We shall need every gallon that comes through the Croton aqueduct for The Bronx and Manhattan. Brooklyn is the serious problem. The new Cornell and Black river dams will give the Croton a capacity of 400,000,000 gallons daily, Our demands are 225,000,000 to 250,000,000 gallons, Since 1882 New York has spent $50,000,000 on its water supply. Whether we go to the Adirondacks or whether the State lays a pipe line from lake Erie, and sells water along the route, the future must determine. Brooklyn must have more water at once, and I favor extending the mains into Suffolk county to lake Ronkonkoma. Richmond gets its water from private corporations.
President Holahan’s program is an excellent one, and, if honestly carried out by his subordinates, will be productive of incalculable benefit to the consolidated city. It will, of course, take money; but money put into such improvements is always money well spent. With President Holahan we agree, that a “proper sewerage system is absolutely vital.”