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AND BUILDERS' GUIDE.
NEW YORK, SATURDAY, MARCH 11, 1871.
Published Weekly by ■ '
TEE REAL ESTATE RECORD ASSOCIATION.
Ono year. In advance.......................$6 00
AU communications should he addressed to
C. "W. ST\;^3CTGT,
106 BROAllWAY. COR. OP PiNE STREET.
:Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1871, by
0. W. SWEET,
In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.
No receipt for money due the Real Est.ite Record
•will be acknowledged unless signed by one of our regular
collectors, Henry D. SMrrir or Thomas b: Cummings.
AU biUs for.collection will be sent from the office on a regu¬
larly printed form.
Patent binders for preserving the Record can be had
,at the office,' or wiU be sent to any address in the city upon
the receipt of one dollar.
TO THE ALBANY LUMBER DEALEES.
Otjb regular agent for the advertising de¬
partment of the Record, Mr. W. J. Slater,
will be in Albany on Tuesday, Wednesday, and
Thursday of. next week, and will make it a
point during his stay to call upon the princi¬
pal lumber dealers of that city for the purpose
of ofEering the advertising columns of the
Record to such houses as deem it to their
interest to extend their trade in this locality.
As our paper is taken by all of the lumber
dealers of New Tork and Brooklyn, besides
having a large circulation throughout the lum¬
ber regions of the country, it is unnecessary to
enlarge upon the unequalled opportunity offer¬
ed to the dealers of Albany to effectually reach
through our .columns the whole trade of New
York and .Kings County. During his stay in
Albany Mr. Slater can be found at the Delavan
House, and a note from any firm on business
matters will receive prompt attention.
THE WEST SIDE ASSOCIATION.
The first public meeting of this Association
was held at the Howard Rooms, on Wednesday
evening last, Mr. W. R.Martin, the president,
occupying the chair. One of the most interest¬
ing subjects presented was the correct principles
of assessment, on which topic Mr. John W.
Pirsson read an able paper, extracts from which
we give below.
Assessments for public improvements ma;y
be divided mto two classes. First:. Those
which relate to the opening of streets and
avenues, and widening and straightening, or
extending the same, and thes laying oiit and
.establishing of public pa,rks and places, Second:
Those relating to regulating, grading, sewering,
and.paving the avenues,' streets, and public
pla.ces, and, rendering them fit forithe usejnpt
,pniy of those owning lands fronting thereon,
but also of the public. ' i r " f
The procee^ugs for afisessments are bo
numerous and so general throughout the city,
and the burdens thereby imposed are so un¬
equally and': unjustly distributed, that every
owner of real estate has a direct interest in the
subject as to what are " the correct principles
of assessment." When the laws are so amended
and administered that no property shall be
assessed for benefit, unless such benefit is
direct, immediate, and actual, we shall have
reached a substantial solution of this difficult
problem. To ascertain whether such benefit
really attaches or not, one of these three tests
should apply to the property proposed to be
First. Will it bring more rent ?
Second. Will those carrying on business
thereon have an increase of trade ?
Third. Will it command a greater price in
the market ?
Of the mode now in use, it may be safely
averred that in a large majority of the cases
the alleged benefit is indirect, uncertain, and
often purely imaginary. An examination of
the assessment proceedings on file wUl show
that some of the.settled neighborhoods are
covered over, as it were, with a network of
assessments, while other like neighborhoods are
comparatively free from such suggestive lines
of demarcation. This goes to show that the
cost is not properly distributed, and it never
can be until the city pays it due proportion for
the benefit it undoubtedly derives.
An examination of two assesment proceed¬
ings of comparatively recent date will serve to
show how unreal are the benefits in most cases
which are assumed to be conferred. Take,
first, the case of the extension of Madison av.,
from Forty-second to Eighty-sixth st. Now,
Madison av. shared with the Fifth av. the pre¬
eminence of being one of the two first-class
avenues for private residences. It was built
upon in as good and expensive style, and was,
to a certain extent, the rival of the Fifth av.
But few vacant lots remained, its character
was fully established, and it needed no help of
this kind. As to the Fifth av. it was about to
enjoy tha monopoly of being the only first-class
avenue for residences between Forty-second st.
and the Park. The extension of Madison av.
added just so many lots to be brought into com¬
petition with it. One would naturally suppose,
then,, that neither the FiEth ave. nor Madison
ave., below Forty-second st., would have been
called upon to pay anything for that improve¬
ment. But such was not the case. The bounda¬
ries of that assessment were, north by One-
hundred and first St., south by Twenty-second
St., east by the Third ave., and west by the
Sixth ave. What benefit was that improve¬
ment to the Third, Fourth, or Sixth aves., or
to any street lying between them, more than to
any other street or avenue ? Did any piece of
property thereon bring any greater rent ? or
was it more valuable for business purposes ?
Or would it sell for more in consequence ?
Certainly not. When then was the justice of
of assessing property upon those streets or
The other case is that of the Plaza, as it is
called, the 200 feet square added to the south¬
east corner of the Central Park at Fifty-ninth
st. and Fifth ave., for the purpose (as the Board
of Commissioners of Central Park state in their
report of 18(38) of affording a more capacious
entrance to" the Central Park at that place.
Now, clearly the ojoly property which received a
direct and certain benefit was the' Central
Park, and a narrow strip of land not more than
100 feet in depth,which was thus made to front
upon the Park as extended. Aa to all the other
land charged, it received no greater benefit for
that "improved entrance" than any other land
on this island. And yet the boundaries of the
benefit map were north by Seventy-second st.,
south by Thirty-fourth st., east by Fourth ave.,
and west by Eighth ave. The number of lota
assessed was 8.318, including the 2,600 in that
part charged to the Park.
Eight thousMid three hundsred and eighteen lots assessed-
to pay for sixteen lots. - „,
Amount awarded for the 16 lots........$495, "JBO
Amount raised by the aasessment...... . 583,530
Cost of the proceedings to acquire title
to those 16 lots....................... §37,780
If any owner of real estate is prepared to con¬
tend that a system which can make such an
exhibit does not need a through reforination
then he must be one of those peculiar individuals
who love to be imposed upon. And there are
doubtless many such in this city, judging from
the patient manner in which such impositions
are submitted to.
In conclusion, a few words vsdU serve to sug¬
gest the proper remedy, namely: First: The
laws should be so amended that the limits of
all assessments throughout the city shall be re¬
stricted to one-half the distance to the next
street or avenue, and not to extend in length
beyond the line of the improvement.
Second: The amount to be imposed for the
opening of any street or avenue, or the laying
out of any public park or place, established
under the act of AprE 3, 1807, should not be
more than one-half the assessed value of tho
the property charged, nor in the aggregate
should more than one-half the cost be assessed
upon the district. For all other improvements
of that kind not provided for in the established
plan of the city, the amount to be imposed upon
the property should not exceed one-quarter of
its assessed value, nor in the aggregate should
more than one-quarter of the cost be levied
upon the district assessed.
Third: The remainder of tiie cost should be
paid by the city in the "City Improvement
Stock" or bonds, as authorized in the act of
The advantages of this mode will be three¬
fold. It will simplify and expedite the pro¬
ceedings. It will, reduce largely the cost for
maps, surveys, commissioners' fees, &c. It
will be. substantially just to all, as the expenses
wiU be borne by those properly chargeable with
them, namely, the property owners really
benefited, in their fair proportion, and the city,
which derives the chief benefit a.nd holds it in
perpetuity, in its fair proportion.
OTJE NEW PABKS.
It is very important that efforts should be
made at once to impress upon Hhenew Depcvrt-
ment of Public Parks the great impoztance
of hastening forward the iinprovemeht of the
MoRNiNGsrDE, Park, the assessment for which
has been paid, and very liberally'too, by the
property-owners last autumn.
There is no reason why the whole expense of
this improyemeiat should be borne by the city
at this period.