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The Record and Guide,
THE RECORD AND GUIDE,
Published every Saturday.
IQl Broad-vsrav, IT. Y.
Oar rffelepboue Call Is . . . . . JOHN 370.
ONE TEAR, in adTance, SIX DOLLARS.
Communications should be addressed to
C. W. SWEET, 191 Broadway.
J. T. LmpSEY, Business Manager.
VOL. XXXVIII. NOVEMBER 13, 1886.
A volume which should he in the hands of every builder, con¬
tractor, architect, and owner and dealer in real estate, is now
ready and can be procured at the offlce of The Record and
Guide, It is a new edition of the law relating to buildings in
the City of New York, with added matter, marginal. notes and
colored engravings to illustrate the subject. It contains the law
limiting the height of dwelling-houses, also the existing Mechanics'
Lien Law. This work is edited by William J. Fryer, Jr., whose
original and well-thought-out comments give it a special value.
The volume will also contain a complete directory of architects
in New York, Brooklyn, Jersey City, Neivark and Yonkers. Tlie
book is handsomely bound in cloth, and is sold at the low price of
seventy-five cents, by mail eighty-five cents.
The cooler weather has improved the aspects of general business.
Winter goods are now in demand. The speculation oh the Stock
Exchange looks wholesome, bad news does not seem to depress
prices much, nor does good news lead to any " booms." The market
hardens and broadens steadily, and the generally bullish feeling is
justified by the improvement in the trade of the country. Then
there is no doubt as to the improved condition of the real estate
market. Values are rising and everyone in the businee is hopeful
of the future. The Exchange is doing the largest auction business
in the history of the real estate market for the fall season. There
seems to be a check, however, in the number of plans for new
buildings. This, doubtless, is due to the rise in the value of money
for loaning purposes. The temptation to build new houses was
because a better interest was returned than the market rates would
give, which have obtained for money for the past two years.
But tbe average rentals are not so tempting when money
commands 6 to 7 per cent, in the open market. But, on the whole,
the situation in all the markets is very encouraging.
The advance in the price of silver from 42;?8d. to46^d. per ounce
on the London market is equivalent to an addition of eight cents
a bushel on wheat and one-quarter of a cent a yard on manufac¬
tured cotton goods. The result has been to exhaust the cotton
drills now in our market for the China trade. But, strangely
enough, the price of wheat was never lower at Chicago, while raw
cotton is a drug in our markets. The trouble in both cases seems
to be the immense visible supply. The interior banks refuse to
advance money on cotton or grain, with the result of forcing the
farmers to sell directly to the speculators who are loading up, prep¬
aratory to the advance which will probably mark the new year.
We are selling our agricultural products far less than their intrinsic
worth. The improvement in the business of the world, aud the
rising prices due to the advance in silver, ought to make our grain,
cotton and provisions bring us more money than they now do; but
the darkest hour is generally just before the dawn.
the most equitable tax that could be levied. It would be wise for
the rich themselves to see that such a tax was imposed, for they
must realize that the middle class as well as the poor will never
permanently consent that they shall be a privileged untaxed caste.
When Turgot proposed in France that the land of the nobles and
the Church should bear some of the public burdens he was driven
from ofl3.ce by the united influence of the peers and priests. But the
final result was that, instead of an equitable tax, the nobility and the
Church lost all their possessions through confiscation. Injustice it
very apt to be met by greater injustice. Our millionaires cannot
aflford in these times to impose all the burdens upon owners bf real
property and entirely escape taxation themselves.
The World has been showing its teeth at the rich New York
capitalists who have been shirking the payment of their personal
taxes, which they can easily do under our law.^. We have time
and again pointed out the obvious injustice of putting all the fiscal
burdens of the State and nation upon those who use tariflf-taxed
goods or are holders of landed property. The wealth of the modern
world consists for the greater part in stocks, bonds and other
corporate obligations, yet the holders of these escape **scot free"
from all the taxation which is essential to the carrying on of the
local, State and national governments. But the diflaculty in the
way of making the Jay Goulds, Russell Sages, Vanderbilts and
August Belmonts pay their just share of the public burden is that
if they are taxed in New York they may move to other cities which
are its rivals. Boston and San Francisco have both lost wealthy
residents because the tax laws were so passed that the owners of
personal property had to do something towards sustaining the
Clearly the only way to reach the very rich ie to impose a tax on
ttpomes, TWs VOUlU ^ept; the wimple United States, ai^d Tvould be
One mischievous result likely to come of this agitation for the '
taxation of personal property is that it may induce the Tax Com- '
missioners to hunt up and annoy owners of mortgages on real
estate. Under our singularly unjust land laws, mortgaged prop¬
erty is supposed to pay a double tax, one upon the house and loj;
and another on the mortgage, if there be one. The absurdity of the
tax on mortgages has been made plain to everyone interested a '
thousand times, and yet the legislators from the rural districts will
not abolish it. Their own clients ought to suffer by it, but they
manage to let the burden fall on the property-holders in the large '
cities. Under our laws there is no taxation of real estate loans
made by savings banks. This is defensible; but why exempt the
great life insurance companies from taxation on their mortgages
while imposing it on the flre insurance companies ? The former
are business institutions quite as much as the latter. The fire
insurance companies wrould gladly lend money on real estate were <
it not for the tax. There really ought to be no Ifiw taxing mort¬
gages; it is not only wrong in itself, but it cannot be enforced.
Were the law carried out to the letter in this city, for instance, '
there would be a panic in the real estate market, for the loans now
out would be called in and the money could not be borrowed.
The Third Avenue Railroad Company is seriously considering :
the wisdom of discarding horse power for a cable service. The
change would cost $1,500,000, but the new power would be very
much more economical. The Third Avenue Horse-car Company
has now paid its third quarterly dividend. Its victory over the'
striking drivers and conductors was dearly bought. The original
quarrel with the employes was because of the failure of the
company to keep its agreement with the blacksmiths, starters and
a few of the minor work-people around the depots—a matter of
less than $1,000 a year. The loss will amount to literally an
immense sum, for the east side working population have practi¬
cally boycotted the road ever since, and have particularly availed
themselves of the five cent fares on the elevated railroad cars. The •
cable service if adopted will, however, be a great improvement
over horse propulsion. It will be swifter and cleaner. But what a
pity it is that the cable company was not permitted to carry out
its programme of a complete intermural cable service, whereby a
passenger could take a conveyance from any one part of the city
to another for five cents. But the idiots who control our local
press howled "job," and a great public improvement and conven¬
ience was put a stop to.
The Herald, since the election, has rather been favoring Henry
George. Indeed it has gone so far as to speak approvingly of the .
land theories put forth by the chief of the labor party. As Mr.
James Gordon Bennett is now in New York, and is personally
directing the policy of his paper^ its attitude on the land question
may have an interest to dealers in real estate on both sides of the
Harlem. Henry George's one contention is that it is wrong to hold
vacant property on speculation. If the holder does not improve it
George wants the government to levy such taxes as will practically
confiscate the land. But the same writer protests against taxing
improved property. Now it happens that Mr. James Gordon
Bennett owns a considerable quantity of vacant land on Washington
Heights and in the Twenty-fourth Ward on the other side of the .
Harlem. This he inherited from his father, with two or three
houses. He has never sold any of his property, except to make an
equitable settlement with his sister, nor has he ever built or made,
improvements since the vacant land has become his. Can it be
that Mr. Bennett thinks of improving his very valuable real
estate ? It is known that within the year he has laid out villa plots^
of three to six acres each on the Boulevard which, runs froiii
Yonkers to Mount Vernon. Should he improve the rest of hi$ fine
property it would make quite a stir in real estate circles. Since
the announcement of the surprisingly large vote for Henry-George;
several of bur large city papers are treating the labor movement
with great consideration. The World and Herald are each in their
several ways catering for the favor of the wage-receiversi .....
The Tribune makes the suggestion that there ought to b(§^a;-
Department of Public Streets independent of the Public Wcwks-
Pepartment, It says the latter was oi'gamzed by the Tweed ring