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March 19, 1887
The Record and Guide.
THE RECORD AND GUIDE,
Published every Saturday.
191 BroadTT^ay, IN", "y.
Our Telephone CaU is
ONE YEiR, in adyance, SIX DOLLARS.
Communications should be addressed to
C. W. SWEET, 191 Broadway.
J. T. LINDSEY, Business Manager.
MARCH 19. 1887.
Our advertising columns, our gossip and building notes, tell the
story of the activity in real estate circles. The brokers are all busy,
while the auctioneers as a general thing have more sales than they
can attend to. The promise for the rest of the spring season could
not be better.
The business of the country promises well enough, but is dull
just for the moment, a condition of things due to several causes.
The demand for iron bas slackened off, as the railroad companies
are in some doubt as to what will be the effect of the operations of
the Interstate Commerce law. The stock market has been unusu¬
ally torpid pending the Baltimore & Ohio deal, the secret of which
has been very well kept. If the Huntington interest should secure
control it will be a damper on the "street," for the connecting
Southern systems would be diverted to building up Newport News,
rather than Baltimore or New York. Then the great California
railroad men never allow anybody to make money except them¬
selves ; as witness the history of Central Pacific, Chesapeake &
Ohio, Houston & Texas, and all the properties in which they have
secured control. If they purchase it the great Baltimore & Ohio
system will simply be gutted to add to the colossal fortunes of the
California railroad magnates. Still, the prevalent report may be
and probably are unfounded. Should a New York syndicate
secure the B. «fe O., a boom in the stock market would naturally
Even if the High License bill should pass the Legislature, we
doubt if Governor Hill will approve of it. The liquor interest is
very strong and very active politically, yet undoubtedly the vast
mass of our voters are in favor of a stringent high license law.
There are too many liquor shops and the unregulated traffic is an
unmixed evil. The city treasury ought to benefit to the extent of
$3,000,000 annually for giving the privilege to sell liquor. This
would pay for the Park improvements which are so much needed,
and supply money besides to the Board of Education and our
Health Department. Governor Hill would be very much pleased
if the Republicans failed to come to time in ihe final vote on the
High License bill.
It is not generally understood, but retail liquor dealing is not a
lucrative business, and this because of the large profits on the
retail sale of strong drinks. The kind of whiskey usually dispensed
over the bars does not cost more than two or three cents a glass,
for which ten and fifteen cents is received. It is this large margin
which tempts people to open new liquor establishments; hence the
ruinous competition. Half of the beer shops are really owned by
the brewers, while there is a constant change of ownership going
on among the retail stores. This stimulates the demand for cheaper
and meaner liquor and hence the murderous stuff sold in so many
low groggeries. High license would put an end to this ruinous
competition, and would also improve the character of the liquor
sold over the bars.
The appointment of the editor of the Iron Age as head of the
Health Department is a good oue. Mr. Bayles is an expert in
sanitary matters, besides being a good executive officer, and will
try to build up a good reputation by doing good work for the city.
The Health Department needs reorganizing, root and branch, and
it is to be hoped its new executive will apply the pruning-knife
unsparingly. The disease and death rate in New York is altogether
too high, and can be cut down materially if there is proper man¬
agement in the Health Department. Mayor Hewitt has done a
bold act in making this appointment, for he has disregarded all
political or personal considerations. He did not know until after
the appointment that Mr. Bayles is a Knight of Labor and has
been one for several years; but, notwithstanding that awkward fact,
the new Health Board executive will do his whole duty by all
classes of citizens.
facts and figures prove that, under the present system, all our
elective officers, even the judges, are put up at auction and are
knocked down to the highest bidder, usually without reference to
character or capacity. The reform he proposes is the adoption of the
English system in which the government prints all the tickets and
supplies them to voters, while the candidates are punished by fine and
imprisonment if they pay more than a moderate sum for necessary
election expenses. This system has worked admirably in England
and Australia, in which last country, by the way, it originated. Its
adoption by us would break up the party machines, and the
" boys" and wire pullers would be forced into some other busi^
ness. This is the true way to supplement Civil Service Reform. It
would abolish the "bosses" as generally understood, but in their
places would give us leaders, which are essential in all organiza^
tions, whether military, industrial or political.
The law preventing the erection of sheds on docks should not be
repealed. Out of 130 piers on our river fronts only thirteen are
now available for general traffic; the rest are monopolized by the
great corporations and for important private interests. Building
materials, coal and general merchandise must all be discharged
upon the piers above One Hundred and Tenth street and on the
East River front, owing to the monopoly of the docks by steamship
and other companies. Vessels are often detained a week before
they can discharge their cargoes. If the law is repealed forbidding
the shedding of more of the piers, there is danger that our entire
river fronts will pass into the possession of great corporate monop-
olies. The Legislative Committee of the Real Estate Exchange
have protested against the repeal of the law, and so has the
Maritime Exchange. The Chamber of Commerce will doubtless
take the same position.
The case of Officer Crowlefy ought to warn the public against
being led away by a newspaper clamor. Maggie Morris, upon
whose charge of assault he was sent to States Prison for seventeen
years, turns out to be a thief and a liar if the statements
made about her by the Herald are true. There was evidence
against her character at the time of trial which the accused officer's
lawyers did not dare introduce, as it would have further inflamed
the increasing public excitement at the time. It should be
remembered that with an ordinary jury of men no man accused
by a woman has much of a chance for justice. The sympathies of
the average juryman is always with the woman, even if her case
is a bad one. Some monstrous verdicts have been rendered
against men where there was a woman in the case. Judges and
lawyers know of this bias, and such cases should not be brought
before juries, but determined by judges. A jury divided
between the two sexes would be much more likely to render
an impartial verdict; but then, in cases such as Crowley's,
it would be a punishment to any reputable woman to hear the
evidence or to confer with associate jurymen as to the verdict.
The auctioneers at the Real Estate Exchange complain that
acoustically the hall is still defective; but they admit that there
would be no difficulty in hearing if only one or two sales took place
at one time. Why not then commence the sales at 10.30 a. m. ?
and let them continue one after another, instead of al! commencing
at noon, as now, which is simply the most inconvenient hour in the
whole twenty-four. Dealers cannot be in two places at once, and
they are often interested in properties sold by two or three different
auctioneers at the same time. The custom of selling exactly at
noon was well enough when New York was a town and sales
-were few in importance and far between. But the eontinuance cf
this system now is absurd. There is a great deal of law business
about noon which interferes with the sales, and then people ought
to be taking their lunch instead of signing papers binding their
bargains made on the sales. Indeed, th*^re ought to be a recess
between 13 and 1 o'clock. Of course it is difficult for the auctioneers
to get out of any existing routine. But, while reluctant to change,
they all admit that if it could be effected it would be an advantage
to them as well as their customers. Let the Exchange itself take
this matter in hand.
Chamberlain Ivins deserves the thanks of all good citizens for
his efforts to reform our methods of conducting elections. His
The New York newspapers unite in denouncing the Hennepin
Canal project as a " job," and somehow our New York public has
the impression derived from the reiterated statements of the press
that this particular measure was " conceived in sin and bom in
iniquity." But, after all, what is the scheme ? It is simply to join
the waters of the Mississippi River with the lakes by deepening
the channel of the Illinois River, and extending it by means of a
canal, so that Lake Michigan and the Mississippi will be united by
water communication. The enormous importance of this project
can be seen at a glance, for it would give all the products of the
Mississippi cheap water communication with the lakes. It would
add immensely, in time, to lake commerce, and no point in the
United States would profit so largely as the city of New York.
The railroad companies having business west of Chicago are