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March 26, 1887
The Record and Guide.
THE RECORD AND GUIDE,
Published every Saturday.
191 Broadway, IST. IT.
Our Telepbone Call is - - - • • JOHN 370.
ONE TEiR, iH advance, SIX DOLLARS.
Communications should be addressed to
C. W. SWEET, 191 Broadway.
J. T. LINDSEY, Business Manager.
MARCH 26, 1887.
After Twenty Years.
The first number of The Real Estate Record and Builders'
Guide was published on March 21, 1868. The present number,
therefore, is issued on the first week in the twentieth year of the
life of this hebdomadal. "What a change has occurred in that
decade 1 There was a real estate speculation under way in 1868
which did not cxilminate until a couple of years later; indeed,
real property held its own very well, even after the panic of 1873.
There were hpavy sales of realty in 1874 and 1875 which brought
fairly good prices. Low water mark was not reached until 1877,
when every piece of real estate that had to be sold was sacrificed.
But the chinge for the better occurred after the silver coinage act
was passed in 1878. There is a striking difference in prices between
now and then, yet it cannot be said that since 1877 there has been
any undue speculation in and near New York. Special localities
have increased enormously in value, but the changes were nearly
always due to legitimate investment buying. The average price
of real estate has not advanced more than was warranted by the
increase in population and wealth, as well as the concentration of
business in one part of the city, and the natural appreciation of
certain thoroughfares where the very wealthy took up their abodes.
When this paper was started, in 1868, horse-cars were its
swiftest means of intermural travel. There was talk of an
elevated road on Broadway which never came to anything. There
was a proposition, also, to have street cars on Broadway, but some
of the unwise property-holders fought off that improvement, and
succeeded, in consequence, in driving a large part of the retail
business below Fourteenth street to Sixth and other avenues.
Certain equally shortsighted Broadway property-holders are to-day
fighting the Arcade improvement, which, if ever completed,
would make property on Broadway the most valuable of any on
Not only was the elevated steam roads as yet unbuilt twenty
years ago, but the great apartment houses and office buildings
which are so marked- a feature of the architecture of this city
were not even dreamed of. It is a curious fact that in The Real
Estate Record t>f August 1st, 1868, there appeared an article
favoring Parisian flats most earnestly. In tbis editorial we deplored
the apathy of capitalists in view of the necessity of such buildings
and the large revenues they would certainly return. Among
other things, we said :
With the examples before them of Paris, Edinburgh, London and other
great European cities where, owing to the concentrated value of land and
massing of populations, families of the highest distinction, not even exfiept-
ing the nobility, have found out a way of living in ease and actual splendor
on separate and isolated flats under the same roof, and builders aud capital¬
ists still persist iu subjecting a vast majority of our best population to the
alternative of living in houses more costly than tbey can pay for, or hud¬
dling their families in those abominable dens of discomfort Isnown as tene¬
ment houses, or wasting their time and money in seeking an asylum in the
far-distant country, miles away from the spot where their daily duties
imperatively require them, and why is this ? Simply because in spite of
all that has beeu said and written on the subject no one capitalist has ever
yet been able to gra-sp it in its full merits, and been far-sighted enough to
inaugurate a movement so intensely required by a vast population.
This will give an idea of the article, wh'ch was quite elabo¬
rate, and which simply foretold a state of things which we have
since realized. We pointed oijt then that to make the apartment
house popular it must be made fashionable and be constructed »o
as to meet the wants of wealthy people. All this has since come
The first experiences of the proprietors of The Record and Guide
were not reassuring. It was some years before the publication paid
running expenses. The owners found that as a special interest to
represent in journalism real estate was not profitable, while to meet
. ithe wishe<* of real estate owners and dealers a large outlay of money
was necessary. Every line of technical matter, such as convey¬
ances, mortgages, judgrients, new buildings and the like, has not
$>nly to be copied, bat carefully compared and edited. There are
necessary to appeal to other interests, such as building and building
material establishments, banks and other fiduciary institutions as
well as miscellaneous businesses.
By increasing the interests represented in The Record and
Guide we have naturally made it more valuable to real estate
people who have thus the.advantage of a large public outside of
their own special class. We have the richest subscription list of
any paper in New York. Since this policy has been adopted The
Record and Guide has been a prosperous institution. It has had
to contend with a great deal of opposition, and every year one or
more rival papers have been started, but so far they have all come
to grief because of the very heavy expenses they were forced to
incur and the meagre patronage given them- from the one intereft
they appealed to. Then there is a feeling on the part of real estate
dealers that it is better to have one substantial, carefully edited
paper which was conducted prudently than to encourage rival
publications to represent a business which, of itself alone, would
not support more than one organ. We judge that $150,000 would
not be too large a sum to name as representing the loss of project¬
ors who started rival publications to The Record and Guide.
There was a time when we asked as high as $10.00 annually for
subscriptions. This was when business was dull and advertisers
felt poor. But we have found it to our advantage to charge only
.$6.00 per annum for a publication which sometimes includes fifty-
two pages. In the early history of the paper we rarely gave more
than sixteen pages, which shows the growth of the paper as well
as the real estate business.
A glance at our advertising columns of long ago exhibits some
striking changes in the personnel of those who are the foremost
dealers in leal estate. Adrian H. Muller was then the great
auctioneer, and E. H. Ludlow & Co. and Homer Morgan were the
leading brokers. Anthony J. Bleecker was in his prime at that
time, and among the other names which appeared as advertisers in
the first year of The Record and Guide were Isaac Honig, Johnson
& Miller, John McCiave and J. Romaine Brown. Of course the bulk
of our then advertisers are now dead or out of business : the latter,
however, still lives and is fl mrishing. Among the names whicb
appeared as advertisers in our flrst number and continued ever since
are A. Klaber, marble dea'er, and Ball Bro?., lumier merchants.
Real estate is on a very different basis now from then, and this
because of the concentration of business in New York and the
establishment of the Real Estate Exchange. This institution is
destined to have far-reaching effects upon the real estate business
of the city.
The fact will be recalled that the meeting to organize the
Exchange was held in The Record and Guide office, and came
together upon the invitation of the present proprietor of this paper.
We had advocated the founding of such an institution for several
years before it was finally e.-^tablished. Of course no one person or
interest can mafee any just claim to being the special founder of the
Exchange, for it would not have taken root unless it had met a
want which was cordially recognized at the time by all the leading
representatives of the real estate interest, more •particularly by
Messrs. Ludlow, Harnett, Cammann, Scott, Cruikshank and Jayne.
We have no special promises to make as to our future course.
We will endeavor to give all the real estate news fully and fairly.
We shall not neglect general financial topics nor overlook any
matter of public moment which is likely to affect values, not on y
of land and houses, but of securities.
Real estate people will, we think, see that it is to their interest
that The Record and Guide should be sustained in the course it
is pursuing. We claim the right to discuss any topic from our own
point of view, and have established something of a reputation for
fair, honest and candid treatment of all subjects, which reputation
we shall do nothing to forfeit.
There is a large lobby at Albany supplied with abundance of
funds to put through the scheme for an elevated road on Broadway,
from the Battery to Thirty-fourth street. Of course this is in the
interest of Jay Gould's Minhattan Company, and it accounts for
the confident holding of the stock of that corporation at high
figures. If there was no hope of any other means of getting up
town, through the centre of the island, from the Battery many of
our citizens might be disposed to favor this project, even if one of
its objects was to add to the already swollen fortunes of Jay Gould,
Field, Sage & Oo. But the Arcade project is now ready to be put
into operation, and it is in every way more desirable than the
extension of fche slow elevated systom. Ifc would double fche
capacity of Broadway for transacting business and accommodating
travel, while aa elevated road would necessarily interfere with the
presenfc facilities of that great thoroughfare. The existing steam
roads have their use^, bat one of their serious limitations is that
they do not, after all, furnish real rapid transit, for the cars run
slower as the city become i more crowd-^d. But a quadruple track
railroad on s ilid earth under Broadway for through and local
a nuniber pf incidental expenses also which even our well-informed trains, would furnish the swiftest possible m.ean8 of transifc for a
pafcrpus do not alw^ays take infco account, so we found thafc ifc was ' century to come. We can have this within two and one-half years