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January 14, 1888
The Record and Guide.
Dr/oTEB TO K^l Estate . BuiLoif/c AjicfdiEcrai^E .Household DEeof^ATiorJ.
BiJSir/ESS AltoTHEWES Of Ce^ERaL I;JT£I\ES7
PRICE, PER YEAR IN ADVANCE, SIX DOLLARS.
Published every Saturday.
TELEPHONE, - - - JOHN 370.
Communications should be fiddressed to
.-■- _ ' I 'vC. W. SWEET, 191 Broadway
J. T. LTND'SEY, Brisines»-Manager.
,-JANUARY 14, 1888
In this issue we publish a sixty-four page paper, the largest
which has ever emanated from this office since the establishment
of The Record and Guide nearly twenty years ago. It will
be found to contain a vast amount of interesting information, not
only to real estate men, builders, architects and others, but to busi¬
ness Tnen of every description. Our "Important Special Notices"
are worthy the attention of real estate buyers, as well as pro¬
spective purchasers of all sorts of material used for building
purposes. The advertisements shoidd not be overlooked, for they
contain a store of valuable information. The thousands of non-
subscribers to whom we will mail The Record and Guide shoidd
send in their subscriptions to this office at an early date.
Mr. Samuel Benner's forecast o£ buBiness and politics for the
comiug year will of course be peruaed with eager interest by all
our-readers. It will be seen that our contributor is a firm believer
in a protective tariff. He thinks any approach to free trade will
injure the buslneas of the country, aud he confidently looks for a
popular verdict next fall in favor of the high tariff candidate for
tbe Presidency. According to Mr. Benner this will be a bad year
for stocks ; he looks for very much lower prices in the early fall
months. Ttiis, according to him, will be another year of drought,
and probably disficient crops. This will affect the stock market
unfavorably, but will give value to grain and provisions.
But next year, according to Mr. Benner, there is a reasonable
prospect of a turn in th© tide of prices. It promises to be a
"boom" year. This prediction is baaed on-a theory first pro¬
pounded by our contributor in his "Prophecies," that there is a cer¬
tain periodicity in prices. The financial history of the country shows
that in periods varying from eighteen to twenty-one years there is
a panic in business, in which the bulk of the trading community
becomes bankrupt. But preceding this disaster there is a year or
two of great apparent prosperity, in which prices go up and every¬
one is apparently prosperous. Thia catastrophe, according to Mr.
Benner, in his " Prophecies," is due in 1890 or 1891, but 1889 will be
a year of inflation. Hence anyone who purchases securities this
coming fall when prices will be low will be able to sell out at a
handsome profit in 1889. We give these vaticinations for what
they are worth. Mr. Benner's " Prophe:ies" is a very remarkable
book. It was first published in 1875, and it foretold with remark¬
able accuracy the courae of prices many years ahead.
Our annual review of the markets for strucCural material appears
in another portion of the preient publication. In comparison with
the preceding year the showing is an excellent one as regards the
volume of business accomplished, the prices obtained, and the
general result to those engaged in the various branches of traiAe.
The season wound up, however, in rather a tame manner and with
a feeling of considerable apprehension regarding the new year,
dealers, contractors, and all who cater directly to the consumptive
demand having evidently become imbued with a spirit of caution
not likely to be removed until the prospect for spring operations
become better understood, Tbere is a fair general accumulation
of material in hand, and valuations are upon a comparatively
moderate and attractive basis.
material market for the past year. We refer our readers to the
detailed reports elsewhere.
The Mayor's message is a w^ell-written docviment, and its conclu¬
sion will be very generally commended. The debt of the city has
increased, aud the appropriations and taxation will be heavier this
year than last; but New York is a growing city, and our citizens do
not object to generous expenditure if the money is honestly spent
and for desirable purposes. The,New Parks aud the Aqueduct debt
will in a few years swell the total of our debt up to the constitu¬
tional limit; hence there ia small prospect of any reduction in the
rate of taxation. Fortunately the value of our real estate is steadily
and largely increasing, and our citizens will consequently be able
to bear the added burdens of taxation.
Some weeks ago we published a correspondence between the
editor of this paper, the Chief of the Bureau of Statistics, the head
of the Labor Bureau and the Honorable S. S. Oox, respecting the
necessity for gathering statistics of buildings and building
material. While we know all about railroad building, including
the cost year by year, thare is at present no way of getting accu¬
rate statistics of building ; nor is it known how much capital is
invested yearly in lumber, bricks, stone, etc. In the present num¬
ber of The Record and Guide, however, we endeavor in a measure
to meet tt^is want by giving & very full r^w/ne of the bujlding
Mayor Hewitt proposes to put all taxes upon real estate and
relieve personal property entirely from any fiscal burdens. So far
as the municipality is concerned this proposition haa often been
made, but it has never been received with favor by owners of real
estate who were not rich men otherwiae. It is not fair that owners
of realty should pay all the expenses of our local government. Still,
under our laws, personal property is practically exempt, and only
those pay to whom it is a real hardship, such as widows and orphans
and the beneficiaries of trust funds. The very rich escape almost
entirely. The only equitable tax upon personal property would be
on incomes, and that should be levied by the general government.
Were this State or city to do it alone it would drive rich men away
from thia to other cities. Still there ia no present likelihood that
any State Legislature will wipe out all taxation on personal prop¬
erty. It would afford too good a test for all the demagogues in and
out of the press.
There is a good deal to be eaid in favor of giving over the west
side of the Central Park to a " speeding drive" for tbe owners of
fast horses. New York is a great city and includes all kinds of
people and interests. Since the beginning of its history this city
has always had roads that could be used by people who owned fast
horses. We all recall their history from the Bloomingdale Drive
down to the one on St. Nicholas avenue. But as the island gets
built up the horeemen find their old drives no longer available.
They are driven off the island, while aa yet the other side of the
Harlem is too far distant for use. The proposed drive from 59th to
UOth street would not interfere with any of the walks, drives, or
bridle paths of the park, and would attract tens of thousands of
people to see the fast horses of the metropolis. Of course the
driving would be under police regulation, and racing and riot would
be prohibited. A violent opposition to thia proposition bas been
developed, but it is unreasonable and should not be heeded at
We seem to be in the first stages of a period of a general advance
in prices. Tables have been published showing that cereals, pro¬
visions, sugar, coffee, cotton, oil, tin, lead and copper have
advanced on an average 17 per cent, in the last six months of 1837.
The cereals, provisions and coffee were dearer because of the
reduced yield. Oil, tin, lead and copper manipulated to higher
prices, while cotton advanced because of the better demand. Some
of this advance in price is undoubtedly due to the increase in our
active circulation. Large additions are being made weekly to the
ones, twos, fives and tens, which issues are mainly silver certifi¬
cates. These make retail trade active and help to maintain prices.
It is liOt likely that Congress will do anything to check the present
outflow of paper money of small denominations. The Treasury
figures show that notwithstanding the constant additions to the
apparent surplus, still the amount of currency afloat in the hands
of the peoplfl is constantly being added to, and this is as it should
be, for our population is increasing at the rate of over two millions
per annum and our wealth at a still greater ratio. This naturally
invoivesa constantly greater demind for more currency.
Financiers are discussing the question: "Is a period of
depresson due because of the heavy railroad construction
during the year 1837 f" We built nearly 13,000 miles of
new track. In 1883 we constructed 11,568 miles; this was the
heaviest record in our history except that of last year.
But 1883 was followed by several bad years, indeed there was no
recovery until the summer of 1385, Seme of the new construction
in that year, however, was almost criminal in the waste of money
involved. The Nickel Plate and tbe Weat Shore were cases in
point. But the new construction of 1887 was generally legitimate;
it involved extension of well-established and powerful raih-oad
systems. The new roads and extensions may anticipate the future,
but they will all be needed in a few years' ti'ie. Tiier© is also this
difference between the outlay in 1883 and 1887 : in the former year
we used up our own money, but in 1887 it was mainly foreign
money that was employed in the various extensions. Hence there
may not be the same embarrasament di;e to the exchange of floating
ipto fiJted capital, Attother fftct t9 be kept jn fliind ia that (?ur