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May Sl. 1890
Record and Guide.
■^ \ ESTABUSHED-^(WPH31'-^186a.^
De/oteB to REA,t Estate . BuiLoif/e Afi.cKitectjre .HouseKouj DeooratioiI.
Bifsit/Ess aiJd Themes or GeHeraL ]m^n
PRICE, PER YEAR IN ADVANCE, SIX DOLLARS.
Published every Saturday.
TELEPHONE, ■ JOHN 370.
Communications sliould be addressed to
C.W. SWEET, 191 Broadway.
/. T. LINDSEY, Business Manager.
MAY Sl, 1890
Wall street seems to have been at its old tricks again, aod one of
the best signs we have noticerl in that locality for a long time is that
it is once more up to ita game of discounting tbe future. For weeks
past there has been a steady rise against seemingly adverse circum¬
stances—a rise which culminated with the announcement that the
Granger war with which operators have been rigging the street so
long had been settled. But no sooner is it settled than stocks of
all kinds rattle down in such a hasty way that one would think
some uew disaster had overtaken the market, and that the war had
broken out instead of coming to an end. A reaction is in order,
' and the extent of it will depend on the settlement of the South¬
western rate war to which Mr". Gould ia supposed to hold the tui-n.
If he doea we may be sure he will work it for all it is worth, and it
will be Mr. Gould who will profit by the settlement and
not the outside public. It ia against the stock market that
cotton should have advanced to what wilt lessen largely our exports
o£ this staple; and our cattle ti-ade, which a abort time ago was so
prosperous that shippers engaged all the available freight room,
is likely to drop away to very narrow limits, owing to the low
prices prevailing on the other side. The coming week is sure to be
a very lively one, as stocks are selling at prices where a strong
bearparty—and there seems to bea well-organized onenowatwork
—has a good chance of^making some headway. On the whole it is
a good market to let alone until things more clearly adjust them¬
selves. Any holder, however, of such stocks as St. Paul, North¬
west and the Omaha who has ca.ried them through the wars which
have carried rates to the low points of the last ten years ought to
be now in no hurry to partwith his stocks, but should a decline take
place he sbould lake on more, as Wall street may shake things for
a short time ; still it must have fuel, aud managers of railroads
Bre likely to furnish less combustible material in the future.
The annormcement that the Astor estate ia going to build a large
and exceptionally handsome hotel on 33d street and Sth avenue
opens a wide field for comment. Something over a year ago we
pointed out in these columns that New York needed a model hotel.
Those that we already have possess a fair reputation, but there ia
nothing exceptional either in their appearance or manage¬
ment. As specimens of architecture not one of them ia imposing
or noteworthy, and aa to the accommodations lodgers may be
satisfied, but they are neither delighted nor dazzled. The new
Hotel Imperial on Broadway and 3Sd atreet is externally far
superior to anything of its kind in the city, and its lessees will
probably furnish good accommodationa, but it ia neither sufficiently
large nor sufficiently handsome to become the model hotel of the
country. It ia needlesa to remark that the Plaza Hotel will not
occupy such a place, and good aa is the site for Judge Dugro's
building on Sth avenue and 59th street, and handsome as is the
structure said to be called for by the plans, there is no indication
that it will amount to anything more than another hotel to be
classed with the Windsor, the Fifth Avenue and the like. If,
however, this Astor project is all that it is said to be, as the build¬
ing will cost a million and over, and as the lessee is known to
be a man of energy and ideas, it would seem, that New York is
likely to get a caravansary which will be distinctively metropolitan
in architecture and appointments, distinctively the best in the
country. Such a hoi el would in one sense advertise the city if the
city needed advertising—that is, visitors who stopped there and
who came away with the impression that it was a model of its kind
would o£ course talk about it from one end of the Union to the
other, just as the Auditorium in Chicago haa been talked about.
It would hecome one of the sights of New York, and if the restau¬
rant is conducted on the same plan it might well rival Delmonico's.
Furthermore, the name of Aator is the best in the city to be asso¬
ciated with auch an enterprise. It Is a guarantee that it is not
merely a shaky speculative venture whicb would have to aim afc
making a cheap and showy building, but a substantial business
investment. There are a number of hotels soon to be opened and
soon to be built in the city—a fact that is due doubtless to the
general prosperity of sucb enterprises. . New York, however, has
room for still another of the kind we have indicated.
There are already signs of a faint agitation in the political sea.
The party committees are meeting to consider what changes in
their methods will be the necessary result of the registration and
ballot acta; the Mayoralty booms of General Sickels and others are
beginning to show signs of activity, if not of expansion, and the
papers are beginning to estimate what sort of a political plum the next
two years in the Mayor's chair will he. The politicians, of course,
have carefully considered that little question long ago, and they
are now occupied with the more difficult task of determining what
will be the effect of the recent vigorous onslaught on Tammany,
and how far they can count on it to aid them or to hamper them,
accordingly as they do or do not wear ex-Senator Piatt's livery.
Everything, we judge, must be in a position of grave uncertainty
even to insiders who know how many votes each ward politician is
good for, in spite of all the investigations and exposures in the world.
A fow points only may be considered reasonably certain. It is not
a Presidential year, and our election in this city can be fought out
very much on ita own merits. The politicians will have to pander
to that sentiment in the community, periodically active, which
demands the nomination of some respectable citizen. Just aa Tam¬
many recovered from many defeats by the election of Abram S. Hew¬
itt, ao it may hope to smooth things over and exorcise investigations
and biographies for two years by the nomination of an irreproach¬
able character. But they will be met by an equaUy good nomina¬
tion from the County Democratic and Republican camps. These
two latter organization? are certainly not likely to lose what may
be considered a fair opportunity to get the better of Tammany, so
that it is probable the ticket in the field will be triangular. There
are many cards in the game which, however, have still to be
played. The return of Richard Croker, on June 6th, will reopen
the discussion ou Mr. McCann'a testimony, and will force the
Faaaett Committee either to ahow their hand more openly, or else
forego any claim to have exposed anything by the testimony of the
late proprietor of Mount St. Vincent. The continuation of the
process of investigation next fall is probably the most uncertain
element in fhe contest, and until it is seen what sort of a sensation
Mr. Ivins has in store for us for the autumn season, judgment on
the prospects must be reserved.
There is just one newspaper in New York City which considers
that the city at the preaent time ia well governed ; and it may be
worth while in passing to glance at the case which can be made out
for so parodoxical an assertion. The points made by the Swn in
support of this proposition may be fairly summed up as follows:
That the arrests and the convictions are small in proportion to the
population; that ita death rate ia smaller than that of most other
great cities ; that its tax rate is less than in any American cifcy, with
the exception of Philadelphia, and that our rulers, instead of having
been thieves, have usually been men deserving of honor. It will
be noticed that the Smi's defense is not particularly discriminating.
The accusation that a city is badly governed does not mean that
there is a particularly large proportion of criminals to the popula¬
tion, or that the city is an unhealthy place to live in. It does indeed
imply (in this case at any rate) that the criminals have rather too
much to say in the government of the city, and for that very reason,
possibly, there are not as many of them arrested and locked up as
there ought to be. The health of the city also is due to a thousand
other causes not connected with its government, and to instance it
as a proof of that the administration of the city is not corrupt Is
parallel to the far-famed logical conclusion that he who drives fat
oxen must himself be fat. As to the tax rate, it forms no equitable
basis of comparison between the-expenditure of two cities. It is not
the outlay per hundred dollars which would prove or disprove a
lavish expenditure, it is the outlay per capita. Whatever is the pro¬
portion befcween the population of New York City and that of other
citiea, the proportion between the asaesaed value of our real estate
and that of other cities is far more favorable to the metropolis.
And since the tax rate is made by dividing the total assessed valu¬
ation of the city by the total expenses, any comparison of tax rates
would be absurd, as comparing 3 x with 5 y, x and y being unknown
quantities. Mr. Newton, in the very aermon the Sun is criticizing,
gives figures that constitute a fairer basis for comparison. Says he :
Tbe per capita cost of the government of our city was estimated a few
years ago by the Committee of One Hundred as more than 300 per cent,
greater than the average cost of the twenty citiea ot this couutry whose
population exceeds 100,000; as more tban 400 per cent, greater thau the
average cost of forty-eight of the largest cities of this country; aa three
times as great as the cost of Berlin ; as double the expenditures of Paris; as
fourteen times as great as the per capita cost of the Geueral Government;
and as twenty-eight times as great as the per capita cost of the goyernment
of this State.
Even these figures, however, mean lifctle or nothing, without a
further eafci mate aa to what a city gets in retm-n for its money, and the
very criticism that Mr. Newton passed—one made in these columns