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March 20, 1897.
'Record and Guide
H 7l>r^ IflBS.
ESTABUSHED-^ /^JWpH Bl^'^ 1868.
.Bi/sfliESS juioThemes of GetIei^I Wtcrpsi^ «
PAIC£, PER YEAR, INKADVANCf, SIX DOLLARS.
Publislied every Saturday.
TBLKPHONB, ...... COETI-ANDT 1370
CommiuiloatlonB should be addressed to
C. W. SWEET, 14-16 VeaeylStreet.
J T. LINDSEY, Business Manager.
"Entered al llie Post-office at New York, N. Y., as second-class 7naller."
MARCH 20, 1897.
Over $2,000,000 more new buildings have been planned for so lar this
year than during lhe same period of 1896. Have you obtained your share
of ill Do you know of the mauy other large jobs now being prepared, and
or the hundreds of custoraers in your line who are about to corae into
market lor materials? You can obtain this information daily from the F. W.
Dodge Co. (Inc.), 310 6th avenue, southeast corner 6tb avenue and 20tb
CONSIDERING the small amount of business distributed
through the commission houses, the strength of the
Stock Market is quite remarkable. It is true that it is the VaD-
derbilts and well-known active issues that are the only ones
that show advances and tbat in other directions there are some
quite conspicuous declines, but on the whole there is evidence
of confidence in the value of our securities that is of good au¬
gury for their position in the future. The buyers are the rich
men who have shown good judgment before—though this re¬
mark must not be understood to apply to the multi-millionaire
who is reported, no doubt erroneously,to be leadingthe movement
in the Vanderbilts—and whose actions are generally based upon
the best obtainable information on tbe prospects for business
and on other matters whose development help to change values.
It is because the market is in the hands of sbi-ewd and expe¬
rienced men that so much judgment is shown in the buying, and
that a large part of the list is left stagnant and, seemingly, im¬
movable.- Less has been said of the new tariff bill than might
have been expected, though this limited comment is probably
due to the thought that while Mr. Dingley proposes it will be
Congress that will dispose, in what shape no one can now at¬
tempt to say, of the bill. No doubt the bill is drawn with a
margin for Congress to cut away, but until it is seen where the
cutting will be done the effect of the measure on trade cannot
WEEK after week goes by and the agreement of the
Great Powers remains unbroken, a fact that is be¬
coming intensely aggravating to the gentle Jingoes who pre¬
dicted that it would not stand in the face of the bold attitude of
Greece. Not only is that agreement still good, but there is still
evident a wholesome disposition to deal patiently, though firmly,
with the little nation that is trying to play a big card in Eu¬
ropean affairs. The statements of M. M. Hanotaux and Meline
in the French Chamber of Deputies and of Lord Salisbury in
the British Upper House, have had a good effect, and, together
with Mr. Balfour's challenge to the opposition to move a vote
of censure in the House of Commons, will help to show how
much of "politics" there is in the extraordinary favor that has
sprung up for lini.knipt and rowdy Greece. It is to be feared
that only the poets were sincere in this outburst, and they
knew nothing whatever of the facts, poets never do. Sympathy
with Greece has not reached the business circles, because we
learn that three nations—Spain, Turkey and Greece—are try¬
ing to place orders for war material in Germany, such orders
rank in favor according to the way we have named those na¬
tions. As the Greco-Cretan question stands to-day, although it
appears on the surface to be about to plunge Europe into war,
the undercurrent of news puts it as likely to be soon disposedof
by the withdrawal of Greece from the untenable position she
has taken, although with great forced reluctance that may
include some show of fight both iu Crete and on the Macedonian
border. Great Britain seems to fiourish on war scares. In spite
of the many she has had in the past year, businesa as indi¬
cated by railroad and Board of Trade returns has been quite
good, and the collection of revenue continues so satisfactorily
that there is a possibility of a surplus of from ^3,000,000 to
$5,000,000 at the close of the government year on the 25th inst.
The proposal to refund the Lake Shore debt is very favorably
commented upon in Europe, and, although the signs are not
pronounced yet, will tend to revive confidence in American
railroad investments. The prospects for the revival of interest
in Kaffirs are not increased by the news from South Africa, nor
by the temper with which that news as well as the extraordinary
confessions of the arch-fiend in South African politics, is re¬
ceived in England. But there bave been more dangerous mani¬
festations on both sides before now without anything more
harmful than hard words resulting.
CENTRAL PARK was recently the subject of appraisal be¬
fore the State Railroad Commission with, of course, the
result of showing more divergence of opinion amoug the ap¬
praisers than contributing valuable data on real property values
in New York City. One appraiser estimated the park to be
worth $2.85 per square foot aud another $6.00 per square foot,
and on another basis at $20 per square foot. All these esti¬
mates were based on values of adjacent property at diffoient
points. As a matter of fact no appraiser can reduce the value
of Central Park to figures; the problem defies solution. As a
park its value is inestimable; as land for building sites there are
no figures for comparison or for building up an estimate.
Neither the per foot value on Sth avenue, or on Sth avenue, or
ou SOth street, can be used as a basis; one would be as equally
misleading as another, because before makiug the calculation
it would be necessary to deduct from such values the contribu¬
tion which the use of the adjoining land as a park makes to
them, and this no one can do. If the north side of 59th street.
between Sth and Sth avenues, was built up as the south side is,
the depreciation on the latter would be simply tremendous.
Similar operations on the vacant sides of Sth and Sth avenues
would be followed by simiLar results. The park land could only
reach its intrinsic value by being given over to build.ng, and its
loss as park would so adversely effect property for a considera¬
ble distance iu all four directions that tbe unit of calculation, if
one could be found, would be very much lower than the neigh¬
borhood could anywhere supply now. The absurdity of at¬
tempting to appraise tbe land in the park on adjacent values is
shown by the fact tbat in one case, the highest extreme it may
be mentioned, it brings the total out at nearly $732,000,000, or
at something over 40 per cent of the entire valuation for 1S96 of
all twenty-four wards for purposes of taxation, or at about
twenty-five per cent of the actual valuation of the whole city,
on the supposition that it is assessed at 60 per cent of real
value. The valuation of Central Park fixed by the Tax Depart¬
ment to comply with the statutory requirement, that the valua¬
tion of all exempt property shall be shown in fhe books of as¬
sessment, is $95,000,000. That was made about three years ago,
and it has not been thought worth while to change it It was
made by carrying the avenues and streets through the map and
counting up the number of lots that would be thereby created
and putting values upon tbem according to their position. But
even adopting this process the result is at best a mere approxi¬
mation. Directly this laud of itself is a burden upou the city
because of the money it has cost to lay it out as a park and be¬
cause of the amount required each year to maintain it as sucb.
Its value is in the influence it has on the health and happiness
of the community and upon real property values In its vicinity;
the first of these is not capable of being reduced to dollars aud
cents, even if the second Is, which Is very doubtful.
TT* VERY now and then the improved dwellings for the poor
■t-^ in London are held up as sometliing that ought to be imi¬
tated in New York. That was the burden of a lecture recently
delivered in tbis city. There came to hand in a recent number of
the Loudon "Builder" some figures relating to au industrial
dwelling experiment of the London County Council, now being
carried out at Bethnal Green, a poor quarter in the Eastern part
of London, which may prove interesting in this connection.
This enterprise has been referred to before in these columns,
but at the time of such reference, we had not these figures. The
laud operated on has an area of fifteen acres. It Is laid out with
a circle in the centre of 270 feet diameter, from which seven
streets radiate and buildiugs are being erected on the blocks so
created. The buildings are ornamental in design, -fireproof-and
contain apartments of one, two, three and four rooms eacb. self-
enclosed, The living rooms bave a floor measurement of 144
feet super and tbe bedrooms 96 feet super, and the floors have
a height of 8.6 feet in the clear. About 5,100 people were dis¬
persed in clearing the fifteen acres, and 4.700 provided for by
the new buildings. The cost of housing these 4.700 people is put
at £300,000, which, allowing .115 for one pound English, is
$1,500,000 in U. S. coinage aud about $320 per liead. It is ad¬
mitted that tbis cost mnkes such experiments, even in London,
only po.s?5ibIe to the public authorities. Tliey are much more
impossible to private enterprises in New York City, where the
cost of land, materials and labor are nil greater than in London.
The cost per head in tenement building In this city rans from