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April 3, 1897.
Record and Guide
ESTABUSHED^ liyiRpH awe*'1868,
.Bifsutess Alto Themes or GEjto^lW'reRfsT.
PRICE, PER YEAR, IN AOVANC«, SIX DOLLARS.
Published every Saturday.
IBLEPHONE, . _ . . . . COHTLANDT 1370
Commtmioatlone should be addresaed to
C. W. SWEET, 14-16 Vesey Street.
J T. LINDSET, Business Manager.
"Entered at the Post-office at New Tork, Jf. Y., as second-class mailer."
APEIL 3, 1897.
Over li;20,000,000 new buildings have been planned for ao far thia year.
Have you obtained your share of it? Do you know of the many otber large
jobs now being prepared, and of tbe hundreds of cuatomers in your line who
are about to come into market for materials? Tou oan obtain thia informa¬
tion daily from the F. W. Dodge Co. (Inc.), 310 Sth avenue, southeast corner
6th avenue and 20tb street.
RAILKOAD men are fretting over the fright into which the
Supreme Court decision on pooling plunged them, and as
a result we have had a reaction in the atock market, wbich has
also "been sufficient to check an organized raid to break all the
Coalers because of the weakness of Jeraey Central and because
there is an idea floating around that the decision affects the Coal
roads most injuriously of all. The situatiou created by the
Supreme Court decision is a serious one for all railroads, but the
idea that it threatens the Coalers most i'- pnrel? a sentimental
one; because it is notorious that, although the Coal roads have
agreed o« percentages of outputs and prices each year for a
number of years the agreements have never been kept. This was
the testimony given before the Lexow Committee in this city
recently and every well-informed Wall street man knows that the
statistics corroborate it. However, if people choose to scare
from any cause whatever, they will find the professional
element in the Stock market always ready to assist their fears
and at the same time scalp some profit out of them. The situ¬
ation is such that no bull movement can be expected until the
Joint Traffic Contract has beeu considered by the United States
Supreme Court and their opiniou of its legality rendered, or
until Congress has provided a way of protecting the business of
the counti-y, as well as of the railroads, froni disorganization
and consequent trouble and loss. The outlook is for a dull
market for a little time to come, and if preseut values are fairly
preserved that will be as much as can be expected while business
everyvchere is awaitinji the disposition of two such very im¬
portant questions as the settlement of the tariff on imports and
the future of carrying rates.
UNDEE the strain aud anxiety of waiting for a settlement
of the current chapter of the Eastern question, there are
signs of a shrinking iu the volume of European business.
Statistical reports now appearing, which are very favorable,
relate to the past and for the same results to be repeated it is
necessary that confidence receives no set-back. The sentiment¬
alists aud imaginaries, who would settle the Cretan question by
giving Greece what its buccaneering espedition set out to get,
are disappointed in finding that the powers remain determined
to prevent the infraction of the public peace if possible. These
poetical enthusiasts on both sides of the Atlantichavedetermined
in their minds what all the Great Powers have not yet been
able to find out, the wishes of the Cretans themselves. They
say Crete wants to be annexed to Greece, but they do uot say
how they know it. Certain Cretans wbo may be only bosses
and corrupt politicians say Crete wants annexation and say this
so loudly that it deceives the people content with superficial ties
into assuming th i theirs is the voice of all Crete. An im¬
pression t.revailed some time ago that our good city wanted to
be annexed to Brooldyn, and accepting the cries of sentiment¬
alists aathe voice of the whole people, the Legislature has
annexed us to Brooklyn accordingly aud now the great repre¬
sentative business interests and powerful sociological organiza¬
tions of the city are fighting tooth and nail to postpone, if they
cannot avert tho doora impending over us. In like manner the
real voice of Crete may be inaudible at the preseut moment
amidst the din raised by the annexationists but which when
heard may pronounce for autonomy. There are good reasons, not
unlike Xew York's for avoiding annexation to Brooklyn for sup¬
posing that this may be the case. Crete released from Turkish
rule and alone will have no debt while Greece is almost swamped
by excessive financial burdens and extravagances, part of which
would be thrown on Crete in the event of union. In fact sucli
an arrangement woul i make Crete virgin soil to the Grecian
tax-gatherer. The powers, however, say let both Turk and
Greek withhold their hands and give the island an opportunity
to consider and mature its own wishes. Surely thi« is fair.
IF tha weather be fine au enormous crowd will witness the
official acceptance by the City of the custody of the Grant
Mausoleum. The occasion will serve to bring to the attention
of a good many people a fact which uot everybody notices, viz.:
that the upper West Side has taken on a grand and monumental
air. Something of the effect of the several public or semi-public
improvements planned for in that locality during the last half
decade is now visible. St. Luke's Hospital, of course, is finished.
The outlines of Columbia College are established. Barnard's
College is more than roofed in. The Teacher's College remains
amid its newer surroundings a charming piece of architectural
work. Riverside Drive is one of the finest parkways in the
world, and now Grant's Tomb serves as a monumental focus-
point at the northernmost extremity. Even when merely the
buildiugs now erecting or planned for are completed the district
will wear a very noble appearance and New Yorkers may be
proud of it. It is a disgrace though, that the authorities do not
take the Boulevard Parkwaysiu hand and develop them beyond
the tin-can and dust-heap stage in which they are at present.
Private enterprise has made the West Side what it is. The City
should co-operate and do its part promptly.
Building Loan Profits.
THE real estate market at present has several weak spots
wbich deserve to receive the careful attention of the trade.
We do not refer to conditions that are the result of the general
commercial depression and will pass away when business re¬
vives. What we have in mind are special infirmities, diseases,
we may say, of the system itself, which are workinggreat harm
and are bound sooner or later to produce disastrous conse¬
One of the most marked of these evils is tbe Building Loan
There is no necessity to define for our readers' understanding
the system of enterprise which hinges upon this particular
species of money-lending. Properly conducted it is legitimate
enough. Undoubtedly it has been of benefit and has enabled
builders possessed of little capital to successfully carry out op¬
erations entirely beyond Ihe scope of their personal finances.
A considerable part of the work done in building up the city
has been advantageously based upon this system of loans. In
the last few years, however, with the extension of the system,
it has undergone a pernicious development, un(il to-day it is,
broadly speaking, a very objectionable and dangerous form of
enter()ri8e. In a majority of cases as practicedit has become
a cunning, skilfully methodized form of legal cheating. It not
only promotes disaster and bankruptcy but aims for that result.
Certain classes of buDding operatiors are nowso honeycombed
and undermined by it that they can no longer be regarded as in
the category of bgitimate business enterprises. The time has
come for plain speaking and vigorous action. We have to deal
with a commercial form of piracy—financial wrecking. Builders
—those who build to sell—are going down under it, walking the
plank through its tyranny. Building material dealers are
robbed by it under the guise of legitimate trade.
The proportions which the enterprise has attained can be
measured only by carelul inspection, because operations are ob¬
scured by the practice now so common of putting only "nomi¬
nal considerations" in deeds. This cloaks the transaction.
When, however, we get behind this suppression of facts, the
nature of the hidden scheme, its purpose and inevitable result
are too plain to need further inquiry. The whole game is dis¬
closed. We find on one side a Builder with a comi aratively
small amount of capi'al engaging in an enterprise for wbich he
must borrow a considerable part of the monev he needs. On the
other side we find the Building Loan Operator supplying him
wilh the funds required aud with the lot or lots upon which he
is to build. Formerly, in the days of legitimate transactions,
the land was turned over to the Builder at a price which gave
the money lender a substantial but not extortionate profit of
$1,000, $1,500 or $2,000 a lot according to circumstances.
This apart from interest for borrowed money. It was possible
then for a borrower to build with a reasouablf chance of success.
This has all been changed. Tbe present system is effectively
arranged to prevent any Such result. Let us take a recent
example of what i-- done—a case which concerns a block of
lots on the West Side. These were purchased a short time
ago hy a Building Loan Operator for, say, $300,000. Only
about $50,000 was paid down in cash: the rest remained on
mortgage. Investigation shows that the parcel was bought at a
fair market price. It was no particular bargain. Now, this
block has since been disposed of to builders at the modest