April g, i8g8.
Record and Guide
ESTUOlSHEb'^ ilympH£»* 1868.
BiJsn/Ess jOto Themes Of GETteivtllKTni.Esi „.
PRICE PER YEAR IN ADVANCE SIX DOLLARS.
Published every Saturday
Telephone, , . . • Cortlandt 1370-
CoramuulcatlOnB should ha addressed to
C. W. SWEET, 14-16 V«iey Street
J. 1. LINBSEY, Business Manager.
"Untered at tiie Post Offlee at Ifcw York, jV, r., as second-class matter."
APRIL 9, 1898,
NO improvement lias come to the business situation during
tlie week, but it is a distinct gain that tlie uncertainty,
from which everything has and stiil is suffering, has not given
place to the certainty of war,. The hoUling back of the Presi¬
dent's message encourages those who still cling to the belief in
a peaceful outcome of the Cuban tlifficulty. The prospect to-day
looks very dark, but not darker than it did a week ago, nor than
it has been on other occasions. This cloudiness has previously
been, and may, also, now be due to the ignorance of the public
and the press as to the actual terras and condition of the nego¬
tiations between the two governments. Anyway, the security
market refuses doggedly and persistently tO' be scared. During
this whole agitation bear operations have been unfortunate.
Holders of securities have great confidence in the maintenance
of values, and this confidence is so apparent that it is doubtful
whether an actual declaration of war would lower quotations
much. A peaceful settlement with Spain might be followed by
the withdrawal of support from the market that cotdd do more
EUROPEAN exchanges closed for the holidays depressed by
the uncertainty of the outcome of the Cuban situation,
and by the hardening of money rates. In advancing the Bank
of England rate from 3 per cent, to 4 per cent., the directors of
that institution, apparently, expected the demand from this side
of the Atlantic to continue and wished to transfer the burden
of meeting it to other financial centres. This expectation may
have been of something more than an ordinary demand, with
which probable financial needs of the United States Government
might have some connection. It does not follow that the direc¬
tors of the Banlt believed this government would soon be in
the market for a loan, but that that was one of the probabilities
that should in a measure be provided against. Certainly such
an event would still further draw money from Europe in large
amount. An interesting report has been made contrasting the
material and financial condition of'Egypt in 1881, the year of
the British occupation, and in 1897, from which the following-
items are taken: Population increased, 2,920,486, or 43 per cent.;
the rate of the land taxes was reduced 18 per cent., and arrears
that were very large have almost ceased to exist; taxation per
capita was reduced 20 per cent,; 212 miles of new railroad were
opened; expenditures on public Instruction increased 37 per
cent.; imports increased by over £2,600,000; the amount of bonds
outstanding in 1881 was f9S,376,660. and last year £98,035,780,
notwithstanding the great expenditures for public works iu the
interval; interest charges declined and the prices of the bonds
iiad substantially increased. The French Senate has ratified
the Increased duty on pork and pork products. The report of
the Hamburg-American Steamship Company for last year states
that prior to the new tariff in the United States shipments had
so increased that the company had to charter 157 extra steamers.
In July and August exports declined, but since then they have
been maintained at a satisfactory level. The number of cabin
passengers decreased. Emigration shows a considerable de¬
cline, which Is explained by a reference to the better state of the
labor market In Germany, and the effect of the insurance laws
for working people. The disturbances with which the Austrian
Reichsrath was opened make the conclusion of the treaty
with Hungary within the given time doubtful, as well as the
settlement of all other questions which have been awaitingacon-
dition of parliamentary sanity. The much talked of Vienna gas
loan negotiated by the Deutsche Bank was a failure as far as
Austria was concerned, a fact that was claimed to be a con¬
sequence of the Anti-Semitic movement. The Mexican budget
recently presented makes the satisfactory showing of a surplus
pf ?3,170,124 for 1896-7, and an estimated surplus for 1897-S of
$20,016, with a proposed increase of $3,150,108 in expenditures.
India is reported to be already showing signs of rapid recovery
from the disasters that have befallen the country of late years,
and that consequently such a growth in the ordinary revenues
is anticipated as will fully cover the war and famine expenses.
The Chinese incident seems to have closed with the leasing of
Wei-hai-Wei by Britain and the concessions to Prance, so that
war is not now to be expected frora causes arising in that
THIRTY YEARS OF OFFICE BUILDING.
(With Illustrated Supplement.).-
THIRTY years have passed since the Record and Guide was
founded and its first number issued. In commercial af¬
fairs that is a long period for any'enterprise to endure. It is
particularly long if to duration be added the retention of undis¬
puted supremacy in the particular field covered. The world has
moved briskly everywhere during the last generation, but it is
doubtful whether change has been quite so rapid and radical in
any of the older centres of population as in New York City.
And, iu New York City, profoundly as all conditions have been
altered, it is hardly to be questioned that the most pronounced
expression of the transformation wrought by time in the life aud
circumstances of the metropolis Is to be fotmd in the special
lines of industry of which the Record and Guide is the recog¬
Social life has been revolutionized; so has commercial enter¬
prise. Wealth and population have increased beyond even the
dreams of enthusiasts thirty years ago. But in themselves,
these are changes in the internal condition of the city. If wa
desire to see the embodiment of them in concrete form the read¬
iest direction in which to turn ia to the work done by the Archi¬
tect and the Builder, working with whom, of course, is the Real
Estate Owner and the Real Estate Agent. The visible sign of the
difference between old New York and the city of to-day is in the
It is sometimes said that architecture is no longer a living art.
In a sense the statement is not to be disputed. As a vital con¬
tinuation of traditional forms, modern work is moribund, at
best. As a new expression of the permanent principles of the
art, it -will probably be found to be of small account. But, in
the sense of representing the taste and condition of the times,
architecture is as alive to-day as ever it has been. It is a con¬
temporary document of vast importance, and he who would
know what has been going on in New York life during the last
thirty years cannot study any more illuminating page of history
than the buildings of the city.
From this point of view the most interesting chapter of con¬
temporary American architecture, if not the most valuable, is .
that concerning the ofiice building and its development. In the
Supplement that accompanies this issue will be found thirty
illustrations, showing a typical commercial building for each
year since 1868. Two difiictdties were encountered in preparing
the pages—for the earlier years of the period covered there is so
little to present, whereas in the latter years selection is embar¬
rassed by the abundance of material. As a matter of fact, the of¬
fice building is a more "modern instance" thau is commonly rec¬
ognized, now that the city Is filled with structures of the kind.
When the Record and Guide was founded that type of structure
was just coming into existence. Up to that date the old-fash¬
ioned five-story edifice, a slight modification and enlargement of
the prevailing domestic habitation, snfRced for all the practical
requirements of the business community. The New York Life
Insurance Company's old building, replaced the other day by a
colossal modern structure, and the Equitable Building, may be
regarded as the earliest signal examples of the ofBce building in
the modern sense. Plans for both of these structures were filed
In 1868. We ought, perhaps, to caution the reader that, as de¬
signed then, they were not, of course, the buildings they became
later by large additions and modifications.
We have become so used to the compelling effect of "demand"
upon "supply" that we are perhaps too prone to regard the office
building as merely the result of the demand made by an in¬
creasing population upon the real estate owner. Demand, no
doubt, has been a powerful incentive, but as a matter of fact the
office building is almost as much a creation of American In¬
ventive genius as the locomotive or steamship is of the in¬
genuity of the engineer. In 1868, the elevator was not exactly
a new thing, still it was an innovation. It had passed, how¬
ever, quite beyond the experimental stage, and its possibilities in
connection with the commercial building were dimly perceived.
It was to this perception as much as to anything else that we
owe the modern ofiice building. But for the invention and the
continuous improvements it received from the Otis company
we would not have witnessed the addition of story upon story,
until from five or six the number was increased to ten or twelve,