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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 1, no. 13: June 13, 1868

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AND BUILDERS' GUIDE. VoL.L] NEW YORK, SATURDAY, JUNE 13, 18G8. [No. 13. Published Weekly by . C. W. SWEET & CO., Euou 15, AVoeld Building, No, 87 Park Roav, TERMS, Six months, payable In advance................. SOO , PRICE OF ADVERTISING, 1 square, ten lines, three months.................$10 00 1 square, single insertion.......................... 1 00 Special Notices, per line.......................... 20 AVERY GREAT IMPaO"VEMENT. Mr, S. N. Pike, the builder and oAvner of tlie famous Opera House iu Nbav York, has done a work Avhich, although it Avill result in consider¬ able advantage to himself, shoidd nevertheless earn for him the gratitude of all Avho Avish well to their kind. He has taken the first step to¬ Avards reclaiming that vast area of marshy- land which Kes between Jersey City and NcAvark—the Avell knoAvn Newark or New Jer¬ sey Flats. About a year since, Mr. Pike bought four thousand acres, or thereabouts, of this land, at a price rangmg from $75 to §100 per acre. The land lies betAveen the Hackensack and Passaic rivers, having a water front of five miles on tho former and of three miles on the latter. Through this tract of country runs the Morris and Essex R, R, and a section of the Morris Canal; and immediately adjacent to it tAVO new railroads will shortly be bmlt. One of these enterprises is the Newark and Ncav Jersey road, and the other, the road Avhich is to run from Jersey up to BellviUe and Mont- clair, and so, through the Notch, to Pompton. In addition to these four railroads, a fine plank- road and one of the best turnpikes in the coun¬ try run through the ground. Within the past year Mr. Pike has succeeded in effectually reclaiming this land by drainage. He has used Drigg's Patent Iron Plates for this purpose; they have been sunk on the boundaries of the purchase; and the four thousand acres are now thoroughly dyked, and aU Avater excluded. So near is the Avork to completion, that within the coming two Aveeks it is expected that every part of this large section of ground will be suitable for tillage or building purposes. Portions of the grovmd thus reclaimed Avill be set aside for different purposes; much of it will be naturally set aside for market gardens, in Avhich immense quantities of vegetables can be raised, as the ground is of imsurpassed fer¬ tility. Along the Avater fronta,are to be built warehouses for the storage of petroleum and cotton. A ncAv feattu-e proposed by Mr. Pike, is the building of an immense race-track, for trotting and running races. It Avill be the first really democratic track in the United States. All the other race-courses,—the Jerome, Pat¬ erson, Long Island, and Fashion Courses,—are extremely difficult of access; and conveyances have to be hired to reach them, making it a costly business to attend them. But the tract of ground of which Ave now speak, is already reached by tAvo swift railways, which pass right through it, and it wiU, moreover, soon be trav¬ ersed by four railroads, in addition to the turn¬ pike and plank roads. These facilities avUI make it possible for the multitude of Ncav York to reach the ground on excursion tickets of twenty-five cents each; so, for the first time in the history of the country, facilities for wit¬ nessing the scenes of the race-course Avill be af¬ forded for one hundred thousand persons. This race-course Avill have all the appoint¬ ments necessary for such publip amusements ; and Avill be laid out and supplied Avith Mr. Pike's customary liberality and thoroughness. But a time will come, of course, Avhen this tract Avill be a city, if the drainage has render¬ ed it habitable; as it is Avithin fifteen minutes' time of New York city, buildings aaoU rapidly spring up for the accommodation of city men; and land forAvhich ]VIr. Pike gave not more than $85 per acre, on an average, will in five years' time be worth $5,000 an acre. It is somewhat to the discredit of our business men of NeAV York, that this vast plain has not been utilized before. There are yet thousands and thousands of acres to be made serviceable. The reclamation of these marshes will add won¬ derfully to the health of Eastern New Jersey; and AviU undoubtedly rid the country of the SAvarms of musquitos, Avhich noAV plague the residents. In fine, the scheme AviU add untold millions to the taxable property of the State. Although IVIr. Pike has made his money in the Avhiskey business, the vast and important work that he has here carried out gives him an ad¬ vantage over many a Christian merchant and banker A\'ho has had neither Avit nor godliness enough to make so Avise and beneficent a use of his money. VACANT HOUSES. In aU the large cities, for the first time in six years, Ave hear complaints that there are many vacant houses. This is certainly true of Ncav York and Brooklyn; but the scarcity of ten¬ ants compared with houses is even more marked in Boston, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, Chicago, and St. Louis. The popular newspaper theory to account for this phenomenon ia, that high rents have driven people into the suburbs of the large cities, Avhere tenements are supposed to be cheaper; but this hyphothesis AviU not do, for in the first place, rents are not relatively cheaper in the suburbs than in the city; and in the second, there is as large a proportion of vacant houses in the small tOAvns as in the large cities. Real estate agents and property holders will bear us out in the assertion, that there are proportionately more vacant houses in Newark, Elizabeth, Orange, Youlcers, and the other outlying toAvns, than there are in NeAV York city. The same fact is observable in the suburban districts all over the countiy. Now, how is this to be accounted for? It is but a year since Avhen tenants were begging for houses; and, the Avay things are now going on, in another year landlords Avill be begging ten¬ ants to occupy their houses. This is not a cheerful prospect, but landlords would do well to look the future full in the face. The truth is that paper money and consequent high pri¬ ces so stimulated speculation, that the cen¬ tres of population became gorged with unneces¬ sary traders. Agriculturists forsook their fields, and flocked to ihe towns to engage in trade. But the shrinkage of prices which has taken place within the last two years has killed all manner of unnecessary and unproductive en¬ terprise, and has forced, and is forcing, the whilom fanners back to their plows. The high prices Avhich obtain for all kinds of farm produce, is helping on this wholesome tendency. "WhUe this process of gradual depletion was going on, an excessive number of houses were built everywhere; and the rush to put them np BtiU continues. Although we have not seen the worst of thia dearth of tenants, as compared .with houses, after aU, there is no danger that there wiU be too many of the latter. This dullness wiU be but temporary. The history of the last tAventy-five years shoAVS a tremendous addition to the population of great centres of trade. The buUding of houses AviU always be profita¬ ble in and near a great metropolis like New York; but landlords must not expect an active' house market until after the Presidential elec¬ tion, perhaps not until we get back to specie payments. It is proposed by one of our city fathers to increase the rate of wages of the dock-buUders in the employ of the corporation to three dol¬ lars per day. As Avages now rate, this is not much of an increase ; but Avould it not be bet¬ ter for our municipal legislators, if they hare the power, to devise some means whereby our docks and piers Avould not require to be buUt every few years, Avith repairs constantly going on ? As they are noAV, they are a disgrace to. the Great Commercial Emporium of the West-, em World, If the wisdom of our "municipal parents " could be concentrated on some prac¬ ticable and feasible plan of a dock that could be durable, perpetual even, many of the short¬ comings Avith which they are charged might be overlooked and excused. Come, urbisprwtores et patrea consoripti, propose something for the benefit of our commerce that wUl hand your names down to posterity as genuine public benefactors.