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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 12, no. 293: October 25, 1873

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STATE AND BUILDERS' GUIDE NEW YOEK, SATUEDAY, OCTOBEE 25, 1873. Vol. XII. No. 293 Published Weekly by m REAL ESTATE RECORD ASSOOIATIGN. . TERMS, One year, im advance...........S8 00 All communications should be addressed to C TV". BTVJEHHT, Whiting Building, 345 and 317 Broadway. EAPID TRANSIT-WHAT SHOULD BE DONE WITHOUT DELAY. the spivited West Side Association ? "Will it be tlie pioneer in this movement, or permit this matter to sleep another year, as surely it will if half a dozen schemes are sprung sud¬ denly upon the Legislature after its re-assemb¬ ling without deliberate and well-considered action having been had by our property own¬ ers and tax-payers beforehand ? IMPORTANT TO LIENOES. The season has now sufficiently far advanced to convince all of our citizens and tax-payers that the various rapid transit schemes of last Avinter have all come to naught. The most pretentious of these schemes, the Gilbert Ele¬ vated railway, which was more audacious in its promises than all the other schemes com¬ bined, is apparently as much a phantom to-day as have lieen many otlier plans like it in the past, aud as no doubt others will be in the fu¬ ture. We do not find fault with its projectors nor with any of its friends—if it has any to- Ciay—for thus dashing the hopes of thousands of our citizens who look toward the accom¬ plishment of a veritable rapid transit system as tlie first step in the direction of cheaper and better homes. Times have probably been too much out of joint during the past season for this enterprise to meet with financial success, and there may be other reasons, better known to its officers than to the public, for the post¬ ponement which has brought us to winter's door without anything having been accom¬ plished. Tills is, however, no reason for per¬ mitting rapid transit to go by default for still another year. Everybody now acknowledges that it is as important to our metropolitan life as a good sewerage system or as our water supply. It is no longer considered a luxury, but a necessity as urgent as anything that ever engrossed the attention of our best citizens. It is to them, therefore, that we appeal even in these times Avhen new enterprises requu-ing the outlay of vast amounts of capital are not generally favored. Only two months intervene between this and the re-assembling of the Legislature. Now,' then, is the time to con¬ sult together and agree upon some practical plan, which, well considered beforehand, and taking in the best points that presented them¬ selves in previous schemes, must commend itself to the good graces of legislators and executive. We believe there are now in ex¬ istence in this city two or three committees that last j^ear held frequent meetings where the rapid transit schemes were discussed. These committees might join hands and form a nucleus for an organization that means bus¬ iness, and could bring this long and wearisome discussion to a practical and successful end. There is not mu'ch time for delay. What says We notice a decision just rendered in the Supreme Court (Kings County) on the jVIe- chanics' Lien Law of 18G2 in relation to that couuty. There have, heretofore, been a great many cases where, bj'' means of conspiracy between the contractor and owner, the " mate¬ rial man" has been defrauded of his just dues. And there has also been a great deal of doubt in regard to this law; but this decision, togeth¬ er with one in the Court of Appeals (Rollin v. Cross) has, in a great measure, cleared up the clouds that have rested upon it, and form a beacon light by which the poor mechanic or material man may steer to safety and -paj- ment. The suit was one brought by Keogh & Thorne agt. John Donevan and another for the foreclosure of a lien for materials furnished on houses being erected by Donevan, and which, when completed, would belong to him. The defendant demurred because the com¬ plaint did not state that money was due to Donevan from the apparent owner. This brought up the question of law whether that fact must be stated, or rather whether the ex¬ istence of that fact was necessaiy to enable the plaintiff to recover. The plaintiff held it was not necessary, as under the clause " permitted by the owner to build," which occurs in the lawj their lien was good. The Special Term sustained the demurrer and dismissed the complaint. The plaintiffs then appealed to the General Term, and after a delay of some months the judgment was re¬ versed and the views of the plaintiffs sustained. This case is important, and we hope it will appear in full in the law reports. William Q. Judge was for the plaintiffs and James Troy for the defendants. INVESTMENTS BY INSUEANCE COMPANIES. It is not our intention to at all deride the usefulness of life insurance companies, and we certainly do not desire to discuss the mer- rits of quarrels which occasionally spring up between the leading companies of New York. There is, however, one thing connected with the business of these companies to which policy holders, as well as stock holders, should pay more attention than they are doing. We allude to the investments made by several life insurance companies of New York. They are not always directed by experts, nor dictated by sound and safe judgment. Of late reports have reached us of investments recklessly made by one or two life insurance companies in property which is not worth within several thousand dollars the face of the mortgages purchased on the same. It is in this manner that the moneys which should be kept sacred and in trust for widows and orphans is squan¬ dered away in times of prosperity, and which may be lost entirely should in times of adver¬ sity these companies be compelled to sell them for want of money. When one realizes how carelessly some of these investments are made, often through the agency of men who have their own selfish interests iu view, there is in¬ deed reason for demanding judicial interfer¬ ence in the affairs of concerns that apparently are solid, but whose bad investments show them to be rotten to the core. THE WEST SIDE AND JEESEY. Some west side property owners express alarm at whispers heard here and there that the men they have trusted most in the past have really no sympathy with them in their anxiety to push on improvements on the West Side. They fear that combinations—of which more and more signs come slowly to the sur¬ face—have been formed some time back, by which New York's interests are to be sacri¬ ficed to those of Jersey capitalists. We can¬ not coincide, as yet at least, with these suspi¬ cious property owners. We cannot believe that the West Side Association has sold out to Jersey, even though some of its magnates own considerable property across the river. True, we hear of " Jersey City as the metrop¬ olis of the future," but the majority of owners on the Yfest Side are men of such excellent common sense that they are not scared by phantoms which are sure to make their appear¬ ance at certain stated times in certain fixed quarters. Still, all these things are food for reflection, the most important point in vviiich ia that " eternal vigilance" should be exercised by those interested in the improvement aud welfare of Manhattan Island, and that mem¬ bers of the West Side Association especially sliould not permit themselves to be always led by the same strings, but should occasionally do their own thinking. The following private sales of ihe better class improved property have been reported to us: No. 23 East Fifty-seventh Street, 18.6x70x 100.5 feet, for $70,000; also. No. 18 West Fifty- eighth Street, 25x75.xl00 feet, for |80,000; also, No. 320 West Fifty-seventh Street, 16.8x55s 00.5 feet, for |30,000.