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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 20, no. 492: August 18, 1877

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Real Estate Record AND BUILDERS' GUIDE. Vol. XX. NEW YORK, SATtFRDAY, AUGUST 18, 1877. No. 492. Published Weekly by W>\^t %ml Estate liemrtr %B^Qmiwn. TERMS. ONE! YEAR, in advance.. ..$10.00. Coraraunicafcions should be addressed fco C. W. SWEET, Nos. 345 AND .347 Broadway. THE BRICK MANUPAGTCJRERS COMBINA¬ TION. Au association, including, nearly ail the leading brick manufacfcurers of the Hudson River, has recently been formed with the avowed purpose of controlling and dealing out tho supply of brick, and, through a weekly meet¬ ing held in this city, deciding upon whafc fchey as¬ sume must be accepted as the regular market rates, Expecfcations are of course'based upon fche unanimous concurrence of all seUers in inandafces of fche association as to the amoimt of the offering, a strict adherence to the rates named, and the tame submission of buyers. The programme seems a very nice one, but we predict a fail¬ ure, Urst, through a weakness on the part of sellers, and, second, through the power buyers undoubtedly possess, if they wield it judiciously. It is possible that certain manufacfcurers may have the means at command which will enable them to take the posifcion of "no sales untU they get their price," but it is very doubtful if the majority of their associates are in fche same posi¬ tion. Indeed, our information leads us to beUeve that the production in a greafc many cases de¬ pends largely upon the turning of stock into money rapidly, and that, if compeUed to carry cargoes for even a week or two, owners thus sit¬ uated must break through the restrictions and realize or give up hopes of further briclv making for the season. Just now, too, there is a lull in the consumpfcion of brick, our local dealers gener¬ ally are oifish and indifferent, and it is reported that preparations for many fall jobs are delayed, with every praspect of total suspension if the cost of brick is to be increased. Buyers, in fact, show many indications of bringing their operations down to the close limit of absolute necessity, and stoutly resisting higher prices, aud particularly so when these come in dictatorial form. Combi¬ nafcions appear to be the last resort of a class of people who fail to understand that the law of sup¬ ply and demand, as naturaUy developed, has again became the sole pivot around which values Uuctuate, and no matter what temporary success may attend attempts to force other results, reac¬ tion is pretty sure to follow, and bring disaster to aU who give support to what may be termed Ulegitimate prices. This is not theory, but fact, proven time and time again, during the past year or two, on aU the leading staples and articles of manufacture in the country, and even where le¬ galized and systematized speculation is carried on daUy with "combinations" and "comers," part and parcel of the regular business, nothing has proven successful -which. ignored the slow, careful demand from astute consumers, orfaUed to calculate closely the supply and probable out¬ let. Only a few weeks ago the laborers at the kilns and brick yards on Haverstraw Bay sfcruck for higher wages, and were so riofcous in their de¬ mands that an armed force became necessary to subdue them. Their "combination" fixed a scale of wages, and attempted to enforce it by intimi¬ dation of employers and assault upon competing workmen. WhUe the paraUel is not perfect throughout, inasmuch as neither violence or law- brealdng in any form are Ukely to result, the ac¬ tion of manufacturers in essential particulars is simUar to that of their employees. It embodies some of the worst features of trade-unionism in the form of an attempt at positive dictation of terms fchrough one-sided legislafcion, leaving the other interested element, in fche form of buyers, wifchoufc opfciou, if possible, and, fiu-fcher, seeks fco control the private property of members to the end that supplies may be manipulated in support of the object iii view. As we have noted above, manufacturers who have not moral courage to carry on their own business independently, but foUow the dictates of fche "combination," are likely to be forced out of business, while those who remain obtain whatever benefit may arise fchrough reduced producfcion and increased monop¬ oly. The manner in which manufacfcurers seek fco fcake the markefc in fcheir own hands seems fco imjUy a want of faith and confidence in the man¬ agement by our i-eceivers and commission men. This, however, is a matfcer for private considera¬ tion in the absence of direct faultfinding. LEGAL DECISION. Mr. John H. Sherwood, prior to the 1.5fch day of December, 1873, was the owner of four first-class dwelling-houses and lots, situate on the easterly side of Pifth avenue, between Forty-fourth and Forty-fifth streets, in the city of New York. Qn that day he conveyed, by warranty deed, to Mrs. Fannie Musgrave the third dweUing and lot north of Fifty-fourth street, aforesaid. The lot thus conveyed was thirty feet in width on Fiffch avenue, and one hundred feefc in depfch, and fche dweUing thereon was thirty feet wide and sixty feet deep. The southern Une of the lot belonging to Mrs. Musgrave was the centre of a party waU between the buUdings of Mrs. Musgrave and Sherwood. At the time of the sale to and pur¬ chase by Mrs. Musgrave, all four of the dwel¬ lings were private residences, and Mrs. Musgrave and her husbahcl both positively testi¬ fied that Sherwood assured them they would so remain and continue, which assurance was one of the inducemenfcs which inUuenced fche purchase. Two years after the sale, Mr. Sherwood re¬ modeled the interior of his two dwelUngs imme¬ diately south of that belongiug to Mrs. Musgrave, and converted them into an establishment known as a French flat or an apartment house. To this alteration Mrs. Musgrave objected, though the exterior of the building was not changed. He also, at the same time, extended his buUding in the rear to the depth of his lot, and erected his waU, which was an extension of the old party waU, several inches upon the property of Mrs. Mus¬ grave. Mr. Sherwood now purposes erecting two additional stories upon his two dwellings, in which erection, by adding to the height of the party walL he really occupies and buUds upon the land of Mj-s. Musgrave, and in so doing removes the chimneys of her dweUing and otherwise inter¬ feres with her property. She thereupon appUes for an injunction restraining Mr. Sherwood in the enlargement and fm-ther alteration of the biuldings, -which the Court has granted. The Judge holds that the completion of the buildings as dwelluigs, the erection of fche parfcy wall befcween fchem in a finished sfcate, and the positive declaration of Mr. Sherwood fchafc they should remain first-class private residences, all show fchat the party wall as it existed at the time of the conveyance to Mrs. Musgrave, was to be the completed wall between the two dweUings, and there is nothing from which any agreement or right to add to the party waU can be inferred, but, on fche contrary, all acts and promises poLot to an opposite one. The Judge holds fchat this application involves anofcher quesfcion. " Ifc was conceded on fche argu¬ ment that the title under which the defendant holds his property forbids the erection thereon of "a tenement house," and thus the point is pre¬ sented whether or not the conversion and change made by him of his two houses into a French flat or apartment house is a violation of his covenant. The point is not free from difficulty, but reflec¬ tion has satisfied me fchat the pi-oposed erection is wifchin both the spirit and fche lefcfcer of tlie expres¬ sion. The obvious object of such a provision was to free the premises from the confusion and dis- quiefc which musfc surround any buUding which is the abode of several distinct families. That the grantor infcended fco dedicate and preserve the propei-fcy fco and for fche use of firsfc-cLass private dwelling houses is obvious, and whUe it is con¬ ceded that the annoyance and discomfort arising from fche occupafcion of defendant's structures for the purpose designed would be somewhat less than if fchey were fche abodes of fche poorer classes, ifc is sfcUl manif esfc fchat the distinction is in degree and not in kind. The bustle, confusion and want of privacy which the grantor intended to guard against would necessarily be present, and to thafc exfcenfc at least his intention would be defeated. It was strenulously urged by the defendant fchat the expression "tenement house" must be confined in meaning to the abodes of poor families who, as tenants, occupy a single buUding. The difficulty attending this definition is, that there is no fixed standard by which povertj'' and wealfch can be measured. How many doUars musfc an individual have fco be enfcifcled fco be called rich, and how few musfc he possess to bo regarded as poor? WUl the name of the building change as its occupants change ? Manifestly, it seems to me, not. Some other definition than one which shifts and changes wifch the famUies occupying it must be sought for. Tho word "tenement," according to Bouvier (Bouvier's Law Dictionary, vol. 2, page 583) in its larger sense "comprehends' everything which may be holden, provided it be of a permanent nature." According to the same author it also signifies a " house or homestead," and as defined by Jacobs in his law dictionary, which Bouvier quotes, "rooms let in a house." The compound word "fcenement-house," musfc, fcherefore, signify and mean a house wifch distinct, tenements or homes, which separate and differenfc- famUies or persons occupy as tenements. Not merely a boarding house or a hotel—for in these the occupancy is not one of tenancy, but that of guests or boarders. It was conceded upon the argument, that whUst a common table and laundry is to be pro¬ vided in the structure of the defendant, for the accommodation of its occupants if they wish to use them, yet that the various copartments are let and rented to them, they paying a sum in money as the rent thereof. No reason occurs to me why, UteraUy and truly, the building of the defendant, which is to be occupied by tenants, in name and in fact, is not clearly within the true meaning and definition of a "tenement house." The iu junction asked for must also for this reason be granted." MARKET REVIEW. REAL ESTATE MARKET. The notable transacfcions afc the Exchange Sales¬ room were the sale of the vacanfc lofcs on fche north side of Fiffcy-fourfch sfcreefc, fcogefcher in size 50x100,5.