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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 24, no. 700 [i.e. 610]: November 22, 1879

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Real Estate Record AND BUILDERS' GUIDE. Vol. XXIV. NEW YOEK, SATUKDAY, NOVEMBER 22, 1879. No. 700. Published TVeekly by E^t Seal Estate Secorb g^ssarmlxoit. TERMS. ONE YEAR, in advance....SIO.OO. Communications should be addressed to C. \V. SWEET. Nos. 135 AND 137 Broadw.w THE METROPOLIS OF THE NATION. It is to be hoped that at the ajiproaching session of Congress something will be done to restore to New York the commerce of which she was so un¬ justly deprived during the war of the Rebellion. In the era of sailing ships the United States had more than her share of the carrying trade of the world. This she lost partly through the civil war, but mainly because of the substitution of iron for wood in tho construction of ocean steamers. AA'e have not been able to compete with Great Britain in the building of new iron steamships. Coal and iron were nearer tide water on the Clyde than in Pennsylvania, and labor was and is cheaper. Then the utilization of the tele¬ graph all over the world has rendered unneces¬ sary fully one-quarter ofthe fleet formerly used. That is to say, the telegraph enabled the owners of vessels to order cargos aud time shipinents in such a way as to keep their fleets in all parts of the world constantly employed. But now the in¬ creasing commerce of the world is demanding new steamships, and the Congress of the United States should see to it that New York city and other At? antic ports have their share of the com¬ merce of the world. This can only be done by the same kind of encouragement to long distance steamship lines as has been extended by tho governments of France, England and Germany to the foreign commerce of their respective countries. In other words, the mail service must be utilized to encourage American lines ruuning to all important sea ports throughout the world. It is intolerable that all the profits from our im¬ mense exports and imports should be reaped by foreign shippei-s—by owners of vessels which bear the flags of other nations. New York is doing very well even \\itliout shipping of its own, but it is easy to see how vast the extension would be of our wealth and commercial connections if the government were to help foster the commerce of the country with other nations. This is a matter vitally affecting the real estate interests of this city. AVe have lost a great part of our jobbing trade, ship building is no longer a business for this port, but we have gained in other respects, especially as a financial centre. But what is particulary needed is some fostering of the foreign commerce o£ the country, which would at once make itself felt in the demand for improved facilities in New York harbor and in the increase of population on the shores of the East aud Hudson Rivers. Audmovements should also bo commenced for the union of New York with Brooklyn. We are substantially one city, with a common interest and destin3'-. This addi¬ tion to our territory would give dignity to the municipal positions now held in such light esteem. To be a Mayor or Alderman of the Metropolis would be to achieve honors higher than the Governor or legislators at Albany. AVe could then hope that so much attention would be given to our local politics as to insure us against the almost criminal waste and misgovernment to which we have been subjected in the past. Let our citizens then urge the consolidation of New York and Brooklyn upon the legislators at Albany during the coming winter, and at the same time let us have petitions^without number sent to A\''ashiiigton to induce our national legis¬ lators to foster the shipping interest and the foreign commerce to the Atlantic ports. All this is in the interest not only of real estate but of the growth and grandeur of the metropolis. GREAT ENTERPRISES. The "booms" which are taking place in the stock market and iu general business threaten to have an outcome which is characteristically American. AVe have a " big " country which is traversed by mighty rivers and endless chains of lofty mountains; we have had a gigantic civil war, and everything done on this continent by the American people bears the impress of largeness of magnitude ; we have had a very severe panic and now we are in the middle of a prosperous era of business. Gigantic schemes .involving great suras of money are even now incubating. It is said the Comstock lode is to be bought up aud put upon the market as one vast property ; the Mississippi is to be leveed from New Orleans to the Ohio ; our railway system is becoming unified under the management of a few great railway speculatoi-s ; tho Nicaraugua ship canal is to be constructed, the company doing the work having General Grant for its President; the present enor¬ mous stock speculation is to be followed by im¬ mense speculative activity in all business, and finally the "boom" will reach real estate, putting the price of realty at figures never known before in our history. There is a mining speculation already very well under way, which will be more widespread and create more excitement than did •the petroleum mania of 1865. There will be heavy losses, but the final result will be the great de¬ velopment of our mining industries, not only of gold and silver but coal, iron, copper, lead and all the other minerals known to industrial art. It will be well to keep in mind the fact that we ai-e about to engage as a nation in gigantic enter¬ prises involving vast sums of money, and hence it follows that we must not expect to see an easy money market for several years to come. This feverish impetuosity and desire for doing things on a large scale is characteristic of the American, and we are about to see in the business of the world a development unparalleled in the history of mankind. America to-day is but a puny nation to what it will bo in one short decade. AA''ithin twenty years we are convinced that lioth Canada and Mexico will be incorporated into the Union, New York will be the great money centre of the world, and America the scene of as much industrial activity as is at jiresent witnessed in Europe. Those of a speculative turn of mind would do well to get into the big and good things •?vhi<;h ars about to be put upon tbe market. TRAPS FOR THE UNAA'^ARY. Persons who think of purchasing unimproved Jiroperty on the north and west side of the Cen¬ tral Park, would do well to find out what assess¬ ments are coming due. It is not enough that the record at the time of sale is clear; there are ijuite a number of suspended charges \vhich may come upon newly sold property at any time. The as¬ sessments have been so heavy, and, we may add, so dishonest during the last ten years, that the authorities have taken the liberty of not confirm¬ ing them until the market price of real estate would begin to rise. Purchasers of Boulevard property should not rest satisfied with a clear tax receipt, but should find out whether the sewer assessment has yet been levied. These sewer as¬ sessments, by the way, were generally swindles of the worst kind—a thousand dollars a lot being charged in some instances for building an ordi¬ nary sewer in front of the property. The writer remembers conversing with a well- known ex-ofiicial, on this point. Since his re¬ tirement from office, the ex-oflicial has amused himself by purchasing real estate, and he has been very successful, so far, but he soon dis¬ covered the peril inve-stors ran of having to pay unconfirmed assessments. Said he " my famili¬ arity with city affairs gave me a decided ad¬ vantage over other purchasers, and I knew that in the Assessors' office information could be pro¬ cured respecting improvements, for which the cost had not yet been levied. For instance, a person buys a lot on the Boulevard. He sees that it is curbed, guttered and sewered, and that there are no charges against the property on the books, and he concludes that his purchase money is all he will have to pay. But I learned to my dismay, in several cases, that there were suspended as¬ sessments which were liable to be levied on seve- x-al of my purchases. I bought some river front property on Thirteenth avenue, and paid what I considered a fair price. The proj)erty was sold by the Corporation of the City of New York. Nothing was said of assessments, but I learned subsequently, that some six thousand dollars was due the city, but had not yet been levied. I im¬ mediately went to my lawyer to see if I could not get the contract broken, and I should certain¬ ly have sold as soon as jiossible, only we found that in a sale of a similar kind by the Corpora¬ tion of the City of Rochester, the Court held that the city was liable for the improvements, as it failed to state on the day of the sale, that there were any liens against the property." "It fol¬ lows," continued the ex-official, "that under this decision, the City of New York is prohibited from demanding the suspended assessments upon the Thirteenth avenue property." Undoubtedly the city will be saddled with a great many of these assessments due to inform¬ ality, and really the city should pay for the value of all improvements which are not made known to the public at time of sale. It is too bad that investors should be caught by what looks like a trick on the part of the ci.ty government. The authorities do not like to confirm the assessments for they know that in nine out of ten the bill for the work done has been excessive or fraudulent. The Board of Public AVorks, pre- fiou* to thd 'present; tnanageroent, Has boeo