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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 25, no. 632: April 24, 1880

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Real Estate Record AND BUILDERS' GUIDE. Vol. XXY. NEW YOEK, SATUEDAY, APEIL 24, 1880. No. 632 Published Weekly by E^z %ml €>Bkh Hetartr %%sacmixan. lERMS. ONE YEAR, in advance....810.00. Communications should be addressed to C. W, SAVTEET. No. 137 Broaoway. "THE RIVERSIDE AVENUE." This avenue is now completed by the contract¬ ors, and the property-owners are much interested in having it opened to public travel. Mr. Chris¬ topher R. Roberts, who is the owner of a large tract on the avenue, has started a petition to the Park Commissioners, requesting them to have it opened on some assurance that they would act favorably upon it. Hon. James W. Deering has also for the 'property-owners, a proceeding in hand to compel the opening of the avenue to the public and the removal of the barriers which the contractors have set up, by a mandamus, or some other appropriate legal proceeding, by which the legal right of the contractors—in case they insist on it—to keep the avenue closed can be tested. Mr. Decker, the contractor, has given permis¬ sion to the Road Club to pass over the avenue on Decoration Day, the Slst of May next, on their way to the races at Jerome Park. This is a new club, which includes the members of the Coaching Club and many others. In the Coaching Club, each member must own his own coach and four horses'; but in the Road Club, two, three, or four members may Gombine in owning one coach. Col. William Jay is President of the Coaching Club, and Frederick Bronson is the President and Leonard W. Jerome the Vice-President of the Road Club. The Road Club are to start about noon on the Slst of May with sixteen four-horse coaches and, passing through Central Park, will leave it at Seventy-second street, enter the River¬ side Park, and, passing up the entire length of the Riverside avenue, leave it at One Hundred and Twenty-second street and take the Boulevard on their way to Jerome Park. This is to be an exclusive privilege, and no one else is to be per¬ mitted to enter the Riverside Drive on that day. The Coaching Club are to have their annual Spring parade on Saturday, the 29th of May, but the courtesy of Mr. Decker is not extended to them, and they will keep within the Central Park, as they have done heretofore. It is gratifying at least, to know that some few favored ladies and gentlemen will be permitted to enjoy a drive over this avenue, which has been talked about so much and has cost so many millions. We hope they will think it worth the money, and that in the course of the summer some other party may be permitted to enjoy a drive over this part of the public domain. The troubles of the contractors seem to thicken. They have not had any money for their work since November, 1878, although, it is now, ia their view of it, about completed, and they are very anxious to get their money. The work done up to the 1st of January, 1880, was estimated by the engineers at $528,166.95. Of this, 30 per cent, is reserved, until the final estimate at the comple¬ tion of the contract. The contractors have received $224,512.33, there are liens filed against them for $59,364.49, and the engineers salaries have been $48,681.20. These last three items amount to $332,558.02. Deducting this from the January estimate*given'[above';leaves $195,608.93 coming to the contractor.^, including the 30 per cent, reserve in case that estimate is correct. The work done since the 1st of January and up to the completion of the contract may amount to $30,000 more, increasing the amount coming to the con¬ tractors to $225,608.93. Untortunately for them, the recent litigation between them and the banks who are their creditors, has shown, in the settle¬ ment they made, that there is $67,500 due to one creditor bank and about $170,000 to another, which, with the amount still due to sub-contrac¬ tors and for materials, will more than absorb the amount above stated as coming to the contractors. At this point, Commissioner Lane comes in with his damaging statements, and claims that the con¬ tractors, by reason of defective work and legal irregularities, are not entitled to one dollar of the $225,608.93, which the engineers estimate would give them, and insist\that this will clearly ap¬ pear as soon as a correct engineer's estimate is made out. He says that a great deal of their work does not conform to the contract, that the $15,000 charged for the parapet wall should be wholly deducted, that they have built a dirt road which will not last a^week, in place of a stone road which the contractcalled for, and which it will cost $50,000 to construct. That the mistakes about the temporary bridge at Eighty-sixth street and the error of five feet in grade from Eighty-sixth to Eighty-eighth street will cost $35,000 to rectify, and that in addition to this, there are legal irregularities and errors in the work which will have the effect of invalidating the assessment, and which will reduce the total of the contract at .least $100,000. These are very serious questions, and in the interest of the prop¬ erty owners, the contractors, and the public, ought to be settled immediately. The matter has now reached a point where something will have to be decided, for three warrants have been sent; from the Finance Department to Mayor Cooper to be counter-signed as follows: Davis Tillson, $16,000; Charles H. Haswell and others, $3,424.80; L. Laflin Kellogg, $12,500, and ^he can¬ not very well counter-sign these without forming some opinion on the merits of this controversy, particularly when he has so experienced a man as Andrew H. Green, the new Park Commissioner to guide him. It would be a public misfortune if this matter were settled so as to make a voidjassessment, and throw tbe whole cost of the work] on the City, as it is now a public misfortune that these con¬ tractors are permitted, without shadow of legal right, to exclude the public from so beautiful a drive. THE OUTLOOK IN MINING. The promoters of mining companies report an exceedingly dull market. The public, for the present, have had quite enough of mines and mining shares. In other words, the "boom" is over, and the investing public are cured of any mania for mining stocks. The collapse of the Little Pittsburg did the business. The situation stands thus : The rage of specu¬ lation having partly spent its force in the Stock Market, was directed towards mining investments as the next most promising field of operationa. The remarkable developments in LeadviUe were taken'advantage of to induce certain capitalists to invest largely in mining companies, with a view of disposing of their shares at high figures to the gen¬ eral public. The bank presidents and capitalists who gave their names to these schemes, had no notion of holding the shares they purchased, but expected to pass them over to their customers and the retail dealers. But the Little Pittsburg catas¬ trophe, sharing, as it did, bad faith on the part of a number of heretofore respectable men, fright¬ ened the general public, and caused the whole speculation to collapse—at least for a time. There must be, at least, fiffcy important mining compa¬ nies, representing tens of millions of dollars, whose stock is now in the hands of capitalists who have no market for it. The names of the compa¬ nies one sees advertised in the papers does not tell half the story. It is, perhaps, well that the fever burnt out as soon as it did, for, had it continued, it would have been the general public, and not the rich promoters, who would have been injured. A good deal of the depressed feeling in the regular Stock Exchange, is due to the diversion of large gUms of money into these unproductive channels, and the killing of the mining craze will have a favorable effect on the prices of other securities. We are saying nothing against mining as an industry. We have more mineral wealth than any nation under the sun. Our bullion pro¬ duct is greater than that of all the rest of the world put together, and yet we have but barely scratched the surface of our 'mines. In ten years time our present product will be doubled, but it is very desirable that mining should be pros¬ ecuted as a legitimate industry, and not as a stock speculation. Unfortunately for us, the city is now swarming with Oalifornians, who intend to work the mining field for all it is worth to them. They are shrewd, adventurous, and generally very un¬ scrupulous. Not satisfied with the mining field as developed here, they have organized a mining exchange of their own, of which nearly all the ofl!- cers are Californians, while the membership will represent the Pacific rather than the Atlantic Coast. Some of the visitors have very poor reputa¬ tions at home, and all the mining tricks which have created so much unpleasant comment in the West are being naturalized here in New York. We feel very well satisfied with the course of The Record. We have the satisfaction of knowing that alone of the press of New York, we have told the truth about mines aud mining. The daily papers did not seem to be aware of what was going on when the fever first began to rage, and they came in at the death to help blow up a burnt out fire. The Graphic was the only daily paper that appreciated the importance of the movement into mining ventures, and it profited by its fore cast But the ofcher daily papers are as blind now in commending this dying interest as they were last year in not realizing its importance.