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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 32, no. 803: August 4, 1883

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August 4, 18S3 The Record and Guide. 563 THE RECORD AND GUIDE. 191 Broadway, N. Y. TERMS: OIVE ¥EAR. in advance, SIX DOLLARS. Communications should be addressed to C. IF. SWEET, 191 Broadway. J. T. LINDSEY, Business Manager. AUGUST 4, 1883. The labor strikes in different parts of the country aeem to be without reasonable justification. The profits of our manufactur¬ ing establishments have been reduced to a minimum within the past few years, aud the returns do not justify even tbe old rate of wages, Tlien food and clothing have not been so cheap since the hard times of 1873 and 1878. The necessaries of life were never so plentiful or so easily procurable as now, hence there is reaUy no grounds upon which to base a demand for higher wages. About a year ago pork sold in the Cbicago market for $33 per barrel, with the wages of a Western Union operator the same as they ate to-day. Lard sold for 13 cents per pound, a bushel of wheat brought $1.18, corn sold for 70 cents, and other necessary articles at proportionately high rates. In this market raw cotton brought 12)^ to 13 cents per pound, standard sheetings sold for S^ cents, duck at 13 cents. To-day the same pork is $13.50 per barrel ; lard, 8y^ cents ; wheat, $1.00 ; corn, 50 cents ; raw cotton, 10 cents ; standard sheetings, 7 cents ; duck, 9^ cents. Now take the aver¬ age of $60 per month for a Western Union operator, and let us see what it would have bought a year ago and what it will buy now ; ]S82. 1883. te9 hought of Pork......... ,.............bbla. 3 14-33 4 12-27 ■' '■ "Lard...........................lbs. 4614-13 705 15-17 " " " Wheat.....................bush. 50 50-59 00 " " " Corn....................... '■ 85 5-7 130 "Cotton........................Iba. 4617-13 BOO " " " Sheetings............. ........yds. 705 15-17 857 1-7 " " " Duck......................... " 500 ai5 5-13 It will thus be seen that it ia the manufacturers and the farmers rather than the consumers who have been affected by the shrink¬ age in pricea, and that on the whole a salary of $60 per month at present is quite equal to $70 per month at the same time last year. --------•—------ Happy Hindoos 1 They have the cheapest railway traveling in the world. If we paid the same rate that ia charged on the East Indian lines we could go to Philadelphia for 57J^ cents, to Albany for 93 cents, to Chicago for $6.14, aud to San Francisco for $11.95. Yet this East India Company brings its coal and principal materials from Great Britain. Its greatest economy U in labor, which is very cheap, while its running expenses vary from 31 to 37 per cent, of its earnings. Thia brings about the old question, why is it passen¬ gers are charged so much more than dead weight? A man or woman get on or off the car themselves, yet grain, iron, stone and other inert substances require a great deal of handling in addition to the transportation, yet the man weighing less than 200 pounds pays a sum for his ticket that would transport several tons of weight. When governments have more to say about transporta¬ tion this injustice will be rectified. ----------o---------- And now it is proposed to establish a tea and sugar exchange. These two commodities represent world-wide interests and the time has come when they are to be dealt in under the same con¬ ditions and rules as control stocks, cotton, grain, petroleum and other great interests. Real eatate lags behind, and will probably be the last to have an exchange of its own, but some time or other the dealers must organize or they will get left. The financial journals are wondering why there is so little inter- eat in the Stock Exchange, One journal thinks it is because the public ha-s e been so badly bitten during the past few years. Another surmises that the Goulds and Vanderbilts have bad so much to do with the market that the average operator has been frightened away. Then it is said that more securities have been cre¬ ated than the market can absorb. It is quite manifest, however, that speculation is as active as ever it was, but it is outside the walls of the Stock Exchange, From time to time we have tried to give what seemed to be a solution of the great activity of the stock market in 1879 and 1880, compared with the dulness, by which it haa since been characterized. All speculative eras mn through certain phases. The excitement first shows itself in the apprecia¬ tion of stock values. The share market is the pulae of the financial body. The inflation then shows itself in commercial and manuf ao turing circles, and finally ends in a great advance in the price of laud. The interest of the public in stocks ceased during the sum¬ mer of 1881. Speculation since has been rampant in grain, provis¬ ions, cotton and petroleum. The recent heavy failures in Chicago, and the low price of cotton would seem to indicate that the abnormal activity in natural products was nearing an end, in which caae, real estate may have ita turn. This was the course of prices during the paper money inflation extending from 1863 to 1873. The next two years will tell whether real estate is to become as active as it was just previous to the collapse of 1873, The end of the gas war in Brooklyn but repeats a very old story. A special monopoly makes so much money that rivals enter the field to share the gains, A short war follows, and for a time the citizens get cheaper service. Then the companies make up and the community ia taxed to pay all the expense of the confiict, as well as to yield large dividends on the doubled stocks. When will the press and public learn that transportation, telegraphic communi¬ cation and the supplying of gas and water are natural monopoliea, and that free consumption is never possible iu these services ? The lesson to be kept in mind is that the telegraph should be in the hands of the government, the railroads be under ita control, and gas and water should be supplied by the municipalities. New York is one of the few cities in the world where water has been cheap and abundant. In London, Paris, and other large cities, it is sup¬ plied by companies, and, as a consequence, the water ia bad and the service inefficient. Philadelphia manufactures itsown gas, and New York should do likewise, inasmuch as it has done so well with ita water supply. Why not get rid of the tremendous tax paid yearly to our local gas companies? This will be more practicable, however, when we have local civil service reform and responsible city government. Out-of-the-way Architecture. We are in the habit of looking to the new quarter now rapidly filling up on the east side of the Park, or else to the new elevator buildings down town, to see what our architects are doing. But we occasionally find in the side streets and interpolated between commonplace and conventional buildings, works which tell either of architectural training or else, and oftener, of architectural ambition. An architect has a better chance when he is called upon to do a piece of work in one oC these old streets than when he has a build¬ ing to design in the " arcbitecturesque" quarters. A little archi¬ tecture in the former case goes a great way. A very low degree of refinement will look exquisite when it ia seen between the bloated mouldings and gross cornices of a brown stone block. Very mod¬ erate evidence of ingenuity in the disposition of parts will content us when it is contrasted with the stereotyped arrangement of three openings equally spaced in each story. Nay, even a thing that ia as bad in a new way aa the old brick and brown atone fronts in the old way, if such a thing be possible, we should hail with a certain pleasure when it appears among them, It has not yet become so tiresome. For example, there is a house in West Fifteenth street {or is it Sixteenth), west of Sixth avenue on the south side, of which Mr. Stratton 18 the architect, a "School of Industry," or some such name, as a sign over the door tells the wayfarer. Nobody who looked at these things critically could pronounce it, strictly speak¬ ing, good; and yet everybody who has occasion to pass it must feel under an obligation to its architect for giving him something to look at. It is an unusually wide street front, 30 or 35, possibly 40 feet, with five feet or so at one end withdrawn from the plane of the front, and here there ia an alley to the rear. Except this, the front is a flat wall with a level top in red brick, divided into two parts, one on each side of the doorway. The doorway itaelf is nearly in the centre. The left diviaion is a large hanging oriel of wood running through the two stories of which the building con¬ sists, perhaps fifteen feet wide, and composed in the lower story of three mock arches, and above of a heavy sash frame. The right band division conaists of three round arches in the first floor and of a triple window in tbe second, tbe central opening covered with a round arch, and the lower side openings with flat arches. This window opens upon a shallow balcony or rather a jardiniere. The doorway is an elliptical arch, and over it are two panels filled with Moorish patterns of geometrical tracery. All the arches are of a deeper red, apparently painted, than that of the wall-field. The left division is signalized by a solid brick parapet rising above the cornice line, aud the wall is pierced at either end with a small arched opening, from which a leader emanates. The effect of the whole is that of quaintness, and of a very conscious and studied quaintness. As the value of quaintness in art is that it fa naive and unconscious, the consciousness destroys it altogether. Moreover, it does not appear why the architect should have pie- ferred a fiat top when his building does not seem to have a flat top in reality. The leader aeema to betoken a hipped roof, or, at any rate a pitch roof. Why should he have built a superfluous brick parapet in order to screen this perfectly reputable fact from the public gaze. There is nothing whatever to be ashamed of in it. He must have built his parapet because he preferred the flat top on