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The Record and guide: v. 37, no. 946: May 1, 1886

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May 1, 1886 The Record and Guide. 563 THE RECORD AND GUIDE, Publislied every Saturday. 191 Broadwa-v-, 3Sr. '^- Our Telephone Call Is.....JOHN 370. TERMS: ONE VEAR, in adyance, SIX DOLLARS. Communications should be addi-essed to €. W. SWEETj 191 Broadway. J. T. LINDSEY, Business Manager. Vol. XXXVII. MAY 1, 1886. No. 946. The stock market is depressed because it has feared the first of May will witness a very general strike, not only for better wages but for the adoption of an eight hour system. It may be, however, that the demands of the labor agitators will not be as menacing as has been feared. The Knights of Labor have been beaten in the Southwest, and the result here in New York has been adverse to the labor organizations. By the middle of May matters in the labor world will not look so discouraging. in the buying of realty. There is no disputing the fact that the returns for improved real estate bring better proflts than invest¬ ments in ordinary Wall street securities. So long as this is the case building will go on. Investors know that even if there is a year or two of dullness the constant addition to our population will in time create a demand for all the houses in the market. Of course real estate has its ups and downs. Sometimes it is a good and at other times a poor investment. Those who own well located property, not too heavily mortgaged, flnd after all it is the most certain of all investments. Attention has frequently been called in these columns to the enter¬ prise and snap of the German merchants and traders in all parts of the world. They have been competing everywhere with the English merchants, and have been taking business away from the latter. The rivalry has become so grave and menacing that the matter has attracted the attention of the British Parliament, and more than one able and exhaustive debate has taken place on this subject in that body. The growth of German at the expense of British trade and manufactures is admitted, and among the caiises assigned are, (a) the more thorough education of the young men of Germany, (6) the greater economy and thrift of the German merchants and their employes, (c) the thorough training of the German consular agents in all commercial matters, which give their countrymen an advan¬ tage over the British agents, who are often appointed out of defer¬ ence to their connections rather than their personal abilities, (d) the paternal system of Germany under which the government helps in every way to extend German trade in all parts of the world, (e) the ownership by the government of the railway system of the State, and the lower rates of transportation. Hence, a German manu¬ facturer in the interior can get his goods as well as his supplies to and from the seaboard at a much cheaper rate than the English manufacturer similarly situated. Nothing was said in the debate in the British Parliament respect¬ ing gold mono-metallism to account for German success in trade, but it is a factor which should not be lost sight of. The single gold standard enables Germany to produce cheaper than her continental rivals or than England ; for Germany has but little debt, and is not therefore handicapped as is all her competitors. The railway sys¬ tems in England and the United States inures to the beneflt of rail, way kings, bond-owners and shareholders. In Germany the profits of the transportation lines go into the public treasury, that is when rates are not reduced so as to encourage manufacturers and mer¬ chants. We ara talking about getting rid of our diplomatic and con¬ sular service at a time when Germany is utilizing its diplomatic service for the benefit of its commerce. But then, of course, our foreign agents cut a contemptible figure besides those of Germany for the latter are trained for their positions while our consular agents are, many of them, disreputable politicians paid for party services by the offices they hold. The reform gas bills, so-called, have all passed the Legislature, and after a time we will see what practical result will follow. In view of the fact that the ground under our streets are full of gas pipes, it would seem to be " wasteful and ridiculous excess " to put down any more of them. But if the price could be reduced to $1.25 per thousand feet, and the commissioners appointed can force the companies to give good gas, the city would be the gainer. It is unfortunate that the municipality itself cannot furnish gas as it does water. We would be robbed by the politicians, of course, but where they steal a cent, wealthy organizations like the gas com¬ panies plunder us of hundreds of dollars. The fact should never be lost sight of that the exploitations of organizations of capitalists are in every way more burdensome than the stealings of even the worst politicians. Is building being overdone? Sir Oracle, in hia conversation else¬ where, thinks it is, and ventures to predict that in a year or less there will be more houses than customers for them. Undoubtedly there is a great deal of building going on—^much more than usual. But there has also been some very good purchasing. The transfers of real estate shovv^ that there is an unusually large business done The Daly bill for reforming the Board of Aldermen ought to pass. The proposition is to elect a board of fifteen on a general ticket to serve for three years, five to be chosen every year after¬ wards. It has been found that the larger the constituency the better the representative. There is one serious objection to this plan which is that all of the fifteen aldermen may belong to one party, or one section of a party. That is, they may [be all Republicans, Tammany men or County Democrats, and therefore there would be no opposition. It is suggested that the cumulative vote might be used, under which the voter might cast one ballot for fifteen candi¬ dates, or fifteen votes for one candidate. But this irregular voting is confusing, and it enables one-fifteenth of the voters to elect an alderman who might be very objectionable to all the rest. By all means let us see if there is any merit in Senator Daly's proposed change in the constitution of the Board of Aldermen. The Architectural Fashions of To-day- Ten or twelve years ago, the fashionable streets of New York were, probably, more monotonous in their aspect than those of any other great city in the world. Long lines of brown stone fronts, though built of a very handsome material and chaste and elegant in effect, gave a character of rather dull uniformity to the prospect. Bay windows, swelling fronts and handsomely broken sky lines were few, gables were not often seen, and long lines of lintel and cornice, with plate glass windows betvyeen, made up the perspective. A good church spire here and there relieved the uniformity of the view; but the city, on the whole, was lacking in architectural beauty, though Its elegant homes, taken together, were more con¬ venient, more luxurious and perhaps, as far as the interiors were concerned, more beautiful than those of any other city that could be named. All this has been in a great measure changed, and is still changing. Two principal causes have come in to relieve the old uniformity of the streets, one of which is the introduction of the apartment house, and the other, the appearance of a variety of pic¬ turesque architectural styles designated by the very elastic term "Queen Anne." New York is emphatically a city of homes. Palaces, cathedral's, galleries of art, libraries and monuments, such as the best of those on which architectural genius has been lavished" in foreign cities are wanting here, and before the introduction of the apartment house, large and handsome portions of the city showed few massive architectural effects, deep shadows, flne entrances, or other features such as cannot well be introduced in the ordinary dwelling. The apartment house, which is a new form of the home, has given to our architects many opportunities of a kind which, in this practical age andcountry, had been in a measure denied to them. There are now enough buildings of this cjass to add a great deal to the beauty of the city, and some of them, with their stately height and well- broken and handsome facades, are very effective as ornaments. In taking up the idea of the apartment house, as with every other new idea, the Yankee has shown his ability to improve upon it. It i^ safe to say that in no European city are buildings of this class so handsome or so perfect in their arrangements for health, comfort and luxury, though the fashionable resident of Paris or Berlin may find a good apology for his willingness to occupy apartments that are over shops in the fact that the air that he breathes in them is likely to be purer than that of the ground floor. The character of the ordinary city dwelling, too, is undergoing a change. It is said that if Queen Anne of England were brought to life and shown the modern buildings which are associated with her name, she would look on them with great astonishment. If there are any buildings here that are in a style that is truly that of Queen Anne's day, they are such as have projections in low relief as their most characteristic ornamental feature. Brick was first used for ornamental purposes in the century in which she reigned, and the material required a different treatment from stone and was 'put together in different forms. This was because its substance was Jess firm, and the angles, if too prominent, would be more easily blunted by time and accident. These low reliefs took many ornamental forms, and the resulting styles, though less ambitious and lordly than those of former days, were sometimes elaborate and often very refined and pleasing. But in the so-called revival of the Queen Anne style, especially in this country, almost any¬ thing that is antique, picturesque and odd may be introduced into the architect's design with a good prospect that it will please the popular taste, and its correctness will never be questioned. For