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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 42, no. 1084: December 22, 1888

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December 23. 1888 Record and Guide. 1507 De/oteO to f^L Estate , SuiLoif/c Ap.cKitectji^e .Household DEQOi^TiotJ. Bi/sitJEss At^D Themes Of GEfJEfyilI;^TEi\EST PRICE, PER VEAR IIV ADVANCE, SIX DOLLARS. Published every Saturday. TELEPHONE, . - - JOHN 370. Communications Ehould be addressed to C. W. SWEET, 191 Broadway, 7. T. LINDSEY, Business Manager. Vol. XLII. DECEMBER 22, 1888. No. 1,084 The stock market is a puzz'e to tbe most sagacious dealers. In view of the great crop and tlie immense tonnare in sight there ought to have been a handsome advance in prices after the uncer¬ tainties of tbe Presidential election were over. But the war of rates in the West and Southwest, where there has been so much overbuilding of railroad lines within the last two years, created such uncertamty among the transportation lines as to affect unfa¬ vorably the whole railway system of the country. Investors fight shy of stocks when dividends are being passed or reduced, for tins has been the experience of St. Paul, Burlington & Quincy, Missouri Pacific, Rock Island, and other reputed strong corporations. But the elements of a better state of things exist nevertheless, and were we not near the close of tl:e year a general advance in prices might reasonably be looked for ; but December is never a bull month. A rise can never be reasonably expected until after the January disbiu'sements. Yet, notwithstanding the depressing influences of the season and the shock to confidence due to tbe reduction of divi¬ dends, it is worthy of note tbere has been a gradual advance of values in many important groups of raih'oada. "Within the last ten days the trunk line securities bave all been quoted higher, while the Coalers have made decided advances, Delaware & Hudson, Lackawanna and Reading have done an enormous business during the past year. After paying fixed charges they will carry over heavy sui-pluses ; hence the favcr with which they are regarded by investors. The com carrying roads are also looking up and will undoubtedly show handsome advances in the near future. We may gradually run into a bull movement, despite the threatening situation in the West and the continual shipment of gold. Tbe general business of the country is good and the only doubtful regions are the West and Soutbwest, where there has been an excessive amount of railroad . building. Fortunately, however, some seven great corporations are in absolute control of the region where all the trouble comes from, and it depends on comparatively few men to say when rates shall be restored and a peaceful basis reached. As soon as these people agree we may look for a pros¬ perous period for our railroads. Cartaia statemants made by Mr. Jay Gould in a recent conversa¬ tion with tlie editor of tha D-dilij •Sloskholdsr do not seem to have attracted the attention tbey deserve. It is true ■ that as far as the stock market is concerned Mr, Jay Gould's interviews are not always presumed to be very reliable sources of information; but these assertions were evidently not made witb any intention of gladdening tbe bullish heart. They were simply matters of fact as to the projects of a corporation with the working of which the public is too familiar to make deceit possible. He said, amoug .otlier things, that the Manhattan Company was constructing two new tracks, one on the 3d avenue from the Harlem River to 65th street, and the other on the Gth avenue from 155th street to 53tb, and that they intended further to run tbe 3d avenue track all the way down town, while the Gth avenue track would branch off on the 9tb avenue division. Before long he expected they would have through trains running from one end of the island to the other, and making altogether four stops. The charge for the trip would bs ten cents, and the distance would be covered in twenty minutes. This would really be rapid transit. The Man¬ hattan Company is endeavoring to meet the exigencies of the situation. These improvements, however, do not go quite far enough. Should Elm street be widened an elevated track could be erected from one end of it to the other, and if more accommodations are needed the Boulevard can be utilized for the purpose. No objec¬ tion to this latter scheme could be raised on the ground that it would spoil the beauty of that avenue, for public neglect has done, tbat pretty effectually already. With these facilities there might be no further trouble about rapid Iransit for ten years or more. Perhaps these are not the most perfect arrangements that could be made, but they ai-e certainly tbe most practicable. Mayor Hewitt's plan, cornpieheneive asit was, seema to have met with no public approval, and it has been suggested that there are engineering dif¬ ficulties in its way. Moreover, it is extremely doubtful if any scheme for a surface rapid transit road could bccarried into effect at the present time. There are too many conflicting interests to satisfy. It would be about as diffieidt to find a plan on which everybody could agree asit would to pursuade Satan to stop sinning. The Arcade schem.e was a splendid oie, but the o;>po3ition to it wa^ powerful and effectual, and it is understood the company has had a bard time finding the necessary funds. Doubtless sometime Mew York will be blessed by surface ripid transit roads, but at present its citizens had better make the best otit of what they have got, for the simple reason that they cannot help themselves. After all they will not have very much to complain about if they can get from one end of the island to the other in less than thirty minutes. The Senate's discussion of the tariff bill before them is a aoriy waste of time. The Tlouse. is not at all likely to concur in their action, and if it did the President would not approve. This is to be a short session, for, taking out the holiday rece33, there will be a little over ten weeks for legislation, and tho regular appropriation bills will, naturally, take up most of the time. Indeed, the political outlook is not at all reassuring. The surplus is over seventy mill¬ ion of dollars and, unless reduced by legislation, will be a hundred and fifty million by June next. Should the Congi-ess now in session appropriate any of this money for productive or useful pm-po3es, apart from the regular appropriations. President Cleveland will, of course, interpose a veto. He will not countenance river a':d harbor bills, Blair's education meastu-e, public building improvements or any disposition of the public funds for tbe benefit of the busines.^ or trade of the country. President Harrison will therefore take office with a large and growing surplus, and he wil] be forced to call an extra session of Congress in order somehow to get tho money out of the Treasury. If Congress was a business body it could, during March, April and May, dispose of the surplus by liberal appropriations' for improving our rivers and harbors, rehabilitating our comnierce, adding to our navy, commencing the needed worii of coast defenses and authorizing the constiiiction of public buildings where tbey arc needed. We could really spend over $500,000,0'^0 to the immense benefit of tbe commerce and security of the nation. But there is nearly $150,000,000 that is really available. Were this appropriated in productive works, Congress could then adjourn until fall and return to tax questions at the regular session. But at the extra sessions in March we will probably plunge into tariff and other irrelevant debates. Nothing is really certain except that wo will spend more money corrupUyin pension legislation and continue to make a present of the sui^jIus to tbe w^ealtby individuals and corporations who own evidences of the national debt. This debt- paying policy is indefensible from any and every poiut of view. We want the money for jiroductive works. Eight milUons, ar. least, are needed right here in New York harbor, and equally generous sums aro imperatively requh'ed for public works in other important sections of the country. But it is clear that the coming spring will see business men a good deal embarrassed because of the impossi¬ biUty of foretelling what our Congress, composed of lawyers and politicians, will or will not do. The coal roads, by all accounts, have been exceptionally prosper¬ ous during the past year. Their shares are all worth a great deal more than they are selling for on the stock market. The output of coal bas been very large and the prices have been remunerative. Practically, they have acted together as a great trust. Under tbe circumstances, would it not he wise for the companies to treat both the public and their employes generously ? They should not charge the highest rates for coal or its transportation. In addition, why not show some consideration to the miners and their railroad hands? It, confessedly, cost the Reading Company a million and a-half of dollars to beat the sti-ike of last spring. Would it not have been wiser to have spent a third or even a half of that sum in making the lives of these poor wretches more tolerable ? To keep up prices the companies are, very generally, suspending mining at the begin¬ ning of winter, which is a cruel hardship to heads of families whose wages when employed afford, at be^t, a very scantliving. If, how¬ ever, the coal companies think only of themselves, and are prosper¬ ous at tbe expense of tbe community on the one hand and their employes on tlie other> they must expect, in time, to face fierce attacks in tbe press and in Congress. No corporations can jaerraa- nently Hve in this countiy that trausact their business without reference to the public or the people they employ., A little consid¬ eration for the interest of others would redound, eventually, to tha interests of the coal corporations themselves. It is estimated that the shrinkage of the values of tbe securities of some several corporations, owned chiefly in the Eastern States, since July 1, 1887, amounts to fully $107,000,000. New York finan¬ ciers are surprised that there have not been failures of, individuals