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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 45, no. 1159: May 31, 1890

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May Sl. 1890 Record and Guide. 807 ■^ \ ESTABUSHED-^(WPH31'-^186a.^ De/oteB to REA,t Estate . BuiLoif/e Afi.cKitectjre .HouseKouj DeooratioiI. Bifsit/Ess aiJd Themes or GeHeraL ]m^n PRICE, PER YEAR IN ADVANCE, SIX DOLLARS. Published every Saturday. TELEPHONE, ■ JOHN 370. Communications sliould be addressed to C.W. SWEET, 191 Broadway. /. T. LINDSEY, Business Manager. Vol. XLV. MAY Sl, 1890 No. 1,159. Wall street seems to have been at its old tricks again, aod one of the best signs we have noticerl in that locality for a long time is that it is once more up to ita game of discounting tbe future. For weeks past there has been a steady rise against seemingly adverse circum¬ stances—a rise which culminated with the announcement that the Granger war with which operators have been rigging the street so long had been settled. But no sooner is it settled than stocks of all kinds rattle down in such a hasty way that one would think some uew disaster had overtaken the market, and that the war had broken out instead of coming to an end. A reaction is in order, ' and the extent of it will depend on the settlement of the South¬ western rate war to which Mr". Gould ia supposed to hold the tui-n. If he doea we may be sure he will work it for all it is worth, and it will be Mr. Gould who will profit by the settlement and not the outside public. It ia against the stock market that cotton should have advanced to what wilt lessen largely our exports o£ this staple; and our cattle ti-ade, which a abort time ago was so prosperous that shippers engaged all the available freight room, is likely to drop away to very narrow limits, owing to the low prices prevailing on the other side. The coming week is sure to be a very lively one, as stocks are selling at prices where a strong bearparty—and there seems to bea well-organized onenowatwork —has a good chance of^making some headway. On the whole it is a good market to let alone until things more clearly adjust them¬ selves. Any holder, however, of such stocks as St. Paul, North¬ west and the Omaha who has ca.ried them through the wars which have carried rates to the low points of the last ten years ought to be now in no hurry to partwith his stocks, but should a decline take place he sbould lake on more, as Wall street may shake things for a short time ; still it must have fuel, aud managers of railroads Bre likely to furnish less combustible material in the future. The annormcement that the Astor estate ia going to build a large and exceptionally handsome hotel on 33d street and Sth avenue opens a wide field for comment. Something over a year ago we pointed out in these columns that New York needed a model hotel. Those that we already have possess a fair reputation, but there ia nothing exceptional either in their appearance or manage¬ ment. As specimens of architecture not one of them ia imposing or noteworthy, and aa to the accommodations lodgers may be satisfied, but they are neither delighted nor dazzled. The new Hotel Imperial on Broadway and 3Sd atreet is externally far superior to anything of its kind in the city, and its lessees will probably furnish good accommodationa, but it ia neither sufficiently large nor sufficiently handsome to become the model hotel of the country. It ia needlesa to remark that the Plaza Hotel will not occupy such a place, and good aa is the site for Judge Dugro's building on Sth avenue and 59th street, and handsome as is the structure said to be called for by the plans, there is no indication that it will amount to anything more than another hotel to be classed with the Windsor, the Fifth Avenue and the like. If, however, this Astor project is all that it is said to be, as the build¬ ing will cost a million and over, and as the lessee is known to be a man of energy and ideas, it would seem, that New York is likely to get a caravansary which will be distinctively metropolitan in architecture and appointments, distinctively the best in the country. Such a hoi el would in one sense advertise the city if the city needed advertising—that is, visitors who stopped there and who came away with the impression that it was a model of its kind would o£ course talk about it from one end of the Union to the other, just as the Auditorium in Chicago haa been talked about. It would hecome one of the sights of New York, and if the restau¬ rant is conducted on the same plan it might well rival Delmonico's. Furthermore, the name of Aator is the best in the city to be asso¬ ciated with auch an enterprise. It Is a guarantee that it is not merely a shaky speculative venture whicb would have to aim afc making a cheap and showy building, but a substantial business investment. There are a number of hotels soon to be opened and soon to be built in the city—a fact that is due doubtless to the general prosperity of sucb enterprises. . New York, however, has room for still another of the kind we have indicated. There are already signs of a faint agitation in the political sea. The party committees are meeting to consider what changes in their methods will be the necessary result of the registration and ballot acta; the Mayoralty booms of General Sickels and others are beginning to show signs of activity, if not of expansion, and the papers are beginning to estimate what sort of a political plum the next two years in the Mayor's chair will he. The politicians, of course, have carefully considered that little question long ago, and they are now occupied with the more difficult task of determining what will be the effect of the recent vigorous onslaught on Tammany, and how far they can count on it to aid them or to hamper them, accordingly as they do or do not wear ex-Senator Piatt's livery. Everything, we judge, must be in a position of grave uncertainty even to insiders who know how many votes each ward politician is good for, in spite of all the investigations and exposures in the world. A fow points only may be considered reasonably certain. It is not a Presidential year, and our election in this city can be fought out very much on ita own merits. The politicians will have to pander to that sentiment in the community, periodically active, which demands the nomination of some respectable citizen. Just aa Tam¬ many recovered from many defeats by the election of Abram S. Hew¬ itt, ao it may hope to smooth things over and exorcise investigations and biographies for two years by the nomination of an irreproach¬ able character. But they will be met by an equaUy good nomina¬ tion from the County Democratic and Republican camps. These two latter organization? are certainly not likely to lose what may be considered a fair opportunity to get the better of Tammany, so that it is probable the ticket in the field will be triangular. There are many cards in the game which, however, have still to be played. The return of Richard Croker, on June 6th, will reopen the discussion ou Mr. McCann'a testimony, and will force the Faaaett Committee either to ahow their hand more openly, or else forego any claim to have exposed anything by the testimony of the late proprietor of Mount St. Vincent. The continuation of the process of investigation next fall is probably the most uncertain element in fhe contest, and until it is seen what sort of a sensation Mr. Ivins has in store for us for the autumn season, judgment on the prospects must be reserved. There is just one newspaper in New York City which considers that the city at the preaent time ia well governed ; and it may be worth while in passing to glance at the case which can be made out for so parodoxical an assertion. The points made by the Swn in support of this proposition may be fairly summed up as follows: That the arrests and the convictions are small in proportion to the population; that ita death rate ia smaller than that of most other great cities ; that its tax rate is less than in any American cifcy, with the exception of Philadelphia, and that our rulers, instead of having been thieves, have usually been men deserving of honor. It will be noticed that the Smi's defense is not particularly discriminating. The accusation that a city is badly governed does not mean that there is a particularly large proportion of criminals to the popula¬ tion, or that the city is an unhealthy place to live in. It does indeed imply (in this case at any rate) that the criminals have rather too much to say in the government of the city, and for that very reason, possibly, there are not as many of them arrested and locked up as there ought to be. The health of the city also is due to a thousand other causes not connected with its government, and to instance it as a proof of that the administration of the city is not corrupt Is parallel to the far-famed logical conclusion that he who drives fat oxen must himself be fat. As to the tax rate, it forms no equitable basis of comparison between the-expenditure of two cities. It is not the outlay per hundred dollars which would prove or disprove a lavish expenditure, it is the outlay per capita. Whatever is the pro¬ portion befcween the population of New York City and that of other citiea, the proportion between the asaesaed value of our real estate and that of other cities is far more favorable to the metropolis. And since the tax rate is made by dividing the total assessed valu¬ ation of the city by the total expenses, any comparison of tax rates would be absurd, as comparing 3 x with 5 y, x and y being unknown quantities. Mr. Newton, in the very aermon the Sun is criticizing, gives figures that constitute a fairer basis for comparison. Says he : Tbe per capita cost of the government of our city was estimated a few years ago by the Committee of One Hundred as more than 300 per cent, greater than the average cost of the twenty citiea ot this couutry whose population exceeds 100,000; as more tban 400 per cent, greater thau the average cost of forty-eight of the largest cities of this country; aa three times as great as the cost of Berlin ; as double the expenditures of Paris; as fourteen times as great as the per capita cost of the Geueral Government; and as twenty-eight times as great as the per capita cost of the goyernment of this State. Even these figures, however, mean lifctle or nothing, without a further eafci mate aa to what a city gets in retm-n for its money, and the very criticism that Mr. Newton passed—one made in these columns