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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 51, no. 1295: January 7, 1893

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January t, 1890 Record and Guide. TO f^ EiSTAJE . BuiLOlKo ApCrEiv^ lii^^^n PRICE, PER FEAR IN ADTABfCE, SIX DOLLARS. Published every Saturday. Tblbphonb^ • • - - CoBTiiAimT 1370. Communicationa should be addressed to C. W. SWEET, 14 & 16 Vesey St. J, 1. LINDSEY, Svsiness Manager. "Entered at the Post-ogUie at New York, N. 7., as second-class matter.'' Manhattan Company at its best could not give New York the kind of rapid transit that the city's present and future imperatively demanded; and this shadow of reason disappeared before the con¬ sideration that in granting these privileges, we should be simply throwing up a makeshift to tide us over the few years which would be necessary for the planning and erection of a permanent sys¬ tem. But neither Tammany nor the newspapers would listen to any reason; and, of course, they had theii' own way. Vol. LI. JANUARY 7, 1893. No. 1,295 BUSINESS on the stock mai-ket is very dull and prices have still a tendency to droop. The immediate cause of this is not so much the gold shipments that are taking place; they could be cheerfully endured if there was any assurance of meastu'es that would prevent them under any but normal conditions. The largest cause of the monetary bad business in secxu-ities is the fact that Walt Street stands fairly aghast at the thought that has lately arisen that the present Congress may adjourn and leave the Sherman Silver Act on the Statute-book. The evils resulting from this measure have been so pressed home in financial circles that it was taken for granted that, the little farce in Brussels having been ijlayed out, and common business sense indicating so plainly what should be done, that Congress would at once get to work and repeal the act of 1890. But the men who make the Congress do not seem to be affected by the mischief that act is causing ; so with the indifference to other's misery, not peculiar only to Congressional humanity, though strikingly exhibited there, Congress dallies with the question and fears arise that it may not deal with it at all. This puts the market back into the position it was in so long last year and is destroying the promise of better things which was founded upon the expecta¬ tion of an early cessation of silver piu'chases by the Treasury and a knowledge that throughout the country generally business had for a year been active and good. With the evil in the situation so well known there can be no improvement in the market for securities until it is removed. The situation is that everything that complies with all the gilt-edge investment conditions is in demand and very difficult to obtain, but everything else is discredited. As the latter is in great majority its discredit contracts business very materially, MAYOR GILROY'S appeal to citizens to aid in keeping the streets of the city in a seemly condition by uofc thi-owing papers and refuse onto the pavements is, of course, an appeal with which decent people will heartily accord. But the Mayor can do something better than exhort. He should cause receptacles for re¬ fuse to be placed at every street corner. Like a good housewife the city should provide public waste-paper baskets for its citizens. Where the useless lampposts are to-day handy iron boxes securely closed with a moveable self-acting lid should be placed, as per¬ petual standing reminders to passers-by to preserve the peace and the pieces of their old letters and discarded newspapers and not scatter them in the streets. The consents of these boxes could be sold and the returns would pay for their maintenance. IF any one should have predicted four years ago the attitude of the press in general to the present phase of the rapid transit situation the prediction would have been scouted as utterly pre¬ posterous. Shortly after ex-Mayor Grant assumed office for the first time the Manhattan Company presented to the officials and people of this city a very moderate plan for the improvement of its service to the public—a plan which did not propose theestension of its lines into any new districts, but simply such additions to its present structure and terminals as would bring them up to their maximum utility. The proposal was so utterly unobjectionable that in an intelligently governed city it would have been accepted without a murmur, and questions would have arisen only concern¬ ing the terms upon which the increased privileges should be granted, But the government of the city saw in the proposi¬ tion an opportunity to make cheap capital out of a monopoly supposed to be unpopular, and the clear¬ headed, public-spirited newspaper editors, by holding up their hands in ainazement and consternation at the xjresumption of this conscienceless corporation in making such a sinister proposal, assisted Tammany in shutting off the Manhattan Company from any concessions. The only shadow of reason behind the acrid and viru¬ lent opposition offered to the suggested improveojents w^s th^t the "^"OW, at the end of some years, we find that private capital is ■^^ not willing to undertake the construction of the most unobjectionable and feasible plan as yet outlined. The emergency thus created has been too much for the consistency of the news¬ papers. Instead of insisting that the Manhattan Company is still a sinister monopoly, incapable of supplying the city with the facilities it needs, many of the newspapers have flopped over to the opinion that the elevated roads are our oitly resource. Doubtless the death of Jay Gould is partly responsible for this astounding change of front, for the press have no longer anything to gain by taking advantage of bis unpopularity; but they are prob¬ ably more influenced by their fear of facing the situation as it really is. They know just as well as the Rapid Transit Commission knows that the elevated roads are not oui- only resource. The city can build the road, and build it at a big profit. But the newspapers, with the exception of the Times, are afraid to favor this inno¬ vation, partly because it is an innovation (the unintelligent always dislike sensible innovations) and partly because they trem¬ ble before the threatened popular disapproval of placing the improvement in the hands of Tammany. Tammany, however, whose leaders are engaged upon more congenial political duties, is equally afraid of assuming such an important responsibility as the municipal construction of the road. The cousequence is that in the face of the past records, both of the local officials and the newspapers, and in spite of the criminal waste of money involved in the step, there is talk of turning the new transit service over to the Manhattan Company, ----------» IF this is done it will be done with a wanton disregard of the per¬ manent interests of New York. Curiously enough tlie construc¬ tion of moreelevated roads is defended by the very arguments which the newspapers scorned a few years back. It is alleged that thes« new elevated roads are only a temporary expedient and that as soon as they are erected the Rapid Transit Commission can again return to the task of planning a system which will place the north¬ ern wards more on an equality with places to the east and weot at an equal difference from the City Hall. This argument is per¬ fectly valid so far as it applies to the improvement of the present sti-ucture of the Manhattan Company up to its full carrying capacity. Such an improvement would tide us over the next few years in pretty fair shape. As we have always held', it is a conces¬ sion which the Manhattan Company has a right to ask and the authorities every reason to grant. But it is not valid as applied to the construction of the two elevated roads, one on each side of the city, which the Commission have announced that they intend to lay out, because such elevated roads would partially take the place of the permanent system, and so make its construction more than ever difficult. Does anyone mean to say seriously that if a fran¬ chise for an expensive but adequate system is unsalable at the present time that it will be salable a few years hence, after two more competing lines have been built? No responsible private capitalist would take $5,000,000 out of the city treasury as an inducement to construct such a road as the Commission has planned. More elevated roads would do what the elevated roads have already done. They would pro¬ vide a stop-gap for a decade or so, and then act as an impediment to a better system. If they are constructed, the demand for rapid transit will temporarily subside, and any talk of a really adequate system will be futile mouthing until our present inconveniences again appear. When that time comes the difficulties of the prob¬ lem will have been multiplied several times over ; its expense will have been increased ; its engineering obstacles will have become even more trying, and the combination of capital against it more powerful. Tlie only time to hiiild our permanent system is thejjre- sent time Existing facilities should be improved just in so far as the improvement does not displace the permanent improvement. As to the permanent improvement, it should be constructed at the expense of the city ; and if it is not so constructed, the bill of damage from the neglect will amount to hundreds of millions of dollars. THE closing suggestion of Mayor Boody's message is enough to provoke unrestrained hilaritj in those who understand its significance. He reminds the Common Council that the repeal of the Cantor Act has placed on that " honorable body " a special and important responsibility; and he recommends that a policy be adopted that will secure to the city the full value of all privileges granted, A wise recommendation, surely, considering that appli- cation? ^re pending before that body for the use by private corporf},-.