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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 59, no. 1503: January 2, 1896 [i.e. 1897]

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Text version:

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January 2, 1897. Record and Guide the ringing iu of truth, honesty aud the gentle spirit of mutual couccssion and conciliation. EST^BUSHED-^BARpHaiiJ^ 1368. Dr/ojtD ID R,EALEstate.6uiLDi>'o i^RcKrrECTURE.HousEHoihDEflai^TBJC BusiiIess AftoThemes of GEjfcu&L Ij^td^est. PRIC€, PER YEAR, IN ADVANCF, SIX DOLLARS. Fublishcd every Suliirduy. TELEreONE, .------ CORrLANDT 1370 Commuuications should be addressed to C. AV. SWEET, 14-16 Vesey Street J. T. LIXDSEF, Business Jilaiiager. "Etitercd at Ihc Post-office at New Yorle, JV. T., an second-class mailer." Vol, LIX. JANUARY 2, 1896. No. 1,503 TIEKE are carried iuto the new year many ilisappoiutmcuts and Tears, which it will take some time to remove. The . year 1800 opened with the Venezuela panic s-till upon us and leaves us uureeo\'ered from the currency scare of last summer aud with prices iu the main quite low. Of fifteen stajile arti¬ cles dealt in in our markets only four, wlieat, flour, beef hams aud copper, are Iiigher than they were at the close of 1895, wliile corn, oats, cotton, colfee, lard, molasses, pork, family beef, sugar, iron and lead are all lower. Quotations ou the Stock marliet are, on the whole, rather lower than they were a year ago. Wbile the past year is an unpleasant one for the business world to look hack upon, some good was done by it, Of rather in it- Tlie process of rehabilitating bankrupt cor¬ porations was carried on despite the bad times, and we have now a number of great properties in tlic liands of tlieir owners or about to be placed there, which a year ago were still in the coutrol of the eourt.s. All this work and all the trouble and tribulation wo have passed through are so much done to pre¬ pare the way for better limes, and, as internal political con¬ flict is impossible and a disturbance of foreign relations im¬ probable, there in .lustiiication in the expectation that 1807 will be a good year for business. We cannot always be going the downward path; there must be a change some time iu the con- , tour of our, and there is as much reason for believing that it is coming now as that it will come at any time. The merely normal or prefuuctory movements slionld create an early revival of activity, Conunercially the winter closes sooner than it does by the calendar, because of the prepara¬ tions that are necessary in order that the good season may be availed of for outdoor operations the moment it arrives. These preparations bring about the improvement in business that is cuslomary to tiie early moutlis of the year and which we shall see this year in due course. EUROPE tinds herself entering on a new year with the pros¬ pects for the continuation of peace brighter than they have been for mauy a year. A better spirit seems to pervade all con¬ ferences for tile settlement of national differences that is of most happy augury. If an exception is to be found anywhere it is in Germany, whose press, official or unofficial, continues its efforts to sow differences among the other nations that are seeking rational, civilized solutions for their differences. The Fatherland cuts a very poor flgure in tliis dress of spite and malice. However, where Great Britain, France aud Russia go, Germany has to go whether she likes it or not, and it is for this reason we see something like concord iu the am¬ bassadorial councils at Constantinople. The important thing about this change in the temper of European diplomatic com¬ munication is that it promises to terminate the Armenian hor¬ rors, and to put the Eastern question into such a shape that it will cease for a considerable time to disturb and affright the commerce of the world. We will at least have Ihe time that must elapse to prove whether the proposed reforms can be car¬ ried out successfully, in whicli 1o do our trading in peace aud quietness. The Turk may offer physical resistauce, bu( it seems to be less likely each day, and if it were done could n: : endure long against tlie colossal forces already prepared to ai: :igainst it. While we are congratulating ourselves ou the kindlier spirit that Is animating the nations one toward the olher, witli the ex¬ ception noted above, the suspicion will arise that this may be no more genuine tJian were tjjc browbealiug and covert threats of previous ycar.s, but we prefer to think that it is, because it is what every good and true man has hoped, wished and prayed for. We are allowed a little latitude as a new year dawns, aud we will hope that wc are seeing the ringing out from the world's affairs, of the ohl system of lying and cheating and bullying, and IV time were given for the discussion of the draft charter for Greater New Xork, of which the first eight chapters and au explanatory report by the Committee on Draft of the Greater New York Commission have just been submitted to the public, no doubt a very satisfactory and admirable result could be ob¬ tained. Regarded as the basis simply for the ultimate creation, the work of the Committee would be deserving of praise. But, as tlie conclusion which must go to the Legislature, practically as it now stands, it is not so satisfactory. The Commission is ap¬ parently determined that its work shall be completed within the limit of time allowed by the Consolidation act of last year, and is not disposed to accord the public any opportunities for dis¬ cussion that may interfere with that determination. Thelr eourse in this respect naturally creates the idea that the public hearings themselves are granted in a prefuuctory spirit aud not in the expectation that they may create a necessity for over¬ hauling the work already done. The part of the Committee's ■M'ork which is now the propei'ty of the public covers the maiu scheme of government, and there are yet to appear the chaptei's dealing in detail with the administration of the several depart¬ ments. The hearings will occupy only twelve days, during which the unpublished chapters of the proposed charter are to appear, so that, while in no case has the public sufficient time to digest the matter presented, in many cases there will be no time at all for preparation before it will be oecessai-y to present ob¬ jections to the Commission. A careful perusal of the press com¬ ments during the past weeks will show clearly that the public is iu no condition to take up this vast and important matter. These comments, even when evidencing a desire to speak with authority, are still so general as to show need of study of the questions involved. So far, most of them have related to the constitution of the proposed municipal legislature and the pow¬ ers sought to be conferred upon the mayor of the enlarged city, while other provisions of vital importance affecting the rights of citizens and the interests of property remain untouched, aud yet the hearings must begin on Monday next, aud the charter he presented to the Legislature on February 1st. It would have been better had the Commission reported to the Legislature without asking for the opinion of the public on their work, bo- cause if the Legislature is disposed to rush the charter through, as there is too much reason to fear it is, any objections pressed upon them can be set aside with the excuse that the time to pre¬ sent them was at the public hearings notwithstanding the inad¬ equacy of the latter. LIKE our contemporaries, we find the matter too vast to be properly considered in the short time it has been be¬ fore us, and therefore hesitate to express opinions. The impres¬ sion we have gained so far is that the charter not only exagger¬ ates the importance of the mayor of the city to be formed aud endows him with power at the expense of the dignity of the mu¬ nicipal legislature, but it overestimates the possible ability of any one man to overlook and coutrol aff'airs. The creation of a large bi-cameral municipal assembly may be a very effective agency in compelling the honest administration of the city's af¬ fairs and the expenditure of its moneys, but it occurs to us that with two chambers and a mayor with a veto power, the membership of the assembly is unnecessarily large. Also while creating this large body it does seem that it is not altogether necessary to maintain all the different departments for admin¬ istrative purposes with expensive forces, and that much of the work of these departments might very well be done by assembly committees with greater eflioieucy aud less expense than is now the case, and with corresponding increase in the dignity of the legislative body. The incorporation of new machinery of city government with old is one of the evidences of the haste willi which the work of drafting has had to be done. At the same time there is ample evidence that the Committee on Draft has been upheld by a keen desire to serve the public as far as possi¬ ble. Tlie placing of the legal work iu one ttepartment is a good feature, as is also the provision made for receiving taxes and assessments in the boroughs iu which the property on which Ihey are a lien is situated. Anotheris theprotectionthrownarouud the public interest in franchises. Another the protection of the property-owner Crom injury through the erection of booths and slnuds or the occupation of the streets in front of his premises, none or which cau be done without his consent. While every¬ thing conupcled with the government of a city has a bearing on real property interests, the provisions relating to the regulationof building, sanitary rules, the asscsroent and collection of taxes, etc., which directly affect them,and which arc to formaportion of the {■havter, arc not published yet, and wc know nothing of them, except as they are generally described in eounectiou with the