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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 59, no. 1522: May 15, 1897

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May'15, i897- Record and Guide ESTABLISHED^ M,AR.CH em> 1868. "Dev^teO to RpkL Estate. BuiLdiKg,s.l{oiisEi!ou3DE6QfifTiotl, BLfs(^/ESS AtfDThemes of GbKerM. Ir(TER.Esi.. PRICE, PER YEAR, IN ADVANCE, SIX DOLLARS. Published every Saturday. TELEPHONE, .....CORTLANDT 1370 CommuBloationB ahould be addressed to C. W. SWEET, 14-16 Vesey Street. J'T. LINDSEY, .Bwiuiess Manager.______^______________________ "Entered at the Posi-offlce al New York, N. Y., as second-class mailer." Vol. LIX. MAY 15, 1897. No. 1,522 OUR nominal Stock market luanagos to feel tho eftects of the revival of the Cuban agitation iu the Senate hj (he men who killed tho Arbitration Treaty with Great Britain. Profes¬ sional sellinj; accounts mainly foi- tho response in the Stock market. The commission houses furnish very little of this busi¬ ness, and aevery littleor no long stock comes out thp professional element is engaged in the pleasing occupation of trading on one another. There is an impression abroad that Presideut McKinley will send a message fo Congress advising action for the relief of distressea Americans iu Cuba, but there is no probability tbat hissuggestionwill take an aggressive form. There is no more reason now why this country should interfere in Cuban affairs than has existed before. No doubt the island is suffering terribly as a result of the war, but this is the ordinary result of war and is brought about as much by th<; acts of one side as another. As a malter of fact, if the Cxibau insurgents have beeu truly represented by their friends on the Press of tbis country, it was they who inaugurated the policy of paralyzing industry aud laying' the country waste. However, inflammatory speeches iu the Senate will help gold exports to depress prices in whatever market may be provided by the very dullest of times. -—•-----•---------- FOREIGN dispatches as a whole preseut a pretty extensive muddle. All we can define clearly is that Greece has placed herself in the hands of the Powers, to be leniently dealt ■with evervone must hope, but it would be surprising if Turkey did not ask, and receive too, good terms. Tiirkey seems to re¬ verse the general rule of strength on tho surface and weakness underneath. We have been tokl clay by day for years of Tur¬ key's weakness, but her strength only comes out in emergencies like the present. This experience cannot have lessened her self esteem, but we take the liberty of doubting the reports that she will be difticult to deal with in arranging for a renewal of peace. A policy of opposition to the wishes of the Powera would produce just the contingency that would warrant ber ex¬ tinction. The Turk is too wily to be caught that n'-ay. The prospects for peace are having a good otfect upon European business aud are helping to revive specuhation to some extent. The close of another fiscal year with a large surplus puts the British Government in a good position and indicates a remark¬ able continuance of prosperity among the people and, could the Transvaal qncf:liou be ouce satisfactorily disposed of, this fact ■would soon influence the security market. The suggestion of arbitration for this dispute is not likely to be well received in Downing Street, but it makes a ground upou which to continue correspondence, which iu turn cousumes time aud allows heated feelings to cool down io sensible views which, if allowed to pre¬ vail, can produce a happy outcome from all this bother. The "Republi((iie Francaise" aftbrds an example of the nonsense current in Imuojic regarding the Dingley Bill. This journal goes so far as to say that France could do without all merchan¬ dise she now receives from the United States ; cotton by stimu¬ lating production of cotton in the French colonies; oil by ob¬ taining supplies from Hussia, Galicia, lloumania and Ihe Dutch Indies; cott'ee by Brazil or development in Frencli colonies; wheat from Argentina, etc., etc. The reply to all this is that the exi)ortation of all these things from the United States to Fraii'je will be discontinued tli<>, moment slic can supply herself from otlier sources at less cost than she would have to pay this country for them. By reluming to a two per cent, discount rate, from which it losc alter enduring continuously for two and a half years only last fall, the Governors of the Bank of Eng¬ land show that they are not fearing further immediate trouble either iu Europe or Soulh Africa, and the reduction will have a tendency to renew buying of low-return secui-ities. TWO decisions of great importance to the building interests of this city have recently been rendered by the Supreme Court, Appellate Division. In both the Department of Public Workis was the defendant and in both failed to maintain ita j>wition. In ouy cnse, reported iu tbese columns last iveek, the Department claimed that an axeain fj.'0iit of a tenement house having stores in the first floor and covered with gratings was a vault within tho meaning of the laws aud ordinauecs and ought, therefore, to be paid for as a vault, viz., at the rate of two dol¬ lars per square foot. This position was resisted by Mr. Charles Buek, wijo relied upon tho following provision contained in Chapter 567 of tho Laws of 1895: "In all tenement hereafter constructed, or bniidings hereafter converted to tho purpose of a tenement house, an open area shall be constructed from the level of the cellar to tho sidewalk in front of and ex¬ tending the full width of such houses, which shall contain a staircase to give acceaa to the cellar from tbe street. Where stores aro located on tho first floor, the area may be covered with suitable vault lights or gratings." Both the lower and higher courts interpreted this as a legal direction from which the builder could uot escape aud held that the Departmeut could not make him pay for as a privilege something that ho was com¬ pelled to do uuder the law. The practical point in this case for tho trade is that areas can be covered in the way mentioned aud that such covering will not bring them under the category of vaults for which fees have to be paid to the city. The second case wa.s more complicated. Mr. William.Ziegier, the owner of a down-town property having a vault extending under tho sidewalk and part of tbe carriageway that needed repairing, applied to the Department of Public AVorks for the neceissary permit to open the surface of the street for the purpose of makiug these repairs. The Department refused to issue tbe permit for the part of the vault under the carriageway uuder any circumstances on the ground that vaults under the carriageway aro illegal, and for the other portion uu¬ less it was paid for the same as a permit for a new vault would be. The latter demaud was based upon the fact that the Department had no record of the vault ever havin^f beeu paid for. Mr. Ziegier applied to the Supreme Court for a mandamus compelling tho Department to issue the permit, and an order was issued as to the vault under the sidewalk, but re¬ fused as to that uuder the carriageway. This order was sus¬ tained by the Appellate Division on appeal at the iustauce of the Department. The Court held that the vaults having been maintained for a period of over thirty years, by reason of tho lapse of time the lawraises the presumption that their eonstrue¬ tiou was with the consent of the public authorities and lawful; plaintiff being iu possession of the vaults and responsible for their condition, the Department bos no right to refuse a permit for making necessary repairs; if the Commissiouer desired to test the right of the owner to maintain or continue the vaults uuder the street he could do so in a proper action or proceeding. Until these decisions are overruled by a higher court, or until changes are niado in the law, owners and builders need no lon"-cr pay vault fees for covered areas or for old vaults that they wish to repair. The decisions in both cases wero; wo believe, unanimous decisions of the Appellate Division and, therefore, offer little likelihood of beiug sot aside if the Depart¬ ment of Public Works decides to carry the cases to the Court of Appeals. _______^_______ NEW YORK CITY owes a debt of gratitude to Governor Black for one thing at least—that he did not wheu signing the Charter file a statement that it was for the city's good. Wo have in this instance been spared the usual cant aud humbug that usually accompanies a partizan act done in defiance of tlie popular wish. In all else the Governor has had as little respect or feeling for the interest and opinions of this city as the Legis¬ lature itself had*. Presumably, we must prepare for the execu¬ tion of the new law and meet the trials and disabilities it will create with such philosophy as we as a community are endowed with. Whether the Courts cau afford any relief aud prevent tho operation of tho Charter is a question tliat the lawyers will liavo to deal with. The matter has beeu discussed, but we believe no plau has been arranged for asking a judicial decisiou ou dis¬ puted points, nor has any oue yet volunteered to make the ne¬ cessary movement. If there is any value aud force in legal opinions, it ought to be possible to prevent the execution of a law containing all the serious defects pointed out by tlu! Bar Association after a careful examioation by a committee of its members, all of whom were specially qualitied for tho work. However, it ia better perhaps not to base too much hope iii>ou that, but rather to lu-epare for the enforcement of the law .such as it is. Wc shall then not be disappointed if no kindly provi¬ dence working through humiin means will intervene to save us from enforced association with our indigent neighbors, and if it does wc shall certainly be able to withstand the sho<'k witluuit damage to our civic constitution. If the Sultan of Turkey issues an objectionable irade, his subjects hide tlieir feelings aud praise Allah ; if the C/.:\v of Russiii issues a ukase putting heavy burdens on his people, they ble.'^i* tbe Little Father at St. Peters burg; neither, however, disregard the legal means in the shape of petitions or whatever else is at theii' disposal to avoid the consequences of these edicts, Ip like ipapnev i^e-yr York City