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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 61, no. 1564: March 5, 1898

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Mai;cH 5, 189S. Record and Guide j¥m^ =05 VCHem'^1868. DEvtrtED ID REV.ESTAJE,BuiLDif/G A^lTEewn^.HoUS£3lOLDDEOCi;M»H B[;sl^/Ess AifoThemes ofGejJer^L Ikter.e»i. PRICE PER YEAR IN ADVANCE SIX DOLLARS. P'ublished every Saturday TBLKPHONB, - - - COKTLANDT 1370, Communications should be addressed to C. W. SWEET. 14-16 Vesey Street. J. I. LINDSEY, Business Manager. "Entered at the Post-Offlce at New Yorlc, jV. Y., as second-class matter." Vol. LXI, MARCH 5, 189S. No. 1,564 THE dullness tliat has fallen upon Wall Street was to be expected after t!ie activity that has been seen for a couple of months, anrl particularly after that caused by Ihe Cuban scare, though tbe latter rather hastened than caused tbe recent break. As a matter of f.Tct we have simply seen the end of the bull movement that began before Christmiis. aud must now look for dullness accompanied by liquidation by behited bulls and lower prices, but these only to the extent that the ordinary cir¬ cumstances of the market pi oduce. The fituation is helped by the keeping up of a good iuvestment demand, though tbis is very uuicb less than it was a mouth ago, by a good commercial and industrial situation and by a considerable conseiTatism that marked the buying on the rise. In the abeeuce of some such disturbing event as a direct rupture with Spain, the decline should not be great. Having recovered from the shock eaueed by the loss of tbe Maine, the public is beginniug to ask, what the exact situati.)n is, and to tiud that the most serious phase of our position towards Spain is that the admiuistratiou is as good as pledged to procure peace iu Cuba aud that Spain on her part seems determined to re.iec!; and resist aujtbing that looks like interference. The real extent of the dangtr could only bo estimated by tnovriug just how far official Spain is sincere in that determination. There are some who think that while much noise is made ou the streets on both sides of Ihe Atlantic, the whole matter is being amicably arranged within the several foreign offices of the two countries. This is only a surmise, but it has to sustain it the fact, that the bonds of the two ci'untrieB are strong. That this should be the case witb Spanish bonds, in view of the embarrassed circumstances of Spain, points directly away from the probability of war witb a power of such immense resources as the United States. NOTWITHSTANDING that the last half of 1897 gave the principal English railroads the best gross earnings in their history, dividend disttibutious were on the whole less, owing to increases in working expenses and fixed charges. The present campaign against the Jews in France is accompanied by some incitements against aliens in general. Oue financial paper protests against the admission o f foreigners, even when naturalized, to the coulisse of the bourse. Tbe coal and iron trades of Germany are active, and as they miuister to most other trades, this fact is taken as an indication of a revived in¬ dustrial position. Reports from Austria state that that country is not so much concerned as Germany in putting restrictions upon the importation of American fruit, because all sitch reaches Austria via Hamburg and would not be allowed to cross Germany unless it had heen thoroughly examined at that port. Experts bave been iut-trueted to study the St. Jose insect and their report will decide whether imports are to be forbidden or uot. The commercial and general business con¬ dition of Argentina has improved satisfactorily, the stagnation in the wool market haviug disappeired. The dispute wilh Chili appears to he whether the boundary line shall be drawn on the divide of the Andean water shed or of that of the country. If oa the latter, a large part of the territory of Patagonia would be transferred to Chili. The strength of Spanish bonds on the European bourses in spite of allegeil and known difficulties with the Uuited States and iu spite of the bad financial pos^ition of the Spanish treasury is exciting remark. The latest reported remedy tor the currency troubles of India is an iucrease in the import duty on silver; that is to relieve a stringency by making the desired object scarcer. Truly Indian finance is past all understanding. The nii«ts were closed to the free coinage, of sOvei nearly fivve years ago; their closing was accomiianied hy a statement that the act was preliminary to patting the country on a gold basis, but so far not a rupee of gold money has been coined and little or nothing seems to be done to remedy tbe evils that are growing up as a result of this neglect. The clos¬ ing of the mints was a wiae step in view of the circumstances, and the expectation that a gold basis could be made, was a natural and proper one. But, now seeing that thia expectation is doomed to disappointment, why is not somethine else done to supp'y the currency wants of the country and to preveiit scarcity? BELATED IMPROVEMENTS AND THEIR REMEDY. ■"T^HE question opened last week in these columos, "Shall the ■^ limit of municipal debt be the measure of munici[)al im¬ provement?" ]s one so fuil of interest and importance that we do not apologize for continuing to discuss it, as we now propose to do. The condition of practical suspension in which tbe de¬ velopment of this city now is, arises from the fact that insnfli- cient consideratiou has been given to the whole matter of municipal improvement and development, and that, conse¬ quently, neither the latter or the means to procure them have been thought out in a thorough or scientitic way. Very little thought is required to enable one to see that this is wrong Let us take the matter of improvementi*. How are Ihey pro¬ cured ? By a system—if system it can be called at all—that is best described as haphazard. In a city that grows naturally as fast as this does, to aay nothing of growth forced by legislation, although that too should be takeu into account, demands for public works come from all quarters, and are proportionately as pressing from oue as from another; but, owing to the idea that only tbe municipality itself can supply them and that its hands are tied bv tbe limit put upon its borrowing powers, only a small portion can be granted, and these are as likelv ae not to be granted through political favoritism rather than because of tbeir necessity. The consequence is that we are always behindhand in the matter of local improvements. The last Commissioner of Public Works was well within the truth when he said that New York City was ten or fifteen years behind the time in tbis respect. There has never been, and there is not to¬ day any plan, tentative, or well thoiightout, local or comprehen¬ sive, for the improvement and development of this city. As a con¬ sequence we have some magnificent works to show, Central Park, the Riverside Drive, the Brooklyn Bridge, and at the same time forty-seven miles of streets, twelve or fifteen below 59fh street, including five miles soulh of Grrtud Street, without sewers; paving that would disgrace a fifth-rate town, and docks that are out of date, unspeakably inadequate to known requirements, notwiihstanding that New York is and has always been the greatest port in this country. This state of things is the Iresult of the policy of expedience, which seems to have characterized our whole past, and tbe absence of deliber¬ ate plan and provision. To-day we are doing no better. Wobave forinstance, a Dock Depaitment that has laid out a scheme of improvement of the water fronts of Manhattan Island that has met with approval from all sides, chiefly because itis comprehensive and has been piepared by the best tkill with a view to meeting lequirfroenta, The most painful thought regarding that plan is that, owing to the way we are going about it, it will take so many years to carry out. But even thia plan, admirable as it is in many ways, is defective scientifically, because it has n