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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 61, no. 1569: April 9, 1898

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April g, i8g8. Record and Guide 641 ESTUOlSHEb'^ ilympH£»* 1868. BiJsn/Ess jOto Themes Of GETteivtllKTni.Esi „. PRICE PER YEAR IN ADVANCE SIX DOLLARS. Published every Saturday Telephone, , . . • Cortlandt 1370- CoramuulcatlOnB should ha addressed to C. W. SWEET, 14-16 V«iey Street J. 1. LINBSEY, Business Manager. "Untered at tiie Post Offlee at Ifcw York, jV, r., as second-class matter." Vol. LXI. APRIL 9, 1898, No. 1,669 NO improvement lias come to the business situation during tlie week, but it is a distinct gain that tlie uncertainty, from which everything has and stiil is suffering, has not given place to the certainty of war,. The hoUling back of the Presi¬ dent's message encourages those who still cling to the belief in a peaceful outcome of the Cuban tlifficulty. The prospect to-day looks very dark, but not darker than it did a week ago, nor than it has been on other occasions. This cloudiness has previously been, and may, also, now be due to the ignorance of the public and the press as to the actual terras and condition of the nego¬ tiations between the two governments. Anyway, the security market refuses doggedly and persistently tO' be scared. During this whole agitation bear operations have been unfortunate. Holders of securities have great confidence in the maintenance of values, and this confidence is so apparent that it is doubtful whether an actual declaration of war would lower quotations much. A peaceful settlement with Spain might be followed by the withdrawal of support from the market that cotdd do more harm. EUROPEAN exchanges closed for the holidays depressed by the uncertainty of the outcome of the Cuban situation, and by the hardening of money rates. In advancing the Bank of England rate from 3 per cent, to 4 per cent., the directors of that institution, apparently, expected the demand from this side of the Atlantic to continue and wished to transfer the burden of meeting it to other financial centres. This expectation may have been of something more than an ordinary demand, with which probable financial needs of the United States Government might have some connection. It does not follow that the direc¬ tors of the Banlt believed this government would soon be in the market for a loan, but that that was one of the probabilities that should in a measure be provided against. Certainly such an event would still further draw money from Europe in large amount. An interesting report has been made contrasting the material and financial condition of'Egypt in 1881, the year of the British occupation, and in 1897, from which the following- items are taken: Population increased, 2,920,486, or 43 per cent.; the rate of the land taxes was reduced 18 per cent., and arrears that were very large have almost ceased to exist; taxation per capita was reduced 20 per cent,; 212 miles of new railroad were opened; expenditures on public Instruction increased 37 per cent.; imports increased by over £2,600,000; the amount of bonds outstanding in 1881 was f9S,376,660. and last year £98,035,780, notwithstanding the great expenditures for public works iu the interval; interest charges declined and the prices of the bonds iiad substantially increased. The French Senate has ratified the Increased duty on pork and pork products. The report of the Hamburg-American Steamship Company for last year states that prior to the new tariff in the United States shipments had so increased that the company had to charter 157 extra steamers. In July and August exports declined, but since then they have been maintained at a satisfactory level. The number of cabin passengers decreased. Emigration shows a considerable de¬ cline, which Is explained by a reference to the better state of the labor market In Germany, and the effect of the insurance laws for working people. The disturbances with which the Austrian Reichsrath was opened make the conclusion of the treaty with Hungary within the given time doubtful, as well as the settlement of all other questions which have been awaitingacon- dition of parliamentary sanity. The much talked of Vienna gas loan negotiated by the Deutsche Bank was a failure as far as Austria was concerned, a fact that was claimed to be a con¬ sequence of the Anti-Semitic movement. The Mexican budget recently presented makes the satisfactory showing of a surplus pf ?3,170,124 for 1896-7, and an estimated surplus for 1897-S of $20,016, with a proposed increase of $3,150,108 in expenditures. India is reported to be already showing signs of rapid recovery from the disasters that have befallen the country of late years, and that consequently such a growth in the ordinary revenues is anticipated as will fully cover the war and famine expenses. The Chinese incident seems to have closed with the leasing of Wei-hai-Wei by Britain and the concessions to Prance, so that war is not now to be expected frora causes arising in that quarter. THIRTY YEARS OF OFFICE BUILDING. (With Illustrated Supplement.).- THIRTY years have passed since the Record and Guide was founded and its first number issued. In commercial af¬ fairs that is a long period for any'enterprise to endure. It is particularly long if to duration be added the retention of undis¬ puted supremacy in the particular field covered. The world has moved briskly everywhere during the last generation, but it is doubtful whether change has been quite so rapid and radical in any of the older centres of population as in New York City. And, iu New York City, profoundly as all conditions have been altered, it is hardly to be questioned that the most pronounced expression of the transformation wrought by time in the life aud circumstances of the metropolis Is to be fotmd in the special lines of industry of which the Record and Guide is the recog¬ nized organ. Social life has been revolutionized; so has commercial enter¬ prise. Wealth and population have increased beyond even the dreams of enthusiasts thirty years ago. But in themselves, these are changes in the internal condition of the city. If wa desire to see the embodiment of them in concrete form the read¬ iest direction in which to turn ia to the work done by the Archi¬ tect and the Builder, working with whom, of course, is the Real Estate Owner and the Real Estate Agent. The visible sign of the difference between old New York and the city of to-day is in the streets. It is sometimes said that architecture is no longer a living art. In a sense the statement is not to be disputed. As a vital con¬ tinuation of traditional forms, modern work is moribund, at best. As a new expression of the permanent principles of the art, it -will probably be found to be of small account. But, in the sense of representing the taste and condition of the times, architecture is as alive to-day as ever it has been. It is a con¬ temporary document of vast importance, and he who would know what has been going on in New York life during the last thirty years cannot study any more illuminating page of history than the buildings of the city. From this point of view the most interesting chapter of con¬ temporary American architecture, if not the most valuable, is . that concerning the ofiice building and its development. In the Supplement that accompanies this issue will be found thirty illustrations, showing a typical commercial building for each year since 1868. Two difiictdties were encountered in preparing the pages—for the earlier years of the period covered there is so little to present, whereas in the latter years selection is embar¬ rassed by the abundance of material. As a matter of fact, the of¬ fice building is a more "modern instance" thau is commonly rec¬ ognized, now that the city Is filled with structures of the kind. When the Record and Guide was founded that type of structure was just coming into existence. Up to that date the old-fash¬ ioned five-story edifice, a slight modification and enlargement of the prevailing domestic habitation, snfRced for all the practical requirements of the business community. The New York Life Insurance Company's old building, replaced the other day by a colossal modern structure, and the Equitable Building, may be regarded as the earliest signal examples of the ofBce building in the modern sense. Plans for both of these structures were filed In 1868. We ought, perhaps, to caution the reader that, as de¬ signed then, they were not, of course, the buildings they became later by large additions and modifications. We have become so used to the compelling effect of "demand" upon "supply" that we are perhaps too prone to regard the office building as merely the result of the demand made by an in¬ creasing population upon the real estate owner. Demand, no doubt, has been a powerful incentive, but as a matter of fact the office building is almost as much a creation of American In¬ ventive genius as the locomotive or steamship is of the in¬ genuity of the engineer. In 1868, the elevator was not exactly a new thing, still it was an innovation. It had passed, how¬ ever, quite beyond the experimental stage, and its possibilities in connection with the commercial building were dimly perceived. It was to this perception as much as to anything else that we owe the modern ofiice building. But for the invention and the continuous improvements it received from the Otis company we would not have witnessed the addition of story upon story, until from five or six the number was increased to ten or twelve,