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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 62, no. 1588: August 20, 1898

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Augfust 20,189S. Record and Guide 255 PRICE PER YEAR IN ADVANCE SIX DOLLARS. Published every Sulurdaij. rEt-Ei'iiONE, Cortlandt 1370. Coumiunlcatioas should be addressed to C. W. SWEET, 14-16 Vesey Street. /. 1. LCNDSEY, Susiness Manager. "Eiilered (tl llie Posl-O^fiec iitNew Yorh, Jf, Y., as second-class midlcr." Vol. LXII. AUGUST 20, 1898. 1,588 THE stock market lias this week made a new record for one day's 'business. Up to this time 850,000 shares were the mostthatwerereported in any one day, but now the recordstands atabout900,000. Thismeans an immense volume of business pass¬ ing through the hands of stockbrokers, because at no time does every transaction get on the tape, and the omissions are probably proportionately greater as the volume of business increases. A record has also been made in bond selling recently, so that in all lines there has been a sort of buying outburst as a conse¬ quence of good feeling engendered by the prompt conclusion of the war. While the figures showing the amount of business done are evidence of a return of public confidence to corporate securities, and a readiness to indulge in speculation in them, they also bring to light the fact that the shrewder portions of the community who bought when prices were lower in the expecta¬ tion that just such conditions as have arisen would arise to give them profits, have realized, leaving the market to the newly awakened public for the time being. This makes it probable that a little time must be allowed for digestion by the new buy¬ ers, and not improbable; in fact, quite likely that a reaction will follow in the next succeeding few days. The circumstances that make positive predictions on this point dangerous are the cheap¬ ness of money and the bullish tone of the press generally. The latter is not only displayed towards Wall street, but towards every conceivable industry and method of carrying on business in the country, with prospective operations in the Antilles and Philippines thrown in to make the picture of coming wealth more fascinating. While the cautious think prices for the most active stocks have passed the safety limit, the public, which never looks into details, is so carried away by the talk of boom¬ ing business and commercial expansion that they may put quo¬ tations much higher, as they have done in other years, with rue¬ ful consequences, but which no amount of warning could pre¬ vent. Except in singular instances where special developments warrant advances in prices, buying must now be purely specula¬ tive, and also depend upon speculation for its results. So long as the ball is kept flying it will be all right, but if play is con¬ tinued at the pace it has now attained very much longer, its fall is likely to do some damage, just as was the case In the boom years, of which the bulls are making so much capital nOw. IF the United States does finally determine to draw gold from Europe this fall, Ijondon, which will must probably have to meet the demand, is fully prepared. There is there a super¬ abundance of loanable funds, and an outflow that would tend lo put up rates would not be altogether unwelcome. A temperate London journal thus sums up the Chinese situation: "Russia has gone far in her monopolist policy, perhaps further than she intended, and assuming that Lord Salisbury meant what he said when he declared that commercial libei'ty must be respected at all costs, it remains to be seen whether an understanding can be arrived at by which legitimate Russian ambitions should be rec¬ onciled with substantial liberty of trade and enterprise. The situation is critical." One of the most encouraging pieces of news that comes from Europe this week is that there is now a prospect of a flscal agreement being reachc:! between Austria and Hungary. If it proves to be true, it wc/.ld do much to re¬ lieve the situation, which has been clouded for a long time by the possibilities for evil that would accompary a Tinal abandon¬ ment of negotiations. Canadian foreign trac'.o cf the last flscal year was, like our own, the largest in the history of the country. The imports amounted to $130,600,000, and the .exports to $158,- 500,000. The year of previous highest record was 1893, with $129,- 000,000 of imports and $118,500,000 of exports. Ths adjournment of the Brussel's conference on sugar bounties removes any lin¬ gering hope Ihat may have existed that those bounties will be removed. It was evident that the delegates from France, Ger¬ many, Austria and Russia were only present to avail themselves of any advantage that might be seized for their own people, but without any intention of making any concessions whatever. Consequently, while the conference provided for their reas- semblage, there is no likelihood that they will meet again. Ar¬ gentine finance is a continual source of anxiety. The following is a local opinion, that of "The Nacion": "The financial situa¬ tion is becoming every day more diffieult, and we cannot imagine how the tangled skein is toi be unravelled if things are to con¬ tinue much longer iu their present state of inaction, depression, and uncertainty. The obligations of the Treasury are being piled up in a way that inspires positive terror; every day it Is in greater straits, and nobody knows if it may not soon lack money to meet even the most indispensable necessities of the administration if extraordinary measures be not adopted to meet the equally extraordinary expenditure that has' to be faced." CHARGES FOR VAULT PRIVILEGES. DURING thepast two or three years builders have chafed con¬ siderably under the charge of two dollars per superficial foot made by the city for the privilege of covering over frout areas with glass aud iron tiling, believing that in the majority of cases such a charge is excessive and unjust. The uniform charge stood at seventy-five cents for many years, until the last Commissioner of Public Works suddenly, and without notice, in¬ creased the charge to two dollars. The authority to make a charge for vault privileges is contained in Section 321 of the Revised City Ordinances of 1897, these ordinances being contin¬ ued in force under the provisions of the new charter. The per¬ son who applies for a vault permit is required to pay to the Com¬ missioner of Highways "such sum as he shall certify in the said permission to be a just compensation to the city for such privi¬ lege, calculated at the rate of not less than thirty cents, nor more than two dollars per foot, for each square foot of ground men¬ tioned as required for such vault," The wording and the mte to be charged have remained unal¬ tered for many years past. Clearly the intent of the ordinance is that the charge for vault permits shall be graded in proportion to the importance and value of the location. The practice in the i)ast is in support of this view. The history of the ordinance and of the regulations under the same is somewhat obscure, but it seems that the original ordinance was passed some forty or fifty years ago, and the price per square foot was then estab¬ lished at twenty-five cents for vaults in front of buildings occu¬ pied as private dwellings; fifty cents for buildings occupied in part as stores and in part as dwellings; and seventy-five cents for buildings occupied entirely for business purposes. Later on a change was made to fifty and seventy-five cents. Still later on the ordinance was amended, making the charges thirty cents to two dollars a square foot. Under the discretion thus con¬ ferred a uniform rate of seventy-five cents' was charged, and no attempt was or has ever been made to grade the prices under the existing ordinance. The price continued at seventy-five cents for many years, and until raised to two dollars. This increase of price to the maximum charge allowed by the ordinance was one of a number of contributing causes to the de¬ feat of the reform party at the ensuing municipal election. Not only was this highest rate enforced regardless of the value of a lot, but an attempt was made to compel a like payment for the space covered over by open iron gratings, although no charge had ever before been made for area-space when covered by such open gratings. Bach lot owner has a right to an open area be¬ yond the building line; it is only when the space is solidly cov¬ ered over, thus converting the area into an enclosed space for storage or other uses in connection with the building, that the city charge for a vault privilege applies, and not when an open area is bridged over by a grating that is itself open to the outer air. Vaults underneath a sidewalk are, of course, enclosed space, but the greater number of buildings do not have sidewalk vaults; they only have area vaults. Methods have to be adopted to put money in the city treasury, and tbe charge for vault priv¬ ileges is one of them. Vaults are not undesirable, in fact a side¬ walk laid on top of the solid masonry arches of the vault con¬ struction is more permanent and gives an evener surface to walk upon than when laid upon earth. Conditions have much changed since the original ordinance was enacted. The price of choice lots has enormously increased with the growth of New York, so that the highest charge named ii\ the ordinances is too low for vault privileges in certain lo¬ calities, while the lowest price ia now only such as would be proper in the outlying portions of the Greater New York terri¬ tory. Where lots are each worth one hundred thousand dollars or more, two dollars a foot is too cheap for sidewalk or area vault privileges. On lower Broadway five dollars would be none too much, while in Avenue D, two dollars is more than double too much. Fulton street, in the Borough of Brooklyn, should