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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 64, no. 1654: November 25, 1899

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lovember 2$, 1899. ilËCOItt) AM) iGtlbË. âoi ESTABLlSHm)-^*\ARpH21u>-lB68, DP/0-[ïD to RpA,l.ESTWT.BuiLDIfJb ^FÎCrflTEeTUi^E.HoUSEltolDDEQaïlATlOrf, BUsiiJess Alto Thèmes of Ge|1er^L li/TEfifaT.; PRICE PER YEAR IN ADVANCE SIX DOLLARS. FubliiAcd every êaturday. TBLBPHOHS, COKTI/ANDT 1370, Communlcationa should be addressed to C. W. SWEET, 14-16 Vesey Street, /. T. LINDSEY, Business Manager. " Entered at the Post-O^ioe at New Yorh,N. Y., as seeortd^lass mattet\" Vol. LXIV. NOVEMBER 25, 1S99. No. 1654 THERE is an improved feelliîg in the stock market, and out¬ side buyers are coming in to pick up promising issues, though tliere is no évidence cf a substantial renewal of the spécu¬ lative movement, Most oi the activity seen is due to professional opérations, though tbe buying of issues tbat promise to begin or increase dividends is sufficient lo appreciably effect appear¬ ances. The intimation that tbe local fight for gas business was ciosed, coming as it did from a Wall street broker's office, shows that certain spéculative éléments are convinced that the condi¬ tions promise more proflt on tbe long than on the short side of the market. Tbe improvement in the situation is malnly due to tbe Treasury action of last week, whieh eame at a good time— according to Wall street gossip at a critical time—to put tbe market into the right direction, a course that is now likely to be sustained by the natural movement of money tbis way. Taken altogether, the indications are tbat, wbile its course may not be altogether regular, money has ceased to be an adverse factor in stock market opérations. Tbe flattering records of the condition of gênerai business, which hâve all along made themselves ap¬ parent, and without which tbe stock market could not hâve stood thè ordeal of tight mcney for a couple of months in the way it did, still come to uphold tbe spirits of the community. AMONG the other features of the foreign markets the décline in British eor.sols i.s most signiflcant, This week the price went below 103, a drop of 12 points from the highest made in '94. This moa?ures the extrême activity business bas gained in tbe period covered, as eonsols advance with the accumulation of idle capital acd décline as the demand for funds grows greater, This demaud is now accentuated by war requirements, otherwise relief mi.e;ht be thought to be at hand, Such is not the case, however. Money is hard everywhere, and a Berlin correspondent, under date of Sch inst. says: "Conditions in the money markel are again such as to give cause for concern." In hig effort to re¬ move the impression that Russia is financially unsound, M. Witte, the Caar's Minister of Finance, has issued a statement that the gold in circulation increased from 30,300,000 rubles in 1S96 to 683,400,000 rubles in 1899; the silver from 24,400,000 rubles to 145,500,000 lubles in the same length of time, and the paper decreased from 1,047,600,000 rubles to 540,000,000 rubles, The gold stock of the Bank of Russia is placed at 856,000,000 rubles, part of wbich is available for an extension of the note eurrency by some hundreds of millions of rubles if necessary. Tbe U, S, Treasury tables give tbe Russian gold ruble a value of 77.2c., and the silver one of 55,8c, Great Britain does not seem to bave gained much by Canada's preferential tariff, whlch went into efl:ect in April, 1837. In the three years, 1896 to 1899, Great Britain's export trade to Canada rose from $33,000,000 to $37,000,- 000 and that of the United States from $59,000,000 to $91,000,000. Great Britain's foreign trade reached bigh water mark in the returns for October, but at home there are signs of lessened ac¬ tivity in scme directions, amongst which is found a réduction in the price of stock, cr common brick, from forty shillings (about 510) to thirty-six shillings (about $9) per 1,000. In the expéri¬ ence of the English brick trade, in a period of ten years, three will be of high and seven of low prices, The pecuniary value of a successful British war in the Transvaal to tbe gold mining In¬ dustry is thus stated by Jobn Hays Hammond, the mining engi¬ neer: "'I would regard the sum of 6s. per ton as a conservative estimate of the direct and indirect beneflts of good government. The saving would be équivalent to an enhanced profit per claim of from £7,500 to £12,000, and would resuit ln an increase of annual dividends by £4,826,535, based on last year's tonnage of ore crushed, It will take, however, several years to fully reaiize the saving in question." The ErazUlan Government bas laid before Parliament a bill to establish a maximum ahd' minimum tariff to be applied according to tbe concessions made by other countries to Brazilian produets, Tbe bill seems to be chiefly aimed against tbe French duty- on Brazilian coïfee, wbich is in¬ tended to'protect tbe colonial coffee grower. A new states treaty between Austria and Hungary, which has yet to be approved by tbe Parliaments of both, provides for an increase of the latter'a contribution to the common fund, a fact that is important in indi¬ cating that the différences between tbe two countries are much lesB acute than they were. Obstructed Improvements—A Remedy. T^ EARLY two years ago we called attention to the inade- ■*-*■ quacy of the powers vested in the city to create improve¬ ments made necessary from time to time by increased popula¬ tion and commercial development, and suggested that they should be supplemented by calling in the aid of private capital wherever it was possible to emplcy it. Our practical and energetic Comp¬ trollèr has now drawn the attention of the public again to tbe same evil, and proposes to remedy it by obtaining an amend¬ ment which will exempt direct income bearing improvements from the opération of tbat provision of tbe Constitution that limits the city's indebtedness to 10 per cent, of the real estate tax valuation. It is gratifying to find that tbe question is being taken up in a practical way in influential officiai circles, because it is undoubtedly the case that tbe progress of the city ia ob¬ structed ùy the want of many improvements, aud especially by those of rapid transit, transpontine communications, and facili¬ ties for loading and unloading ocean-going craft. At the same time it is doubtful whether the taxpayers will care to see tbat défense against municipal extravagance, the debt limit, thrown down, as it would in effect be if the Comptroller's remedy is applied. It is one of the defeets of our System of municipal government that, tbere being a necessity for placing a limit upon the powers of the city to raise capital for publie improvements, so much work that could otherwise hâve been done through private enter¬ prise has been jealously retained to the city which could not do it. Conditional assertions are easily made but hard to prove; yet it is conceivable that bad the city, instead of retaining ail the docks and tbe work of improvîAg them in their own banda, bave been content witb laying down a comprehensive plan and permitting shippers and wharfingers to do the work themselves, under leases or other forms of agreement that would bave in¬ sured proper returns for the privilèges granted, and the ultimate ownership of the improvements to the city, New York would not be now complainlng tbat lesser cities on the Atlantic coast are taking away ocean-going commerce, and the proflt to the city would be much greater than wbat tbe Dock Department can show, gratifying as that is. In the matter of underground rapid transit, too, it is just as possible that, if that had been left as open to private enterprise as similar development bas been else¬ where, instead of being at this moment in doubt whether a con¬ tractor can be obtained to build the new underground railroad and operate it, even with the city as financial backer, .we would bave had the gratification of seeing a ramifying road in opération where travel and business are densest, and a good prospect of seeing it extended" in the near future to outlying sections. The existence of privateiy owned roads in the sections where population is already thick would hâve compelled the elevated lines, for their own protection, to extend themselves to those where it is at présent sparce, and so assisted their settle¬ ment and more rapid upbuiiding. In tbe matter of bridging the East River and uniting more closely the two greatest of the five boroughs of .wbich our city is composed, though that would not perhaps be a work that would attract private capital so easily, even there lt is not altogether sure that the attitude of the municipality towards it has not hampered development. There was a time when the moving spirits in urban transporta- tion were seriously contemplating the necessity of tbrowing bridges over the .East River, but the panic of 1893 prevented the mobilizing of their pecuniary resources for that purpose, and since then tbey bave been taught that lt is more profitable to wait for the city to do tbe work, and to gratuitously secure the use of it when done. We hâve to admit that the view we take of tbis question 1« open to the cbarge of being revolutionary, but we are confident from tbe fact tbat so much la needed and that taxation has reached a degree that cannot be extended without danger to property Interests, that a radical reform is needed in our methods of providing necessary improvements, Failing the enlargement of tbe city's Corrowing powers, and tbe enlargement required is of sucb au extent tbat we doubt whether the taxpayers would consent to it, the only reeource will be in an appeal to private capital. Outside of such matters as provision for police, flre pro- I