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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 65, no. 1679: May 19, 1900

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May 19, 1900. RECORD AND GUIDE. 861 u piir^ inss. __________ ^ __. j;Hgm^lB68. Devoid Rf*J.Esrwr.BuiLDiiJb Appt^iTECTURE,HousQioiiiDEGaifiwi Bi/sDfess Alto Themes of GijteRAl ljrtzRp»i., PRICE PER YEAR IN ADVANCE SIX DOLLARS, PublisJicd every .Saturday. Telephone, Ooktlandt 1370. Communications sliould he addresEeil to C. W. SWEET, 14-16 Vesey Street. /. T. LINDSEY, Business Manager. '•Entered at the Post-Offlce at Ncio Yurie. iV, Y., as second-class matter." Vol. LXV. MAY 19, 1900. No, 1679. IF any deduction can be drawn from tliis week's movement in stocks it is that there is a change in the speculative senti¬ ment. The ontside public favor Railroads rather than Indus¬ trials, and it argued that the fall in prices of commodi- tie's does not affect the railroads as it does the Industrials. On the contrary, so far as it stimulates commercial activity, it bene¬ fits them. On the other hand, the Industrials directly feel the loss of income, which just now cannot be made up by increase of production, and they have also the misfortune of forming a political issue for the moment, which is an honor much more depressing to speculative values than even the loss of income through a reduced price list. These facts explain the discrimi¬ nation shown by the public in dealing with the two classes of stocks. If one were inclined to argue against the public atti¬ tude, it would be easy to point out that the railroads can only maintain good rates while producers are getting good prices, and that in the end if the shippers are not prosperous the rail¬ roads cannot be. It must also be shown that tbe decline in prices is such as to warrant shippers in asking reductions of rates, or that the volume of business is so much lessened that if must tell on earnings. More legitimate complaint of the public attitude toward the Industrials could be found in the heavy de¬ clines they have experienced in the past year and In the ab¬ sence of anything to show that they are not doing a paying busi¬ ness owing to the cuts in the prices of their goods. The first ought to have more tlian discounted both lower prices and poli¬ tical antagonism, and the rapid jump in quotations for these stocks yesterday .confirms this view. OUR two revising bodies are working along industriously by the several mental lights with which Providence has en¬ dowed them. The Charter Revision Commission has begun a series of public hearings in the several boroughs, and has an¬ nounced the points on which they wish to be addressed as these: (1.) Mayor's office: "What should the term be? Should he have power of removal? (2.) Legislative department: Shall the Muni¬ cipal Assembly be continued as now constituted? (3.) Municipal ownership. (4.) Department of Education. (5.) The borough system. (6.) Taxes and assessments. (7.) Police: Its organi¬ zation and powers. Shall there be a separate Bureau of Elec¬ tions? (8.) Board of Public Improvements. The first hearing took place on Thursday evening in the Borough of Richmond, where, judging from the printed reports of the proceedings, the people have more complaints to make of their position under the Charter than suggestions for their own relief. One thing was clear, and that was that some way of dealing locally with local needs was imperative, and that the Municipal Assembly had ut¬ terly failed to administer the wants of this borough, not ade¬ quately merely, but at all. It may be predicted with almost cer¬ tainty that wherever they go the loudest cry the Commission will hear will be for local control in the boroughs of purely local improvements. The Committee on' Tenement Houses is toddling around "inspecting" improved tenements which supply a pitiful fraction of the tenement housing of the city and cannot be built under the business conditions that control the main sup¬ ply of this class of housing. It is stated that the Committee has already decided to recommend that no tenement shall be erected upon a lot less than 50x100; that fences between yards shall be abolished, and that roofs shall be adapted to playgrounds. This may be simply guessing on the part of the paper that published it, based on the report of the Tenement House Committee of the Charity Organization Society published last year, in which all these recommendations were included; but it is so tn line with all that has since transpired that, absurd as it is, it would not be surprising if it proved to be eventually true. Some of the recommendations quoted were presented to the Commission on Building Code and later to a joint committee of the Municipal Assembly, who, after patient hearing, rejected them for practical reasons. The Police Department ought to be asked IE they would like the yards of every tenement block in the city to he thrown open in the way suggested. Repaying Streets on Water Grants. MUST THE CITY OR THE PROPERTY OWNERS PAY POR THE WORK. THE announcement that Judge Andrews has denied motions made by property owners for the vacation of an assess¬ ment for the paving of Water street, between Whitehall street and Rutgers Slip, bears upon a question of great importance and involving some millions of dollars in money. If this is flnal, or Judge Andrews is sustained by the courts of further resort, it will confirm the obligation of owners of land held under grants from the city for lands under water to pay the cost of once finally paving streets laid out on such land. The property affected extends all around Manhattan, To give an idea of its area it may be stated that in the southern part of the island, generally, all west of Greenwich street and all east of Pearl street is more or less land made under grants from the city. Ths grants date back to the 17th century, and contain a variety of covenants according to the circumstances of each particular case, but one that seems to appear universally is that the grantee shall keep the streets extended through the grant in repair. When this land became minutely subdivided the difficulty of making each owner live up to this covenant became insuperable, and as a consequence the worst paved streets in the city were those near the two rivers on land originally under water. When the consolidation act of 1873 (Chapter 757 of the laws of that year) was framed, to prevent what had become a scan¬ dalous misuse of the powers of the authorities to order repav¬ ing of streets at the cost of owners of adjoining property, often exercised In favor of patented pavements and in pursuit of job¬ bery, the following clause was inserted and later amended by Chapter 757 of the Laws of 1873 by striking out the words we have quoted; No street, avenue or public place in the City of New York, wbicti haa once tieen paved and the expense thereof paid for by the owDers ot the adjoining property by assessment, shall hereafter be paved at their expense, nor shall any assessment be imposed therefor, "or for any such repavement heretofore laid" be imposed unless the same shall "have heen or" be petitioned for by a majority of the owners of the property (who shall also be the owners of a majority of the front feet) on the lines of the proposed Improvement; and any ordinance or resolution heretofore passed for any repavement, which has not been petitioned for by a majority of the owners of the adjoining property to be affected and for which no contract has been entered into or award of contract made, is hereby declared to be inoperative and void. Some additional words, which we have omitted, show that it was also intended to prevent tbe arbitrary use of the patented pavings. The language of this section may be taken to apply to streets on lands under water, as they were in nowise ex¬ empted by either the original or amendatory measure, as well as to others. Chapter 410 of the Laws of 1882, also a consolidation act, simplifies the matter further by Section 875, which says: Unless it shall be petitioned for by a majority of the owners of the property (who shall also be the owners of a majority of the front feet) on the line ot the proposed improvement, no assessment shall be imposed for the paving of any street, or any portion thereof, which has been onee paved and the expense thereof paid by the owners of the adjoining property. However, the authorities do not seem to have recognized these sections as applying to streets on land under water. When the Federal Government was acquiring the site for the Appraisers' Stores, Francis A. Walker, then U. S. District Attorney, refused to take title on the ground that the grantor could not deliver a full warranty deed, because of a covenant therein to forever keep the street in repair. This objection was sustained in the courts. It put a cloud upon the titles to an immense amount of property, and the city was petitioned by twelve hundred prop¬ erty owners to support a bill that afterwards became Chapter 449 of the Laws of 18S9, though the city took no action upon It one way or the other. This bill provided in effect that whenever, thereafter, a street on land under water was repaved at the ex¬ pense of the adjoining property owners it should release and discharge them from all and every covenant and obligation as to paving, repaving and repairing contained in the water grant The effect of this act was legally and practically beneficial. It not only served to remove a cloud upon titles pregnant with much inconvenience and danger of pecuniary loss, but it resulted in the water side streets being rescued from the condition of physical disgrace in which they had long lain, and the parallel streets, Broadway for instance, being relieved from a great deal of heavy traffic. To complete the legal story of this matter. It is