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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 66, no. 1703: November 3, 1900

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November 3, 1900. KECOUD AND GUIDE. 5^5 DnM>PRp*J-ESTAJI.BuiLDl)fc #^rTECTUI^>ioiiSEU0LDDEOa(«lDK. Business >)(DTHei4ES of GEiJEit^ Itlrtit^l. PRICE PER YEAR IN ADVANCE SIX DOLLARS. PtihUahed eeerff Saturdo]/. TELEPHONE, CORTLAND 1.170- Communications sbould be addressed to C. W. SWEET, 14-16 Vesey Street. /. T. LINDSEY, Business Manager. "Entered at the Post-Office at New York. N. 7., as seoond-cln.'^s matter.'' Vol. LXVI. NOVEMBER 3, 1900. 1703. THAT the past month has been one of increased activity in all 'business circles is proved by the Treasury statistics now appearing. By these we learn that bank circulation in¬ creased during October by $3,289,000. indicating an increased demand for money; and, more important still, that of an in¬ crease of $6,300,000 in the revenues, a fact satisfactoiy in itself, about $4,700,000 was from internal revenue. Since the passage of the War Tax Act of 1898, this item, affected as it is by almost every department of business, has been a good barometer of the state of trade, and its large proportional increase last month can only be taken as an evidence of the more cheerful feeling that pervaded business circles in all directions. This month opened, too, with prices for staples fairly good, larger aggregate dividend disbursements and an evident acceptance of current quotations for materials as those likely to prevail and control operations for some time. In support of this statement the distribution of the Pennsylvania rail orders may be quoted. Those who flnd satisfaction in comparisons with other countries have ample field in which to roam at the present time, because there is no other in which the bases of business are so sound or the pros¬ pects more encouraging than in this. A short time ago steel rail prices in this country were broken on tbe appearance here of British goods. We now return the compliment by breaking several iron and steel combinations in Great Britain by placing our own goods there. It is obvious from all this that in the broad business world the outcome of Tuesday's event is not feared. In the stock market, where the business is so largely speculative, what is called "caution" is often a source of trouble. It is so now, and even a small acceptance of the view that prices will break sharply whatever the result has been potent enough to disturb quotations. On this theory the more timid are with¬ drawing tbeir accounts, or are compelled to withdraw them by the demands for margins with which they cannot comply, and prices suffer as a consequence. Our own view is that this theory is a mistalieu one. Quotations have not the same room in which to advance this year as they had four years ago, owing to the all-round advance that has taken place since then; but the steady cash buying that was going on al! summer, the strength and scarcity of stocks as a general thing and the good business out¬ look, should all point to higher figures. ■^ HE managers of the Central and New Haven Railroads are ^ to be congratulated upon the new waiting-room which they have succeeded in building into the old Grand Central sta¬ tion. The room is spacious, convenient, well planned and deco¬ rated with appropriate simplicity, and it ought to remove many of the inconveniences and rigors, which in the past have done so much to make regular traveJing on these roads disagreeable. So far so good. But in case the management really wish to make their trains more popular and their passengers more comfortable they should institute another change, which is as much needed as a new waiting room. They should do something to relieve their tunnel from 48th St. north from the musty and suffocating odors which make every breath of outside air which a passen¬ ger inhales during transit peculiarly obnoxious. Probably a more complete system of ventilation would do something to purify the air, but there is only one really adequate remedy—and that is to haul the trains through the tunnel not by steam, but by electric motors. This is the way in which the Baltimore & Ohio Railroads handles the traffic through its tunnel in Balti¬ more, and it is the only way such traffic can be handled without discomfort to the passengers. The change would increase ex¬ penses, but ought in the long run to be profitable, because it would help to increase local traffic. No doubt the presence or absence of good air in the tunnel would make little difference to a Buffalo or Boston passenger, for the few minutes he passed in it would be only a small part of bis total journey. Those few minutes aie, on the contrary, a very important matter to the suburban resident, who makes the journey every day, and who is forced to pass a half or a third of the time he is on the train surrounded by the noxious, grimy atmosphere of the tunnel. Hence tbe use of electric motors would surely do much to en¬ courage suburban travel—a portion of the business of the New Haven and Central roads which is destined very much to ex¬ pand. At present it does not compare with that upon the Jersey Central or Pennsylvania railroads, but with the increase of business north of 14th St. and the construction of the new rapid transit system, many more New Yorkers will be tempted to settle in tbat very beautiful country north of Manhattan. The rail¬ road companies will find it to their advantage to do everything they can to encourage this traffic, and nothing could discourage it more than such an ill-ventilated and ili-smeliing passage, par¬ ticularly when the new rapid transit system will afford an object lesson of what a clean and pleasant place an underground tun¬ nel may be. ~T~ HERE can be no doubt that in many cases the property- A owners in tbe vicinity of Elm St, have been assessed for a benefit which they will receive, if at all, only after the expira¬ tion of a good many years, and they can scarcely be blamed for protesting against the area and amount of assessment as they stand. It would indeed be hard to justify their contention that the whole cost of the improvement should be paid by the tax¬ payers in general. The movement to open up and widen Elm street has no doubt from tbe start been closely associated with the movement for a new rapid transit system, but the improvement was desirable, and would in time have become necessary, quite apart from the work of the Rapid Transit Commission. New York has been needing a new thoroughfare for years between the City Hall and 14th street, and the need for this purpose would have been greater rather than less in case the tunnel had been run up Broadway, as originally proposed. When the new street does become the line of a considerable traffic there can be no doubt that the neighborhood will become more available for warehouses, and that the present tendency to convert tene¬ ments into business buildings will be very much strengthened. But it will be a good many years before these results accrue, and in the mean time the neighboring property owners may well feel aggrieved at having concentrated upon themselves so large a proportion of the cost of an improvement which directly and indirectly will 'be an immense benefit to the whole of Manhat¬ tan, Brooklyn and Bronx. The owners of real estate on Elm street itself have a particular cause of grievance, because during the period covered by the opening and widening of the street, and the building of that part of the tunnel they have not got and will not get anything like the full use of their property. Until the street is closed up and paved the buildings cannot be used for anything but tenement purposes. It is ti:ue that when the improvement is finally consummated they will be the great¬ est gainers, but the loss they must suffer during the interven¬ ing years will be severe and constitutes in itself a practical as¬ sessment. While they could scarcely expect the Board of Pub¬ lic Improvements to put down a pavement which would have to be immediately torn up in order to dig the tunnel, they cer¬ tainly have a right to count the damage they are at present suf¬ fering against the benefit which will ultimately accrue. X CCORDING to the figures of the Census Bureau, an- ■^"^ nounced during the present week, the present popula¬ tion of the United States is 76,295,220, an increase of 13,225,464, or about 21 per cent, over that of 1890. The percentage of in¬ crease compares unfavorably with those of previous decades, for between 1880 and 1890 there was a gain of 25 per cent and the average gain in the still earlier enumerations was fully 30 per cent. But the decrease which the figures show over pre¬ vious percentages of increase is a natural and inevitable de¬ crease. No room was left in the territory of the United States for the rate of expansion which had been shown by previous enumerations. Up to 1890 there were large areas of virgin soil which were still unoccupied, and the cultivation of these lands afforded room for a rapid growth in agricultural population. But during the past decade comparatively little new farm land has been broken. In some states and territories, such as Texas, North Dakota and Oklahoma, a good deal of new land has been opened up and such states show large increases in population, but they are exceptional. The purely agricultural sections, which were already pretty well settled in 1890, have made only moderate gains during the past ten years. Some of them, such as Kansas and Nebraska, have practically remained stationary; others have shown a fair tendency to increase—chiefly in the towns. The states devoted chiefly or partly to manufacturing in-