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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 71, no. 1824: February 28, 1903

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February 28, 1903. RECORD AND GUIDE 381 oy •■ ESTABUSHEDV/^ARPH2l-^1868. Db/oi^ P f^L Estate . EuiLDifJb AFtcKiTEcruRE.Housalom Degc2?^[1, PRICE PER. YEAR IN ADVANCE. SIX DOLLARS Published eVery Saturday Communications slionld bo addressed to C. W. SWEET, 14=16 Vesey Street, New YorK t. T. LINDSEY, Bnslnesa Manager Teleplione, Cortlandt 3157 "JEntered at the Fost O.ffice at NmD York. Jf, T.. as second-class matter." Voi. LXXI. FEBRUARY 2S, 1903. No. 1824 J:;eady for DjEliveby next week. The cnniiial iiiimhcr of the Record aud Guide Quarterly coutain- hi'i all the real estate record.'; for Ihe year 1002, uunotafcd and al- phabclieally and uumericuily arranged, ivHl be rcadi/ for delivery neji^i week. Published by the Record and Guide, IJ andlG Vesey Sf. THE expectations of better prices upon the Stock Market, mentioned last week, were based upon the then seeming certainty of a smcetli and speedy passage of the Aldrich bill through Congress. The uncertain and disturbed conditions tbat actually supervened on the market- were due to the clouding of this prospect, and even to fears that, as the time left for action was becoming so short, the bill could not pass at all. It is dif¬ ficult to believe that Congress will leave the business com¬ munity facing another and severer currency sti'ingency in the coming fall without bestowing this simple palliative of one of the worst features of our system—the aceumulatiGU of money in the Treasury at the moment when it i's most in demand for the transaction of Ihe business of the country. If they do they will be guilty of a serious neglect of duty, and the President will be justified in reminding them of it by calling a special session to consider the whole currency Question. It is to be hoped that either they or he will not wait for mischief to be done before applying the remedy that either has the power to apply. The hardening of both call and time money is as much due to the anxiety that tbe present condition of tbe .\ldrich bill creates in tbe mind of the community as to the falling off in tbe reserves of the banks. The latter movement is customary at this time of the year, but tbe caution that failure of the bill would en¬ gender would not only hasten the process, but would also pre¬ vent repletion of the reserves when, under ordinary conditions, money should return to this centre. Conseciuently, with the powers of the Secretary of the Treasury to afford relief in a time of pinch restricted to their present proportions, money will become dearer and stay so. This will certainly tend to contract business, if it is not followed by more serious consequences. In view of the criticism bis action met with and the reproof implied in a refusal of Congress to give legal sanction to its repetition, the Secretary of the Treasury cannot be expected to again re¬ ceive as security for government deposits other collateral than that specified by law; and, so far as he is concerned, any relief be could give to the money market, should it be required next fall, would be less than he gave last year. The circumstances of the moment gave more than ordinary importance to the small shipment of gold to Buenos Ayres this week, because, although a special transaction, it shows that London has still power to call gold from this inarket, and adds another complication to an already unsatisfactory situation. IF London dispatches are to be credited, the South American demand for gold, which has been partly met by shipments from New York, is about over. Further shipments from here are not expected. The incident serves to call attention to the recovery that has taken place in tbe Argentinas. As a result of good crops and good prices for wool, the Republic is doing a large trade with Australia and South Africa, as well as with Europe, and in consequence has heen drawing gold from all three. This is in striking contrast with her previous position since the Baring fiasco, and is much to be esteemed. Business conditions of Europe have brightened this week, owing to the passing of tbe war cloud from the Balkans. This was brought about partly by the prompt acceptance of the plan of reform for Macedonia by the Sultan, but more particularly by Russia's intimation to the sympathizing Balkan states that any that should forcibly interfere would be left to its fate precisely as Greece was in 1S98. Tbe Powers seem to be sincere in their union on this matter, and as determined that reforms shall be brought about peaceably if possible as that they shall be brought about, peaceably or not. This being the development of the latest phase of tbe Near Eastern question, the Exchanges have taken heart with accelerated liveliness iri transactions. One of the important features of the situation is the return of the French investor to the home market. This we have noted before, but it is now more marked than ever, and is important in indicating that the dread of internal political conditions no longer sways the mind of. the French investor, and this is a political barom¬ eter whose records are entitled to respect. Another item of in¬ terest is that Spanish 4s, which during our late struggle over Cuba sold down to 40, are now selling at the highest prices in their history, something above 91, that is, from a 10% to a 4.4% basis. It is said that the most recent advance is due to buying l;y the Bank cf Spain in connection with a financial operation the nature of which is yet to be divulged, but in the main the appreciation of the quotations of this typical security is due to the improved economic condition of Spain itself, and this iu turn to the relief from the burden of colonies she could neither sup¬ port nor control. German and British iron markets are im¬ proving. Superficial observers see in this only a result of the American demand, but those who look closer must give the fact a larger commercial barometrical value, pointing to a revival of business generally. This is the proper estimate to be placed upon it, and it is the natural corollary from the not merely bet¬ tered conditions in Europe, but also from satisfactory harvests and improved prospects in other parts of the world that look to Europe for their supplies of manufactures as well as for the capital to carry on their own industries. 7\ S long as there is no possibility of the passage of Comp- A~i. troller Grout's bill amending the act constituting the Rapid Transit Commission, it may be hoped that the adminis¬ tration will use all its influence to have passed the amendments to the same act, introduced recently by Senator Elsberg. These amendjneuts, which have been prompted by the Citizen's Union, are designed to increase the powers of the Rapid Transit Com- mission, and enable it to secure better terms in letting contracts for constructing and operating extensions to the Subway sys¬ tem. If they are passed the Commission will be able to let the construction contract in sections, and so save large sums to the city; it is given the power of granting the operating contract for twenty years, or if the city supplies the equipment, for ten years. It is even enabled to operate the road itself in case an advantageous arrangement cannot be made with a private cor¬ poration. Past experience has shown that these increased pow¬ ers are necessary in order that the city itself may reap the ad¬ vantage of the increased traflic instead of turning it over for seventy-five yeai's to private capitalists. Under the present contract, no matter how large the income from the tunnel grows, the city does not receive anything more than a fixed rental; and Mr. Edward M. Shepard estimates that these terms areworth from $30,000,000 to $50,000,000 to' the Subway company. Doubtless there was no way in which part of this money could have been saved to the city, except by tbe municipal operation of the road —a step for which public opinion was not prepared; but it can be saved.hereafter by giving the Rapid Transit Commission the powers proposed in these amendments. In this matter, New York cannot do better than follow the example of Paris. In another column will be found some account of the way in which the new iWetropolitan Underground R. R. in that city has succeeded. Apparently some serious mistakes have been made in constructing tbe road—mistakes wbicb have, so far as possi¬ ble, been avoided in New York; but the operating contract gives the city a third of the. gross receipts—a proportion which not only pays for the interest on the bonds, but already gives the municipality a profit of hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. It is interesting to note that in spite of a 3-cent fare for a large part of its traffia, and the provision of a seat for every passen¬ ger, the company can still operate the road for 43 per cent, of its gross receipts, which is very much better than New York transit companies can do with a 5-cent fare, and cars that are frequently jammed from door to door. Moreover, although the Paris company only receives 25 per cent, of the gross receipts net, its stock is now selling for twice the figure at which it was originally issued. THE effect of prevailing conditions in the iron and steel trade has been to cause additions to be made in tbe prices of iron ore, steel rails and wire nails. Presumably this tendency will be carried into prices of other iron and steel products as the spring demand reveals itself. This state of things may seem in- oonsistent with the increasing stocks of pig iron alluded'to last week and with other testimony that constructive work through-