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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 71, no. 1832: April 25, 1903

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April 25, igo3. RECORD AND GUIDE 8or ^ E:STABUSHED^(;\WpH2L'-i'^ia68. Bniria) 10 ft^i Estah . SuiLdi^/g ApcKnEcrruRE .h{ous£3(oiJ) DEOtaiAiiotl. Busafess Alto Themes op GeiJer^ iHiERfs't. PRICE PER YEAR IN ADVANCE, SIX DOLLARS FabUshed ellery Saturday Commimiuatfong stiould be addreaseil to C. W. S'WEET. 14-16 Vesey Street, New YopH *, T. LINDSEY. Busl ness Manager Telephono. Cortlandt 3157 "Entered at the Post Office at X'eio York, N. Y.. as second-class matter." No. lS.i2. Vol. LXXI. APRIL 25. 1903. UNDER present conditions tbe Stock Market refuses to move continuously either up or down. A period of heavy sell¬ ing, during which prices fall off from five to twenty points, and the market becomes oversold, is followed by a few days of lively professional buying, which suffices to send prices back a few points. Then the speculators take their proflts, and a period ot dullness supervenes. It is impossible to keep values on the de¬ cline in the face of increasing railway and industrial earnings. But it is equally impcssble lo keep continuously advancing be¬ cause the huying power of investors is apparently distinctly limited. How long this see-saw will prevail, one cannot say; and it may be that prices will go lower before they go higher; but the probabilities assuredly favor lor the summer months a huying rather than a selling movement. It looks as if the mar¬ ket would continue to hesitate, until there is some assurance that the excellent 'n-iuter wheat crop wil! be followed hy at least crops of corn and spring wheat. If the yield is good, prices will surely be higher iu the fall than they are now. If the yield is only indifferent, they may not be any lower, (because if the large tonnage of miscellaneous traffic, which will continue to be of¬ fered, but in that case it is doubtful whether any bull movement may be expected. The point is that security market needs a strong stimulus, in order to encourage good huying, and it needs particularly to sell large shipments of grain, so that American bankers may repay their European loans. But all this, of course, is a matter for the future rather than for the present Just now it is well to take small profits rather than wait for large ones, and it is well not to commit oneself strongly either on one side or the other. Irregularity is likely to prevail for some months, with the probaJbility eventually of a higher level of values. ■^* HE difficulty which the Board of Estimate and Apportion- *■ ment is having in making satisfactory arrangements for the widening of 59th St. is typical of the enormous obstacles which arise, when such street improvements are necessitated. In the present instance everyone admits that the street must be widened, the existing traflic congestion being such as seriously to embarrass the transatjtion of business in the vicinity. It is tolei-aibly plain, also, that in order to accommodate the traffic at least forty feet should be added to the width of the street and that these forty feet should be taken from the north side. It would probably be a little cheaper to take them from the south side; but the difference in expense would not be large, and the advantage of the northern strip in making the street east of Bth Ave. align with the street west of 5th Ave., would -be very great. So far it is plain sailing, although it has taken the local im¬ provement board a sufficiently long time to reach these conclu¬ sions. But just as soon as the details and cost of the improve¬ ment are considered, the obstacles become very formidable. Such a property as the new Netherland Hotel would he totally destroyed. The assessed valuation of the forty feet is about $5,000,000; and it is safe to say that it would cost at least $8,000,- 000 to condemn it. This enormous cost has led to alternative suggestions, such, for instance, as taking 100 feet from the south side of 60th St. or such as trying to divert the traffic to 57th St.; but both of these proposals evade rather than meet the diffi¬ culty. Fifty-ninth St. is the natural artery of traffic; it would need to he widened even if the Blackwell's Island Bridge were not in the course of construction; and the traffic created by the new bridge will naturally take the most direct route. It would mean great public inconvenience in case either of the alterna¬ tive schemes which have been proposed should be adopted. The conclusion that 59th St. must be widened at any cost is unavoid¬ able. The only question is: How can it be done at the smallest expense and to the greatest public advantage? THERE is one way in which the expense of the widening could be lessened without any loss to property-owners, and that would be by making the street widening help to pay its own expenses. The condemnation of a 40-foot strip on the north side of a street, the lots of which are 100 feet deep, is necessarily an extravagant and wasteful business. The houses on the street are all of them more than forty feet deep, so that in order to secure a 40-foot strip, it would be necessary to pay for the im¬ provements on the entire lot. Thus by condemning forty feet the city is heavily mulcted for damages, while the property-owners are left with lots only GO feet deep—lots, that is, that are too shallow to be profitably improved under existing conditions. On a flne broad street, such as 59th St. would then hecome, leading to a bridge, which some day will carry an enormous amount of travel, new buildings can be advantageously erected only on very large plots. Surely under such conditions the economical and sensible thing to do would be to condemn all the blocks between 59th and OOth Sts,, Sth and 2d Aves., and then, after the improvement is completed, sell off the remaining lots in large par*;els for improvement. It is true that this method of partly paying for street improvements is an innovation, so far as New York is concerned^ and would require special legislation before it could be used; but it certainly has advantages, which deserve to be seriously considered iby the city government. It would not do the property-owners on the north side of 59th St. any harm, 'because the GO-foot strip could not be profitably used, and be¬ cause buildings erected on such shallow lots would have an un¬ favorable effect on the business of tbe street. The property- owners ou the south side of GOth St. would have more of a griev¬ ance; but they would sell their property at a fair price and es¬ cape an assessment for the cost of the widening. On the other hand the city would have a ready sale fcr the property oa the widened street at a price which would surely cut iu half the cost of the widening. It is certainly worth experimenting witQ this method, because it is difficult to see how these street widen¬ ing proceedings, which are frequently so necessary, yet which are inevitably so expensive, can be carried out unless some such method is adopted. IN the new Stock Bxchange, New York may rejoice in a public 'building of which it has a right to be unqualifiedly proud. It is much the most sincere, impressive, and beautiful work of commercial architecture in the country; and indeed, we doubt whether any other country can show a modern building devoted to ibusiness purposes, in which exacting utilitarian needs have been more skillfully reconciled with dignified and appropriate architectural effect. Buildings like these of the Clearing House and the Chamber of Commerce give an observer the impression that they are somewhat ashamed of their size compared with the size of their towering neighbors, and that they are trying to 'brazen it out by the use of striking and conspicuous detail, but the dimensions of the new Stock Exchange Building are excel¬ lent in themselves aud so generous that the building cau hold its own against even a twenty-story "sky-scraper," while the col- lonnade, which is the main feature of the design, and which has a real structural purpose, is right in. scale, and admirably de¬ signed in detail. There is every reason to believe, also, that the interior arrangements have been as happily contrived as its exterior design. If anyone believes that it is an easy thing to turn out a successful building like this, let them read the his¬ tory of the design, as narrated by Mr, Percy Stuart in the Archi¬ tectural Record for July, 1901. He will then begin to realize how much patient ingenuity, and what loyal cooperation among the 'building committee, the architects, and the engineers was necessary before the completed plans of the present structure were worked out. Again and agaiu those plans had to he al¬ tered in order to meet unforeseen requirements or possible emer¬ gencies, and if the result is successful, the success has been earned by everyone who has had a hand in bringing it about. IT is just as well that the Elsberg rapid transit bill did not pass this year, for we do not want the rapid transit act amended, unless the Mayor ond the Board cordially concur in the amendments. At the same time we do not believe that the Mayor and the Citizens' Union committee are so far apart in their opinions about rapid transit legislation that a bill accepta¬ ble to .both cannot be drawn. Both are agreed upon the chief objects to be sought in framing the bill—the objects name¬ ly of economical construction, of a service carefully regulated in the public interest, of a constant revision of the terms of the lease, and of something less than a 5-cent fare as soon as prac¬ ticable. They differ chiefly in the means which it is proposed to take in order to accomplish these objects. The Mayor at¬ taches the utmost importance to the operation of the whole sys¬ tem by one company, which will be in a position to offer a contin-