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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 71, no. 1833: May 2, 1903

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May 2, 1903. RECORD AND GUIDE 853 ^e> ESTABUSHED <$y KiARPH SW^ 1BS8, ^ ------- ._, , , itotTED TO Rf^L EstAH. BuiLDTflc AflcKlTECTURE .^OTSnlOlIl DEeai(ATlDtl. BliSlt/ESSAfbTHEilESOFGEtJER^ IffTtRpsj. PRICE PER YEAR IN ADVANCE, SIX DOLLARS Published eVers Saturday Communications should tie addressed to C. W. SWEET, 14=16 Vesey Street, New YorK ). T, LINDSEY, Business Manager Telephone, Cortlandt 3157 "Entered at the Tost O.ffice at Neio Tork, if. Y., as matter." Vol. LXXI. MAT 2, 1903. No. 1833. IN the long run the Stock Market moves in sympathy with the general hiisiness of the country. As long as business is prosperous, it is to be presumed that the securities representing the country's industries become more valuable, whereas when business is bad it is to be presumed that these same securities will he very much less valuable. But during periods both of bad and good times the local conditions of Stock Market speculation often get out of touch with the general business situation. The security market like the market for wheat or cotton goods is to a certain extent governed by special conditions. Capitalists may not have the power to buy securities even when they are becom¬ ing mere valuable, or the market may be swamped hy more se¬ curities than it can easily handle at any one time. So it is at the present moment. Local and special, instead of general conditions, govern the Stock Market and the speculators who do business from the Wall Street offices are timid and pay ex¬ clusive attention to these merely trade considerations. They do not feel any considerable movement either of selling or buying behind them, and consequently they are afraid to go in for any long pulls or big operations. They are ready to take small profits when small proflts are to be had, and they are easily scared hy small losses. Thia describes the market during the past week. A good day is succeeded by profit-taking until all tbe gains are wiped out. Speculators are really waiting Eor some outside impulse to take hold of them and direct their opera¬ tions, and in the meantime they buy and sell because it is their business to do so. It is a very much more profitable occupation just at present to watch trade reports than it is to watch Stock Market quotations. A man who has the money to buy and the money to rarry securities need not in general be much afraid of the result, but it is a bad time to hang over the ticker. The temper of the market is extremely nervous, and is easily influ¬ enced either one way or the other, but never for long in any one direction. '■^ HE Board of Aldermen has no excuse for delaying to ap- -^ propriate the $10,000 which is needed for the expenses of a commission to revise the street plan of New Yorli. At the hearing during the past week no one opposed the appropriation, which, as we have already pointed out, commits the city to nothing, and simply throws the responsibility of laying out an acceptable plan upon the municipal art reformers. But at the same time it is extremely desirable that the small expenses of the commission should be paid by the city, and that the plan should have a certain offlcial stamp upon it. There can be no doubt that this problem, which the city is called upon to con¬ sider, is the great problem of the city's future, and is intimately connected with the increase in the means of rapid transit. Every subway and bridge which is constructed brings with it certain necessary changes in the street system. The present suhway could not have been constructed unless Elm Street had been widened. The Wiliiamsburgh Bridge will necessitate the wid¬ ening of Delancey and several othea- streets. The Blackwells Island Bridge makes the necessity of widening 59th Street still more critical. The laying out of a subway extension on the lower West Side would be very much simplified in case the new tunnel could be built under a broad southerly continuation of 6th or Tth Avenues. The Pennsylvania terminus at SSd Street aud Tth Avenue will undoubtedly force some alteration of the street lines in the vicinity of Greeley Square; while the Manhat¬ tan Bridge promises to cause even more disturbance among the streets on the lower East Side than has the Wiliiamsburgh Bridge. These illustrations give some idea of the changes in the street system which will be brought about by the transit im¬ provements—to say nothing of the equal necessity of dealing with the congestion on Sth avenue and on 42d street. That all these matters must be taken up, and should be taken up com¬ prehensively will be obvious to any one who faces the facts. As the Times says and as the Record and Guide has frequently said iu the past. "Injustice has been done to this project by repre¬ senting it primarily as a plan for beautifying the city. It is primarily a plan for increasing the convenience of the city as a place in which to live and do business. Spaciousness is neces¬ sary to convenience, to circulation. It tends also to dignity and gives opportunity for beauty." The beauty, however, Is simply a by-product. The really vital object is that of improving the circulation of the city. T T is very much easier, however, to point out the necessity for ■^ street improvements than it is to devise a plan, that is both adequate and financially practicable. Just as soon as any par¬ ticular improvement is seriously proposed and estimates com¬ pleted, the cost is found to be staggering; and the more impor¬ tant the improvement the more staggering the cost. Conse¬ quently it should be part of the work of the commission to make suggestions as to the best way of paying for these street re¬ arrangements. The plan, frequently mentioned in these col¬ umns, of condemning more property than is needed, and selling off the residue in largs plots for increased prices, would un¬ doubtedly prove to be a great help, particularly because these large blocks of property are in great demand just at present; but we are informed by the Comptroller that such a method of financing large improvements would require, not merely addi¬ tional legislation for its prosecution, but what is much more formidable, a constitutional amendment. As it would be hope¬ less under existing conditions to amend the constitution for such a purpose, this scheme of financing is unavailable. There remains oniy the usual method of condemning as much land as is needed, of assessing part of the cost upon neighboring prop¬ erty, and of leaving the owners with small mutilated pieces of property, which are useless for big buildings, unless combined with large holdings. This method is both very wasteful, and often, as iu the case of Elm street, inflicts such disastrous losses on property-owners that tliey come to regard the street improve¬ ment plans with dread and to oppose them with pertinacity. That is one of the reasons why it is so extremely difflcult to get any satisfactory street widening schemes through the local boards. Then the city's share of the cost will cause as much difflculty as the share of the property-owners. It is stated that by distributing the burden over a number of years, it need not be felt, but no one could make this assertion who was famil¬ iar with the amount of money to be spent, the conditions under which it will be spent, and the power of the city to spend it. The street widenings, both in Brooklyn and Manhattan, for in¬ stance, necessitated by the several bridges, must all be under¬ taken and paid for within the next flve years, and even with the increased borrowing capacity obtained through full assessed valuations, there will not be enough money available for the purpose. In a quick-moving city like New York these works cannot be planned as they are in Paris, a generation ahead, and then slowly carried out; for as long as they remain in that quiescent but promising state, they are a serious menace to the private property affected and prevent it from being properly im¬ proved. The financial aspects of this whole matter deserve a much more serious consideration than they have yet received. ■^^ HE offlcers of the Real Estate Association of New York ■^ include the names of many of the most respected, ener¬ getic and enterprising men actively engaged in real estate op¬ erations, and should be a sufBcient guarantee that the work of the association will be thoroughly representative. We hope that the e.xecutive committee will try to make the association not merely a vehicle for criticizing legislative and municipal meas¬ ures, but will, whenever there is a good chance, actually take upon itself the responsibility of suggesting the kind of legisla¬ tive and municipal policy which will be of most benefit to the taxpayers of the city. Its criticism will always be much more effectual, in case it is taken from the standpoint of some better alternative line of action. SOMETHING like a month has elapsed since the Mayor first proposed his scheme for a combined municipal building and railway terminus on the triangles bounded by Park Row, Chambers and Centre streets. It cannot be said that the plan bas met with very much favor. It is admitted by everybody that these triangles wiil have to be occupied by the surface, sub¬ surface and elevated railroads for terminal purposes; but the notion of erecting a tall municipal offlce-building over the ter¬ minal does not appeal to the gradually awaliening municipal pride of the city. "Sky-scrapers" are, of course, a legitimate