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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 71, no. 1834: May 9, 1903

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May g, 1003. RECORD AND GUIDE 909 ^(^^ ^ ESTABIJSHED^(^^iRpH£Li^'^1868. ^Usntess AitoTHEHES OF GEikR^ iK^tufs^; PRICE PER. YEAR IN ADVANCE, SIX DOLLARS Tablished every Saturday Communications should te addressed to C. W. SWEET, 14-16 Vesey Street, New YopK t. T. IpIKDSET, Business Manager Telephone. Cortlandt 3157 "Entered at the Fost Offlce at Neio York, N. T., as second-olass matter." Vol. LXXI. MAY 9, 1903. No. 1834. THE Stock Marliet prospects are not quite so good at the end ot" this weel; as they were at the end of last week. The danger of gold exports is more imminent than it has been at any time this spring, the crops of cotton, corn and spring wheat are all exceedingly late in being planted, and will be consequently the more exposed to damage in the fall, and there is evidence of very persistent selling of stocks just as long as there are any buyers to take them. These conditions taken together have been sufficient to bring about a lower level of values, not a very much lower level, but one that is significant. It is apparent that large owners of stocks have good reasons for selling them as soon as they can do so without sending prices down very quickly, and it may be inferred consequently that in a sense the liquida¬ tion is not yet over. As long as this selling continues, there is no chance for even a moderately bullish movement, and this in spite of the fact that railway earnings continue to be truly extraordinary. There seem to be no end to the increases, which follow one another year after year, and which enable the rail¬ roads to appropriate large sums out of net earnings for com¬ paratively permanent improvements. It is this great margin between the amount of money earned and the amouut dis¬ tributed in dividends, which justifies the belief that the railroads will be able to get over the next period of business depression much better than they did over 1903. The chances for econo¬ mizing when economy becomes necessary are so considerable, that on the whole it may be assumed that the values of railway securities have a much more stable basis than ever before. TTT HY is it that the Board of Aldermen never seems able to j^ y take a wise and liberal attitude toward the various public questions which come before it for consideration? Why is it that it persists in undermining the little public confldence that it still manages to retain by adopting an obstructive at¬ titude towards desirable public improvements? Before con¬ solidation it had been stripped practically of all its powers. Under the first charter after consolidation, it received a large increase of authority, which was found to work so badly, that when the charter was revised, the Common Council was cut out entirely, and the powers of the aldermen over bond issues were curtailed. At the same time it was left with very considerable authority in certain directions, which it has been faithfully abusing ever since. In the case of the contract with the Penn¬ sylvania road, it carried its obstructive tactics just as far as it dared, and showed so clearly the animus which it brings to bear on municipal questions that it became necessary to diminish its authority by depriving it of any control over changes in the city map. At the present time it refuses obstinately either to appropriate the beggarly $10,000 which is needed to pay the ex¬ penses of a commission to revise the street plan of New York, or to sanction the privilege which it is proposed to grant to the Bronx trolley roads to lay tracks across the Macomb's Dam Bridge. The laying of these tracks is extremely necessary to the residents of the Bronx, the franchise provides that abundant compensation shall be paid to the city, and it, has been approved by the Board of Estimate and Apportionment, the Sinking Fund Commission and the aldermen's own franchise committee, but the Board at the instance of a Brooklyn clique stubbornly re¬ fuses to acquiesce. Its power is used so blindly and with such an utter disregard of the major public interests, that it seems some¬ times as If Its course were merely a fulfilment of the old Greek maxim, that whom the gods destroy they first make mad. That the Board should prove to be such a constant source of obstruct¬ ion to the city's administrative machine is exceedingly unfor¬ tunate, because it has a very real function in the mechanism of the city government-the function, namely, of checking the work of the powerful administrative boards, but a check that consists merely of persistent and sometimes malicious obstruction is a check which an efficient and sensible community is bound in the long run to dispense with. In the case of the Macomb's Dam Bridge franchise, the offense is all the worse, because it is Brooklyn members who are refusing a necessary transit im¬ provement to the Bronx, and as we poiuted out last week, Brook¬ lyn itself is being immensely favored over the Bronx in this re¬ spect. THE labor troubles in the building trades have undoubtedly during the past week become more threatening than at any time throughout the spring. The dispute between the two rival unions of carpenters is becoming more rather than less dangerous, and before it is done may well spread to the other trades. But this cause of trouble, dangerous as it is, is on the whole less ominous than the results, which have attended the attempt of the Board of Building Trades to unionize the building, material drivers. The Timber and Building Material Dealers' Associations have heen obliged to unite in order effectually and resolutely to oppose the demand, and it remains to be seen- whether their opposition, which has taken the form of a lock¬ out, will be effective. In any event the situation thus created- presents very alarming possibilities. Should the flght be pro¬ longed it means in about a few weeks the cessation of building operations throughout the city, aud the indefinite delaying of many important public and private improvements. That how¬ ever is only an incident, for the consequences of acquiscence in the demands of the union would be much worse than the con¬ sequences of even a comparatively long cessation of building. If the building material drivers' are completely unionized, it would go a long way toward giving the Board of the Building Trades absolute control over the building business in New York, The most potent weapon which the unions wield at the present time is undoubtedly the sympathetic strikes, and if the circle of the sympathetic strike were enlarged so as to include the build¬ ing material drivers the weapon would become too powerful to be endured. The employers must offer a stout resistance to any increase in the effectiveness of a weapon, which has in the past inflicted so many severe wounds, because if they did not the inevitable result would be a prolonged and disastrous con¬ flict between the two ends of the New York building trades. It will be wise for the union leaders to avoid such a conflict. Skilled labor has of late very much increased its wages and im¬ proved the conditions under which the work is performed by not making any intolerable demands and thus encouraging a gen¬ eral strike, but the time might easily come when the employers would be forced to the conclusion that the exactions are be¬ coming so onerous that they can no longer conduct their busi¬ ness with safety and profit. If thtat time should come, it would be a very bad thing for the unions, as well as for everyone else connected with the building trades. IT is settled that New York is to have a new County Court House, for the Governor has signed Senator Dowling's bill, authorizing the Mayor to appoint a Construction Committee. The selections will surely be made very soon, because the jus¬ tices of the Supreme Court and the lawyers certainly have a great grievance in being obliged to inhabit the preseut ill-ar¬ ranged, ill-ventilated, and over-crowded building, and before the month is out the commission will doubtless have its work well started. It will have the power to select part of the City Hall Park as a site, provided the area chosen is not greater than the area of the old buildings destroyed; but the members of the commission should be warned in advance that, if they attempt to make use of this opportunity, they will simply be delaying the construction of the building. The Municipal Art Commission would be false to the purpose for which it was instituted in case it consented to the occupation of City Hall Park with another big building, and it is safe to argue from the known opinions of the members of the commission that it wili inflexibly oppose such a selection. The City Hall Park needs clearing out rather than filling up with a new building which even if it covered only the same area as the old buildings, would by its great height and bulk, effectually and finally destroy any chance of giving the City Hall spacious and dignified surroundings. But while the building should not be situated in the park, it should be situated in the immediate vicinity thereof; and it is too bad that the selection cannot be made as a part of some general scheme, which would include all the various improvements which will have to be made in that vicinity. T HE details of the plans for the new Wanamaker store, which have been given out during tbe past week, con¬ tain many novel features. A retail store thirteen stories high is for instance a great Innovation. The Macy store with its nine stories was supposed to have reached the limit In that respect.