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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 74, no. 1899: August 6, 1904

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August 6, 1904 RECORD AND GUIDE 28H '^gy -^ E:STABU5HED^-fi\Wi,ca21^^IB6e, Devote) to Real Esim. BuildiiIg AR]an:iTECTLii^E,t{ousDfoiD DEKHipoij. ,BUsir/ESS Alio Themes OF GEtiER^I IjJTtRfsi. PRICE PER YEAR IN ADVANCE SIX DOLLARS published etlery Saturday Communications should be addressed to C. W. SWEET. 14-16 Vesey Street, New YopK J, T. LINDSEY. Bu9lufi99 Manaser Telephone, Cortlandt 3157 "Entered at the Fast OJJice al New York, jV. Y., t •nd-ctass matter." Vol. LXXIV. August 6, 1904. No. 1899. Tlie Index lo Voltimc LXXIII0/ the Record and Guide, covering ike period between January 1, and June 30, 190J, tviil be ready for delivery on Thursday, ^lugust 11. Price $1. This Indej: tn its cnlari/ed form is iww recognised as indispensable to every one engaged or interested in real estate and building operations. It covers all Iranstirlions — deeds, mortgages, leases, auction sales, building plans filed, etc. Orders for the Index should be sent at once to the office of pnblicalion, 14 and 16 Vesey St. IT would be curious in a rratiifest business revival should appear during the coming fall and winter, yet such may be the event. Usually a wave of depression lasts about as long as a wave of prosperity; anci since the prosperous period had a duration of three or four years, the reverse movement ■ might have been expected to cover as long a time. It is, however, not only possible but probable that during the coming year, a distinct revival of activity will take place. The under¬ lying soundness of the situation has always encouraged business men to hope that the recovery would not be long delayed, and now there are signs that such will be the case.. Railroad earn¬ ings are steadier, business failures are fewer, collections are bet¬ ter, and a more confident tone is beginning to prevail. If the crops turn out as well as may be reasonably anticipated, these signs ot better things will be both increased in number and in meaning. The great thing is that a bitter balance is again being established betweea the country's supply of fixed and floattng capital. The pressing necessity for a great many costly improvements in 1901 locked up too large a share of the quick assets of American business; and the consequence was that stock and other speculations depending on free sup¬ plies of such capital had to be curtailed. Many important im¬ provements were either abandoned or temporarily suspended, and It may be expected that, if things go well, work on them will he resumed or commenced^which will lead to a needed revival in the iron and steel trades. The local situation is in this respect particularly good, and provided there are no really dangerous disagreements between the Employers' Association and the unions, it may be expected that many important build¬ ing projects which havo been held im abeyance for a year or more will again be seriously taken up. X LIFELESS real estate market in Manhattan and an in- ■*^^ creasii'g volume of acLivity in the Bronx correctly de¬ scribes current conditions. The dullness in Manhattan does not differ essentially from the dullness which usually prevails during the mid-summ(;r months; but it is more than usu¬ ally noticeable, because of the large volume of business which was transacted during the spring. The tenement house specu¬ lation is over, at least for the tim? being. A certain demand for dwellings may be remarked; but it is nothing to brag about. Very few vacant lots are being sold except in the Bronx; and very few old buildings. In Harlem. East Side operators are heginning more and more to buy up the little three-story dwell¬ inga that abound thereabouts, and to replace them by six-story tenements. In the course of time the old dwellings will dis¬ appear on the upper East Side as they have on the lower East Side. Renting is good. In spite of the emigration to the out¬ lying boroughs and the suburbs, there are not many vacancies In Manhattan; and in as much as general conditions show a tendency to improve, a good season might be expected for 1904-5, were it not for the labor situation. Opinions will vary as to the Beriousness of the actual situation, but there can be no question as to the seriousness of the effect of the lockout on building. It Will prevent the starting of any new jobs for the next few months, except those which stand in an exceptional position; and unless it is quickly settled its discouraging results will not be restricted to the year 1904. There is no reason, however, as yet to suppose that it will not be quickly settled, and in a manner sEUisI'actory to tha employers, because the unions have nothing really to fight about. They have accepted the arbitra¬ tion agreement and have been well treated under it. They have every reason to be satit,fied with it; and the little strikes, which have occasioned the present lockout, none of them raise ques¬ tions of any great importance. These striiies mean only that a certain element in the unions are making a tentative attempt to restore the former anarchy in the building trades; and such being the case it was obvious that effective measures must be taken to maintain the conditions of the agreement. An im¬ pression seems to have been created that the lockout is tanta¬ mount to a declaration that the agreement had failed; but such is far from being the case. No one with any knowledge of the situation expected that the agreement would be immediately and carefully observed. It was forced on the unions by the strong arm of the employers' association; and it will have to be maintained by the same power, until the unions come to ap¬ preciate its value. With the arbitration agreement as the basis of the action, the employer's association has a righteous policy for which to exert its power; and such a combination of a good cause with a strong arm cannot fail. "^p HE issue of the City Record which contained tho salary ■^ list, aiso contained the first part of the list of real estate valuations. This publication is extremely valuable. It shows not only the assessed value of the ground and the buildings sepa¬ rately, but it shows also the size of the property and the name of the owner. It will be of the utmost use to real estate owners, operators and brokers. The only trouble is that the publication is made so late that it will not be as valuable as it should be. The first issue contained only the valuations for Section I out of the thirteen sections in Manhattan and the Bronx, twelve in Brooklyn, and five each in Richmond and Queens, The pub¬ lications of the whole list cannot be completed before the first of the new year, if indeed, it is completed by that date. In the meantime the deputy assessors are about to begin their annual revision of the list, which will be completed by the time the publication of the old list is finished. The consequence is that the publication will always be about a year behind the current figures, in which property owners and brokers are most vitally interested. It is- true that the figures opened for inspection during the flrst week in Janaiary are only tentative valuations, which must be subsequently confirmed. Nevertheless, they are the figures the publication of which would be most useful; and- if they could be inserted in the City Record some time between' January 1st and July 1st, it would be both an enormous con¬ venience to real estate interests, and a more effective check upon the equality arid accuracy of the assessment. THE publication of the names of the city employees in the City Record together with their salaries reveals the fact that during the first six mouihs of the new administration the gross salary account of the city was raised about $100,000. This is not a large increase; and probably any private corporationwith an expanding business and as large disbursements on the same account would show a greater increase. Still, it must be re¬ peated that this extremely important aspect of the city govern¬ ment is about as far as possible from being placed on a suitable and satisfactory basis. The trouble is not that the city em¬ ployees are increased in salary, but that the increases are not provided for according to a systematic and impartial method, Thay go more by favor than for the general good of the service. The employees of the city, like those of a private corporation, should have the assurance of reward for long, competent and faithful service, and in order to secure that result, the whole list should be graded and the employee should be advanced from one grade to another in proportion, as his services become for any sufficient reason of more value to the city. No such result is obtained by the system now in vogue, which is the out¬ come, on the one hand of an attempt to protect city employees against arbitrary removal, and on the other of the instinctive dislike which heads of departments feel towards this indepen¬ dent civil service. The employee is protected, but he is not stimulated to do his best work. He knows that unless he is ab¬ solutely incompetent and dishonest, he cannot be discharged; but he knows also that no matter how well he works his ex¬ cellent service will not of itself increase his salary and advancQ his position. The consequence is^b^'ne has every inducement to perform his work in a^-trercaln routine way and the entire service, except in escep:ional ofiices, is lacking in the esprit de- corps, without which a public ofiice cannot be well managed. The heads of departments on their part naturally prefer to