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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 74, no. 1910: October 22, 1904

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October 22, 1904 RECORD AND GUIDB 833 Biis[i(ess «(dThemes Of GalEBfl IHtehest. PRICE PER. YEAR IN ADVANCE SIX DOLLARS Published every Saturday GommuDlcations sHould be addressed to C. W. SWEET, 14.16 Vesey Street, New YorK J. T. LIUDSEY, Bu.l»».. M.n.ger_____________Teleplone. Cortlandt 3157 '■■EMerede-lihe Pel 03c, M Nem Tork. N. F.. ««s matter." Vol. LXXIV. October 22, 1904. No. 1910. taxuayer's money in advertismg lis necessity in that puMica- tion. You advertise for bids on a honse for policemen in a policeman's paper on the same principle that he who drives tat oxen should himself be fat. But the farce-comedy becomes almost too eitravagant for lauBhter when such very important matters as the sale of ferry franchises for ferries between East 134th and 136th Sts. are announce'! to the puhlic in the Harlem Local Reporter, while bids for constructing five steel ferry¬ boats are demanded from the readers of the same excellent but extremely local journal. No, this sort ot thing will not do. Of course, we all know that all the advertising went hy favor and without a thought of obtaining any results. But if that is the case why advertise at all? The Board of Estimate made a great parade of economy in refusing money to celebrate an important public event such as the opening of the Subway; but the Board of City Record throws away'many times that sum in useless advertising without the eraallest apparent scruple. -I-HE encouraging aspect of tbe stock market during the i past week from the hull point ol view is the fact that, considering the heavy liquidation, prices did not suffer more than they did. Ine buying aided by some manipulation at critical moments was sufficient to keep prices fairly steady and that under the circumstances was a very considerable achieve¬ ment. It remains to be seen whether the buying will continue lo he as good as the selling, or whether a period of less activity and slightly sagging prices will supervene before any further advance takes place. There can oe no doubt it will in the long run be better for the cause of higher prices, in case quotations are not pushed much higher at the present time. Mr. Vanderslip was assuredly right ta stating that the hullisll speculative manipulation had gone as far as is wholesome, and that the con¬ tinuation of the movement unchecked for the next few months would constitute a serious menace to the continued prosperity nt the country. The menace is a serious one, because under existing conditions it seems entirely possible for the bnllish manipulators to send prices higher; and if they are to be checked the check must come frcm the concerted action of powerful and conservative banks. It is the banl.s, which have permitted the speculation of the last few months; and it is they and the few men who control them, who can prevent it from going farther than it should. THE re-organization and the improvement of the Building Department planned by Superintendent Hopper has heen accepted both by the Board of Aldermen and the Board of Esti¬ mate and it remains only to appropriate the necessary money. This reorganization is approved by everyone who is acquainted with the necessities of the Department, and with the enormous responsibility which is placed upon its shoulders. In the past it could not be held strictly accountable, because its force was not adequate to the work, which fell upon it; but whenever the organization is completed, there v/ill be no excuse possible in case the building law is violated and a building collapses. As to the increase in the salaries of tbe inspectors that was justi¬ fied both by the salaries paid by other cities for a similar class of work and by the character of the work which the inspectors are required to perform. Hereafter their work is to be care¬ fully supervised; and the responsibility for any negligence wil; be shared with the inspector by the supervising official and by the whole departmental organization. LAST week in commenting on the abuses which characterize the distribution of city advertising, we compared the method whereby many "official notices" were assigned for pub¬ lication to that of a dressmaker who advertised in the "Iron Age." Lest our readers should consider this an exaggeration, we wiil quote from the ofhcial reporc of one meeting of the Board of City Record (June 28, 1904), a few of these cases, which make the city advertising business a wildly extravagant farce- comedy, and one whose cost is commensurate with its extrava¬ gance. The city, for instance, wishes to advertise a bond sale. It pays 40 cents a line to the Police Chronicle, the Broadway Weekly, and the Volks-Advocat, for publishing the fact to the numerous readers they possess among the investing class. Then the city proposes to have a public auction of canvass hose and of seven horses; and the Board of City Record announces the fact in that popular sporting paper, the New York Realty Jour¬ nal. This looks queer; but the Board knows very well that the Realty Journal is just as good a medium for the sale of horses as it is for any other city purpose. Again the Board wishes to secure many competitive bids for the erection ot a station-house in Brooklyn; and krowing the wide circulation of the Police Chronicle in the building trades, it spends good The Boom in Vacant Lots. THE way in which the i\lanhattan real estate riarlcet swings from one extreme to anotlier is extraordinary. During 1901 and 1902 the centres of speculative and building activity were the financial qistrict, that between 14th an , 59th st, along the lines of Broadway and 5th ave, and in the residence section on the East Side. But coincident with the liveliest activity and rapidly advancing prices in these sections, those neighborhoods of Manhattan devoted to a cheaps- class of residence and tene¬ ment remained comparatively lifeless. When this speculativa movement subsided during the spr' g of 1903, it was succeeded by a speculation in Harlem and upper East Side tenements, which lasted through the fall of 1903, and culminated durmg the winter and spring of 1904. This movement did not, however, produce much buildmg, because conditions were at that time unfavorable for buildins operations; but the shifting and in¬ crease of population which justiSed the speculation brought about a scarcity of house room, which was hound eventually to produce a great increase of residential accommodation. During the past summer tenements and Bats have been built in larger numbers than before, both in Manhattan and the Bronx, and it became evident that as soon as svfflcient money supplies were readily forthcoming there would be a tremendous demand for vacant property available tor Improvement, which means vacant property along the line of the Subway. That demand has now begun. It covers an enormous stretch ot territory, including the whole of Washin.iton Heights, of the Dyckman tract and of large areas in the Bronx, beyond the existing line of habitation. In much of this territory the trading is assum¬ ing the proportion of a boom. The operators are rushing in and buying right and left; and they are using tho newspapers to create an impression of more activity than really exists. It is of course, wholly a professiona! movement; but so are all movements in Manhattan real estate. In this as in other in¬ stances, the professionals know what they are about. They are preparing for the prospect tbat the year 1905 will be one of the most active years m the building of tenemenls and fiats, which New York has ever seen. The trading in vacant lots has been phenomenal. Sev¬ eral thousand lots have changed hands this week. For the most part the purchasers have been buiiding loan operators. The Central Realty Bond and Trust Co. has been acquiring large holdings both in the Dyckman tract, in the Bronx and on the Heights, and its example has been followed by many private firms In the Dyckman tract none but building loan operators have as yet done any buying; but on Washington Heights an larger number of builders are figuring in the transactions. There the huilding movement has actually commenced; and there the larger proportion of the activity will talce place dur¬ ing the ciiming year. The precise extent of the activity may be judged from the following figures: In the Bronx some 2040 lots have been sold, and this figure omits several resales. On the Heights and on the Dyckman tract 461 lots have been purchased, while the figures for tha upper end of Harlem are 206, Opinions differ as to the availability ot the Dyckman tract for early improvement. It is certainly in a very backward stage of development at the present time. Comparatively few streets have been opened up. Schoolhouses have not been built. It is lack¬ ing just at present in the opportunity tor most of the con¬ veniences of city life. But the operators who have done the buying are not discouraged oy these facts. They know that the streets can be quickly opened up. and the tract made availa¬ ble for improvement in a comparatively short time; and they see large profits in operating in the district because ot the