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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 79, no. 2032: February 23, 1907

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February 23, 1507 RECORD AND GUIDE 395 ESTABLISHED^ tf^ARPH^iSl^ 1858, De/oteB to R.e\L Estate . BlnLol^''G ■AffcH'iTEeTUR.E .HousnioLD DEGQE^^nojf, Bifsit^ESs Alto Themes of GeiJersI IfftEHEST. PRICE PER YEAR IN ADVANCE EIGHT DOLLARS Published eVery Saturdcy . Commuulcationtj should bo addroaaed to C. W. SWEET Downtown Office; 14-16 Vesey Street, New York Tolopliozie. Cortliiiidt 3157 Uptown Olfice: 11-13 East 24th Street, New York TelepJiono, 4430 Madison Squaro ''Entered at the Post Office at J^eio York, N. Y,, cs second-class mailer." Vol. LXXIX. FEBRUARY 23, 1907. No. 2032. INDEX TO DEPARTMENTS. Advertising Section, Page Page Cement ....................xvii Lumber ....................xxii Consulting Engineers ........viii Macliiuerj' ....................v Clay Products ..................x Metal Work ...............xvi Contractors and Builders......iii Quick Job Directory.........sxiii Electrical Interests Real Estate ...................xl Fireproofing ...................ii Roofers & Rooflng Materials.. .xs Granite ...................xviii Stone....................xviii Iron and StesI...............ix Wood Products .............xxii THERE is still gloom in Wall Street this weeli, and at the moment it is impeuetrahle. Fear of everything is still further increased by what is a pructical triple holiday, of which operators are always afraid, because something untoward may happen. Speculation there is none. Wall Street is poor, and is sitting up counting its losses of the past twelve months, during which time stocks in the main steadily declined, whiie the bull conditions steadily increased. Nothing like it has ever before been known, and it is small wonder that people hesitate to pre¬ dict the outcome, and hold themselves ready to believe any fore¬ cast offered to them. Of course, it is just out of such conditions that past bull markets have started, and the great bourses the world over may have the courage to shake off this state of mind at any day^—for that is all that it is, a state of mind. The fundamental conditions are sound and unshaken in their sound¬ ness, and presently, the pendulum should sway as far as it has gone in the other direction. As matters stand it would appear that good stocks are a purchase at going prices, particularly those of the standard railroads, because, measured by earnings, the intrinsic value of the actual properties they represent have never before been as cheap even at their cheapest in the past. While in this column we give the actual situation, it may not be out of place to mention some of the alleged immediate causes of the irregularity in prices of certain stocks. In most cases they are explanations that do not explain. The heavy selling of Union Pacific was said to be the result of diiferenees of opinion as to the effect of what would be Mr. Harriman's statement before the Interstate Commerce Commission. Yet Union Pacific at its present quotation is practically a 6 per cent, stock—cer¬ tainly a good rate of interest. The granger stocks and steel, it is said, are being bought in London and other European centers; but still these issues do not advance. It is also asserted that ■some of that illusory element known as "the public" is making secret purchases of stocks through banks, thus enabling some insiders to liquidate considerably. What, however, most con¬ cerns real estate and building interests is the money market. There has been but little change this week, though the call loan rate again touched ^7z per cent. A significant utterance of James J. Hill may here be given for what it is worth: "I teil you that the railroad facilities of the country have been para¬ lyzed by the growth of business. All the flgures show it, and they cannot be answered. Not alone more cars, but more tracks and more terminals. This is what is needed." WITH all its apparent solicitude for business, Congress persistently neglects one necessary subject of legis¬ lation reform which, if properly treated, would be of the ut¬ most beneflt to the business interests of the country. We refer, of course, to a change in the national currency, which would permit it to eiipand when business demands its expan¬ sion and contract when such a large volume of currency is no longer necessary. It is an extraordinary fact that busi¬ ness men do not seem to realize the peculiar importance of their interests in this matter. They allow a currency sys¬ tem to exist which encourages the rates on call money to vary in one year between two and fifty per cent., and which dees them far more harm than it does to the banks. The banks, of course, profit from the high rates at which they can lend their mouey, and they are not, consequently, very eager to secure the passage of a currency reform bill. They doubtless realize that they run the risk of a panic; but they would rather assume that risk than forego the benefit which they derive from high interest rates in times of stringency. But business men have both to pay the high interest rates and run the grave risks which would befall all but the strongest of them from the violent contraction of credit which accompanies a panic. And among the business men who suffer most are real estate operators and builders. In times of stringency, such as the present, it is real estate loans whicli are most difficult to secure; and while under any system there would, of eourse, be periods in which interest rates were higher than others, the extreme scarcity which now lasts for years at a time, would be impossible. Orga¬ nizations of business men all over the country should take the matter out of the hands of the banks, aud agitate for a plan ot currency reform whicli would really cure the exist¬ ing evil. EVERY plan proposed by the banks, merely arranges for an expansion of bank notes in times of stringency, without providing for any corresponding increase iu the re¬ serves which woiild safeguard the issue of such notes, and without providing for any diminution in the volume of exist¬ ing bank notes di ring periods of easy money. The plain fact is that the con.litions under which the existing national bank notes are iss.ied make a flexible currency impossible, and that as long a;i these iiational bank notes constitute the only kind or the 1. ulk of note issue, no permanent cure is possible. A national bank circulates its notes, not because there is a special demand for such circulation, but because the price of government bonds enables it to make a profit by so doing. The consequence is that these notes are not increased to any (onsiderable extent when they are need¬ ed. Neither are tb-ey diminished when they are not needed. Hence, periods of pxtreme stringency, which place a heavy burden on all business transactions, requiring the iise of credit alternate with periods of an over-plentiful supply which encourages unwholesome speculation. A radically different method of issuing notes is consequently a condition of a wholesome an.l flexible currency system, and it is just such a method whit'h both Congress and the banks are loth to introduce. Congress avoids the matter because the exist¬ ing bond-secured circulation makes the price of government' bonds artificially low aud any change would necessarfly mean a fall in the price cf United States securities. The national banks are equally reluctant to deal with the matter, because they would be the chief losers from such a fall in the price of government bonds. It is safe to say that nothing will be done until business men insist upon some tboi'ough-going remedial action. ANY one who has ever had experience in investigating the cause of a railroad disaster in which passengers have been killed and injured is aware of the difflculty of eliciting true facts bearing upon the responsibilities of the case. If the railroad officers know, they won't tell, and sometimes they don't care to know. A number of possible causes have been suggested for the Bronx Park derailment of last Saturday night, but in all probability it was' simply due to the fact (hat the Harlem Iliver division, or, to say the least, the curve at the Woodlawu Avenue bridge, was not fitted or adapted to the combination of heavy weights and high flights of speed as represented by the new electric en¬ gines. (1) The train was late and by impartial testimony w:tG at a speed never seen on that stretch of road under steam power. (2) Any one who will look at the curve will see that the tracks are almost flat and are not banked suffi¬ ciently for a 90-ton engine- running a mile-a-minute, or more. (3) The driver had never been obliged to stiffen his train on this curve when running a steam locomotive, no matter how high the speed, and either from force of habit or non- realization of the limitations of trackage, he hit the curve with brakes off and the full power of his giant motor turned ou, with the result that eithei- the engine mounted the rail, or the rail gave way—probably both. —No agreement has been reached between the city's Bureau of Franchises and fht.' City Interborough Co. as to the franchises for new surface roads and extensions of existing lines in the Bronx. Engineer Nichols, of the Franchise Bureau, recom¬ mends the running- of surface cars Irom the Bronx across the Willis av bridge and the bridges at loSth -st and Madison av, at 149th st, and at 207th st for sufflcient distances in Mac- hattan to make direct connection with the subway, surface tintf elevateil system's.