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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 79, no. 2042: May 4, 1907

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May 4, 1907 RECORD AND GUIDE 859 ■c~- mY^^ ESTABLISHED^&yiRpH £I'4^ 1868, DevStjS to Rea,!.Estate,SulLDI^'G ^RaliTE(rrui\E,t{ousEiioiDDE(3aiiATioif, BusitiESs At/oThemes op GEffenAl IKte^st.; PRICE PER YEAR IN ADVANCE EIGHT DOLLARS Published eVerp Saturday Oommunicatlons should bo addressed to C. W. SWEET Madison Square: 11-15 East 24th Street Telephone, 4430 Madison Square "Entered at the Post Office at Hew Tork, H. T., as second-class mailer," Copyrighted, 190T, by C. W. Sweet. Vol. LXXIX. MAY 4. 1907. No. 2042. INDEX TO DEPARTMENTS. Advertising Section. Page Page Cement ...................xuil Lumber .....................xx Con^lting Engineers...........ix Machinery ...................vl Clay Products ................xvi Metal Work...................viii Contractors and Builders......iii Quick Joh Directory.........xxiii Electrical Interests ...........vii Real Estate.....................xi Fireproofing...................ii Roofers & Roofing Materials.xxii Granite ...................xviii Stone.....................xviii Iron and Sleel...................x Wood Products ..............xx THIS week's stock market has been a repetition of the last—which is to say dull, irregular and uncertain. The technical position of the market is not a bad one, how¬ ever, and there has heen some improvement in investment conditions. The showing of the United States Steel Corpor¬ ation was highly satisfactory. It earned 6 per cent, on its common stock, but the directors preferring to be conserva¬ tive, continue the payment for the time, at least, of hut 2 per cent, dividend per annum on this stock. With a sur¬ plus of 5100,000,000 aud all new construction heing paid for 'out of earnings, the Steel Corporation should be on a solid hasis. Some of those who bought the common stock in the expectation tliat there would be an increased divi¬ dend, sold their stock, which was quickly absorbed, indicat¬ ing that there is still a large short interest in this issue. From all quarters, where the manufacture of steel is au im¬ portant industi'v. comes the news tliat the demand for steel rails and structural steel will exceed the amount that the mills ca-n supply, a fact which .should interest real estate operators and builders. Other matters which have un¬ doubtedly had their effect on the stock market this week are the advance in wheat, the oflicial announcement of the Atch¬ ison ?2f),000,000 boud issue and an increase in the earnings of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company. Copper metal also advanced sharply in London, selling at one time $20 a ton above the closing of Wednesday. This accounted for the comparative strength of the copper stocks. As to the an¬ nouncement of the Atchison issue of 5 per cent, convertible bonds it was not looked upon with favor because of the high rate of interest, which made subordinate the Atchison 4s already on the market. Neither was the advance in the price of wheat encouraging for stocks of the Western roads. It was said that the government estimates on May 10 would show the condition of winter wheat many points below the ten-year average. Just at this season it must be borne in mind that experts and Western interests, sometimes with little or no justification, always disseminate news of this character for reasons that are too obvious. Jn the mean¬ time the public fights shy of the stock market. There was nothing specially significant in the advance of money rates. It is considered by bankers generally that the money mar¬ ket fluctuations will remain within narrow limits until about the time it will be necessary to begin preparations for the unprecedentedly large dividends and interest dis¬ bursements in July. THE RECORD AND GUIDE is surprised to observe that the outcome of the recent bidding for new subway routes is regarded as a practical coudemnation of the amendments to the Rapid Transit Act, known as the Elsberg law. It seems, on the contrary, perfectly obvious that the bidding, unsuccessful as it was, was a triumph for those people, who have been contending that the city could get very much bet¬ ter terms for the subways than the old law permitted, it is true that the Interborough Company refused to bid; but it would have been ready to bid, eithei' in case the terms of the contract had been made somewhat easier (as they could have been under the law) or in case a combination of cir¬ cumstances had not conspired to increase the cost of con¬ structing and equipping new subways. Even as it is the Interborough Company is ready to build an extension soutli on the West Side and one north on the East Side, at cost, and operate them for twenty years, provided only the city guar¬ antees the company against loss; and surely the city has every reason and advantage to sign a contract under those terms. Such an arrangement would have many of the ad¬ vantages of municipal ownership, with none of its disad¬ vantages except a possible liability to loss; and such a lia¬ bility could be cheerfully assumed, considering the certain gains which would accrue from not alienating the subway for more than twenty years. It is safe to say that some means would be found for entering into such a contract, were it not for the Public Utilities bill now pending in the Legislature. It Is this bill, and not the Elsberg amend¬ ments, which stands in the way of the early signature of a contract with the Interborough Company; and such a con¬ tract, if signed, would be relatively as advantageous to the City of New York as the arrangement which Chicago has recently made with its surface railroad companies. On the other hand, in case the Public Utilities bill passes in sub¬ stantially its present form,, the people of Manhattan and the Bronx must reconcile themselves to a delay of some years in the construction of new subways. The make-up of the new Commission is, of course, an unknown quantity. It will take a couple of years to lay out new routes; and after they are laid out there is no assurance that the Board of Estimate will accept them. On the contrary, it is probable that the Commission and the local Board will squabble both about the course of the routes, the terms of the con¬ tract and the necessary financial arrangements. With sucli a threat as that of the proposed new Commission hanging over their heads, the Record and Guide does not wonder that managers of the Interborough Company are loth to in¬ crease their local responsibilities. IF the Public Utilities bill does pass the whole matter of additional rapid transit wiil have to be delayed, and the only question which can be discussed now with any ad¬ vantage is what the city ought to do iu case the Public Util¬ ities bill does not pass. In this connection it is very much to be regretted that Mr, Chas. Stewart Smith, one of the ablest and most public-spirited members of the Rapid Ti-an- sit Commission, is opposed to any agreement with the Inter¬ borough Company such as that suggested in Mr. Shonts' let¬ ter. His reasons are that the latter's proposal Is practically municipal ownership, and that in any case the city cannot afford to borrow $60,000,000 during the next four years for this purpose. The first of these reasons has no force against the advantages of the proposed contract. The city has everything to gain by such an arrangement, and in compari¬ son little or nothing to lose. It would be municipal owner¬ ship, but not municipal operation; and municipal operation is the alternative to be avoided. As to the strain which the expenditure of $60,000,000 would place upon the city's bor¬ rowing capacity, that obstacle is not insuperable. In the estimate recently made of the city's necessities during the next five years, which called for the expenditure approxi¬ mately of $200,000,000, an appropriation of $40,000,000 was made for new subways, and the other $20,000,000 could be provided either by economies in other directions or by a small and uniformly distributed increase in the 'as¬ sessed valuation of real estate, which would augment the borrowing capacity without enlarging the tax bills. Surely the matter of better transit for Manhattan and the Bronx is of sufficient importance to justify somewhat forcible meas¬ ures. Although the population of Manhattan is not increas- iug so fast as that of other boroughs, its traffic is increasing in a still larger proportion, and something innst be done to provide for the increase. Both of the alternatives to the ac¬ ceptance of Mr. Shonts' oifer are inadmissible. The first of these—a policy of inaction and delay—would have a disas¬ trous effect upon the prosperity of certain parts of the city and the convenience of all of its inhabitants. The second, which is proposed by Mr. Smith, consists in the repeal of the Elsberg amendments, which would mean that the Inter¬ borough Company would construct the subways with its own money in return for a lease of fifty years. But no repeal of these amendments could be hurried through the Legisla¬ ture, and what is more, public opinion does not want them repealed. Such a repeal would be tantamount to a gift to the Interborough Company of over $35,000,000, which might just as well he saved to the people of New York Gity. No sensible man begrudges Mr. Belmont his profit on the existing subway, but to offer him any corresponding profit on future subways would constitute a criminal waste of the