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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 79, no. 2045: May 25, 1907

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May 25, 1907 RECORD AND GUIDE 1013 Hsvr Dev^tieDpI^LEstaje.BuildiKg AFi.crfrrE(rTURE,KoU3EifiaiiItas(HWJ(»f, Bifsii/Ess AtfoThemes of CEffe^V liftEHf»i.j PRICE PER YEAR IN ADVANCE EIGHT Published eVery Saturdap Oommunicatlons should be addressed to C. W. SWEET Madison Square: 11-15 East 24th Street Telephone, 4430 Madison Square DOLLARS "Entered at the Tost Office at JVeto For ■k. JV. 3 '., as second-class malter." Copyrighted, 1907, by C. W. Sweet. Vol. LXXIX, MAY 2o, 190T. No. 2045. INDEX TO DEPARTMENTS. Avertising Section. Page, Page. Cement ........................xv Lumber .......................xx Consulting Engineers .........viii Machiuery Clay Products ................xviii Metal Work ...................ix Contractors and Builders.......iv Quick Job Directory............xx Electrical. luleresLs ............vii Real Estate..................xi Fireproofing...................ii Roofers Sr Rooflng Materials, .xix Granite .....................xvi Stone-----,.................:Xvi Iron aud Steel.................x Wood Products.........:......xx THERE has been during the week a distinctly hetter tone ia Wall Street. After apparent demoralization in prices and an unpromising and gioomy outlook, the market hardened and stiffened under "short" covering and indications of the bar¬ gain hunter heing around. Another contributing cause to the improved feeling were Lhe remarks of Secretary Oscar S. Straus, of the Department of Commerce and Labor, at the dinner in the Waldorf of the twelfth annual convention of the National As¬ sociation of Manufacturers. Secretary Straus spoke'of com¬ merce combinations and labor. He pointed out tliat lhe simple publication, after laborious investigation of the great system of rebates enjoyed by favored corporations, was followed by the voluntary cancellation by the railroads without a single court process. Mr. Straus dwelt on the fact that at one stroke the most sweeping and necessary reform was achieved in rail¬ way management. Such utterances emanating from so im¬ portant an authority would indicate that it is not the intention of the National Administration to urge such legisla¬ tion as would disturb vested rights or the natural and normal channels of trade. The Secretary further said that the Government could not eriualize competitors, but it could equalize the opportunities of competitors and prevent the use of unfair means to diminish or destroy such equal opportunity. As a whole, the speech tended to insure more confldence in the future, which has undoubtedly suffered of late. Several stocks made new low records for the year, among them New York Central, while Reading went to 9&'A. The grain mar¬ ket has been easier. Trustworthy advices were to the effect that the Northwestern farmers had been more successful with their planting than was thought from the tenor of former re¬ ports. Corn was weaker and all this news aided iu steadying the security market. Money was slightly firmer because of the possibility of the Secretary of the Treasury caLing for at least $25,000,000 of deposits, of which less than half might be taken from New York banks. The cheap rates for money are, under present conditions, of little use to real estate and building in¬ terests, as there is no disposition to lend freely even with gilt- edged security. This state of things will continue until confi¬ dence is more fully restored. prices, and only a very few modern buildings will have to be condemned and destroyed. The area benefited will IJe very large and the amount assessed again'st individual prop¬ erty-owners correspondingly small. It is one of these street improvements which, in case the city had the power to con¬ demn adjoining property, could be made an actual source of profit to the municipality, because of the increased value which will inevitably be given to real estate in the neigh¬ borhood. In fact, the extension of these avenues fits pre¬ cisely into the niche provided by the resolution of the Board of Estimate asking the City Engineer to consider what part of the plans of the City Improvement Commission could be most cheaply and profitably carried out. Moreover, the whole of the Borough, as well as the immediate neighbor¬ hood, would be benefited. The increased capacity obtained for longitudinal traffic would be useful to all West Side business operations. The street cars on the lower West Side could use the new avenues, and would be able to make very much better time, while the task of planning lower West Side rapid transit extensions would be made very much easier. The property-owners on the avenues should not rest until they secure the active consent of the Board of Esti¬ mate to this promising street improvemeut. Its need has been recognized for years, aud its postponement should be no longer delayed. THE PROPERTY-OWNERS ou Sixth and Seventh ave¬ nues have done well to ask the Board of Estimate for a southerly extension of those thoroughfares. Of ail the street improvements proposed for Mauhattan, these partic¬ ular extensions promise a maximum of benefit for a minimum of cost. South of Fourteenth Street the city is provided with only one avenue west of Broadway which is available for vehicular trafflc. Sixth and Seventh avenues terminate in brick walls a few blocks south of Fourteenth Street; and this lack of free means of communication has handicapped the growth in population and business of the whole of the Green¬ wich district. The needed extensions can be obtained easily and cheaply. Both of these avenues can be continued south for comparatively short distances until they meet Varick Street, and Varick Street can be widened, so as to accom¬ modate the inevitable increase of traffic and prolonged to Broadway. The property needed can be bought at low The Revision of the Building Code. WHEN the building laws of a city like New York are to be revised the people interested iu the revision natur¬ ally divide themselves into two groups. There is one group who either from interest or conviction favor the establishment in the law of a higher standard of construction, so that the city as a whole will be less exposed to loss by flre. On the other hand, there is always another active and powerful group of property owners and builders whose interests look in the oppo¬ site direction. The speculative operator and the builder en¬ gaged in supplying rentable and salable residential and busi¬ ness buildings are naturally afraid of an improvement in the standard of construction that will make their operations more costly and restrict the demand for their output. At the pres¬ ent time in New York one can remark plainly the effect of these two divergent interests. Most of the architects, the fire underwriters and some of the large builders favor on the whole a severer Taw, while a larger number of smaller builders are using their influence in favor of eonflning the revision to cer¬ tain details, that will not affect the genera! standard of con¬ struction. In this controversy there can be no doubt as to the side on which the public interest lies. What New York city needs is on the whole a higher rather than a lower standard of con¬ struction, and the reasons in favor of a higher standard of construction are the same that have been active and decisive in the past. Every new building law the city of New York has adopted has made for safer and better buildings than the pre¬ ceding law. The revision now under way should be no ex¬ ception to this rule. As the city increases in population and business its commercial interests need the protection of safer buildings, while at the same time its inhabitants can better afford to pay the expense of such protection. Since the last revision of the code, in 1899, New York has been relatively as prosperous as during any similar period in the history of the city. It has been a time of enormous building operations, dur¬ ing which the number of "skyscrapers" in Manhattan has probably trebled, and during which they have been extending over a much larger area. This tremendous increase in the number of tall buildiugs and this alteration in their distribution has been the fact of dominant importance in the building his¬ tory of these years, and the condition which has beeu created by the erection of so many skyscrapers all over Manhattan is the fact which will afford the Revision Commission cogent reasons for a general improvement in the standard of con¬ struction. If the skyscrapers in Manhattan were concentrated in a limited area, so that they would protect one another from the disastrous effects of a general conflagration, the need of a higher standard of construction would not be so manifest, but the difflculty with the existing situation is that in the central part of Manhattan the skyscrapers are only comparatively uninflammable islands in a sea of inflammable buildings; and the experience of Baltimore and San Francisco conclusively shows how dangerous such a condition is. Under a test these tall buildings, while not entirely destroyed by flre, are so far destroyed that nothing but their shell remains; and the danger of this state of things cannot be entirely remedied