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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 81, no. 2080: January 25, 1908

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January 35, 190S RECORD AND GUIDE 163 ESTABUSHED-Wtf^RpH2l*i^l868. Dd6teB jo P^l £STAXE,BU1L0II& App^ITtCTURE .KoUSEKOlD DEGCStJIKXl. Bi/sirfras AftoTHEHES OF CEito|lIlftEi^si.j PRICE P5R YEAR IN ADVANCE EIGHT DOLLARS Communications should be addressed to C. W. SWEET Published Ettery Saturday By THE BECORD AN'D GUIDE CO. President, CLINTON W. SWEET Treasurer, F. W. DODGE Vice-Prea. &. Genl. Mgr., H. W. DESMOND Secretary, F. T. MILLER Noa. 11 to 15 East 34th Street, New Vork Cily (Telephone, Madison Square, 4-1.10 to 4433.) "Entered at the Post Office at Ifem York, N. Y., as s"coii(l-rl'iss mallrr." Copyrighted, 1907, by The Record & Gui-ie Co. Vol. LXXXl. JANUARY 25, 1908. No. 20S0. INDEX TO DEPARTMENTS. Advertising Section. Page Page Cement ......................xii Lumber .....................xiii Clay Products ................xiv Machinery ..................iv Consulting Engineers ..'........x Metal Worlv.................ix Contractors and Builders......iii Quicli Job Directory ..........vii Electrical Interests ...........x Real Estate...................v Fireprooflng ..................ii Roofers & Roofing Materials.xii Granite .......................xv Stone .......................xv Iron and Steel..................xi Wood Products ..............xiii A DISPUTE between the associated master carpenters and their journeymen, as yet unsettled, illustrates the diffi¬ culty connected with maintaining a high wage scale in those metropolitan trades which must compete with the iahor oE the interior towns. Most of the wood trim utilized in normal times for buildings in New York is manufactured in towns where costs are from a third to one-half less, even where a semblance of unionism prevails, and the problem presented for solution to the trades in New York is how to reconcile the difference. They have never succeeded in doing this with entire satisfaction, for there are inequalities which cannot be planed down, no matter how much one's sympathies go out to those who attempt it. We have seen large planing mills grow up in adjacent towns devoted almost exclusively to metropolitan work, and latterly they have been seen to shrink up or quite disappear as they in turn have gradually Surrendered to superior facilities or lower costs elsewhere. Parallel circumstances have occurred in other trades noitil only the fittest survive, or those qualified for special and higher grades of work. The thoughtful article in last week's paper by the President of the Building Trades Employers' Association has an indirect application here. It is difficult to maintain an artificial state of affairs as we must do in New York and be entirely consistent. That the trade agree- • ments existing here do produce an artificial condition is ad¬ mitted, but how else may journeymen meet the larger expen- ditu're required for the household and for the performance of their common duty as good citizens? A large proportion of our really skilled mechanics received their training in smaller cities, where the opportunities for apprentices are or were better than in New York, and so have found by per¬ sonal experience the impossibility of making incomes and wages go as far here as in most other places. Not only must the wage be higher, but the working day must be shorter, iu order that there shal! be a reasonable allowance of time for the long interurban journeys between homes and places of work. Modern freight charges do not constitute a suffi¬ cient protective tariff against outside competition in the products of the carpenter shop, and, after all, the question is, as President Hopper intimated, very much like the old issue of Free Trade and Protection. When isolation gave protec¬ tion the producers of this and the atljoining counties had the full benefit of the Xew York market, but first tbe Erie Canal and next the railroads, which brought us commerce, also brought competition for local industries, some of which succumbed years ago. For several years the master car¬ penters that are under tbe arbitration plan.have had an understanding with the unions in regard to "non-union" or imported trim, which they feel disinclined to renew under ex¬ isting circumstances, especially as it is alleged that inde¬ pendent contractors are not restricted in the same degree; and hence a new conventicn has not yet been signed. Tn this case, as it has in others, arbitration is doing its perfect work and giving an assurance of ancther year of peace in the building trades. WHEN the scheme of the Charter Revision Commission is passed upon by the Legislature, there is one re¬ spect in which we trust it will be supplemented. The whole object of the proposed charter Is to make the powers of the municipal government of New York City ^adequate to its re¬ sponsibilities; and to this end the local officials are emanci¬ pated as far as possible from alien control and are given the authority to administer our local affairs efficiently. Under its provisions they could not escape responsibility for in- efiiciency or extravagance, and they are empowered to carry out any plan that in their opinion will conduce to the wel¬ fare of its inhabitants. To this em? it is proposed to modify the constitutional provision respecting municipal debt limits, so that the city will not be hampered in making necessary and profitable improvements, such as subways. But before the municipal government of New York will possess powers fully adequate to its responsibilities, there is, also, .another constitutional provision which requires modification. Under existing conditions New York is practically unable to carry out certain necessary street improvements. The cost of the land required for such Improvements is so considerable that no administration can afford to undertake them; and the existing method of condemnation and assessment works so much loss to property-owners that they frequently oppose street openings and widenings from which they might well benefit. The only method whereby needed alterations can be made in the street system of New York City is to arrange so that these improvements will in large measure pay for themselves; and the best way to accomplish such a result is to enable the City to condemn more land than it needs in the neighborhood of the improvement—land which after the improvement is completed can be sold at a handsome profit.' At present the City is, in the opinion of the majority of law¬ yers, prevented by the State constitution from adopting such a course; and its government will never be able to meet one of its most serious responsibilities unless this additional power is bestowed upon it. We do not hesitate to say that a proper revision of the street system of Manhattan will con¬ stitute in the long run a work every bit as necessary to the welfare of the city as will the new subways or new aque¬ ducts, and every year in which this work is postponed makes its ultimate consummation more difficult and expensive. There is no man in New York who understands the im¬ portance of street improvements better than does the Cor¬ poration Counsel, and it is to be hoped that he will use his influence on behalf of the submission of a constitutional amendment for the purpose of giving the local authorities the necessary additional power, but careful at the same time to propose a system for assessing damages and benefits that will restrict the proceedings to a scientific and economi¬ cal basis. PUBLIC opinion is being expressed with effective power in behalf of an equitable distribution of public utilities,—■ at least more equitable than the official program for subway construction seemed to contemplate a short time ago. The citizens of Manhattan have joined with those of the Bronx in making strong representations through influential civic bodies,-—not opposing the construction of another road in Brooklyn, but asking that similar traffic facilities be granted at the same time to parts of the city where the need is more pressing and a sufficient financial return more prob¬ able. They have pointed out that new subways are possible in Manhattan and the Bronx, as well as in Brooklyn, if the City and State will protect investors against looters; that the City can command the capital for the construction of a tri-borough system and need not wait for exploitation by private syndicates; and that if the city does not equalize transportation by constructing transit lines to the north as well as to the east and south, she will lose population rapidly to the west. While general opinion would now favor any financial plan able to produce the "results hoped for, there Is an undercurrent of belief, which has been voiced by both the Association of Bronx Real Estate Brokers and the Municipal Art Society, that it is unnecessary for the City to surrender control of its future subways to private parties on long-term grants, and that with the means available now and forth¬ coming in the future the roads can be built in sections, sev¬ eral each year; and with the natural annual increase in the debt limit, they can be eompletei in due course, but through a constitutional amendment enlarging the limit of bonded indebtedness the completion could be hastened. In the singularly able communication of the Municipal Art Society, through its City Plan Committee, it :s unreservedly predicted that the City will itself in all probability be obliged to oper¬ ate the Fourth avenue Brooklyn line, and tinless this line