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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 86, no. 2216: September 3, 1910

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September 3, 1910- RECORD AND GUIDE 369 Wtf 'itafelED p ftMEsrMt.BUlLDIj(0 Ap5:iflTEeTUR.E.HoilSEIfOUjDEea!lH!Ort^, Blfsntess AltoTHEUES op GeiIeR&I llftER.EST.j PRICE PER YEAR IN ADVANCE EIGHT DOLLARS Communications should be addrossett 6*» •^ a W. SWEET Published Everg Satardag By THE RECORD AND GUIDE CO. President, CLINTON W. SWEET Treasurer, F. W. DODGE Vice-pres. fc Genl. Mgr., H. W. DESMOND Secretary, F. T. MILLBB Nos. 11 to 15 East 24th Street, New York City (Telephone, Madison Square, 4430 to 4433.) '•Entered at the Post Office at New York, N. Y., as sccond-elass matter." Copyrighted. 1910, by The Record fc Guide Co, Vol. LXXXVl. SEPTEMBER 3, 1910. Xo. 2216 THE least palatable aspect of the general business situa¬ tion continues to be the excess of imports over exports and the consequent creation of debt instead of a credit in the European financial centers. So long as this adverse balance continues it is evident that the really fundamental trouble, from which American business is suffering has not been cured. In general prices in this country are higher than tbey should be compared to the rest of the world, and hence the sales of this country in foreign markets diminish and its purchases increase. It looked for a while as if the necessary remedy was being applied, but the more recent figures for American foi'eign trade indicate that there must be a further fall of prices and more drastic economies in this country, before it will be in a position to pay its debts to Europe without Hciuidation, The inference inevitably is that during the coming Winter there will have to be more economies practiced, and no general revival or expansion of business is to be expected. On the other hand, there is no reason to anticipate any period of business depression; and so far as can be seen at iiresenl, general conditions will not prove to be any impediment to reasonable activity in real estate. Real estate values always tend to benefit peculiarly from abundant supplies of loanable capital, and it is pre¬ cisely a condition in whicli money will be easy, towards which tlie general situation is tending. In case tiiere is an abundance of loanable capital, and in case the cost of building is not excessive, there may be expected a normal amount of real estate trading and of new construction in and around New York. Local conditions will not warrant any exceptional activity, but the general situation will offer uo impediment to the transaction of just as much business as the local situation warrants. SI^ILLED LABOR in most of the building trades contin¬ ues to be well employed, taking the Metropolitan dis¬ trict as a whole. In a number of the trades there have been times this Summer when more men couid have been employed had they been available. This is an authoritative report to the Record and Guide. It may not square with some other facts of current industry, as Wall Street professes to get them, but the fact remains that there is a large and increas¬ ing amount of building construction in hand, not only here but all over the country, as a general proposition. Exceptions must be made for individuals and particular sections. Re¬ ports from New England are to the effect that more build¬ ing contracts have been awarded there so far this year than in the corresponding period of 1907, when the previous high mark was touched. The principal detraction mentioned by men in a position to survey the whole field of industry here Is that the purchasing power of the middle classes has not fully recuperated from the hard times following the panic of 1907. It is also noted that in some lines of manufactured materials for the building trades production increases faster than the absorbing powers of the market, which is said to account for a certain amount of gloominess. During August, the dullest month for the real estate market in the whole year, and at a time when there were some fears of a money sliortage, there continued to be a flow of funds into building channels, and some of the principal lending corporations, from whom the smaller lenders take their cue, were represented in the transactions. At the present time money is again in good supply for approved operations. NEXT week a regular service will be begun in and out of the new Pennsylvania Terminal; and the people of Xew York will begin to reap the benefit o£ probably the largest and most important single improvement ever under¬ taken by a private corporation in this country. The policy which jiictated the building by the Pennsylvania Railroad Company into Manhattan was an example ol veritable finan¬ cial statesmanship which is able and can afford to plan for a generation in advance. The difficulties in the way of the enterprise certainly looked sufficiently insurmountable. Besides the inevitable legal, political and engineering obstacles there was the ultimate problem of making the improvement directly as well as indirectly profitable. There could, be no doubt in the mind of any far-sighted business man that a railroad like the Pennsylvania really needed an entrance into New York, and that it could never compete efficiently with the New York Central for certain kinds of passenger traffic until it opened a terminal in Manhattan. It was, also obvious that if such a Terminal was to be built the work must be begun soon because the increase in Manhattan land values would soon render any plan of that kind impracticable. But how could even so rich a corporation as the Pennsyl¬ vania Company spend over $100,000,000 on such an im¬ provement without more assurance of immediate return? At the end of thirty years it would be worth all that it cost and more, but thirty or even half of thirty years is a long time; and in the meantime how was a mere passenger ter¬ minal to be made sufficiently remunerative to pay even half of the enormous fixed charges, which would have to be in¬ curred? Tbe question was answered by the purchase of the Long Island Railroad. A terminal serving the old Pennsyl¬ vania system alone and costing so many million dollars might well be a white elephant; but it could also serve the increasing population of Long Island, and so build up a railroad property of very little value, the Pennsylvania Company would be re-imbursed in a much shorter time for its huge expenditures. For every reason it is very much to be hoped that the new Terminal will be a great success, because a corporation which can pursue a policy of which mixes so much public benefit with its own advantage de¬ serves all the success that is coming to it. Its work has been performed generously and efficiently, and it has not received even such reasonable tunnel assistance from the local authorities as it was entitled to. No subway has been built or even planned to take care of the passengers it will carry to Manhattan; and not a dollar has been spent by the city to facilitate the movement of vehicular traffic to and from the station. THE possibility of retaining a residence in "old New York" under normal conditions and living in a -style befitting a well-bred family is becoming an acute problem for a young married man. It is not merely the average head of family that is referred to, but even those higher up in the social scale than the average—salaried men, for the most part, in professional, mercantile and mechanical pur¬ suits, earning $1,500 to $1,S00 a year or less, as most of them do. Let us deal with plain actualities. This young man cannot, of course, have a private dwelling here; he is obviously restricted to a leased apartment or flat in that section of the borough which appeals to his natural in¬ stincts, which is more than likely to be the upper West Side. Yet for young men of family like him, no apartment houses within his renting ability are now being erected. He cannot carry on his single pair of shoulders, when there is no one to help him, an apartment renting at even the minimum flgure for the class of houses now being erected on the West Side. In other words, no apartment houses without elevators are built nowadays either on the West Side or on Morningside Heights, and rarely any more even on dis¬ tant Washington Heights; and a house of that quality is beyond his means, unless he rents out one or more of his rooms. He is, therefore, restricted by his means and man¬ ner of living to an old-style fiat house without elevator or service of any kind except that of the janitor; and men like him who cannot find economical housing of this sort in neighborhoods corresponding to their social ideas have to look to the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and the Jerseys. Who, then, is to blame for emigration out of Manhattan if any business interest objects to it? Clearly, it is force of cir¬ cumstances over which no human power has any control. Rather than try to pay a rental beyond his means, or take the contrary course of depriving his family of a proper home life, the young married man of moderate means, but high aspirations, takes his account from the savings bank