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June 22, 1901.
RECORD AND GUIDE.
^ ESTXBUSHEU"^ (^UlpHaiuV 1868.
DEvfrjED pD I^L Estate . BuiLoif/o Appt^rrEcrui^E .HouseKoid DEOtufiwt,
Bi/s[iIess Alto Themes Of GejIer^I Ij^iehesi,
PRICE FER YEAR IX ADVANCE SIX DOI,I.ARS.
PubtiiJiei everv Batvrta^,
TELEPHONE, COmXLAKDT 1370.
CommuDlcatlone should tie addressed to
C. W. SWHMDT. 14-16 VÂ«sey Street.
/. T. LINDSEY, Business Manager.
"Entered at the Poat-Offtce of Xew Torli, N. T., at teccnd-etats matter.''
IN the Stock Market dulness increases as the holiday season
approaches, and, on the whole, prices suffer as a result. If
the professional contribution to the activity were withdrawn, it
would he a very dull market indeed, as dull even as the commisÂ¬
sion brokers' offices are. The news is not discouragingâ€”quite
the contrary. The flattering reports from the field of railroad
operations are proof of the continued activity in business all
over the country. The return of Missouri Pacific to the dividend
ranks after an absence of ten years is an event of considerable
importance, inasmuch as it speaks of new and stabler conditions
in the country that supports it. Cheery reports, too, come from
the agricultural sections. Still the speculative puhlic have left
Wall Street, apparently for some time and without them prices
will not hold well, no matter how good the news; their return
will probably be postponed until liquidation has created a new
and more attractive basis for a new movement. The predominatÂ¬
ing characteristics of the European situation continue to be:
Cheap money, poor business and fears of consequences of over-
speculation in the late boom.
XS a dividend about to be declared on U. S. Steel Common? is
the question agitating the mind of "Wall Street just now. It
is confidently asserted that the dividend on the preferred wil be
at once put upon a 7 per cent basis and believed that a 1 per cent
will be declared on "the common, either at the same time or soon
after. The basis of this belief is statistical, no official announceÂ¬
ment can be found to sustain it. Such lai'ge profits have been
reported from the steel concerns in the company that it wili look
very absurd if the small dividend named cannot be spared to the
common stock. The reference books say that the total profits of
the constituents of the company for 1900 were $108,000,000. The
company's interest chai'ges are in the neighhorhood of $20,000,000,
and 7 per cent on $550,000,000 preferred stock is equal to ?38,-
500,000, or total charges ahead of common stock dividends of
$58,500,000. If results of operations this year have been as good
as those of last year, there ought to be a surplus large enough
to provide a dividend for the-common stock. It is well, however,
to bear in mind that appearances are very deceptive in this case.
Provision for depreciations in the iron and steel trade, have to
he made upon an enormous scale and the common stock repreÂ¬
sents the largest quantities of water added to capitalization in
consolidations upon consolidations made during the last deÂ¬
cade until a sort of corporate Chapeau d'Eau has been created.
When the U. S. Steel Co. was formed no less than $171,000,000 of
stock that had never paid dividends was put in, and the induceÂ¬
ments to the stockholders of the various companies the organÂ¬
izers desired to control were quite generous. It was a consolidaÂ¬
tion, not a reorganization, that was effected. With all this, there
is still room for believing that the common stock will get a divÂ¬
idend; if it does not, the public will have to change their opinion
of the prosperity in the iron and steel trades.
TF the new Long Island Railroad tunnel is ever built as pro-
â– A. posed, Manhattan will be connected with Brooklyn and
Queens in a most complete and satisfactory manner. The four
bridges and two tunnels will provide at convenient distances for
almost every kind of communication, which the inhabitants of
the three boroughs will need. The bridges will knit together
most completely the surface railway systems of both sides of the
river, and will very considerably relieve the extreme pressure
of the tenement house population on space which makes the
East Side of Manhattan so overcrowded. The tunnels, on the
other hand, will both of them depend for their usefulness upon
the underground system in Manhattan, and are really designed
to articulate with that system. A tei-minus in Mauhattan, for
Instance, hetween 23d and 50th street, would not be much of" an
outlet to the Long Island road, unless there were quick transit
between 50th street and the City Hall. The effect of all these
improvements will be, of course, to remove in large measure
the natural disadvantages under which New York has always
suffered, and give the city's population an opportunity to spread
out as freely to the east as to the north, and their completion
will result in the improved economic efficiency of the greater
Tenement House Legislation.
T T may he noted with satisfaction that there is at least the be-
-i ginning of a movement to construct the big tenement that
the Tenement House Law of this year was passed to encourage.
Our Building News contains notice of the intentions of some
builders in this direction. Naturally the experiment is to be
first made in the Bronx, where land is cheap and where light and
ventilation may be economically as well as generously supplied.
At the same time there is some premature crowing of the part of
advocates of tenement reform measures, because all the evils
predicted as a consequence of the passage of the tenement house
law of this year have not yet shown themselves. We are all
obliged to hope that the results of that act will be as beneficial
as its friends believe, but some years must elapse and a good
many things occur before we can know.
The weakness of the friends of tenement reform lies decidedly
on the practical side of the question. This is shown by a recent
article in "The Evening Post," in which figures taken from The
Record and Guide of Apri! 20th lastâ€”without acknowledgÂ¬
mentâ€”are freely used. The writer endeavors to show
that in course of time huilding tenements upon a 25-
foot lot under the provisions of the new law will become a
paying industry. He argues that the cost of the lot has dropped
(owing to the new law) from $20,000 to $18,000; that the cost of
building, by reason of the cutting off of a story in height of the
building that must be erected under the new law as compared
with that allowed by the old, will be reduced from $20,000 to $18,-
000, making the total investment $36,000; that the new house will
accommodate eighteen families, three families to a floor, paying
from $14 to $16 a month each, and so forth, with a final result
of 8 to 10% return on the investment. This looks very pretty,
but it unfortunately does not consider some quite important matÂ¬
ters. One is found in the query: Supposing a new demand should
spring up for 25-foot tenement lots, would not prices recover the
loss occasioned by want of demand? Then the cost of construcÂ¬
tion is too low, and the allowance for the loss of a story too high,
for the reason that you cannot divide your estimate by the numÂ¬
ber of stories to obtain the actual cost of any particular story.
Then rents run from $12 to $16. and not from $14 to $16 in good
tenement sections; and, flnally. eighteen tenements cannot be
got in a 25-foot house, such as that evidently referred to, which
can only accommodate three tenements on a floor, because the
new tenement law requires that any tenement having a frontage
40 feet or less and exceeds flve stories in height shall be built
flreproof. These little items it will .be seen make hash of "The
Evening Post's" estimate, and, consequently, also -of its deducÂ¬
Something of an idea of the real effects of hasty and injudiÂ¬
cious meddling with tenement conditions may be seen in a report
that has lately come from Boston that a committee of the TwenÂ¬
tieth Century Club has recently discovered that while the popÂ¬
ulation of Boston is growing rapidly the construction of teneÂ¬
ments for the poorer classes has practically stopped. AccordingÂ¬
ly, to our informant, "The American Architect," the reason given
by the committee for this is that at North End, where the poorÂ¬
est population is collected, the value of land has risen so as to
make it unprofitable to erect tenement houses; while in other
parts of the city the character of the population is changing so
fast that it is imprudent to undertake new ventures." Our conÂ¬
temporary does not accept this explanation, hut says: "It is hardÂ¬
ly necessary to observe that neither of these considerations
would have much weight with people who really had in mind an
investment of the sort. There is plenty of land to be had at the
North End, at prices at which an investment of the sort would
be reasonably profitable; and no change In the character of the
population can seriously affect the need of families for decent
places to live in; and the real reason for the disinclination of
people with money to invest in real estate to use it for building
tenements is, in all probability, the apprehension of sentimental
legislation, or of competition from charitable enterprises, either
of which might at any moment convert a reasonahly satisfactory
investment into a heavy loss."
The building requirements for tenements in Boston are much
less strict than they have been in New York for some years, but