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THE PRESENT JOHN JACOB ASTOR.

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Madrazo.

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BY RICHARD

WHEATLEY.

ORE accurately than any of the met.1 ropol itan exchanges does that in which transfers of real estate are initiated represent the growing numbers and opulence of New York. The Real Estate Exchange, with hall and offices located at Nos. 59 to 65 Liberty Street, is not a specially imposing structure. The fact that $422,844 were paid for the property, including searches and abstract of title, and that a further sum of $140,272 was ex pended for alterations in order to fit it for
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present uses, sufficien tly accounts for its: architectural characteristics. Externally, it is an ordinary business building; internally, it is more worthy of attention. The exchange-room in size is 87 by 43 feet, with ceiling 38 feet high. The iron girders constituting part of its supports are the largest of their kind eve I' utilized in the city-the heaviest weighing twentytwo tons. The frieze in bass-relief running. around the room, in panels eight feet high, depicting the progress of architecture from

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the earlier to modern times, is modelled by hand in stucco from original designs, and would be more pleasing to the eye if not of uniform brownish hue. The drowsy past looks down upon a present intensely purposeful, passionate, and poetic-a present of dissonant auctioneers, -oareful sellers, and competiti ve purchasers, and a present sufficiently practical to be well pleased with the efficient manner in which steam heat is radiated throughout the auction-room and offices. How to make the most of opportunity is a problem studied under this roof, and finding solution in one direction by the rental of offices, upstairs and down, at :$2500 a year, and by the lease of the main hall for two hours every afternoon, to the Building Material Exchange, for the sum -of $30,000 per annum. Nor are these the -only sources of revenue. That of annual members yielded $2840, and of the auctionroom $16,766, in 1887. Dividends on the entire investment of $580.560 are not adipose; but still one and a half pel' cent. in 1885, two pel' cent. in 1886, followed by three pel' cent. in 1887, encourage hope in the future. Stockholders number fi ve hundred, and annual members seventy-three. Many bear Anglo-Saxon names, but the majority carry patronymics that identify them with every other Aryan stock in Europe. Jules E. Brugiere jostles John VV. O'Shaughnessy; De Walltearss, Morgenthau, and Da Cunha fraternize with 'Smiths and Stuyvesants. Name is nothing, but respectability everything, to membership in "The Real Estate Ex.change and Auction - Room (Limited)." Candidates are nominated in writing by two members of the corporation, confidentially canvassed by the Committee on Aumissions, voted on by the Board of Direc'tOl'S, and if elected must each become possessor of ten shares of the capital stock. Annual members pay the sum of sixty .doJJal's, or, if non-resident, twenty- live dol lar-s, and are entitled to full access to the exchange and auction-room, and use of the records, and other corporate iu Iormation. Some of the more prominent citizens of New York are among the influe ntial members. John Jacob and Wil lium AStOl', Samuel D. Babcock (ex-president of the Chamber of Commerce), Henry R. Beekman (corporation counsel),David G. Croly, the journalist, ex-Mayor Wil liam R. Grace, .Robert B. Roosevelt, Minister of the U nit-

ed States to Hol laud, John D. Crimmins, ex-Park Commissioner, and sundry scions of the ancient Knickerbocker families, have made themselves famous by the frequency and magnitude of their real estate transactions. The shareholders alone control capital invested in lands and buildings in New York city estimated at upward of eight hundred millions of dollars. E. A. Cruikshauk, the president, is the head of the real estate firm of E. A. Cruikshank and Co., founded by his grandfather in 1794, and which has been conspicuously identified with the sale of

K A. CHU1KSHANK .

some of the largest and the management of some of the most valuable estates in and about New York. This official, two vice-presidents, a treasurer, secretary, and thirteen directors administer the polity of the institution, in substantiallv the same style as that common to all such functionaries. Benjamin Hardwick, Argus-eyed, almost ubiquitous in business hours, and cyclopredical ly ready of response to any requisition of member- 01' shareholder, is the manager. A citizen of the United States, though born and educated in England, he brought to his work the fruits of a thoroughly legal and l iterary Lraini ng, supplemented by the experience of an active life.. His chosen specialty has been the data and progress of real estate transactions in

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BENJAMIN

HARDWICK.

New York city. Appointed real estate editor of the Commercial Adoeriiser in 1881, in close association with brokers and auctioneers, he distinguished himself by practical talent, kept the minutes and attended to the correspoudeuce of the Real Estate Exchange when incorporated, and was unanimously installed ill his present office when it went into operation. The employment of women in the office IS an experiment amply justified by its results. No distinction, either in responsibility 01' Iabor, is made in their favor. 'I'he pay-roll of the .establislrmeut is not a revelation of extravagance. The manager s office is debited with a cost of on ly $-1000; the Bureau of Information, Ownerships, and Assessments, of $2500; the exchange-room, elDOO; and the lower employes, $3-100. Each of the directors must hold at least ten shares, and be elected by ballot of stockholders. While fixing the salar-ies of employes, they receive no honorarium themsel ves. Standing committees on Finance, Exchange and Auction - room, Membership, Brokers' Meetings, Complaints, and Arbitration attend to matters confided to their care. That on Complaints takes cog-

nizance of alleged violation of rules, and of proceedings inconsistent with just and equitable principles. In dealings valued at over foul' hundred millions, since the opening of the Exchange, it is said not a single complaint of impropriety against broker or auctioneer has been lodged with the committee. The object of the Exchange is to facilitate the sale and transfer of real estate, more particularly in the city of New York, but also generally throughout the United States. Lands, houses, stores, hotels, halls, theatres, etc., are intended to pass through its instrumeutal ity from the seisin of sellers to that of buyers. One of the most important committees appointed by the Board of Directors is the general one, consisting of sixty members of the Exchange, Oil legislation of the State and city govermnents. Nine standing sub -committees-on Executi ve, City Improvements, City Finances, Taxation and Assessment, Building and Mechanics' Lien Laws, Pending Legislation, Draf'tiug: and Amending Laws, Federal Relations, and Land 'I'i-ausfur Reform -keep the main body apprised of their movements. Nor has this Legislative Committee been unmindful of its duties. A large number of bills and other matters affecting real estate interests have been carefully and conservatively studied. by it. "'rhe County Clerk's Searchers' Bill, which brought order out of chaos. in the County Clerk's office, and which materially reduced the time an d expenseof searches in that office, was the result of the labors of this committee." Less than three centuries of Western ci vilization have sufficed to convert the savage wilderness of Manhattan into the magnificent metropolis of the New World. Hendrick Hudson deemed the island and its en virouments to be a" good land to fall in with, and a pleasan t one to see." Peter Minuit, Director-General of Nieuw Neder. land, held the same opinion when, in May, 1626, he bought the whole insular territory for sixty Dutch guilders, or thirty-two dollars, from the aboriginal owners.

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On the 3d of April, 1807, the Legislature passed an act appointing Gouver-neur Morris, Simeon De Witt, and John Rutherford Commissioners of Streets and Roads in the city of New York. These gentlemen encountered strange and unexpected obstacles in the execution of their task. Farming and mechanic propr-ietors violently objected to the construction of streets without regard to their wishes or interests. Surveyors, like vagrants, were driven off their property. To this day Henry Brevoorts obstinacy has prevented the opening of Eleventh Street between Fourth Avenue and Broadway. The Commissioners decided on a system of parallel streets across the island, and commenced to number them f'rom Houston Street, where their special labors began. Avenues, a. hundred feet wide, and running from south to north, intersected them at right ang-les. Provision was made foian immense population, but even they did not conjecture that" the grounds north of Harlem Flats would be covered with houses for centuries to come. Years after this, De \Vitt Clinton was hissed for predicting that the city would stretch continuously to the shores of Harlem River within the next century." In less than half a century Irish potato famines, German revolutions, and the Aryan instinct of emigration had neat-ly fulfilled his prophecy. In 1815 a legislative act appropr-iated Union Squal'e, which had been utilized as a Potter's Field, to public pu rposes ; but not until 1845 did the eleg-ant domiciles spring up around its enlarged margin that made it for some years the most fashionable section of the municipality. Since then commercial depressions aud financial disasters have occasionally checked civic growth. But recovery has been quickly followed by speculative enterprise and rapid rise in prices. In 1856 and following years the fifteen million dol lars judiciously in vested in Central Park, with its area of 862 acres,

and forty miles of carriage roads, equestrian paths, and foot-walks, occasioned an increase of far greater value in the lands contiguous to it. The vast and ever-augmenting volume of transactions in real estate gradually necessitated revolution in some of its methods. 'I'hese were as characteristically different as the brokers. For many years the project of a real estate exchange was discussed. Public sales were effected by various auctioneers in a stuffy basement room, on the same level as the graves of Trinity church-yard, at 111 Broadway. Bogus sales were of not infrequent occurrenee, nor could any buyer be certain that he had not been trapped by some volubly cunning vendee. People of wealth and standing stood aloof because of the questionable proceedings. These disgraceful facts induced Edward H. Ludlow, together with H. H. Cammann and other gentlemen, in October, 1883, to decide that there must be some system whereby rea] estate affairs should be managed\;jth the respectability and safety proper to all legitimate transactions. The outgrowth of their consultations is the

E. II. LUDLOW.

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Real Estate Exchange, with its compara- public, with the exception of vagrants, peddlers, and disorderly persons, is freely of methods, consolidation admitted, and any may bid or buy who of interests, command of publ ie confidence, and diffusive beneficence. can. The Building Material Exchange On the 14th of April, 1885, the cere- meets in the back part of the auctionroom from two to four o'clock every monious opening of the new quarter-s afternoon. Its members number over was attended bv a wealth v and influential crowd of 'interested' members and three hundred. guests, who marched in procession from The Real Estate Exchange keeps books the old Exchange sales - room at 111 in which all property within and much Broad way. The programme of that mem- of that without the city limits, and ofA fee of $5 orable day closed with the reading by fered for sale, is registered. Morris Wil.k ius of an order from the Jus- is paid for each separate piece or parcel tices of the Supreme, Super-ior, and Com- of adjacent lots registered under one entry. All property is registered in the mon Pleas courts of the city of New York, d irect.ing that from and after the 16th of name of a member, with consent of ownthe same month all sales of land in said er, and if sold by a non-registered member, brings half the commission to the one city, under decrees, orders, or judgments The Exof the several courts, shall be made at the in whose name it is registered. rooms of the Real Estate Exchange. change also furnishes for sale approved The business methods of the Exchange 'forms of contracts. Commodious reading have been dictated by experience, and the and writing rooms are projects to be realneed of most effectively grappling with ized in the near future. 'I'he literature in the exigencies of the present. Its rooms which members are professionally most are open to members only from 10 to interested is al ways accessible in the shape 11.30 A.lI1" and from the close of the auc- of books, maps, etc., particularly relating tion sales until 4 P.M. During the time to real estate matters. One formidable appropriated to auction sales the general atlas of New York city, as formerly con-

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IAPlano I

~the City of
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stituted, is in foul' largo volumes. Wards 'l'wen ty-three and Twenty - four, included within corporate boundaries by State enactment in 1873, will be covered by two additional volumes, of which that on the Twenty-th ird Ward is published, while that on the Twenty-fourth is in advanced preparation. All the maps are from official records, private plans, and actual surveys, compiled under the superintendence of lcading civil and topograph ical engineers. On each block in the several wards, and on each lot of every block, as represented by these maps, the Real Estate Exchange stamps its own number. Its books are ruled to correspond, and show the number, owner, date of sale. pi-ice paid, year, and page of public recor-d on which belonging documents are inscr-ibed, of every piece of property sold since the year 1868. Strips of paper, each showing the kind of building, if any, on each lot, and recording changes of ownership, with essential facts of successive transfers, are preserved by the curator, and constitute at once a check upon the map system and also a complete history of each lot. Twenty-six hundred and fifty blocks, not including those of the Twenty-thu-d and Twenty - fourth wards, are embraced by the city lines. The blocks are irreguIar in shape awl size, and contain from fifty to oue hundred lots each, with the exception of the city blocks, which normally include sixty-foul' lots each. The Real Estate Record and Guide of March, 1887, gives the number of vacant lots. 25 by 100 feet, between Fifty-ninth and One -hundred -and - fifty -fifth streets, at 30,990. In this office information is sought and found by intending sellers 01' purchasers on the point whether a certain vacant lot or lots are" ripe for building on"; in other words, what is their elevation above high-water mark, whether the streets have been regularly opened, graded, curbed and flagged, sewered and paved, and whether the assessments foe

H. H. CAMMANN.

these improvements have been confirmed. If so, the seller must pay them; if not, then the buyer assumes the obligation to do it when they are confirmed. The value of such knowledge, also that of the exact stage in which improvements stand, is apparent in view of the fact that streets are sometimes cut th rough a depth of twenty or thirty feet of hard rock, in which case the assessments on each lot may aggregate f'rom $1000 to $1200. Br-okers find the records of the Real Estate Exchange of invaluable service to them. Dur-ing the three months euding N ovem bel' 30, 1885, 1280 applications for information in regard to ownership, etc., of property were made; in the corresponding tln-ee months of 1886 the number rose to 7000, and in those of 1887 would have reached higher figures but for adopted limitations to the privilege. The records of assessments and of all work in process of construction foe which assessments will be laid are sufficiently advanced to furnish full particulars on these matters. The Bureau of Legislative Information, established under the auspices of the Committee on Legislation, supplies the most accurate tidings of what is passing in the

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ADRIAN

H. MULI.ER.

State Legislature that may affect the value of real estate. "Not only are all the printed bills, reports, and documents of the Legislature to be found on file in the office, but the Exchange also receives daily from its agent in Albany a complete record of all bills introduced, reported from committees, or acted upon, and elaborate index-books are kept in the Exchange where such information is at once entered, so that it is possible for any member, by referring thereto to tell the exact position on the previous afternoon of any bill pending before the Legislature." Formerly it was wellnigh impossible to obtain such information, except in the case of very important public bills, without a personal visit to Albany and much laborious search through the records of the law-making body. All the twenty-two desks for auctioneers are yearly rented at $150 each, leaving the less fortunate fifteen of the fraternity without such facilities. How valuable they are may be inferred from the fact that the primary sale of first choice brought only $5, while the last netted $1600. Licensed auctioneers being mern-

bel's of the Exchange arethe only ones allowed to compete. The president's stand is the one reserved for sales by auctioneer>: not renting such coigns of vantage. Lessees, however, may rent out theirs for the day, or the Auctionroom Committee may designate one not in use for temporary purposes. Bills for knock-down fees are presented f'oi- payment to auctioneers every month. 'I'hese fees are $3 where the value is less than $5000; $5 if between $5000 and $100,000; and $25 if above the last amount. Auctioneers not renting stands pay fifty per cent. in addition. On legal sales of real estate by order of the court. the fee is $2; of assets, $2. Fees on property offered at upset prices are the same as in case of sale. Commissions to auctioneers on sal es of real estate are one-quarter of one per cent. for New York or Brooklyn, and one-half of one per cent. on countr-y property. These, together with the expense of maps, ad vertising, etc., are paid by the seller. The purchaser also bleeds to the extent of $15 for' the auctioneer's fee, plus the sales-room fee exacted by the auctioneer, except on sales. yielding less than$1000 andover$500, when he is mercifully released on production of $10 for each lot. On property selling for $500 and under, the fee is not less than $& pel' lot. In legal sales $15 for auction fee and $2 for sales-room fee are paid by the buyer. The remuneration of one coriaceous - throated elocutionist may th us run up into several thousands per diem. On sales of stocks or bonds the commission is one-quarter of one pel' cent. on the value, except for members of tho' New York Stock and Real Estate Exchanges, for whom it is one-eighth of on e per cent. on the par value, to be paid with expenses of sale by the seller. Special agreements may be made when personal property sold is of merely nominal value. Renting auctioneers are required to furnish, every Saturday, a list of all property arranged to be sold during the com-

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ing week. On private sales, save where special contracts in writing have been previously made, the commission forselling New York or Brooklyn estate is one per ceut. : leaseholds, two per cent.; real estate in the suburbs of either city, and country property, two and a half per cent.; Western and Southern lands, five per cent.; leases and leaseholds in the suburbs of New York, five pel' cent. In exchanges of property a full commis-

collecting, five per cent. Special agreements, however, may modify these terms. Appraising real estate in New York or Brooklyn entitles to a fee of from $10 to one-quarter of one pel' cent. upon valuation; suburban property, one-half of one per cent., or according to agreement. Legal commissions may not be divided 01' lessened without liability to discipline; but members of the Exchange may make special agreements between themselves.

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sion is exacted from each side. No sales can be regularly made for a commission of less than $25. Sales not consummated by reason of imperfection in title to property do not invalidate claims for commissions. Brokerage is earned when time and terms are settled between buyer and seller, and is payable when the contract is signed. For the management and letting of property two and a half per cent. is chargeable on first year's rental for a term of one to three years; leasing for three years and upward, on gross rental, one per cent.; leasing country property, one year to five, five per cent. on first year's rental; renting and

Prominent, because of their long connection with the business, among the Ludlows, Mullers, Morgans, Johnsons, Harnetts, etc., of the New York auctioneers, are the Bleeckers. Anthony L., of Dutch ancestry, began business in New York in, 1763. The Revolution only added to it. On June 16, 1794, at 12 M. precisely, heand his sons sold" four quarter casks of choice sherry wine, six do. London particulai- Teneriffe," at the Coffee-House inWall Street, and followed up the sale on, the day ensuing by that of "a large assortment of seasonable dry - goods" recently imported. In 1799, commissioned' by Governor John Jay, he had the urban.

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bid I" exclaimed the astounded knock - downee. "Pay ten per cent., and give bond and mortgage for the rest," suggested Bleecker. Mitchell consented. Since then his heirs have held the four lots at $100,000. Mr. Bleecker sold two lots on the south side of Fiftyninth Street, between Fifth and Sixth avenues, for $750 each. His largest sale-the most extensive of vacant and unimproved valuable property ever made in New York-was, in 1868,of the Sarah Tallman estate, consisting- of two blocks between Sixth and Seventh avenues, and extending from Fifty - seventh to Fifty-ninth Street, fronting the Central Park. Lot No.1, at the southwest corner of Sixth Avenue and Fifty-ninth Street, was sold for $36,000 to Charles E. Appleby, said to be the largest private owner of dock property on the North ANTHONY ;r. BLEECKER. River front of the city. Two thousand people were present. Stripped, of Dutch courage trade entia-ely to himself. Competition through force of Hollands, enthusiastic, springing up in the days of his son, James and at his best, the man who helped Bleecker, the latter turned his attention many to the magnitude of millionnaires almost wholly to real estate. Stephen Stedman's property, neal' the ferry at Cor- without becoming one himself gladly laer's Hook, passed under his hands, and witnessed the proceeds foot up at more than one and a half million dollars. Anin the succeeding year (1834) he auctioned at peremptory sale no less than 205 lots of cestral un wisdom had suffered Bleecker Street and thirty-six acres to slip through ground on Sixth Avenue, from Twentyfifth to Twenty-ninth Street, at from $1200 the family fingers in the early part of the But he possessed what is of to $2500 pel' lot. But it was reserved for century. infinitely more value, namely, energy, his son, the famous Anthony J. Bleecker, "a fellow of infinite jest," to attain the health, character, social position, and the professional zenith. If anything could warmest friendship of the most eminent An inimitable raconconsole a disconsolate bankrupt, it was the men of his day. teur, whose stories convulsed Abraham graceful and sympathetic humor with which the jolly auctioneer would sell him Lincoln with laughter, a unique Shakeout. Mr. Bleecker's popularity was un- spearian scholar, and an official of Trinity bounded. In one month of 1842 his sales Corporation, quick in repartee, intoxiadamounted to six million dollars. In 1855, cating in humor, and applaudingly while selling lots on Eighth Avenue, be- mired by trusting contemporaries, he easily held the rank of Nestor among his tween One-hundredth and One-hundredown fraternity. and-first streets, the genial orator knocked Foreclosure and partition sales must by down four of them, at $100 each, to John W. Mitchell. "Gentlemen, this is not my law commence at noon. Private sales

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THE HIGHEST

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by custom are fixed at the same hour. Ficti tious sales are, Ior the most part, found to be injurious to buyers and owners alike: to owners, because they increase the assessment of val ue, and check private sales by inducing holders to helieve that the figures of reported sales speak truly, and to ask highcr prices; to capitalists, by closing the [wejl\les for paying investment, 01' by deluding them into the pet-suasion that real estate is worth more than it is. Put-ties are not in frequently employed by owners to bid in property, in order that they may deter-

mine its value by the highest price offered. Legal sales m-e published in the Register, from which excerpts are taken and posted in the sales-book. Type-written lists of both auction and legal sales for the following week are posted at the end of the week on the bulletins. The knock-down hook records the price, buyer, and all particu lars of everv sale in the Auction-room. Brokers' me~tings at tllC Real Estate Exchange promote better mutual acquaintance, consultation 011 common interests, and the convenience of parties who wish to raise loans on properties, offer proper-

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ty for sale, or inquire for what they specifically need. Every day anyone who has property for private sale, auction, or rent, or who wishes to buy or rent, inscribes his name and address, the kind, description, and price of property desired or offered, upon blank forms provided for that purpose, which forms are accessible to all Ieg itimate comers, and in due time their contents are transferred to the columns of "Offerings" and" Wants" in the

Real Estate Record and Builders' Guide,


and in the Real Estate Bulletin. Auction sales of bonds, stocks, etc., by orders of executors, administrators, and referees, every Wednesday at noon, and at special times whenever required, call together representatives of banks, railroads, insurance companies, manufacturing corporations, etc., who are thoroughly acquainted with the values in which they are interested, eager but restrained, alert, and prompt to depart when their object is attained. . Brokers, with few exceptions, are courteous. Some buy and sell for customers; others speculatively buy and sell on private account; others take the charge of real estate, secure responsible tenants, collect rents, effect repairs, pay taxes and assessments, keep property up to the highest standard of productive efficiency, obtain insurance on dwellings, stores, fixtures, and stock; mayhap, in addition, are talented and accomplished auctioneers; others make a specialty of the alteration of old buildings for office purposes, have plans prepared, procure estimates, let contracts, and negotiate leases; and still others unite all these functions in their own persons. People attending auction sales in order to buy sites for homes are diverse as the metals entering into the composition of Corinthian brass. Among the two thousand, more or less, on hand at the executor's sale of the estate of Thomas Hunt, deceased, in the eighth ward of the city of Brooklyn, on Thursday October 27, 1887, were Americans, British, Germans, Italians, Scandinavians ser-ving on pleasure yachts, florid and blowzy women, mothers with children in arms (one of these bought three lots at $1200 apiece), washer-women whose dollars had accumulated one by one. fashionably attired ladies on the watch for investments, artisans and clerks who preferred real estate to savings-banks, and common speculators. Strange scenes are ocoasionally enact-

ed at the Exchange. Less than twelve months ago a large house in Mulberry Street was sold at auction to the man who bid more than $24,000 for it. He was a dingy, dwarfish specimen of Italian immigration, who began his mercantile course as the proprietor of a pea-nut stand in the classic region of Park Street. How his treasures were amassed is best known to himself, but that they had been raked together was apparent to the officials, and to the unwashed swarm of polylingual fellow-citizens, who applauded wildly as he coolly drew out a dirty red pockethandkerchief, and began to count out from it the purchase-money, which he supposed must be paid on the spot. The total assessed valuation of real estate in the city of New York in 1886 was. $1,203,941,065; in 1887, of 161,334 plots of real estate, $1,254,491,849-showing an increase in one year of $50,550,784. But as the assessed is less than two-thirds of the market value, the whole is not worth less than two billion dollars. Real and personal property within the municipality has grown throughout the past decade more than $40,000,000 per annum. The books in the office of the Commissioners of Taxes and Assessments state the amount of taxes paid by every real estate holder at the rate of $2n-'b- on every hundred of the assessed valuation. But these figures do not constitute a trustworthy standard in the determination of market values, for the asserted reason that some assessments in down-town wards are of more than market value; in other wards, of only one-third, others one-half, and still others two-thirds. Vacant lots are assessed at from 29 to 36 per cent., improved property from 56 to 70 per cent., of real value. Inequitable as the assessments are, it is yet true, as affirmed by ex-Mayor William R. Grace, that" upon no species of property can taxes be levied with more equality as to value, nor with better chances of speedy and equitable collection, than upon real property." "The valuation placed upon personal estate from all sources is not more than nineteen per cent. of the valuation placed upon real property, and taxes from this source are most difficult of collection.' Of the annual city budget, which generally amounts to from thirtyone to thirty-four millions of dollars, the taxation imposed upon real estate supplies more than four-fifths." On the 3d of October, 1887, Receiver of

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Taxes George W. McLean received from the Consolidated Gas Company, $223,310; estate of W. H.Vanderbilt, $171,124; New York Central Railroad, $343,613; Mutual Life-insurance Company, $52,984; Standard Oil Company, $28,709; estate of Robert Goelet, $107,396; John Jacob Astor, $235,040; William Astor, $170,000. Real estate owned by the city rarely comes into market, nor is it available to any great extent for the reduction of taxation. In 1871 A. J. Bleecker, A. H. Muller, and Cortlandt Palmer were appointed by the Commissioners of the Sinking Fund to appraise all the real property belonging to the city and county of New York. This they did, including parks, public buildings, station and engine houses, wharves, docks, markets, etc., and estimated the value of the whole at $244,000,000, basing the estimate on the number of lots, 25 by 100 feet, into which it might be divided. Central Park, together with Manhattan Square, on which is the Seventh Regiment Armory, was appraised at $73,275,000; Madison Square at $2,253,000 ; Union Square, $2,290,000; Washington Square, $2,230,000; and Reservoir Square at $1,342,000. In 1887 the Commissioners of Taxes and Assessments estimated the value of the city property in NewYork exempt from taxation at $190,841,130; that of the United States at $16,550,000; of the churches at $42,230,300; and of schools, charities, etc" at $34,231,620-a grand total of $283,853,050. Large and wealthy corporations are quite as conservative as the civic government in respect to their landed possessions. That of Trinity Protestant' Episcopal Church is at once the richest and most conspicuous, and is only an occasional seller. Popular opinion holds its real estate to be worth $100,000,000. General John A. Dix, when comptroller, said it was worth less than half that sum. Credible authority of the best character puts it at $16,000,000. Income from rentals, etc., is constantly augmenting, and is far more than enough to defray the expenses-about $100,000-of the extensive parish with its seven churches, and to admit of generous denominational benefactions. Columbia College, said by Dr. Sears to be the richest educational institution in America, enjoys the inherited estate originally bestowed upon it by the corporation of Trinity Church, and now consist-

ing of the blocks bounded by Murray, Church, Barclay, and Greenwich Streets. Not until the close of its first century, and after the change of site in 1857 to the block surrounded by Fourth and Madison Avenues, Forty-ninth and Fiftieth Streets, was Park Place cut through its old grounds. In 1814 it received a State donation of what had been Dr. Hosack's Botanical Garden, of about twenty acres, lying to the southwest of the Roman Catholic Cathedral on Fifth Avenue. The gift was not of enormous value. An offer of the property for $18,000 found no one willing to take it in 1825. Twenty-fi ve years later it was valued at $150,000. In 1855 the trustees paid $132,000 for the present location of the college. Now, in the one hundred and thirty-fourth year of its beneficent existence, with the organization of a leading university, the vigorously venerable establishment finds its estimated revenue of $344,000from rentals, supplemented by students' fees, altogether too small for its needs. Twenty-five years have passed since its growing income justified the endeavors of the trustees to increase its usefulness by enlarging the scope of educational operations. In 1858 the School of Law, whose reputation exceeds the limits of the republic, and whose success is hitherto without precedent, was instituted. This was followed in 1864 by the School of Mines, which soon expanded beyond its design into a School of Applied Science, embracing instruction in mining and civil engineering, metallurgy, analytical and applied chemistry, practical geology, and architecture. Next, in 1880, came the School of Political Science, intended to train young men in the knowledge of constitutional, administrative, and international law, and to fit them for the duties of public life. Simultaneously it was resolved to open the department for the advanced instruction of its own and other graduates. Columbia has thus entered upon a field of almost limitless extent, which cannot be satisfactorily cultivated by the aid of present unequal resources. Financial deficiency loudly calls for the liberality of public-spirited citizens in New York and elsewhere. The Society of the New York Hospital is another large owner of real estate in the city. Incorporated in 1771, the twenty-six Governors purchased five acres of ground, bounded by Broadway, Church, Duane, and Worth streets, in 1773, opened

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the hospital for patients in 1791, and conducted it until 1869, when it was torn down, and its successor built upon Nos. 7 to 21 West Sixteenth Street. In 1811 a branch of the hospital, known as the Bloomingdale Asylum for the Insane, was established on property extending from One-hundred-and-twelfth to One-hundredand-twentieth Street, and from the Tenth Avenue to the old Bloomingdale Road. The value of the entire property, urban and rural, owned by the society, is immense, will rapidly increase, and ought to go far in mitigating the miseries of the poor and unfortunate, especially as it is exempt from taxation. The property of the Collegiate Reformed Church, on Broadway, Maiden Lane, John, William, and Fulton streets, Lafayette Place, and elsewhere, consists of about forty city lots, more or less, and probably yields an income of not less than $150,000 a year. The" Sailor's Snug Harbor in the city of New York," agreeably to the last legal report of the Comptroller, had in 1887 an income from real and personal property estimated at $325,092. This is a rich annual harvest from the twenty-one-acre farm of Robert Richard Randall bequeathed to it in 1801, and now covered with buildings extending from Fourth to Fifth Avenue, and from Waverly Place to East Tenth Street. The colossal drygoods store known as A. T. Stewart's stands upon it. On Staten Island, where the Snug Harbor really is, and occupies a valuable estate of 157 acres, 844 men, each of whom had sailed under the American flag for five years or more, found shelter, ease, plenty, and variety in the spring of 1887. All its metropolitan property is leased for twenty - one years, renewals at five per cent. per annum being based on valuation of the land at the time when each renewal is made. All taxes and assessments are paid by lessees. The Convent of the Sacred Heart, owned by the Roman Catholic Church, is the proprietor of an area extending from One-hundred-and-thirtieth to One-hundred -an d-thirty -seventh Street, between Convent, Cliff, and Hamlin avenues, and escapes taxation because professedly devoted to scholastic uses. The Spingler estate now practically covers the four blocks bounded by Thirteenth and Fifteenth streets, Sixth A venue on the west, University Place and

Union Square on the east. The edifices of Tiffany, Brentano, and the Manhattan Club stand upon it. All is leased for twenty-one years, with the understanding that if the lease be not renewed the building shall be bought by the estate at a proper appraisement of its value. . New York is not famous for any large number of ancient and opulent families, but does boast of one whose aggregate wealth is computed by some at four hundred million dollars. Whether this be an erroneous guess, and whether the several members of the family do own over six thousand houses in the city, is best known to the Astors, who may properly maintain that it is their personal affair. The commonwealth, notwithstanding, is interested in the fact, published in the Real Estate Record of December, 1876, that John Jacob Astor, in partition of the ancestral domain, deeded to William Astor 346 lots of more or less valuable business propertyon Bowery, Broadway, etc.; that William Astor deeded to John Jacob lots equal in value, but different in number, in various parts of the city; that John Jacob Astor and others, executors and trustees under the will of William B. Astor, deeded to William Astor and others as trustees for the benefit of John Jacob Astor during his life 239 lots, more or less, in various parts of the city; and that they also deeded to John Jacob Astor and others for the benefit of William Astor, during his life, property of equal value, but numerically differing in respect of lots. The Astor family, eminent for riches and Christian benefactions, is "comfortably fixed." So are the Goelets, Rhinelander", Stuyvesants, Rutherfurds, Lori llards, etc. On the partition of the Goelet estate, March 19,1881,259 houses and lots, largely on Broadway and Madison Avenue, fell to Robert and Ogden Goelet; 96 lots to Jean B. Goelet and Mrs. Gerry; 18 lots, including that whereon the Windsor Hotel rests, to Mrs. Gerry; 350 lots to Jean B. Goelet-all in the more valuable portions of the city. But these do not exhaust the list of possessions. Other lots, some held in trust, and others acquired since the partition, are contained within it. In the partition of the Rhinelander estate-March 4, 1882 -which consisted largely of vacant lots, 220 lots, on which was much lucrative business property-fell to one feminine devisee. Seventeen other "male and fe-

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male beneficiaries also profited richly by the distribution. 'Villiam Rhinelander, proprietor of the farm extending from Eighty-sixth to Ninety-third Street, and from Third Avenue to the East River, and also of property down-town: enjoined his heirs not to sell the farm, inasmuch as it was first-rate market-garden property, and near to a growing city. The unearned increment of that estate is
VOT .. LXXVII.-No. 462.-67

now of vastly greater pecuniary value than that of all the vegetables it ever yielded. Thrifty German gardeners, true to Teutonic instinct, have in not a few instances acquired the fee-simple of the soil they tilled. The immense Stuyvesant estate is principally intact, and is leased like that of the Astors, Whether proprietors of real estate be scions of Dutch, German, French, Eng-

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lish, or any other stock, their possessions, sooner or later, fall under the hammer. Those of Madame Jumel, feminine SUl'vival of Louis Quatorze grandeur, and whose proudest boast was, "I am the widow of Aaron Burr," brought over $350,000; those of V. K. Stevenson, in 1886, $1,666,775. The farms of Cripplebush, Rutgers, Brevoort, De Lancey, Warren, Bayard, Bleecker, Van Cortlandt, De Peyster, Herring, Minthorn, Samler, Hamilton, Taylor, and other historic personages have long since been coined into the allodial currency of the metropolis. Lands in different States, lots in suburban and distant villages, the entire Jroperty of the Postal Telegraph Company, including 2000 miles of poles, 12,000 miles of wires, patents, franchises, etc., mines in the Rocky Mountains, hulls of. steam-boats, yachts, rights, inventions, etc., of corporations, all are marketable commodities at the Real Estate Exchange. Next to financial panics, nothing more directly affects sales than labor strikes. In March, 1886, an energetic broker remarked: "I have just missed selling a parcel of $130,000, simply through the strike. The proposed buyer is a contractor, and he said: 'I dare not go into this operation in the face of these strikes. I don't know what I may have to pay for labor before I am through. I propose to hold back and let events develop themselves before I act.' Thus the strikes tend eventually to bring down the price of labor by diminishing the demand." The Exchange is the medium through which a vast and rapidly augmenting business is transacted. In the year ending December 13, 1886, real estate amounting to $34,200,091, and stocks, bonds, and other securities aggregating $10,698,55852, were sold there at auction. In 1887 real estate amounting to $41,571,175, and stocks, bonds, etc., worth $6,569,500, changed hands at the same place. The value of real estate disposed of at private sale exceeds that sold at auction. The possibilities of usefulness to society inherent in land are dependent for development on the labors of individuals or of corporatious. The greater the expenditure of labor, the higher is the estimate of value. This is the rule of civilization. Land has reached its highest price on this side the Atlantic in the lower wards of New York. When the Drexel Building,

at the southeast corner of Wall and Broad streets, was erected, the price per square foot of the ground whereon it stands was the highest paid up to that time. When, in 1882, William H. Vanderbilt gave $40 per square foot for the lots on Fifth Avenue, Fifty-second and Fifty-third streets, on which the family mansions stand, that was the highest price ever paid for residential purposes. FOl' store sites on Fifth A venue, $65 per square foot were paid in March, 1886. D. O. Mills paid $85 per square foot for the area occupied by his magnificent building on Broad Street, the Astors $100 per square foot for Nos. 8 and 10 Broadway, and the Williamsburg F'ireInsurance Company $115 per square foot for the site of their equally impressive structure on the northeast corner of Lib- erty Street and Broadway. In the neighborhood of the old Jumel estate urices rose from 75 to 100 per cent. between 1882 and March, 1886. The ceaseless and costly industry of the commonwealth will undoubtedly raise pr-ices to higher figures, and entail heavier taxes upon owners. These will continue to profit by the unearned increment of value; to sell, mortgage, donate, and bequeath as usual; and how this can or- ought to be otherwise, under the ordinary operation of demand and supply, and of the natural desire of possessors to make the best possible use of their own property, is a question that the vast majority will not pause to consider. Some affirm that not more than twentyfive per cent. of all the deeds recorded express the bona fide consideration paid by each buyer for his property. With an eye to future gains, he is wont to insert, or cause to be inserted, figures other than those which denote the real amount of cash transferred. Unprincipled dealers arrange matters so that deeds of property bought shall express purchase-money at higher sums than were actually paid, and cause them to be made out to" dummies," who are probably clerks in their own offices. The dummy then borrows money, as much as or more than what was paid upon the property, and secures the lender by bond and mortgage. This done, he transfers the property to the real buyer, who puts it on the market at still higher price, loudly asseverates that it is worth all he asks, and points to the amount of the mortgage in proof of his protestations. Lenders, he says, do not loan to the full

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value of the security. This device is often successful. The price nominally paid for real estate in New York is by no means a sure guide to its actual worth. This is contingent upon locality, improvements, and residential or commercial advantages. It depends greatly upon ad ventitious circumstances, which the intending purchaser should judiciously consider upon the spot. Unlike the securities manipulated at the Stock Exchange, or the merchandise handled by the Produce Exchange, it has no temporarily fixed or quotable value. In the judgment of dealers it is worth what the owner or broker can sell it for. Sunshine and shadow are factors of value. Property on the west side of the avenues and on the south side of cross streets is worth on the average about twenty-five per cent. more than similar property on the opposite side, because it is shaded in the afteruoons, when women are wont to make their purchases. The northerly side of streets and the easterly side of avenues are for that reason and for lower rentals preferred for domiciles. Variations in the value of New York and vicinity real estate are a somewhat astonishing series of phenomena. The erection of the elevated railroads in the first instance, and the reduction of fares from ten to five cents in the second, hoisted prices in the upper wards of the city. In 1834, $750 each for lots on Broad way and Fourteenth Street was scouted as a crazy demand. In the same year $1200 for a lot on Fifth Avenue and Fourteenth Street was a wildly speculative venture; but in 1835 such lots were sold at auction for $13,000; in 1836, for $28,000, and may now be worth $100,000. In 1836, Anthony J. Bleecker sold lots in Harlem for $1000 each. Ten years later the same lots sold for $9 each, over and above encumbrances, and ten years later still sold for $2500 each. In 1836 he sold sixty-one lots in Paterson for $42,000, and in 1842 resold them for $3000. Since then they have commanded upward of $150,000. In 1835 he sold lots on Forty-third and Forty-fourth streets for $400 each, resold them in 1836 for $900 each, and after the financial crash of 1837 sold them once more for $300each. Just after the Central Park had been laid out, he sold lots on Fifth Avenue, near Sixtieth Street, for $700 apiece that are now held at $35,000.

Perhaps the most lucrative trade in real estate reported to New-Yorkers is one made by the Asters some three or four years ago. Purchasing about 2000 lots on Morrisania and Railroad avenues and on streets in the lower part of the city for $440,000, John Jacob Astor subsequently sold about 400 of them for $500,000, leaving the Astor estate in possession of the best part of the whole purchase, worth over $2,000,000. Due record of deeds is a matter of vast importance in transfers, even though a deed be "perfectly good without record against the grantor himself and his heirs," and although" a deed not recorded is just as good as if it had been recorded against any parties or the heirs of any parties wh. took the land from the grantor by a subsequent deed, even for a full price, if they had at the time notice or knowledge of the prior and unrecorded deed." Neglect of registration is a fruitful cause of expensive worry and litigation. Registered judgments, hell's unexpectedly turning up, mortgages whose satisfaction has not been recorded, rights of dower and courtesy, both of which conveyancers would gladly abolish in order to facilitate transfers, are difficulties in the way of undisputed title. Equity ultimately decides in courts of law who is entitled to possession; but due precaution in search and record would, in most instances, nullify the need of resort to it. All titles are cleared by sale under judicial decree. Three corporations in the city of New York undertake search into the validity of titles, and guarantee for proportionate sums the accuracy of their conclusions. Each of these companies claims to have, or that it will have, sets of books containing the history of every lot in the city. Such facilities the Real Estate Exchange already possesses. The official method of indexing the records of private and public property is just now a qucesiio vexata in real estate circles. In 1884 the Governor appointed a committee of five gentlemen, identified with real property affairs in New York, to consider the subject of reforming the method of indexing public records of conveyances, liens, and encumbrances of all kinds. After two years of agitation they presented a majority and also a minority report to the Legislature, and submitted a number of bills for consideration by that body. The difference between the two reports was

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that the majority favored the lot system, while the minority advocated the block plan of indexing. Neither was adopted. At the same session a bill drawn by a committee of the State Bar Association, which provided for the recording, instead of indexing, of papers under a block system, was presented. It proposed that a book should be set apart for each block, in which book all documents affecting property in that block should be recorded. Mayor and Register were authorized to provide for the execution of the proposed statute, which subsequently became law. But Mayor and Register, it is said, have since come to the conclusion

that nothing can be done until the law itself is amended. Non possumus seems to be a genuine excuse for attempting nothing. The importance of change in the method of indexing to the dealers in real estate is very great, in view of the great saving of time and expense involved. As the law now stands, it is impossible to close the title to real estate within thirty days, unless the purchaser submit to extortionate charges. Expediters of searches are wont to exact considerably more than the usual charges for their services. Lawyers as well as clients feel the pressure, and seek the initiation of suitable reforms.

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~!Jitb :lllapet. NE al ways hears of Highland scenery at its best; one usually sees it at its worst. We found the trip from Oban to Inverness up the Caledonian Canal as tedious as it is said to be charming. There was little to break the monotonv of the journey. Water and sky and shores were of uniform grayness. Now and then we passed the ruins of an old castle. At a place whose name I have forgotten the boat stopped, that everybody might walk a mile or more to see a water-fall. At Fort Augustus the boat was three-quarters of an hour getting

through the locks, and in the mean time enterprising tourists climbed the tower of the new Benedictine monastery, which stands where was once the old fort. The next morning after our arrival at Inverness we walked at a good pace out of the town, and on the broad, smooth road that leads to Culloden. The country was quiet and pastoral, and the way in places pleasant and shady. It was a striking contrast to the western wilderness from which we had just come. But twenty miles lay between us and Nairn; like Dr. Johnson, we were going

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