REASONS WHY RENT WAS REASONABLE AND REAL ESTATE LOW IN NEW YORK CITY IN 1800.
Property in Pearl street, in 1800, could not have been worth a great sum. The rent of a three-story house and store beneath did not exceed $400, and the cost of the building and lot, 25x100, was not over $4,000. There are several good reasons why rent was reasonable and real estate low. In 1800, the taxes were comparatively nothing. There was no water rent. People swept the streets. The lamp-lighters used the oil given them for street-lamps, and did not (as was done in after years) use dirty, cheap oil, and sell the costly city article. There was no army of 2,000 policemen to support, costing tax-payers at least $2,000,000. On the contrary, one hundred steady and brave watchmen did duty at night, and earned their one dollar. These "good old leather-heads," with their clubs cost the city $25,000 a year. Not a dollar more,---and how few robberies, rapes and murders were committed in those good old days. The population was smaller in 1800 than in 1861, and of course more honest. The early people did not know anything about swindling sewer and other contracts. Street opening was not expensive, as people not interested did not have to bear the expenses, as is now done. For instance, Chambers street was extended for no special purpose except to benefit a few, at an expense to others, of a million dollars, and many houses taxed from two dollars to twenty-two hundred dollars, that do not receive twenty-five cents benefit. Over 6,848 houses were taxed for this scheme. Also, look at opening the Bowery from Chatham to Franklin Square, at a cost of $600,000. Over 800 pieces of property assessed for this purpose. These assessments are made from Old Slip to Fourteenth street. Even the projectors of that scheme have realized no benefit from it. Such things were not done in 1800, consequently it was safe to own real estate in those days. This is an excerpt from: Source: The Old Merchants of New York City Author: Walter Barrett, Clerk Second series Publisher: Carleton, Publisher, 413 Broadway Entered according to the Act of Congress 1863 _____________________________________ Researched and Transcribed by Miriam Medina Back To BUSINESS Main Return to BROOKLYN Info Main Page