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CHAPTER V. AROUP I: Counties—Islands-Surface_Bayfurnish Facilities–Counties Described_Kings, New York, Queens, Richmond, Suffolk-Area- Population-Classed-Density of Population-Unimproved Land yet to be Improved-Valuations-Farms—Tools-Stock-Routes rf Traffic-Aggregate Valuations--Distribution of Land-Crops—Vegetable Products–Value Animals—Proportion — Lands Profitable as Market Gardens-Animal Products-Value Appendix-Statistics-Agricultural-Financial Population and Assessed Values.
Counties: Kings, city and county of New York, Queens, Richmond and Suffolk must be described separate.
The island of Manhattan embraces the whole of the city and county of New York. Its area is about 14,000 acres. Some portions of the upper end of the island is yet cultivated in market gardens, though the whole ibland has been mapped into city lots and streets, and it cannot be regarded as in anywise an agricultural county.
Staten Island is embraced in the county of Richmond. Its area is put down in the report of its supervisors at 30,233. The general surface is rocky and hilly. A portion of the south and west side is level, and where not too wet furnishes excellent farming land. Its proximity to New York will ensure it a surplus of the population of that city, and along the navigable water which surrounds it is springing manufactories that are becoming daily more important. Its value does not consist in the agricultural capacity of its soil, but in its peculiar adaptability for furnishing sites for manufacturing establishments; and its heights, overlooking the bay and city, furnishing building spots for the summer villas of the wealthy citizens of New York.
Long Island includes within its boundaries three counties, viz: Kings, Queens and Suffolk; its whole area is about 630,000 acres. Its surface is generally level, except on the north side, where it rises into moderate ridges, and may be called hilly; the soil, over the most part; is a sandy loam. On the north side, and among the hills, a clay occasionally abounds. East of Queens county and throughout Suffoik the surface is largely covered with a scrub oak and pine forest, which is of little value for timber; and when cleared off leaves stumps that are eradicated with difficulty before the soil can be properly cultivated. The soil is warm and quick, and admirably calculated for what it must ultimately become the market garden for a great city. The products of agriculture are remunerating, and though the soil requires frequent and heavy manuring, yet there is no portion of the State where high farming pays as well as here. The soil is cultivated with less labor than anywhere else in the State, the climate nilder, and the farmer finds a profitable market for all his products.
The innumerable bays and creeks which indent its shores furnish excellent fishing grounds; and it is estimated by intelligent residents that the sca furnishes an income fully equal to the land.
The surplus population of New York is rapidly flowing out upon the island, and filling it with a suburban or village population.
Kings county can no longer be considered as an agricultural county,
being almost entirely occupied by a city, or urban and suburban population. The north and west portions of Queens county are in the same condition, and a large portion of the whole county is rapidly becoming only . market garden and a succession of villages.
The public works upon the island are the Long Island railroad, running nearly the entire length of the island. That, together with its bays and creeks, furnish unequaled facilities for obtaining manure ať cheap rate, as well as for a rapid transit of its products. There are few if any places that are five miles from either a railroad station or a steamboat or sloop landing, while the majority of farms would not equal three miles from these places.
In its agriculture the island will never do much towards supporting the population now filling its western end and swarming along its shores and railroads towards its interior.
The following is a brief description of the several counties with regard to their future valuations :
KINGS County. Kings county is bounded east by the county of Queens, south by the Atlantic ocean, west by the bay of New York, and north by the East river.
It can hardly be termed an agricultural county, as its available surface is occupied for city or village purposes, or as a market garden. It derives its principal value from this cause, and in a very few years will be occupied by only an urban population.
As a city, Brooklyn cannot be regarded in a commercial point of view, other than as second to New York. Its real estate must therefore be regarded as much less valuable, and will not as a whole, exceed one-quarter the value of similar lots and improvements in the latter city. Its relative value, as fixed the current year, in the opinion of one of the State Assessors, is too high as compared with that of New York. Still, as New York thrives, so must Brooklyn, and its valuation should be annually revised.
TAE CITY OF NEW YORK: The city embraces the whole island upon which it is situated, and is bounded on the north by the Harlem river, on the east by the East river, on the south by the bay, and on the west by the North river.
As to the great commercial emporium of not only the State, but of the whole continent, the floating capital of the State and of the Union, seeks for investment at this point. Capital that could be employed to advantage in improving the manufacturing facilities which the immense hydraulic power of the State furnishes-or to a more thorough cultivation of the soil, and to its improvement by a higher state of farming, is, by reason of the inducements which commerce bolds out for larger gains, withdrawn from the country and concentrated here. Its population and valuations are largely increased each year, and such is the demand at all times for permanent investments, real estate can be forced upon the market and sola with but a small discount from its estimated value. Such is not the case in the country or among the farmers and farms of the State. For that man must be truly fortunate who at a forced sale of his real estate can ré alize one-fourth of its estimated value.
Therefore, while in the aggregate the valuations of the city appear large, yet, if judged by the convertibility of the property, they are not proportionally higher than the farm lands of the State.
The estimate of $5,200 per lot, for all the taxed lots of the city, is under rather than over the value fixed by some of the best judges of the value of real estate in the city. The value of the real estate, if regard be had to the rental, will be found to exceed $1,000,000,000. But as the value of city real estate is affected by the condition of the country, and fluctuates more rapidly than farm or agricultural lands, the aggregate value is perhaps the safe one for a present basis of taxation.
QUEENS COUNTY. Queens county is bounded on the east by Suffolk county, south ly the Atlantic ocean, west by the county of Kings and north by the East river.
The surface is generally level, except on the north side it becomes rolling and hilly. The soil is a sandy loam or gravelly clay loam, and admirably calculated for profitable farming, near a large market. The Long Island railroad through the centre, and the bays and harbors on each side furnish abundant means for a profitable development of its resources. It is becoming rapidly populated, and when the vacant lands around Hempstead are brought into market, the population and wealth will be rapidly increased. It has no commercial or manufacturing centre of importance, but its proximity to the cities of New York and Brooklyn will soon make it nearly, or quite a suburb of those cities; and its population will soon become suburban. Its increase of wealth and population must bs such as to require an annual revision of its valuations.
RICHMOND COUNTY. Richmond county embraces the whole of Siaten Island. Its surface is rocky and hilly, or flat and more or less marshy. As an agricultural county it has small capacity as compared with its surface, and but for its proximity to the city of New York, would be among the least valuable of the second class counties. It has no particular advantages for manufacturing, over the opposite shore of Long Island, and will not populate as rapidly. Yet, such resources as it does possess are being developed, and considerable manufacturing is carried on at different points along its shores. Its greatest value consists in the advantageous position of its hills' and high lands for suburban residences and villas. It will increase in population and wealth much slower than other points around the city, which are reached by less water conveyance.
Its valuations will require a revision once in two years,
SUFFOLK COUNTY. Suffolk county is bounded on the west by the county of Queens, on the north and east by Long Island sound, and on the south by the Atlantic
The surface is broken and hilly, especially in the centre, but along the shores of the bays is level. The soil is generally a sandy loam, which possesses great capacity for profitable cultivation, as little or no part of