A chance to snap up keep­sakes from New York’s fa­mous Tav­ern on the Green

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - AUCTIONS - By Ellen Wulfhorst

FANS of New York’s Tav­ern on the Green, a lav­ish eatery pop­u­lar with tourists that closed its doors deep in debt, can buy bits of its glitz and glit­ter as keep­sakes next week at pub­lic auc­tion.

The land­mark, one of the few build­ings in­side Cen­tral Park, shut down on Jan­uary 1, and its own­ers are sell­ing its chan­de­liers, stat­ues and other decor to help re­tire their bank­ruptcy debts.

Tav­ern vis­i­tors, who once num­bered in the hun­dreds of thou­sands a year, will prob­a­bly recog­nise the mu­rals, Tif­fany stained glass, crys­tal chande- liers, etched mir­rors and lifesize wild an­i­mal sculp­tures, all for sale from Jan­uary 13 to 15.

The own­ers, the LeRoy fam­ily, have said in court doc­u­ments they are seek­ing $500 000 (R3.6 mil­lion) in sale pro­ceeds. They are re­ported to be as much as $8m in debt.

But with no min­i­mum price on any of the items, the po­ten­tial sale to­tal is un­cer­tain, said Ar­lan Et­tinger, pres­i­dent of Guernsey’s which is run­ning the auc­tion.

Some items have spe­cial value, he said, point­ing to a shiny baby grand pi­ano at an auc­tion preview.

“ John Len­non, Michael Jack­son, Duke Elling­ton all

‘You didn’t come here for the food. You didn’t come here for the ser­vice. You came to see it,’ said Stu­art Lau­rence, a re­tired judge who lives nearby.

sat down and tick­led the keys. That makes it more than just a nice pi­ano,” Et­tinger said.

Other pieces are one of a kind, with lit­tle prece­dent to set their mar­ket value, he said, adding: “It’s breath­tak­ing, no mat­ter what your taste.”

The Tav­erns at amid brightly lit trees, over­size top­i­ary stal­lions and ice sculp­tures in win­ter.

But na­tive New York­ers tended not to pa­tro­n­ise the tav­ern and it earned poor re­views of its food and prices.

“You didn’t come here for the food. You didn’t come here for the ser­vice,” said Stu­art Lau­rence, a re­tired judge who lives nearby and vis­ited the auc­tion preview.

“You came to see it,” he said, “and it fed a lot of tourists.”

The flashy dé­cor came cour­tesy of the late Warner LeRoy, the son of a pro­ducer of The Wizard of Oz, who took over the restau­rant in 1976. He died in 2001, and his fam­ily took over.

The LeRoy fam­ily lost a bid to re­new their tav­ern lease last year.

A restau­ra­teur who won the lease has plans to ren­o­vate and re­open in the spring but is­sues such as who has rights to the Tav­ern on the Green name, are pend­ing in court. – Reuters

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