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