Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Farewell to Tavern on the Green

Restaurant on the Park
Tavern on the Green dates to 1934, when legendary New York City Parks Commissioner Robert Moses decided that a sheepfold on the edge of Sheep Meadow would be better used as a restaurant. Leased by the city to a series of managers, the building and its interior were given new life in 1974, when famed restarauteur Werner LeRoy embarked on a dramatic renovation. The business was operated by his descendants until 2009, when financial pressures forced them to declare bankruptcy.

Tiffany Glass
In its heyday, the Tavern was a watering hole for the city's movers and shakers and a popular dining spot among the city's cultural élite. Among its many attractions — all of which are set to be sold in an auction beginning Jan. 13 — were a number of stained-glass Tiffany murals, like the one above adorning the restaurant's bar area.

Land of Oz
The green crystal chandelier at the centerpiece of the Crystal Room is estimated to be worth $300,000.

The Russians Are Coming (or Going ...)
The restaurant was known for its collection of samovars, all of which are also set to be auctioned.

Big Bucks
In 2007 the restaurant had revenue of $38 million, making it the second highest-grossing independently owned restaurant in the U.S.

Everything for Sale
Those looking to re-create a Tavern on the Green dining experience may consider bidding for one of the restaurant's place settings.

Buckets and Things
Though it is hard to put a price tag on the total value of the items for sale, a Sotheby's appraisal made several years ago suggests that the restaurant inventory — which includes these champagne buckets and wine stands, as well as 25,000 other objects — could have a value of $8.17 million.

Even the Shirts on Their Backs
Not even the uniforms worn by the restaurant employees are exempt from auction.

End of an Era
The famous restaurant was shuttered on Dec. 31, 2009, marking the end of the LeRoy family's proprietorship. Dean Poll, the current operator of the Central Park Boathouse, has already been granted a 20-year operating license by the Parks Department. He has said he plans a massive renovation, but because the LeRoys claim that the name Tavern on the Green is trademarked, the new restaurant is likely to reopen with a different name.

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