Own A Piece Of Central Park History – Tavern On The Green Auction

Tavern On The Green

Tavern On The Green

Have a need for a Baccarat crystal chandelier? Here is a chance to own part of Central ark history as Tavern On The Green plans to sell thousands of items, from chandeliers to dinnerware, to the highest bidder on Jan. 13-14.

New York City-based Guernsey’s is conducting the Tavern on the Green sale at the restaurant. It will be open to the public and a preview of the thousands of objects will be held from Jan. 6 to Jan. 14.

Everything from the Baccarat crystal chandeliers, the Japanese lanterns in the garden to the tablecloths and dinnerware will be sold, though Guernsey’s founder and president, Arlan Ettinger, declined to estimate what the items could fetch. Tavern on the Green, which filed for bankruptcy protection in September after the city did not renew its license, is disbursing the proceeds of the auction to its creditors.

At least one item, however, will not be for sale. The LeRoy family, which operated the restaurant for the past three decades is keeping an antique turkey platter that is mounted on a wall at the restaurant and was used in the LeRoy household.

The Tavern on the Green auction will include the Tiffany stained glass ceilings that were removed from Warner LeRoy’s first restaurant in New York, Maxwell’s Plum. In addition, there are many items stored in its Long Island City, Queens warehouse, including samovars from the Russian Tea Room (which Mr. LeRoy owned in the1990s) and bottles of wine.

History The Sheep Meadow in Central Park derives its name from a flock of sheep that occupied the lawn during the first years of the last century.   A sheepfold was constructed just across the drive at the western edge of the meadow to house this unique flock of urban herbivores. Their off-Broadway run came to an end in 1934 when uber-commissioner Robert Moses had them shipped off to Prospect Park. The Shepard was assigned to the lion house at the Central Park Zoo, which presumably was a job upgrade. The sheepfold was then converted into a restaurant, which we now know as Tavern on the Green.

The first incarnation of Tavern on the Green — the restaurant — was launched on October 20, 1934, with a coachman in full regalia at the door. In the late 1930s the building was taken over by the Civilian Patrol Corps as its headquarters until 1943, when the management of the nearby Claremont Inn on Riverside Drive took it over and renovated it to become a year-round restaurant. By the 1950s, Tavern on the Green was showing some wear and tear and the brilliant designer Raymond Loewy was engaged to renovate the building, yet again — a process which resulted in the addition of the Elm Room (now the Park Room), named after the tree it wrapped around. In the seventies the restaurant was once again renovated. Hand-hewn rafters re-emerged and the soaring vaulted ceilings above them reappeared after being hidden for decades by ordinary plaster. The Elm, Rafters, and Chestnut Rooms were paneled in exceedingly rare wormy chestnut. In the Crystal and Terrace Rooms, rustic baroque gave way to flights of rococo fancy.

Always a fantastic work in progress, Tavern on the Green underwent yet another renovation in 1988 to expand its popular Tavern Store, relocate the bar, and create the lovely Park Room and Garden.

Later, the Crystal Garden that overlooks the Sheep Meadow was remodeled to accommodate dancing during the summer months. And, in 1993, a celebrated “Menagerie of Topiaries”, created by the Hollywood wizards who fashioned the fantastic greenery for the hit film EDWARD SCISSORHANDS, took up residence in Tavern’s gardens.

Three years later, during the summer of 1996, Tavern’s treasured topiaries were given another Crystal Garden attraction to keep watch over, a 40-foot bar fashioned from trees harvested from New York City parks. Tavern’s Garden Bar gives new life to trees that have died or been cut down for safety or landscaping purposes. The sheep would be proud.

From Pale Male to Pan Am – An Airport In Manhattan's Central Park

Well it wasn’t the absurdity of the idea that immediately tagged the Manhattan Airport Foundation as a fictitious group. There have been a raft of idiotic suggestions on how to use Central Park since its inception. These included a race track, artillery range, public housing, large scale amusement park and, my personal favorite, a wild game preserve. What marked this as a well designed hoax was the fact that the website – manhattanairport.org – stated that they already had significant funding. That would be like raising funds for converting City Hall into KMart. Only a complete boob, or apparently the Huffington Post, would believe that such a farcicial idea was gaining international financial support.  That and the fact that the website listed the company headquarters on the 58th floor of a 57 story building (the Woolworth Building).  Oh, and maybe the 10 or 20 thousand security issues raised by having giant airplanes buzzing by the Empire State Building.  Did anyone say 9/11?

Anyway – no one has taken responsibilty for the hoax yet – the domain name is even registered to an annonymous shell company.  But they do have a growing band of happy followers on Facebook – divided between the amused and the deluded.  Cant wait to see where this takes off from here.

Thoth Arrested In Central Park

Anyone who visits Bethesda Terrace in Central Park is familiar with Thoth, a street performer that has made the center of the park his personal stage for years now.  His performances evoke responses ranging from amazement to annoyance – last Sunday’s performance met with an entirely new reaction – his arrest.

The 55-year-old – a Bethesda Fountain fixture whose real name is Stephen Kaufman – was apparently the target of a Central Park Conservancy crackdown on music played at “quiet zones” that include the fountain plaza.

Clad in loincloth, sandals and headress Thoth combines violin, percussions and an eerily eching voice to create what he calls a “prayformance.” He’s in the tunnel by the Angel of the Waters Fountain every afternoon from Wednesday through Sunday, year-round.  After park police officers told Thoth to move along Sunday, he and his assistant Zoe Harkin, 21, aka Pink Angel, decided to at least perform their opening prayer, Anya.

Singing in a trance, they ignored cops’ orders to stop. When the song was over, they were summarily hauled off and charged with disorderly conduct, area use restriction and failure to comply with an officer. They’re due in court Aug. 27.

While I can certainly understand the Conservancy’s point, it is a crowded area and the masses of people that collect for the performances make visiting the Fountain much like a rugby scrum on weekends.  I also don’t much care for the rather arch histrionics of Mr. Kaufman’s performance.  On the other hand – you can’t help but think that there might have been any number of better ways that this could have been dealt with, besides leading the man away in handcuffs.  He’s been a fixture in the park for years, surely some accommodation could have been made that didn’t include police intervention.  After all, it’s not as if he had a major wardrobe malfunction – that is if you accept the fact that his costume doesn’t constitute a misdemeanor in the first place.

Liam Neeson's New Digs

Liam Neeson declared on Jon Stewart’s show last week that he would be happy to move into one of the luxurious carriage horse stables in Hell’s Kitchen. Here’s a few photos of where he’d be moving to.

Pretty swank. As a supporter I’m sure Mr Neeson will be happy to have his picture taken at one of these lovely spots.


Really – who wouldn’t want to live here?

Chanel Mobile Art Exhibit Lands In Central Park

It looks like a giant, reptilian caterpillar curled up on Rumsey Playfield -with gleaming white walls and retro-cool flourescent accents (mauve, of course) to complete the effect the Chanel Mobile Art Exhibit looks like nothing so much as Star Trek as imagined by IKEA. The serpentine structure also has its own contingent of Oompa-loompas, an entire squadron of attractive, bored looking young men and women that wear uniforms straight from a badly dubbed, sixties sci-fi flick.
Upon entering I was presented with earphones and a stylishly minute MP3 device that would direct me on my journey. The narration was helpful, after I got over the fact that I expected the guide to break into “Broken English” – if the women’s voice had possessed any more gravel it could have been used as a glass packed muffler. (Obscure Marianne Faithful reference.)

The exhibit itself was interesting at times and visually stunning once or twice, but the audio guide was just a little too consciously precocious – at times she sounded like a late night FM disc jockey from the days of AOR. That, and the fact that she gave absolutely no information about the artist responsible for each piece, which was somewhat puzzling. She seemed to be more intent on telling me how and what to feel.
In other words all that was missing was a continuous loop of “Thus Spake Zarathustra” to make sure that we understood how really important it all was. The fact is that while it was pretty interesting, even compelling at times, it was really much ado about not so much.

Giant handbag not withstanding.