Tavern on the Green Auction Begins Today

Anyone want a chandelier?

Wednesday, Jan 13, 2010  |  Updated 9:01 AM EDT
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LOOK: Own a Piece of Tavern on the Green

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Tavern on the Green sings its swan song.

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The chandeliers and Tiffany stained glass from New York City's famed Tavern on the Green restaurant are up for sale.

The glitzy Central Park restaurant served its last meal and closed its doors on New Year's Eve following financial problems.

Its magnificent dining area is being temporarily converted to an auction space to help cover its $8 million debt.  A federal judge ruled that even items like the chestnut wood paneling and Park Room mural will go on the auction block.    Items can be seen at LiveAuctioneer.com.

The landmark restaurant had been known for its over-the-top decor. Other items being auctioned to the public beginning Wednesday include copper weather vanes, silver candelabras, place settings, chairs and even garden furniture.

The sale is organized by the Guernsey's auction house, known for its auctions of items related to luminaries such as John F. Kennedy, Elvis Presley and Mickey Mantle.

The former sheepfold at the edge of Central Park, now ringed by twinkling lights and fake topiary animals, closed after New Year's Eve. Just three years ago, it was plating more than 700,000 meals annually, bringing in more than $38 million.

But that astronomical sum wasn't enough to keep the landmark restaurant out of bankruptcy court. Its $8 million debt is to be covered at an auction of Baccarat and Waterford chandeliers, Tiffany stained glass, a mural depicting Central Park and other over-the-top decor that has bewitched visitors for decades.

Even the restaurant's name is up for grabs. At stake is whether another restaurateur taking over the 27,000 square feet of space, owned by the city, can reopen as Tavern on the Green.

For 75 years, since it first opened amid the Great Depression, the Tavern has attracted clients from around the world.

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