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Sunday, August 29, 2010

lost worlds: Tavern on the Green

Tavern on the Green ( Wikipedia entry ) as one of those places I had always heard about, as a fancy Place to Go in the city. I was sort of absent-mindedly curious about it, but not enough to actually go there. It was expensive, after all, and also, as best I could tell, full of tourists, thus making it the dining equivalent of Times Square. Then last summer the news came out that it was going to close, at which point I decided I had better go if I was going.

I was glad I did. I stopped in for tea on a weekend afternoon -- one of the less pricey options, and no reservations required -- and it was gloriously ridiculous, in the best over-the-top New York LOOK WE GLITTER kind of way. It was also a little bit like having tea in a faerie garden.

As of right now, talks to re-open a restaurant on the site have collapsed (again), but foodtrucks will be parked across the street.

Here are some examples of what it used to look like:

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Lanterns on an inside wall


I always think of this picture when contemplating why people would fall in love with this restaurant. For some reason it makes me think of Cinderella and coaches that turn into pumpkins at midnight.

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Lights and flowers outside


The Tavern is right on the edge of Central Park; Sheep Meadow, a huge expanse of green grass, is just beyond it. Here is where the dirty grimy noisy seething city can start to fade away.

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Tiffany chandelier inside


There were an ENTIRE HALLWAY full of these things. Also a cabinet full of glittery statuary. It was stunning, in the sense that I felt like I'd been bonked in the head with a glitter stick. Also, I totally loved it.

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Lanterns in the trees in the inner courtyard


It took some finagling to get seated (there is, or was, a strict hierarchy of tablecloths!) but when I finally did: it was fabulous.

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The dining room, facing the courtyard


I experienced a pang that I would never be able to attend (or hold) a function in this dining room, and be able to see it all lit up at night.

The furnishings that made the Tavern what it was were sold; this particular iteration of the Tavern will never be again. Hopefully the new one, if there is one, will shine just as brightly.

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