Tavern on the Green, once America's highest-grossing restaurant, is singing its culinary swan song. The former sheepfold at the edge of Central Park, now ringed by twinkling lights and fake topiary animals, is preparing for New Year's Eve, when it will serve its last meal. 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. It seems that employing more than 400 unionized New York employees with full benefits, helped to create big financial problems for the Tavern. As the recession hit, they accrued more than 450 debtors. The City of New York now loses one of its best-known, historic Central Park landmarks.
-- It happens only once in a blue moon -- and scientists say a blue moon is exactly what we'll see in the skies this New Year's Eve (tomorrow night). Don't expect an azure glow over our lunar satellite, however. The term "blue moon" simply refers to the second full moon in a calendar month, something that hasn't happened on a New Year's Eve for nearly 20 years, NASA says. "December 1990 ended with a blue moon, and many New Year's Eve parties were themed by the event," said Professor Philip Hiscock of the department of folklore at Memorial University of Newfoundland, in Canada. "It was a lot of fun." Most months have just one full moon, because the 29.5-day cycle of the moon matches up pretty well with the length of calendar months. Occasionally, there will be two full moons in a month, something that happens about every 2½ years, NASA says. But a blue moon on December 31 is rare. Let's all hope that this is a sign that 2010 will be a very prosperous New Year!
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