History - written by Chris Buchner (used with permission)
Built in 1870 by Jacob Wrey Mould, the Tavern was originally used as a sheepfold that held over 200 South Down sheep. After 65 years, park commissioner Robert Moses decided it would be better served as a restaurant. He began a personal mission to oust Mayor Jimmy Walker's casino from the opposite end of the park. When he succeeded, he moved the sheep to Prospect Park in Brooklyn and began the Tavern's conversion.
In October of 1934, Tavern on the Green opened for business. It thrived for the following few decades, embraced widely by New Yorkers, until 1974. The Tavern had lost touch with the times and went out of business. Warner Leroy, the son of Wizard of Oz producer Mervyn Leroy and Doris Warner (Harry Warner's daughter), bought the restaurant and began a two year $10 million renovation. He added glass-enclosed rooms, elegant furnishings and more. The Tavern reopened in August of 1976, and was back better than ever. For over 30 more years, the Tavern was the place to go for Hollywood premier parties or other prestigious events.
On December 31, 2009 the Tavern held its last seating after 75 years of service. New ownership took effect in 2010, but all of the classic Tavern interior and exterior fixtures and topiaries were sold off via auction in January 2010. More information can be found here.
- Tavern on the Green is located diagonally across the street from the Shandor Building. Louis approached it coming from the northern path, however the point he entered the park at is located South of the Tavern. (text written by Chris Buchner)
- The statue Louis stands next to when he stops on the path momentarily was actually a prop added by the crew. Throughout the whole movie, the crew was trying to add to New York's gothic style through the use of statues. (text written by Chris Buchner)
- If you'd like to see what the Tavern looks like before before Warner LeRoy bought it in 1974, check out Portrait of Jennie (1948), which shows Joseph Cotten and Ethel Barrymore having cocktails there. (according to the 2005 book "Hollywood: The Movie Lover's Guide - The Ultimate Insider Tour Of Movie L.A." by Richard Alleman)
Real World Photos
- Vintage Tavern On The Green Souvenir Photo (Sept. 27, 1947):
This is an item I purchased at a yard sale on Saturday, July 11, 2009, which was hidden amongst a bunch of old photographs and papers. On the back of the photo is stamped the date September 27, 1947. To give you an idea of how long ago that was, not only was it 30 years before I was born, it was even before my mother was born! The photo comes inside a paperboard folder, which features a sketch of the building on the front, some fun facts on the inside opposite the photo, and the price ($1.50) and photographer/ordering information on the back. I don't know if the Tavern on the Green still provides souvenir photos to their diners, or if they stopped that practice long ago, but this is definitely one of the most unique Ghostbusters-related items I have in my collection. It would only be better if Louis and his canine companion had one taken while they were there that dark night back in 1984. For the record, I have no clue who the people in the photograph are. If you are one of the people in the photo - and God bless you for still being alive - or you know someone who's in it, feel free to e-mail me.