New York’s Landmarks Preservation Commission has finally sold a chunk of the architectural goodies it has been keeping in a warehouse in Williamsburg, Brooklyn for years. Four lucky bidders took home the trove for around $19,500.
The warehouse has been home to salvaged materials from demolished buildings (including theaters, post offices, and city slaughterhouses) since 1980. Some historically significant articles were removed from the auction, including a number of stone steer heads donated to the Hudson River Park Trust and the Clinton Housing Development Company. Remnants from the Audubon Ballroom in Washington Heights, where Malcolm X was assassinated, were given to the Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Education Center, and other donations were made to the National Building Museum and the Museum of the City of New York, as well.
Originally, the commission intended to sell the rusted metal, broken bathroom appliances and other random elements to a single bidder. However, when only one bid was made, the commission declined the offer and split up the collection.
John Weiss, deputy counsel for the commission, said “It’s going to get out to the public, to New Yorkers.”
One of the main bidders was Build It Green! NYC, a non-profit retailing group for such materials in Astoria, Gowanus and Queens. Some of the items acquired by the organization include an antique phone booth and candy machine, a couple of fireplaces and two chandeliers.
Justin Green, the organization’s director, said Build It Green purchased 12 truckloads-full of elements. “We’re a cross between and Lowe’s and Goodwill” he said. “People can use it for brownstones, to renovate a restaurant, whatever.”