Bids for the Bear
So that answers my question: I came in Monday morning to a slew of e-mails pointing me in the direction of eBay, where the FAO Schwarz bear was in its final two hours of auction (see "Big Bronze Obstacle" in last week's Stranger). "Can this be for real?" I thought. I called the store, and found that it was, in fact, for real. The bronze bear was being offered for auction by the Gordon Company, Inc. and National Retail Equipment Liquidators, who were appointed by the United States Bankruptcy Court to conduct FAO's liquidation. The bidding started at $1, and by the time I was hip to it was up to $1,100; over the next few hours the price rapidly spiked up to $10,000, and then topped out at $11,800, a small bundle to put against the toy-store chain's huge debts.
It's worth noting that the winner is now responsible for repairing the sidewalk at the corner of Sixth Avenue and Pike Street after the bear is peeled off--payment from the private sector for an advertisement allowed, even encouraged, by our local government.
Many thanks to my intrepid e-mail tipsters, especially the one who closed with the sincere hope that whoever bought the thing wouldn't donate it back to the city. And if you lost this auction and really want a souvenir of the boom-time toy store, keep an eye on eBay; the Gordon Company will also be selling off such items as talking trees, roaring lions, and clock towers.
Free and lovely Valentine's Day gift: Send your valentine message, 30 words or fewer, to email@example.com, and we'll print it for free in our Valentine's Day issue. It'll keep your loved one busy for hours, reading through thousands of messages printed in a tiny font, searching for that which apparently can't be articulated on any other day of the year. Pardon my cynicism, and good luck.