NYC rubbish removalists light up when they find original Copacabana matchbook and ashtray

Copacabana ashtray with matching matches

In my younger years, I may have visited Copacabana (or “The Copa”) a time or two. Now, I just collect its memorabilia — from the garbage, of course.

Just two weeks ago, I found these Copacabana matches in a cleanout job in Manhattan. It was an apartment full of junk on the East Side of NYC. These matches are from the nightclub’s original location, 10 East 60th Street in Manhattan. But the ashtray I’ve had for years, ever since I found it in the garbage in someone’s house, almost a decade ago. When I saw these matches, I had to have them — you know me and my collections.

The back of the matchbook had an advertisement for the nightclub.

The Copa opened in 1940 at 10 East 60th Street. Two guys, one of whom was Frank Costello, partnered to open the place. This club had celebrities of all kinds go to party there and perform there. We’re talking celebrities like Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis, Marvin Gaye, Sam Cooke, Mickey Mantle and Yogi Berra, just to name a few.
After its original owner died, The Copa closed for three years in 1970s. It reopened in 1992, but the then-owner Peter Dorn relocated the place to 617 West 57th Street in Manhattan. Moving once wasn’t enough, and the club moved again in 2001, but this time to West 34th Street and 11th Avenue.

In the East Side apartment where I found the matchbook.

You’d think moving twice would be enough for a business — or at least result in it closing permanently. But nope. It had to move again in 2007 because its location was right in the middle of a construction project to expand the IRT Flushing Line (the 7 train) of the New York City Subway. The club has yet to find a new permanent home. For now, it is located at Columbus 72, at Columbus Avenue and 72nd Street.

Now I just need an ashtray that matches my Coke matches

Back of ashtray

DiMola Bros Rubbish Removal
1640 Summerfield St.
Ridgewood, NY 11385
Phone: 718-326-6969
Fax: 718-326-7979 /

~ by DiMolaBros1956 on July 19, 2011.

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