NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- David Letterman said goodbye as the host of "Late Show" Wednesday night, and is now officially retired.
As CBS2's Jill Nicolini reported, the final show was filled with many surprises in an old and familiar setting. But within 24 hours of the taping, the Ed Sullivan Theater at 1697 Broadway was not the same at all.
The theater looked like a construction zone Thursday. The audience chairs had been ripped from the floor and were lying in a pile, and the stage set with its models of New York City buildings and bridges had been broken down into pieces.
Coner Dixon of Boulder, Colorado came for a piece of the old show Thursday.
"Basically my entire life, he was there, you know, putting me to bed," Dixon said. "I remember watching him with my dad."
Outside the stage door, workers loaded trucks with couches and props, while dumpsters overflowed with remains of the legendary set. Steve Young, who has been a writer on "The Late Show" for 25 years wanted a memento and, sorted through plastic fibers and lights from what once was the city skyline behind Letterman's desk.
He even found part of a model bridge.
"Full of various happy-sad emotions, and it's just going to be weird to realize, everything that we thought was our world is really gone, so it's a bit of a transition," Young said.
Rumor has it that Letterman's desk is being shipped off to the Smithsonian. Meanwhile, Nicolini was told that the iconic blue and yellow marquee proclaiming the Ed Sullivan Tehater as home of the "Late Show" with David Letterman, and of Paul Shaffer and the CBS Orchestra, will come down Thursday evening or early next week.
On Wednesday, a roster of stars turned out for joyous and wistful moments, as Letterman signed off after nearly 22 years on "The Late Show" on CBS, and a career of 33 years in late night television. The show ran 18 minutes longer than usual.
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Before signing off, Letterman thanked and honored the many people who have made the show possible over the years, first looking back on former CBS President Howard Stringer's decision to do "The Late Show" from the Ed Sullivan Theater. Letterman described the theater as a "huge, horrible dump" before the show began, but he said it was turned into a beautiful space.
The Ed Sullivan Theater will continue to be the home of the "Late Show" when Stephen Colbert takes over on Sept. 8.
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