A victim of the lower Manhattan real estate boom it helped to stimulate, New York's wonderful Skyscraper Museum is being forced to vacate its space on the ground floor of 44 Wall St.

Friends and supporters will gather on Tuesday evening from 7 to 9 p.m. to honor the museum and to salute Carol Willis, the brilliant and energetic woman who created the Skyscraper Museum in 1996 from nothing but her imagination, her passion for New York architecture, and her belief in the importance of history and the value of the public realm. (Bring your own wine and cheese: The low-budget, high-content museum survives on small grants and Willis takes no salary.)The original agreement made with New York Life Insurance, the building's owner, provided the museum with a home for six months while the company sought a buyer for the property; the agreement was later extended through 1997. The new owner, a partnership headed by First Boston, has given the museum its walking papers effective Jan. 5.

The current show, "Downtown New York: The Architecture of Business, the Business of Buildings," with its intimate look at the skyscraper from the inside out - including ads, furnishings and riveters' tools - will be up until Dec. 31.

"We had hoped to keep the office a while longer to regroup and plan our next show," Willis said, adding: "It's understandable. There's a real frontier-town market mentality down here these days."

Anyone want to adopt a museum? The number to call is 212-968-1961.