Hot!NYC in the 50's/60's/70's

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the ancient mariner
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2004/07/17 12:32:09 (permalink)

NYC in the 50's/60's/70's

Anyone coming to New York City in the "good old days" ---for a high school prom, a big date, a serious business deal, a weekend, to see a Broadway show, or whatever---probably had a favorite restaurant, you know the kind---shirt and tie and jacket kinda places. I loved the Rainbow Grille, and The Cattleman and Gallagher's-------any others ??? Many are gone, but not forgotten.
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    BT
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    RE: NYC in the 50's/60's/70's 2004/07/18 00:21:28 (permalink)
    Geez--I was kind of impecunious back then. Mostly what I remember is street food (like grilled Italian sausages on a roll from a stand) in the Bowery and some deli on Columbus Circle near the Coloseum where my dad took me to the Boat Show several times. Actually, I went there with my mom a few times too and whined until she took me to an automat which I thought was the ultimate cool.

    In those days, though, the biggest attraction in NYC was not food, it was the OLD Abercrombie & Fitch when it was the ultra ultra of sporting goods stores because I loved fishing as a kid and they had fishing tackle to die for.
    #2
    meowzart
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    RE: NYC in the 50's/60's/70's 2004/07/19 10:12:07 (permalink)
    Sardi's...is it still around? And the Cosmic Coffee Shop. I think that one closed when Colosseum Books closed.
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    seafarer john
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    RE: NYC in the 50's/60's/70's 2004/07/19 11:03:37 (permalink)
    Any of half a dozen German restaurants with "oompah bands" up in Yorkville. A big deli on the corner of (47th and Braodway???) that served grest roast pork sandwiches. PJ Clarke's over on the east side - the beer was what we went for , but I think I remember a pretty good hamburger. The Oyster Bar in Grand Central Station. Nedick's for a hot dog and orange drink. A big old fashioned bar down on Chambers street that served delicious hot liver sausages on hot dog rolls. Keene's Chop House - a very rare and expensive meal. Shrafft's .
    Mama Leone's. The Astor Bar- yeah, there really was one. Eddie Condon's , The Hickory House, Jimmy Ryan's, Blue Note, (What was the name of the great BeBop club on 7th Ave?) - did any of them serve food? Any number of Jewish Delis where you could get a great pastrami sandwich. Once I ate at The Tavern On The Green in Central Park - but i don't remember what we ate.

    In Brooklyn we ate at Lundy's in Sheepshead Bay, Joe's near Borough Hall, and Gage and Tollner. I think they are all gone.

    In those days we always , no matter what the activity, wore our tweed or seesucker jackets, button down blue shirt, rep tie, army surplus khakis.
    and penny loafers. Sometimes a special occasion would demand that we wear a suit (for a while it was a double breasted gray flannel) a white shirt and oxford shoes.

    #4
    Michael Hoffman
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    RE: NYC in the 50's/60's/70's 2004/07/19 12:34:11 (permalink)
    My trips into the city nearly always included a stop at Gerry Cosby's sporting goods store at Madison Square Garden on 8th Avenue. Of course my first stop, when getting off the Banker's Special from New Haven was the Nedicks in Grand central Station.

    One of my favorite places, and it was pretty good back then, was Mama Leone's. They made their lasagna the way I was used to lasagna, with sliced meatballs. Their antipasti were pretty good, too.

    Let's see, there was Major's Cabin near the Empire State Building. Oh, and Griffin & Howe's was always a must stop to check out the fine hunting rifles and shotguns. And, of course, Abercrombie & Fitch, back before the evil Lex Luthor, I mean Les Wexner, bought it and got rid of all the Abercrombie & Fitch merchandise and turned it into a clothing store.
    #5
    albinoni
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    RE: NYC in the 50's/60's/70's 2004/07/19 12:41:51 (permalink)
    My parents always took us to Chinatown--we would go to a restaurant on Pell Street (downstairs) called Wo Ping for what at the time was wildly exotic food--War Shu Op, Mu Gu Gai Pan, etc. Never chow mein or chop suey, which my parents had long since graduated from. Actually, I do remember having my first experience with snails in black bean sauce there--little periwinkles like what I used to dig out of the sand at the beach that you had to use a toothpick to remove the little membrane before getting to a morsel of flavor-packed meat.

    They also liked to go to BoBo's which was just up the street, but there was always a line there. (When I came of age and took a date into the city for her first trip to NYC, we went to BoBo's. I remember her being very impressed).

    Charlie
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    RubyRose
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    RE: NYC in the 50's/60's/70's 2004/07/19 12:53:21 (permalink)
    Trader's Vic's in the Plaza was my idea of the ultimate in sophisticated dining in those days.

    For a good value, I always liked La Fondue (55th street between 5th & 6th) across the street from La Bonne Soupe, which is still there. They had fondues and these wonderful cold meat and cheese platters. The beef fondue was one of the cheapest filet mignon dinners around.
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    stanpnepa
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    RE: NYC in the 50's/60's/70's 2004/07/19 12:55:24 (permalink)
    Mamma Leone's for me too.
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    Edwaste
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    RE: NYC in the 50's/60's/70's 2004/07/19 13:01:30 (permalink)
    Any body remember Horn & Hardart?

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    Michael Hoffman
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    RE: NYC in the 50's/60's/70's 2004/07/19 13:06:23 (permalink)
    Oh, yes. When I was a kid it was always the Automat.
    #10
    shen
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    RE: NYC in the 50's/60's/70's 2004/07/19 13:31:44 (permalink)
    Does anyone remember patricia murphys in westchester and nyc? my grandma has the menus still
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    Michael Hoffman
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    RE: NYC in the 50's/60's/70's 2004/07/19 13:33:22 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by shen

    Does anyone remember patricia murphys in westchester and nyc? my grandma has the menus still

    Yes, I remember Patricia Murphy's. I ate there several times. I hadn't thought about that place in more years than I care to remember.
    #12
    RubyRose
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    RE: NYC in the 50's/60's/70's 2004/07/19 13:35:53 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by shen

    Does anyone remember patricia murphys in westchester and nyc? my grandma has the menus still


    If I recall, Patricia Murphy's is mentioned in the Sterns' book "Square Meals" and it may even have some recipes from there.
    #13
    Grampy
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    RE: NYC in the 50's/60's/70's 2004/07/19 13:37:16 (permalink)
    What great memories! And I would go to Wo Ping on Pell Street for a $1.50 noodle platter right after losing to the tic-tac-toe chicken.

    Still, I must add Harry's Bar in the Sherry Netherlands, Oak Bar in the Plaza, and Beekman Tower to the watering holes.
    #14
    peppertree
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    RE: NYC in the 50's/60's/70's 2004/07/19 14:08:48 (permalink)
    Don't cook tonight, call Chicken Delight.

    http://www.chickendelight.ca/

    Arguably, the first NYC fried chicken fast food place.
    #15
    meowzart
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    RE: NYC in the 50's/60's/70's 2004/07/19 14:51:44 (permalink)
    Grampy...I remember the tic-tac-toe chicken, too! Wasn't there also one that danced?
    #16
    Grampy
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    RE: NYC in the 50's/60's/70's 2004/07/19 15:35:26 (permalink)
    Yes, there was also a dancing chicken, but it was outlawed when the found out the reason it danced was because the floor was briefly heated. I'm sure the chicken eventually made its way to the stew pot, so I don't know that the ruling was of particular help to the chicken in the end.

    On another note, I seem to remember that Patricia Murphy's was noted for the popovers.
    #17
    the ancient mariner
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    RE: NYC in the 50's/60's/70's 2004/07/19 16:39:37 (permalink)
    Wow, "Youse Guys" and gals have great memories.

    Sardi's was there last time I looked about 3 months ago. Lotsa pics on the walls.

    Yorkville, RIP, it has lost all its wonder. Only one German restaurant left and "it ain't so good, only there for the tourist's" ---oh yea! they still get some in NYC. My favorite was Geiger's ---- in order to get to the dining room you walked past the desert counter--retail sales right off the street. I was tempted to reverse dinner having desert first.

    The deli on Bway and 47th was Lindy's and next to it was Jack Dempsey's.
    I shook hands with Jack when I was about 12 yrs old and he had amazingly small hands for a heavyweight champ. I also shook the hand of Babe Ruth.
    How about that.

    Tried PJ Clarke's 2 years ago---the beer was good the burger bad.

    The Oyster Bar is great still.

    Nedick's was fantastic. Kept me from starving to death a number of times.

    Keene's Chop House was one of my favorites, it is now Keenes Steak House.
    Still great.

    Mama Leone's ----- another great that bit the dust. The lines went around the block. The Roseland Ballroom was right around the corner or up the street.

    Ah yes, the Astor bar. Loved that place, even though I got ptomaine once from a chicken sam-witch. Should have stayed with the Martini's.

    52nd Street----------man, Seafarer you hit a nerve---Eddie Condons, Jimmy Ryans, Leon and Eddie's, 21-----stand in the street and listen to the best jazz in the world and watch the limo's drive up. Street was full of kids getting autographs of celebs. Movie stars, singers, politicians-fantastic.

    Lundy's in Brooklyn with the best clams in stalls wrapped around the great restaurant. Half a dozen little necks and a beer on the way home. Oh yea.

    Gerry Cosby is still doing big business. And A&F is a kid's place now, what a shame. I used to stand in the window of A&F and see stuff no one else knew existed. Up the street was Brooks Brothers where Cary Grant bought his clothes. I always wanted to look like him and figured if I could buy my stuff there it would help-------forgetaboutit !!!!!

    Chinatown and Little Italy were terrific. I once took 4 couples to a place called King Wu on Dewey Street. Really an alley not a street. Down a flight of ill-lighted stairs---scary---Told the lady owner---looked like the Dragon Lady of Smiling Jack fame---to bring dinner for 8---don't ask anyone what they wanted and don't tell them what they ate. It was super----whatever it was !!!!

    Trader Vic's at the Plaza was supposed to be a copy of the original in Hawaii---never got there but have a great recipe from there.

    La Fondue---I remember that,my wife thought it was great, I though it was so-so.

    Horn and Hardart---------man what memories----how did the cashier throw out 20 nickles for a dollar without ever making a mistake???? Loved there Harvard Beets and Cod Fish cakes and everything else. There was a sign posted---watch your coat---while I was watching mine someone stole my food.
    (Thank you Henny Youngman).

    Patricia Murphy and her sister started in a brownstone in downtown Brooklyn--they were terrific and you are right Grampy they were noted for their popovers. And Harry's Bar is no longer in the Sherry Netherland it is not the same---just a name some where else.

    Thank you one and all for reminding me of wonderful times and pretty as a picture teen aged sweethearts, and young Debs, and middle-aged loves---
    "ah yes, I remember it well" Maurice Chevalier (excuse spelling)in Gigi
    a lovely song in a lovely movie.






    #18
    garykg6
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    RE: NYC in the 50's/60's/70's 2004/07/19 16:39:48 (permalink)
    WOW, I remember Wo Pings as well,the best lo mein in town!in 1964,a plate costs 75cts,
    actually,you gotta include McSorleys just for their cheese and cracker plates...hot,hot mustard,raw onions and white cheese(cheddar?) to go with endless mugs of porter. or perhaps a liverwurst on rye w/ those onions as well.....still hungry? Katz's is 5min away on foot
    #19
    seafarer john
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    RE: NYC in the 50's/60's/70's 2004/07/19 17:20:43 (permalink)
    We would go to Chinatown and eat chop suey and chow mein. we didn't have a clue about anything else on the menu - what a waste.

    We would drive with a date all the way down from Poughkeepsie to Pound Ridge to Patricia Murphy's - and yes, the popovers were a big deal.

    Does anybody remember a chain of bars that always had a "special" of two shots of whiskey for a quarter - seemed like they were on every other corner around midtown for a while - very popular with the musicians I hung out with.

    And we were all reading Fitzgerald and Hemingway, and Mickey Spillaine, and Thoreau , and we were all in love with Ava Gardner.

    In the summer, a few times, we went out to Long Island to see the musicals put on by Guy Lombardo and he would open the show by driving his famous speedboat up to the stage. And free concerts at Lewishon Stadium were a great diversion when we wanted a change from Dixieland and Bop. And everyone who could went up to Newport for George Wein's Jazz festival on a summer weekend - yes, it was actually held in Newport in those days and the place would be crowded with swells in their MGs and Morgans, and Austin Healeys.

    Cheers, John

    #20
    the ancient mariner
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    RE: NYC in the 50's/60's/70's 2004/07/19 17:52:11 (permalink)
    Hey John I think I remember you in one of those 2 shots for 25 cents. You don't think they were cut do you ????? I never drank that dime crap, it could ruin your gut. Even though we could eat nails in those days.

    Joe King's Rathskeller in Yorkville was a place all us young guys loved. And how about the Village Gate in "you guessed it" the village. Great Jazz.

    But the best was standing on the street, up against the window of the Metronome listening to guys who became famous. Jazz greats, be-bob greats, just sitting in the window and playing for booze and burgers. Didn't cost a dime to hear Dizzy, Coultrain and other heros (If the spelling is wrong I'm sorry). Going to college in the big city was an experience.

    And I remember a place called Asti's on W 12th St where every waiter, every cook, every bartender and even the parking guy all were singers. All had had try outs at the Met. A buddy and I would sit at the bar and enjoy opera and Martini's. When we had had too much we caught a cab to Penn Sta and slept all the way to Huntington on the Toonerville Trolley. Ended up in Smithtown one night.

    #21
    Michael Hoffman
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    RE: NYC in the 50's/60's/70's 2004/07/19 18:21:39 (permalink)
    Don't forget the Metropole and Birdland.
    #22
    acornlover
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    RE: NYC in the 50's/60's/70's 2004/07/19 20:29:23 (permalink)
    My dad used to take me to Manhattan (where he worked)
    for my birthday- The Automat was fun,the "Gold Coin"Chinese food, was great, and the resturant on top of the "Pan Am" building was the first time I ever had Green Godess dressing (on iceburg of course) 1960's-70's
    #23
    the ancient mariner
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    RE: NYC in the 50's/60's/70's 2004/07/19 20:31:17 (permalink)
    Michael---you are right it was Birdland and Charlie Parker, not John Coultrain. On Bway in the 50's. You young guys missed an era---the big bands played the theater's of NYC. Benny Goodman, Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey,Harry James, Glenn Miller, Artie Shaw and others were the stars then. Theaters opened at 9 am with coming attractions, news, short subjects and then the main feature. About 11 or so the whole band would rise out of the pit playing their theme song. When Sinatra played the Paramount there must have been a thousand screaming girls outside. Call out the National Guard.
    #24
    Edwaste
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    RE: NYC in the 50's/60's/70's 2004/07/19 21:56:52 (permalink)
    When we were much younger (and usually short on funds) we would go to Tad's Steak house for a cheap steak.

    Anybody remember the Autopub? Drink and eat while sitting in an abbreviated car and watching a movie like in some bizarre indoor drive-in theater. We saw "Mad Monster Party", an ultra low budget Rankin Bass* animation. Good Times. Of course I remember nothing about the food.

    *The same people that brought you Rudolph.
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0061931/
    #25
    marberthenad
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    RE: NYC in the 50's/60's/70's 2004/07/19 22:30:06 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by the ancient mariner

    Wow, "Youse Guys" and gals have great memories.

    ...

    Yorkville, RIP, it has lost all its wonder. Only one German restaurant left and "it ain't so good, only there for the tourist's" ---oh yea! they still get some in NYC. My favorite was Geiger's ---- in order to get to the dining room you walked past the desert counter--retail sales right off the street. I was tempted to reverse dinner having desert first.

    ....


    That last German place in Yorkville still generated great memories in the 90s when I lived in New York. My father visited; first time he had ever been to New York. And while he claims he has a diverse palate, in reality that means anything from Middle Europe, so that means German, Polish, Austrian, Hungarian, Czech restaurants etc. So off we go to "the Old Heidleburg" as I think it is called. The four of us are eating, and beside is a group of men all speaking what we thought was Japanese. Now, me, after living in New York for about a year, had developed my own sense of obliviousness to my surroundings. My father, on the other hand, approached the table to introduce himself and find out where they were from. Turns out they were visiting from Japan, as we learned from one of the party who spoke English, and were a men's chorus. They were eating in a German restaurant because they were going to be performing German songs, and were afficianados of German food. My father, whom I remember singing German songs as I grew up, had all the information he needed. As we joined our tables together, my father and the group started to develop the roster of songs they knew together. Some singing then led the introduction of the famous drinking game involving the four liter boot, which involves taking a swig of beer and then passing it to the next person until the boot is done. The object of the game is not to be the person next to the person who finishes the boot, as that person has to pay. As you can imagine, this means some pretty hefty sips as the boot approaches its one liter mark. YUCK!! But in any case, beer boots and old German lieder proved for me that New York still has it ...

    #26
    the ancient mariner
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    RE: NYC in the 50's/60's/70's 2004/07/20 08:35:46 (permalink)
    Great story of "Nasty, Cruel New York". Thanks Marber the nad (what ever that means) ---- any time people get together to sing and drink beer is a good time no matter what nationality.

    There used to be so many great German places in Yorkville and even downtown--Luchow's (which I though was Chinese for a long time) was the best of all. At Christmas they had a 2 story tree in the entry. It was a festive occasion in NY. I never missed going to Rockefeller Center to view the tree and walk up and down 5th Ave. Window shopping was great fun. How about the Thanksgiving Day Parade which I went to a number of times with the kids (damn near froze one year), and The St Patricks Day Parade which I viewed every year either in person or on TV, and while in college marched in twice. Could always find a local pub that had free corned beef and cabbage ----- the beer wasn't free and paid for the meal- -----you can put down a few with salty beef and the parade on the screen.
    #27
    seafarer john
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    RE: NYC in the 50's/60's/70's 2004/07/20 09:08:03 (permalink)
    BIRDLAND ! that's the joint - I could not remember the name, thanks.
    Everybody who was anybody in Bop played that place. Even more than the music, what sticks in my mind is the dense smoke in the room- seemed like half the crowd was smoking something other than tobacco.

    A ways uptown we used to go to St Nicholas Arena to see the fights - boxing was big then, Friday night TV was all about boxing. At St Nicks you could see see all those greats on their way up - it was the minor leagues for the Garden.

    Does anyone remember the six-day bicycle races at the Garden? When the bars closed (3am?) the place would fill up with drunks putting up money to get the racers to sprint.

    And one last thing. When the band played people sat quietly and listened - well, some people got up and danced, quietly. We actually listened to the music in those days, and we could actually hear the lyrics being sung - the singers articulated, if they didn't no one wanted hear them.

    One more last thing. George Shearing was the toast of the town - god, we loved him. And Jimmy and Maryann McPartland were playing Jimmy Ryans, and if you were lucky, as i was once, you caught "Wild Bill" Davidson playing his trumpet loud and fast in some joint. And Louis Armstrong sometimes played the joints with a small combo.

    Cheers, John
    #28
    the ancient mariner
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    RE: NYC in the 50's/60's/70's 2004/07/20 11:46:05 (permalink)
    John---you must have had shore leave in the "Big Apple" a few times to see all those places and things. There were a lot of guys in blues wandering around Time Square----and lots of "dime a dance places to lure us in". And arcades, and places that sold records and had the music playing through a loud speaker in the entrance. A lot of stores had "Going Out of Business Sale" signs in the window. Most of them are still there with the same signs. Did you buy a miniture Statue of Liberty
    to send home to your folks?

    I heard about 6 day bike races but never saw one----they didn't make TV back in the 30's did they?
    Went to the Garden with a classmate from college----Gus Lesnovitch vs Billy Fox. Fox was undefeated in 50 odd bouts and Gus was the old champ. Looked like Fox would be the new champ. My roomie had ringside seats and said we had to make an impression by showing up only for the main event--I wanted to see each pre-lim. So we strolled down the aisle just before the ring intros---took our overcoats off and sat down and 53 seconds later we got up and left---old Gus flattened Billy with one shot. After that I went to White Plains or Woodside to watch the fights.

    Saw George Shearing with the fabulous Velvet Fog--Mel Torme--- and Gerry Mulligan in a concert that was fantastic. As a kid I worked on 52nd street and 5th Ave and loved the music---Ella, Billie, Condon, Davidson and lots of others were all playing 52nd Street. It was heaven. Fats Waller had fingers like sausages, how he didn't hit two keys at once was beyond me. He once wrote a song for a burger in Times Square--or maybe it was two for two. Fletcher Henderson bought the burgers and Fats sat there and wrote out notes with no piano, nothing but music in his head.
    #29
    tiki
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    RE: NYC in the 50's/60's/70's 2004/07/20 13:33:46 (permalink)
    Mama Leonies here three!---i remember as a kid my folks and their party pals would just up and decide to frive down from Boston to NY for dinner there---no mean feat in the 50's. They would drop everything on the spur of the moment and head down there about 3 times a year---usually NOT in Winter!!!! Seemed to take all day but it was usually three cars or more with families swaping us kids and parentsaround from car to car whenever we had a gas or pit stop. This seemed to take most of the weekend with us getting home in time to take naps before church on sunday. I loveed Mama Leaonies,not just the food but because it was really an adventure and a family memory that i treasure.
    #30
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