Mergers: Safeguarding a Symbol

Manhattan's renowned "21" restaurant swung open its iron-grille gate on West 52nd St. as a classy speakeasy during prohibition. It has since evolved into a unique American showplace: a restaurant run in some ways more like a club than a public accommodation. There is no longer a trapdoor on the bar to trip drinks into a sewer at the press of a button, but logs still crackle in the fireplaces and a $750,000 collection of paintings, drawings and bronzes adorns the paneled walls. Habitues include the rich, the powerful and the famous, plus thousands of others who flock there to...

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