NEW YORK: Last Days of the Ritz

New York's famed Ritz-Carlton Hotel was created to reward the rich for being rich. With its soft rugs, its gilded mirrors, its glittering chandeliers and the Roman grandeur of its outsized bathtubs, the Ritz breathed an atmosphere of continental elegance calculated to soothe the wrought-up millionaire. Vials of perfume sweetened its elevators. Its food was superb (Chef M. Diat's greatest achievement: the invention of Vichyssoise in 1912), and two waiters stood by, day & night, on every floor to take care of the hunger of its guests.

Princes, Premiers and the wealthiest wanderers of the world flocked to the Ritz....

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