Central Park

When I go to New York I stay up later than usual, walk for miles and eat and eat and eat. I find the pulse of the city infectious and it gives me energy I didn’t know I had. December when the city seems like a holiday movie set is my favorite time to go, but there are good reasons to visit in every season. Central Park is probably most beautiful in fall when the leaves range from burnt red to bright yellow. In the springtime as the days get longer and the weather finally thaws New Yorkers seem to be in a particularly good mood and summer is the best time to snag good hotel deals and visit rooftop bars. When I visit the city I often think to myself “I could live here.” Maybe if I did some of the romance would wear off so until then I will make the most of every trip.

Travelproper tip: New York is still very much a reservation city so a little meal planning can go a long way. If there are restaurants you’re particularly interested in trying go to their website a few weeks before your trip and look at the reservation policy. There will probably be specific rules about when you can book, like two weeks to the day before dining. Mark your calendar and call or book online. Sites like Resy are making it easier than ever. Heads up– even if you have a reservation you may still have to wait for your table. It’s crazy, I know, but this is a food-loving city and restaurants really pack them in. Try not to arrive at dinner absolutely starving and just plan on getting a cocktail while you wait.



Ham and cheese, almond and plain croissants from Arcade Bakery.
Ham and cheese, almond and plain croissants from Arcade Bakery.

Arcade Bakery

This bakery in the lobby of a Tribeca office building is unassuming, but the rustic pastries are some of the city’s best. The croissants are light and flaky, the babka dense and chewy and the pear, vanilla and buckwheat baguette is addictive. The team here bakes throughout the day so pastries are incredibly fresh. You might want to linger a bit so you don’t miss the next round.

220 Church St.
New York, NY 10013

Arcade Bakery is located in an office building lobby.
Arcade Bakery is located in an office building lobby.


Getting to this bakery deep in Brooklyn’s Red Hook neighborhood is a bit of a trek, but well worth it. Specializing in updates of old classics, its cupcakes, cookies and cakes like the Sweet and Salty, a chocolate layer cake with salted caramel and chocolate buttercream, are delicious. The Baked franchise has two excellent cookbooks.

359 Van Brunt Street
Brooklyn, NY 11231
718 222-0345

Billy’s Bakery

Magnolia Bakery and Billy’s may seem like old news, but if you want to see why the cupcake craze began in the first place both are worth a pilgrimage. Billy’s has an old-fashioned feel and serves delicious classic American baked goods. The cupcakes are extremely moist and I love the simple but well executed flavors like red velvet and banana with cream cheese frosting.

184 9th Ave. (Between 21rst and 22nd)
New York, NY 10011
212 647-9956

Jack’s Coffee

Jack’s serves delicious fair trade, organic coffee on an adorable West Village Street. The space is small, but if you’re able to snag a table, it’s a great place to read the paper and grab your morning Americano. The shop also serves good homemade pastries like buttery chocolate chip cookies.

138 West 10th St.
New York, NY 10014
212 929-0821

The breakfast crowd at Sadelle's.
The breakfast crowd at Sadelle’s.


This is the most refined Jewish delicatessen I’ve been too. The restaurant is located in a dramatic space with heigh ceilings, red brick walls and a glass framed bakery kitchen in the center of it all so you can see pastry chefs roll out sticky bun dough and other treats. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner, but I think it feels particularly appropriate for breakfast when you can order a lobster benedict or a house made poppyseed bagel with lox and cream cheese.

463 West Broadway
New York, NY 10012
646 692-4732

Saddle's delicious babka.
Sadelle’s delicious babka.

The Smile

This below ground cafe in an 1830s townhouse feels more like a clubhouse than a restaurant and the cozy atmosphere makes it wonderful for breakfast. The Smile serves vegan and gluten free pastries, homemade nut butters, fluffy eggs and whole grain toast. There’s also a Smile to Go now on Howard.

26 Bond Street
New York, NY 10012
646 329-5836

The Smile is located in a 1930s townhouse.
The Smile is located in a 1930s townhouse.




Black Seed Bagels

The wood-fired bagels at Black Seed are rolled by hand and boiled in honey water for a touch of sweetness. Bagel varieties are traditional and include poppy seed, rye and everything but sandwiche toppings are more adventurous like ricotta, apple and honey or smoked trout with hard boiled egg, arugula and mustard.

176 First Avenue
 New York, NY 10009
646 484-5718

Chelsea Market

Food halls and public markets have popped up in nearly every big US city, but this bustling market in the Meatpacking District helped spark the trend. From crêpes to kitchen supplies, Chelsea Market has it all. You could buy picnic provisions or dine at one of the small restaurants. Some of my favorite places include Friedman’s Lunch, Bar Suzette and Sarabeth’s Bakery for biscuits and homemade jam.

75 9th Ave. (Between 15th and 16th Streets)
New York, NY 10011
800 773-7378

Great Northern Food Hall

Claus Meyer, a founder of Noma in Copenhagen, is behind this multi stand concept in Grand Central Terminal’s Vanderbilt Hall. It specializes in New Nordic cuisine and options include a grain bar serving savory porridges like roasted chicken and cabbage with pearl and black barley and a bakery where seasonal treats might include a seabuckthorn tart. Happy hour weekdays from 5-8pm includes bar snacks and local craft beers.

89 Vanderbilt Ave.
New York, NY 10017
646 568-4020

The Pop's Pastrami sandwich from Harry and Ida's.
The Pop’s Pastrami sandwich from Harry and Ida’s.

Harry & Ida’s Meat and Supply Co.

This small sandwich shop and market serves one of the country’s best pastrami sandwiches.  The Pop’s Pastrami comes filled with marbled meat that is tender and flavorful, but not too salty as well as anchovy mustard and buttermilk-fermented cucumber for a bit of crunch. Harry & Ida’s has a small counter with bar stools but you can also take your sandwich to go and eat it in nearby Tompkins Square Park.

189 A Ave. (12th St.)
New York, NY 10009
646 864-0967


This cafe serving falafel and smoothies has locations in the West Village and Nolita as well as a roving food truck. The hummus is perfect and you can’t go wrong with any of the three different falafel flavors including parsley, cilantro and mint, roasted red pepper and the more spicy Tunisian spiced falafel. Take your pick in a pita or forgo the carbs and get a platter with a selection of Taïm’s delicious salads.

222 Waverly Place
New York, NY 10014
212 691-6101




Café Gitane

This cute san drenched café in the Jane Hotel serves French-Moroccan fusion at very reasonable prices. Locals come for the couscous that is piled high and layered with red peppers, eggplant and hummus. The waitstaff’s striped shirts and the non stop service give it a brasserie feel.

242 Mott St. (Between Houston St. and Prince St.)
New York, NY 10012
212 334-9552

The Breslin

April Bloomfield’s contemporary British pub at the Ace Hotel serves comfort food like braised lamb belly with fermented red cabbage and a 40 day dry aged ribeye for two. I love the thrice cooked chips, basically a twice baked potato in French fry form.

16 W. 29th St.
New York, NY 10001
646 214-5788


Chef Ignacio Mattos was mentored by Argentine grilling master Francis Mallman and so meats like steak with eggplant, leaks and Taleggio cheese shine in this shotgun space on Houston. Really everything on the tapas-style menu is good. Mattos balances sweet, savory and acidic flavors perfectly in his cuisine. The mussels escabeche (marinated mussels) on toast is memorable.

47 East Houston St.
New York, NY 10012
212 219-7693


I love the location of this restaurant, tucked back at the end of an alley in the Lower East Side. Freeman’s specializes in seasonal rustic American cuisine and serves delicious entrees like roast chicken with smashed fingerling potatoes and salsa verde. The restaurant is also popular for weekend brunch when homey fare like spiced pumpkin pancakes and shashuka will warm the belly.

End of Freeman Alley between the Bowery and Chrystie
New York, NY 10002
212 420-0012

Il Buco Alimentari

The original Il Buco restaurant’s more casual offshoot is a wine bar, restaurant and Italian market in one. Diners sit at communal tables and enjoy a long meal of antipasti, primi like housmade pansotti with potato, kale, walnuts and Burgundy truffles and secondi that might include roasted short ribs for two. The restaurant is located at the site of the Great Jones Lumber Supply and traces of graffiti can still be seen on the brick walls.

53 Great Jones St.
New York, NY
212 837-2622

John Dory Oyster Bar

This sustainable seafood restaurant in the Ace Hotel specializes in raw seafood from briny oysters to crudo like daurade with pistachio and pickled fig. The bright space has double height windows and seating at high bar top tables and counters where you can watch chefs chuck oysters. The buttery parker house rolls are a must order. Happy hour is 5-7 weekdays and 12-3 on weekends.

1196 Broadway
New York, NY 10001
646 214-5764

Kuma Inn

This restaurant on a nondescript Lower East Side street serves absolutely delicious Filipino Thai fusion. Located on the second floor of an apartment building, it’s a bit of a hidden gem. Dishes are served tapas style and are very affordable. It’s BYOB with a small corkage fee. We grabbed beers at a mini market around the corner, but feel free to bring sake or a bottle of wine. I recommend reservations. It’s a small place.

113 Ludlow St. 2nd Fl. (Between Delancey and Rivington)
New York, NY 10002
212 353-8866

La Esquina

This upscale Mexican restaurant is located deep inside New York’s iconic Corner Deli. Reservations can be made three weeks to the day ahead of your desired time. When you arrive, you talk to a bouncer standing by an unmarked door in the deli and they lead you downstairs, past the kitchen to La Esquina, the dark, sexy Mexican style brasserie. Margaritas are delicious as is the fresh, authentic food. I love the grilled corn with cotija cheese and lime.

114 Kenmare (Between Kenmare and Lafayette)
New York, NY 10012
646 613-7100

Le Coucou

American Chef Daniel Rose made a name for himself in Paris with his tasting menu restaurant Spring and bourgeois bistro La Bourse et La Vie and now he’s expanding stateside with this French restaurant in the 11 Howard hotel. It’s an elegant homage to the refined bistro cooking that is even hard to find these days in Paris. Dishes include dovor sole with grapes and chanterelles and duck with mission figs, foie gras and black olives. The dramatic space with chandeliers and gray brick walls was designed by hot design firm Roman and Williams.

138 Lafayette St.
New York, NY 10013
212 271-4252

Minetta Tavern

This Keith McNally owned bistro is sceney and pricey, but I love the history and the old school ambience. It originally opened in 1937 and was reportedly frequented by everyone from Ernest Hemingway to E.E. Cummings. Today it’s more shiny and upscale but the red leather booths and black and white checkered floor still harken back to that era. Steak is the specialty here but the Black Label Burger with prime dry-aged beef and caramelized onions is also delicious.

113 MacDougal St. (Between Bleeker and W. 3rd St.)
New York, NY 10012
212 475-3850

Miss Lilly’s

This Jamaican-style diner is a Caribbean oasis in Soho. The restaurant serves modern takes on island specialties like jerk chicken, oxtail and curried goat. Incredible fresh juices are available in the casual take-out cafe, The Jerk Shack, adjacent to the restaurant.

132 W. Houston St.
New York, NY 10012
212 812-1482

The chicken burger with foie gras and black truffle is the lunch version of the famed roasted chicken for two.
The chicken burger with foie gras and black truffle is the lunch version of the famed roasted chicken for two.


While I’ve yet to dine at Eleven Madison Park, I have eaten at acclaimed Chef Daniel Humm’s restaurant at the NoMad hotel numerous times. It serves the type of not too heavy comfort food I could eat over and over again. The famous whole-roasted chicken for two with foie gras, black truffle and brioche has sparked imitations across the country and the carrot tartare with pickled quail egg and sunflower seeds is so good my husband and I have started making it at home. The main dining area is situated beneath a beautiful glass atrium, but intimate dining rooms on the sides including a library offer discretion.

1170 Broadway & 28th St.
New York, NY 10001
212 796-1500

Pearl Oyster Bar

I’m from the West Coast and I did not grow up eating lobster rolls so when I first saw it on a menu I thought it was some sort of sushi. Now I know it is one of the world’s great sandwiches and I can’t imagine anyone does it better than the Pearl Oyster Bar. The lobster roll here is served open faced on a buttery brioche roll and piled high with fresh lobster salad. At around $26 the price is steep, but they don’t skimp on the lobster– it’s big enough to share. Everything else at this Greenwich Village staple from oysters to clam chowder is delicious. The hot fudge sundae is a perfect way to top off the meal.

18 Cornelia St.
New York, NY 10014
212 691-8211


This tiny Brooklyn restaurant is well worth venturing outside of Manhattan for. It serves a vegetable driven tasting menu nightly where dishes might include sunchokes in dashi with braised spring greens and white asparagus with fried egg and smoked onion marmalade. Seating for 18 is located around a central bar making it a good place to dine as a party of two or three. In an interesting twist, diners are emailed a menu after they dine to encourage talking and speculating about the ingredients during the meal.

160 Havemeyer St. No. 5
Brooklyn, NY 11211
718 782-3474

Superiority Burger

Superiority Burger serves vegetarian, and in some cases vegan burgers that are actually delicious. While the exact recipe is a secret, the restaurant’s namesake burger patty is made of a combination of lentils, quinoa, barley, farrow and mushrooms and topped with muenster cheese, iceberg lettuce and tomato and served on a potato roll. The menu is rounded out by salads and gelato and sorbet in refreshing flavors like chili mango.

430 E. 9th St.
New York, NY 10009
212 256-1192





Think of this as a more gourmet version of Cold Stone Creamery. Ingredients like burnt hazelnuts and pistachio pesto are folded into various ice cream flavors. Fresh, mouth puckering sorbets like strawberry lime standout and the interior that harkens back to an old school ice-cream parlor is sweet.

2 Rivington St.
New York, NY 10002
212 209-7684

Momofuku Milk Bar

Chef David Chang’s famed dessert bar launched baker Christina Tosi to stardom and helped change the face of sweets with its interesting mix of nostalgia and unconventional flavor combinations. The dessert haven is a kind of gourmet Dairy Queen with soft-serve flavors like cereal milk and candy bar pie. The cookies and cakes are also delicious. I highly recommend the banana cake, a heavenly concoction of banana cream, hazelnut crunch and fudge. There are now multiple locations throughout the city, but the East Village location is the original.

251 e 13th st
New York, NY 10003
corner of 13th street / 2nd avenue
347 577-9504




Angel’s Share

Tucked away inside a Japanese restaurant, this elegant bar is not easy to find but well worth a visit. There’s a strict no standing policy, so you’ll only be allowed in if seats are open. I recommend going early in the evening or mid week when it’s not so busy. If you manage to get a table, hope for one of the booths by the big window where you can watch the hustle and bustle of the city. It’s absolutely ideal on a cold winter night.

6 Stuyvesant St., 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10003
212 777-5415

Murals at Bemelman's are by the
Murals at Bemelmans are by the illustrator of the Madeline children’s books.


This storied piano bar in the Carlyle Hotel is worth visiting despite the high drink prices. With its sepia colored Ludwig Bemelman murals, chocolate brown banquettes and nightly jazz music it feels like a time stamp and the dirty martinis are delicious.

35 E. 76th St.
New York, NY 10075
212 744-1600


My husband loves this hidden bar inside gourmet hot dog shop, Crif Dogs. Access to PDT, which stands for Please Don’t Tell, is through a vintage phone booth. You pick up the phone to speak to the hostess. If there’s space for you, they’ll let you through the back of the booth. The sexy speakeasy serves classic cocktails and an abbreviated menu from next door. This bar has gotten very popular, so reservations are recommended.

113 St. Marks Pl.
New York, NY 10009
212 614-0386

The Standard

The swanky Standard hotel has two great options for drinking and dining. The Standard Grill offers a raw bar and cocktails like the Penny Drop, a concoction of vodka, ginger and lime. The more casual Biergarten, located beneath the High Line, serves German sausages, beer and pretzels.

848 Washington St.
New York, NY 10014
212 645-4100 (call for reservations at the Standard Grill)




A suite at 11 Howard.
A suite at 11 Howard.

11 Howard

This hotel in SoHo has minimalist Scandinavian design and a socially conscious approach. A portion of the proceeds of each room booked directly with the hotel are donated to charity. The uncluttered lobby feels more like an apartment building then a hotel. There’s no checkin desk–people with tablets check you in and social spaces like a bar and a library with wood plank floors and Hiroshi Sugimoto photography are on the second floor. Bright guest rooms have high ceilings, brass fixtures and bamboo rugs.

11 Howard Street
New York, NY 10013
212 235-1111

Ace Hotel

Located in Midtown, the Ace is in a very central location near the Theater District and Macy’s. The rates are reasonable for New York and while the rooms are small, they’re well thought out and some even have views of the Empire State building. You won’t end up spending too much time in your room anyways because you’ll have too much fun hanging in the plush Hogwarts meets hipster lobby and dining at the property’s various restaurants. The Breslin, Stumptown Coffee Roasters and a No. 7 Sub Shop are all in crawling distance. The Ace is also home to an Open Ceremony, a hip New York boutique famous for collaborating with different designers.

20 W. 29th St.
New York, NY 10001
212 679-2222

Jane Hotel

With rooms starting at $125 a night for singles with shared baths, the Jane is a steal. The hotel is in the West Village right next to the Hudson River and rooms are inspired by ships cabins, an homage to the hotel’s original purpose as a sailor’s hotel. The Jane was built in the early 1900s. In 1912, the survivors of the Titanic reportedly stayed there until the end of the American inquiry into the ship’s sinking. Like the Ace, the hotel’s bar and lobby, known as the Ballroom, is a cool hangout with comfy couches, Persian rugs and a fireplace.

113 Jane St.
New York, NY 10014
212 924-6700

The Ludlow

New York’s Lower East Side is hardly the gritty neighborhood it once was but the Ludlow boutique hotel draws on the neighborhood’s edgy past with an eclectic not too polished design.  Guest rooms in the industrial brick building feel like a bohemian apartment with wood beamed ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows, four poster beds and faux fur throws. The lobby has leather chairs, a fireplace and a garden courtyard that is great for meetings or enjoying a coffee. The sceney restaurant box is also checked here with Dirty French from Major Food Group (Carbone and Sadelle’s) and features French classics like duck á l’orange and trout amandine.

180 Ludlow St.
New York, NY 10002
212 432-1818

The Nolan is in trendy Lolita.
The Nolitan has complimentary skateboards.

The Nolitan

In a departure from many other hotels in Manhattan, The Nolitan is located a modern building with a tetris-like facade designed by the same firm as the Hotel on Rivington. Sleek rooms have hardwood floors, bathrooms with rain showers and vanities and a black Venetian plaster wall for a touch of drama. Some rooms have balconies with views of the Williamsburg Bridge and the Empire State building. Friendly service, complimentary bikes and skateboards, and the location in trendy NoLita add to the appeal.

30 Kenmare St.
New York, NY 10012
212 925-2555


This luxury boutique hotel is located in a stunning Beaux-Arts building and interiors are by French designer Jacques Garcia. He was reportedly inspired by the Parisian flat of his youth and so the 168 rooms have an almost residential feel. Each room is decorated with custom furnishings, vintage Heriz rugs and original artwork and some have freestanding clawfoot bathtubs. The soaring ceilings throughout the public spaces give the hotel the feel of the grand dame hotels of Europe.

1170 Broadway & 28th
New York, NY 10001
212 796-1500

The Surrey

Built as a residence hotel in 1926, the original Surrey was home to celebrities like JFK, Bette Davis and Claudette Colbert and the redesigned property has tried to keep this sprit intact. It’s less than a block from Central Park and feels private and discreet, but it still has all the amenities you’d expect from a five star hotel including a luxury spa, a bar serving one of the best old fashioneds in the city and a Daniel Boulud restaurant. The Surrey has a renowned modern art collection including a haunting portrait of Kate Moss in the lobby by artist Chuck Close.

20 East 76th St.
New York, NY 10021
212 288-3700





The gentrification of Brooklyn has taken place at warp speed and there’s hardly a corner of it that doesn’t offer cool coffee shops, independent boutiques and chef driven restaurants. This means from Williamsburg to Red Hook there’s much to explore. I’d encourage you to take the L train to Bedford Ave. and get breakfast or lunch in the area. For added adventure, and exercise, walk back to Manhattan via the Brooklyn Bridge.

Central Park

I can’t go to New York without a visit to Central Park. I’ve gone for a run when the leaves are changing colors, walked briskly through on a frigid winter day and ridden a bike during the peak of spring. It’s wonderful every time. There’s something truly magical about being surrounded by tranquility and natural beauty while still being able to see New York City skyscrapers peeking out from behind the trees. I typically enter by the Plaza Hotel at 59th and 5th Ave., make my way past the pond, under Diprock Arch and then on to Belvedere Castle. I also like passing through Strawberry Fields, a memorial to singer John Lennon who was shot and killed outside the Dakota. The ornate German Renaissance style apartment building is on the corner of 72nd and Central Park West, and is worth a look.

The Frick Collection

The former mansion of industrialist Henry Clay Frick houses one of the finest collections anywhere of Old Master paintings and European sculpture. Frick collected most of the works on display during his lifetime and the collection includes masterpieces by Bellini, Vermeer and Goya. What truly makes the museum magical is the building. You get a sense of what it would have been like in New York during the Guilded Age.

1 East 70th Street
New York, NY 10021
212 288-0700

The Guggenheim

Considered one of the 20th centuries most important architectural landmarks, the Guggenheim is just as much a work of art as artwork it houses. The museum was completed in 1959 and designed by legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright. While Wright did not live to see its completion, the modernist design is considered by many to be his masterpiece. Unlike your typical museum, visitors start at the top of the inverted ziggurat and work their way down. The museum features special exhibits in the grand rotunda as well as a permanent collection that ranges from Impressionism to contemporary art.

1071 5th Ave.
New York, NY 10128
212 423-3500

The High Line

This famed public park is a brilliant example of repurposing. It was originally built in the 1930’s to lift freight trains off the streets of Manhattan and now it’s an above ground green space with walking paths, public artworks and views of the Hudson River.  The High Line runs from Gansevoort St. in the Meatpacking District to West 34th between 10th and 12th Avenues. Access is possible at Gansevoort St., 14thSt., 16th St. 18th, St. and 20th St.

212 500-6035

The Late Show is filmed at the Ed Sullivan Theater.
The Late Show is filmed at the Ed Sullivan Theater.

The Late Show With Stephen Colbert

It is quite possible to visit The Late Show while in New York, my husband and I did this the last time we were there, and it makes for a wonderful evening of free entertainment. In addition to watching the show being taped you’re also treated to standup comedy before it begins and plenty of live music. To attend go the the website, sign up for an account and request tickets or join the waitlist. Make sure to arrive at the theater at the call time listed on the site.

1695 Broadway
New York, NY 10019

The McKittrick Hotel

This warehouse turned fictional hotel showcases groundbreaking interactive theater performances. The most famous one, Sleep No More, is a take on Shakespeare’s Macbeth set in the 1930s. Theater goers wander through theatrically designed sets as scenes unfold around them. Other performances and events might include the musical The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart and a Nightmare Before Christmas dance party. The McKittrick also has a restaurant and a bar.

530 West 27th Street
New York, NY 10001
866 811-4111

The Neue Galerie

This museum devoted to German and Austrian art houses one of the world’s most intriguing paintings, Gustav Klimt’s Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I. It’s worth going just to see this luminous work that was the subject of the film Woman in Gold, but there is much more to see and appreciate including decorative art pieces from the early 1900s and works by Alfred Kubin and Otto Dix.

1048 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10028
212 628-6200

The Whitney Museum of American Art

The Whitney’s new Renzo Piano-designed building that seems to cantilever over the High Line is impressive and it’s not just for looks. With 50,000 square feet of indoor galleries and 13,00 square feet of outdoor exhibition space it has given the museum the room it needs to display its expansive collection of American contemporary and modern art. The museum’s former home, a landmark building designed by Marcel Breuer on the Upper East Side, now houses the Met’s collection of 20th and 21rst century art.

99 Gansevoort Street
New York, NY 10014
212 570-3600


Worth the Trip


Outdoor dining at Blue Hill at Stone Barns.
Outdoor dining at Blue Hill at Stone Barns.

Blue Hill at Stone Barns

While I found the service at Dan Barber’s tasting menu restaurant on a historic farm to be a bit brusk, the setting is worth the 30 mile trip outside of the city. The restaurant is located in a rambling stone farmhouse surrounded by vegetable gardens and open pasture and the heritage ingredients served (all raised or grown on site or at nearby farms)  from hakurei turnips to tamworth pork are probably the most pristine in the United States.

630 Bedford Rd.
Pocantico Hills, NY 10591
914 366-9600

Blue Hill at Stone Barns.
Blue Hill at Stone Barns.

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