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FrontRunners: Nights of the Round Table

Gay Van Ausdall

Members of Dorothy Parker’s literary Round Table surely would applaud the recent $3 million refurbishment of the Algonquin Hotel (212.840.6800, www.algonquinhotel.com), the Manhattan landmark where they met for lunch and discourse in the 1920s. The 102-year-old hotel—where The New Yorker was launched when editor Harold Ross persuaded his fellow poker player, Raoul Fleischmann, to invest in the magazine—closed briefly last summer for restorations of the guest rooms and common spaces, including the Oak Room cabaret and the lobby, which was a favorite haunt of William Faulkner’s. Most of the 174 rooms and suites now have plasma TVs and workstations, but the historic character of the Algonquin has not changed. While strolling through the corridors, visitors can still delight in the wallpaper, designed by New Yorker cartoonist Robert Mankoff, and the plaques outside guest rooms displaying quotes from Robert Benchley, Heywood Broun,  and other members of the Round Table.

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