Alex & Henry’s: 10 Years Later. Your Memories?


I haven’t been around long enough to remember Alex & Henry’s — the former restaurant and catering hall in the Lord & Taylor shopping center in Eastchester.

But it’s come up in conversation several times in the past week or so. Peniche chef de cuisine Christian Petroni worked there when he was in high school, and Anthony Delfino, chef-owner of Al Dente in Harrison used to be a chef there, too.

My colleague Karen Croke, who has lived in Westchester for 40 years, says she went to at least three weddings there.

“When you got invited to a wedding there it was so exciting,” she tells me, “Because it was a dress-up kind of place. It was huge. It was glitzy.”

She remembers the catering part of it best, but there was also a restaurant.

So what do y’all remember about Alex & Henry’s? Was the food any good? Can you share some memories?

After the jump, a story from our archives, published Feb. 10, 1999, about its closing:

Alex and Henry’s last meal
Political hangout Alex & Henry’s to close at end of the year


EASTCHESTER – Vince Natrella and Tony Colavita have hand-picked candidates for county executive, judgeships and statewide office together. And they’ve done it, for the most part, over lunch and dinner at Alex & Henry’s Roman Gardens.

So it wasn’t surprising to find these Westchester County party leaders there yesterday, enjoying yet another lunch and worrying about what will become of their ample waistlines after the end of this year, when this 25-year-old restaurant, catering hall and de facto political clubhouse closes for good.

The owners, Mario Faustini and Nat Recine, have decided to take their landlord, shopping center owner Sal Pepe, up on his generous offer to buy out their lease so he can rent their 28,000 square feet of space to a retailer.

” I’m very happy for them, ” said Colavita, the former longtime head of the county Republican Party who is also their lawyer. ” I know what they’re being paid, but I’m sad because I’ve got to find a new place fast. I’m liable to lose weight. ”

By all accounts, good food, great service, reasonable prices, the owners’ local roots and reputation and its central location on White Plains Road, near Westchester’s cities, helped make Alex & Henry’s so popular.

” To a lot of people, Alex & Henry’s is Eastchester, ” said town Supervisor Jim Cavanaugh, who will hold a fund-raiser there on St. Patrick’s Day. ” More importantly, it’s been a place where an awful lot of political events have taken place. Every governor going back to Rockefeller has been there. ”

The loss is all the more devastating because it comes on the heels of the closing of Andy Albanese’s Restaurant, another GOP stronghold in Eastchester.

” It’s been a member of the family for all of us, ” said Yonkers City Council President Vincenza Restiano, Faustini’s sister, who has attended her share of dinners, weddings, christenings and sweet 16 parties at Alex & Henry’s. ” This is the end of an era. ”

If only the oak-paneled walls could talk. Over escarole and white beans, Colavita genially admitted to hatching umpteen political deals at Alex & Henry’s – either at his power table close by the kitchen, where he sat yesterday or, when the topic was really hot, in a back room. Yes, District Attorney Jeanine Pirro’s political ascendance was plotted at this restaurant, without her presence, of course, Colavita said.

” Generally, we don’t have the object of our discussion at the table, ” he explained.

Political careers have also gone up in smoke here. After Pierre Rinfret, a 1990 Republican gubernatorial candidate, failed to appear at a GOP dinner because the dinner committee wouldn’t send a helicopter to fetch him, his political fortune went into the Dumpster, along with most of the 500 uneaten steak dinners.

Natrella, the chairman of the county Conservative Party, likes the food, the service and the respect so much that he had Faustini send him meals in the hospital when he was recovering from open-heart surgery. When he was released after a bypass operation, he came straight there for lunch, still wearing his hospital identification bracelet.

” It is a place that has been looked upon as the icon for the Republican Party for our fund-raising events, ” said Sen. Nick Spano, R-Yonkers, county GOP chairman. ” We feel comfortable there. There are many great memories, and it will be missed by many. There have been times I have had breakfast, lunch and dinner there. I’d walk in, and the bartender would say, ‘Here’s your Diet Coke, senator.’ ”

Although Faustini is vice chairman of the Eastchester Republican Party, he never let politics interfere with business. Democrats such as Assemblyman Ron Tocci, D-New Rochelle, and Domenic Procopio, who heads the Calabria Society in New Rochelle, have also hosted crowded dinners there.

When Faustini and Recine opened the restaurant in 1975, they had instant name recognition. Alex and Henry Recine, Faustini’s grandfather, and Recine’s father, respectively, had opened the first Alex & Henry’s in 1946 in the Bronx after emigrating from Ripi, Italy. They built their Bronx business from a bar and grill to a major restaurant on 161st Street. It became an extension of the Yankee clubhouse, a favorite with fans and the judges and lawyers who frequented the nearby Bronx County courthouse. That restaurant is being sold.

In Eastchester, Alex & Henry’s also had one of the biggest ballrooms around, predating the shore clubs in New Rochelle. Even before they brought their blend of Italian-American and continental fare to the restaurant, it had played host to Republican Party dinners and up-and-comers. On June 1, 1966, the guest speaker at the Westchester County Association dinner was Richard M. Nixon, who had not yet declared his candidacy for president.

At the time, the restaurant was known as Schrafft’s Country Restaurant, the wait staff was female and a fashion show at lunch gave diners some eye candy along with their cocktails and crustless cucumber sandwiches. When Faustini and Recine took over, they gradually phased in male wait staff in tuxedos, hearty Italian fare and decor that now favors etched glass, crystal chandeliers, copies of Old Master paintings on the dining room walls and oak paneling in the entry hall.

At 57, Faustini isn’t ready to hang up his party-planning hat just yet. Although he hopes to play a little more golf, he’s looking around for a good location to open a new restaurant with his 26-year-old son, Mario Jr.

” I have mixed emotions, ” Faustini said. ” I’m sad. My life is changing, but you go on. ”

Although the restaurant has played host to politicians, movie stars and sports idols, Faustini’s fondest memories are of the many happy brides he has made queen for a day.

” When we take care of all our brides and they walk out of here extremely happy, ” Faustini said, ” that takes the place of any political event or dinner-dance. ”


Celebrity diners at Alex and Henry’s

Along with the local politicians who have eaten their way to power at Alex & Henry’s, these are some of the famous people who have dined there over the years:

Gina Lollobrigida
Ryan O’Neal
Joe DiMaggio, as recently as October, with the Yankees
Kathy Lee and Frank Gifford
Al Pacino
Billy Martin
Mickey Mantle
Phil Rizzuto
Bob Dole, former GOP presidential candidate
Jack Kemp, former vice presidential candidate
Former Govs. Nelson Rockefeller, Malcolm Wilson and Mario Cuomo
Gov. George Pataki
Former Sen. Al D’Amato
New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani

We also have the obituaries of owners Mario E. Faustini and Nat Recine in our archives. Recine died in 1999, before the restaurant even closed. Faustini died in 2004. If you’d like me to cut and paste those, just let me know.

Share your own memories below!


About Author

Liz Johnson is content strategist for The Journal News and, and the founding editor of lohudfood, formerly know as Small Bites. As food editor, she won awards from the New York News Publishers Association, the Association of Food Journalists and the Associated Press. She lives in Nyack with her husband and daughter on a tiny suburban lot they call their farm — with fruit trees, an herb garden, and a yardful of lettuce, tomatoes, onions, shallots, cucumbers, zucchini, radishes, cabbage, peppers, Brussels sprouts and carrots and four big blueberry bushes.


  1. Alison Pinsley on

    Our memories of Alex and Henry’s are wonderful. We spent our first anniversary there with friends, and ate there many times afterward with family and friends. Our fondest memory is that of the way they treated their customers, just like family. One of our favorite waiters, Marcello, is now the head maitre’d at Muscato’s on Scarsdale Avenue.

  2. My Dad’s retirement dinner from the City of New York was at Alex & Henry’s in 1979. It was a huge gala affair with great food and music and the party seemed to go all night. I also remember my grandmum throwing me an ice cream party at Schrafft’s after I made my first holy communion. Do I remember correctly that Alex & Henry’s had a place near Yankee stadium before ever coming to Eastcheater?

  3. Liz Bracken Thompson on

    Alex & Henry’s holds a special place in my heart. I celebrated my high school graduation there, my senior prom from Eastchester High School was held there, and as a former resident of Eastchester I attended countless political dinners at Alex & Henry’s. It was “the place” to hold an event and when I worked for The Journal News I held many events for the newspapers there. Alex & Henry’s remains in the memories of all who knew it as Southern Westchester’s iconic catering establishment.

  4. alex & henry’s in the bronx and then eventually on 22 was all a result of domenico “maestro” patalano, master chef. he eventually picked up, grabbed a handful of abruzzi/napoli region cooks with him and founded maestro’s, and the rest is history…many others that were at a&h followed domenico simultaneously (i.e., tony de nardis, founder/owner of spaccarelli’s, worked alongside domenico and picked up and left the same way)

    fun fact – christian petroni and domenico’s late wife come from the same tiny island off the coast of rome/naples, ponza

  5. My first job (dishwasher) was at Alex and Henry’s in the early 80’s. Over the years I attended many events there it was indeed a terrific venue.

  6. My parents are both deceased now but I just found their wedding invitation in their wedding album. They had their wedding reception at A&H in the Bronx back in 1958. I plugged in the address and learned a little about a restaurant I would’ve love to dine in. Thanks

  7. After reading the few comments posted about Alex & Henry’s, it is warming to my heart and to the hearts of my family to know that people hold so dear the memory of such a fine and important establishment. Alex & Henry’s was a place that so many people called a home, and where many “created” their own families. My grandfather, Henry, uncle Alex, my late father Nat, and dear cousin Mario, all worked so hard to create a place where all felt welcome. After ten years, I am still approached by many people who tell me that they “miss it so much”, that it was “the best place around”, that “there is no other place like it,” and that “it was their home.” I am so PROUD not only to be living in the memory of such a legacy, but also to be receiving such warm comments about the wonderful characters of the four men who worked so hard to establish our family name after all of these years.

    However, what I MUST address, in response to Maestro’s comments above, is a mistake of fact. Contrary to what was stated, is the fact that Alex & Henry’s success was NOT a result of Domenico. Rather, he was a part of and contributed to the wonderful family that Alex & Henry’s created. We had many people who worked with us who came and went to continue in their own endeavors. Both my father and Mario remained very respectful of them and supportive of their efforts to create their own successful businesses. For example, Steven Palm, owner of Underhill’s Crossing, and as mentioned above, Tony DeNardis. They remain good friends of our families.

    While I appreciate the comments as to Maestro’s success, I find it a bit inappropriate to address it in this forum where we are trying to remember and HONOR the hard work that ALL (not only my father, Mario, Uncle Alex and Grandpa Henry) who worked there did. My family THANKS all of you for being a part of our family, and for continuing the memory of Alex & Henry’s.

    As I approach the 10 year anniversary of the death of my father, Nat, I remember him with love, but most important, with pride for his successes in life.

  8. I completely agree with the latest from anonymus. However, I would like to add a few things about Alex & Henry’s and perhaps another perspetive that is not political. I believe that Alex & Henry’s was much more than than just a “political hang out”. It was a home, an education beyond any university can teach. I can speak for many people who have been employed by Nat & Mario, some for a short period of time and some for as long as many people consider a career. Alex & Henry’s for some of us, was our second home, we had a staff who cared, who took pride in making every dinner served and made every event a special experience for everyone. Real friendships were created, friendships that today still exist after 25 years or more, relationships and marriages were started by Alex & Henry’s, children were born and celebrated like family. Every employee, wether you were a dishwasher or a manager, were treated the same, with respect, and they had a knack to bring the best out of you. It was not easy, it was stressful, hard work, demanding and at times frustrating for all, but we got through it and learned every day. What Alex & Henry’s ( Nat & Mario) have accomplished no one ever will!! With all do respect to Maestro’s, I completely dissagree with their comments.I would challenge their statement. I have seen personally who is responsible for Alex & Henry’s successes (Nat & Mario as well as the entire staff), and to be honest, I have never seen anyone from Maestro’s contribute. Have Maestro’s answer how succesful their Carnevale was when Alex & Henry’s was open?? Many many other functions alike were as a result of creating a family environment for all the people who have come though Alex & Henry’s. Where was the best entertainment, best food and most all best service?? one place, Alex & Henry’s. I would challenge their comments whole heartedly. Respectfully, I think that Maestro’s is great, but it is no Alex & Henry’s in every aspect. Nat & Mario were 2 of the most considerate, generous, tough but fair, and passionate about ‘doing the right thing” people I have ever had the pleasure of working for. I attribute a lot of my personal and professional success, friendships, work ethics as well as “do the right thing” attitude to Nat & Mario and the culture they created at Alex & Henry’s. I could only wish that they were still with us and Alex & Henry’s still open, so that our kids can have the opportunity to experience what many people have experienced.
    That is my non political perspective about A & H !!! I think a lot of people would agree.

  9. Thank you, George. That was well said…and VERY true. Your words hit the very essence of how people feel/felt about working there, and you are right. EVERYONE who worked there made Alex & Henry’s successful.

  10. I worked at Alex & Henry’s for 6 years and literally grew up there and formed wonderful, lasting friendships. All of us who knew them learned so much from Nat & Mario…these men were amazing and no words could ever appropriately eulogize them and the legacies they left and they live through their families who are all a class act and make them proud every day. “The restaurant” as those of us who worked there called it, set the standard for so much of what many take for granted today: Carnevale, New Year’s Eve, traditional Italian weddings, phenomenal waitstaff and top-of-the-line service…I have attended functions in all of the area catering halls and none will ever touch the 5-star service and the specialized attention that Nat & Mario and their managers provided to everyone who walked through their doors. I got married there and will always treasure all of the memories and cherish the warm and wonderful people that I worked with and that I got to know over the years. To the Recine & Faustini families: I am honored that I am part of your history and that I knew your dads; Always in our hearts, xo

  11. My parents bought our house in Eastchester the year I was born, 1961. They’re still there, and Alex and Henry’s is a part of the terrain which binds all who grew up there. Ask any 40-something from Eastchester if they ever drank a beer in the parking lot behind Alex and Henry’s, by the golf course, and the odds are high they will say yes.

  12. We went to many a beautiful function there. My grandparents 50th was just one of them and they were from Lake Isle in Eastchester. Fond memories of a wonderful institution. Thanks.

  13. Dr. Cathy Torigian and I were married there on December 5, 1987. With the approach of our 22nd anniversary, we thought we had better bring our 5-year-old Lizzie for dinner there so that she could incorporate some memories of this wonderful place into her version of our family history. How sorry we are to learn, only now, that Alex and Henry’s is gone, and that Nat Recine, who was so wonderful in making our reception a huge hit, has passed on far too young. For many years after our wedding reception became a sort of benchmark in our family, with people even now raving about the food. We were married at St. Michael’s in Sunset Park, Brooklyn and our service was rather full, making the hour-plus ride to Scarsdale a little burdensome for our hungry guests. But when they arrived, the cocktail hour put all complaining to rest, and the dinner left everyone speechless. Whoever out there had a part in this great establishment, especially on our special day, please know that we will forever appreciate what wonderful work you did.

  14. I am young enough to have never attended an event there, however, as a child I remember on several occasions my mother getting all glammed up for weddings at A&H. She used to tell me she hoped one day my wedding would be there because she would always come home raving about it.

    Maestro, you are inappropriate, and honestly, you were’nt in the same league at A&H. A direct quote from my mother.

  15. The Mad Russian on

    I worked at A & H from 1984 to 1990. At Carnevale, I was known as The Mad Russian. This was the start of my acting career. I formed friendships there that are now 25+ years strong and still going. We worked hard, learned about life and had each other’s backs. I have never worked at any restaurant after that that had such an effect on me. It was the nexus of the universe. We have had 2 reunions in the last 10 years. We are very proud alumni, we have a common bond and a common heritage. The experiences there as both employees and as guests were unmatched and live forever. There will never be another. All things must change with time but we wil lalways be connected. Maestro, when someone feels compelled to write about your restaurant, you can write all you want. If it was as great as you say, then maybe that will happen. Meantime, you come across as petty and jealous. Please show some class.

  16. My mom worked at Alex & Henry’s on Courtland in the Bronx in the early 1960’s. She had a picture of her in a cowgirl costume, and I believe it was from when she worked there?

  17. To continue, she talked about many lawyers/politicians that hung out there in the 1960’s. She said there were a lot of Italian politicians. Does anyone know what Italian politicans were hanging out at Alex & Henry’s in the early 60’s?

  18. Michael Albano on

    I happened to find this story about Alex & Henry’s because I was just reading a piece in the NY Times about restaurant “regulars” — and I thought of my year as a bartender at Alex & Henry’s, fresh out of college in 1975, and right after Mario and Nat took over from Schraft’s. There was a regular lunch customer who was simply known as “The Colonel.” Does anyone who worked there remember him? He was a holdover from the Scharft’s days, very elderly and frail, and a lover of strong alcohol. When he came to the bar after his lunch in the dining room. he usually wound up crying in his Old Fashioned about his deceased wife, and then his driver took him home. Working at A&H was very demanding and quite a revelation to an Italian kid from the Bronx who just turned 22 and had to quickly prove himself among bartenders and waiters who were real pros, having been in the business for many years. Mario and Nat played good cop and bad cop: Nat was the tough guy who kept you on your toes, but you didn’t want to disappoint Mario because he was such a nice guy. I left A&H after working one year of front bar and weddings to go off to Boston to graduate school, but I never forgot my days in Easchester. By the way, I also had the pleasure of filling in for a bartender for one night at the A&H near the Stadium — what I remember most from the experience is that after serving a tough guy and his female companion a drink, he gave me a $20.00 tip! Since I live in Connecticut now, I had no idea that A&H has been closed for more than ten years now. I’m not surprised, since restaurants rarely last as long as A&H was able to do, but it was sad to hear, nonetheless.

  19. I worked several weddings and a New Years eve party in the sixty’s,as a part time waiter at A & H.My older bro Angelo got me the jobs for me as well as bro Frank.
    Mari,Nat and the rest were very nice people.

  20. tony sorrentino on

    i worked at alex henrys in the bronx as a waiter and bartender the ten years i was working there was a fun time and i made so many friends that was in the seventys and eightys if anyone remembers me please contact me at you may know me by my nickname zeke

  21. tony sorrentino on

    hi this is tony sorrentino the correct years of working at alex henrys in the bronx was the mid 60s to the mid 70s at that time angelo fata was the bartender and amillio corbi was a bartender my father ralph was a matri de regulars at the bar were joe blue eyes al dandria george powell amoung many others it was a fun time heny and old man alex were great people to work for at this time they were grooming nat arecine and mario faustine to take over nat was henrys son and mario was alex grandson anyone wanting to reach me can at

  22. Adrienne Sasko on

    I had my wedding reception at the amazing Alex and Henry’s Roman Gardens back in 1993. It was an elegant affair, with the piano in the entry way, fountain, red carpet (I think it was red carpet-gotta check my wedding pix!), marble/mirrored walls and luxurious furniture arrangement in the sitting area. We took pictures on the piano, on the staircase, on the gold couches and by the beautiful entry table with an enormous, gorgeous fresh flower arrangement. It was absolutely breathtaking! The food was amazing, the wait staff was wonderful and it holds so many special memories for me and my husband. It’s so sad this place is now closed. So glad we were able to celebrate in this amazing place!! Thank you for a wonderful lifetime memory, Alex and Henry’s!

  23. We were married at Alex & Henry’s on an incredible Sunday afternoon in September of 1990. We had the ceremony outside in the Gazebo with the fountains and tons of flowers. It was absolutely beautiful. The reception was brought inside where they treated us respectfully and provided everything we needed and didn’t know we wanted. As I look back at my wedding pix on the staircase with the grand chandelier at at the fountain and the great time everyone hand, it so sad to see they are no longer there. I brought my children into the now Barnes and Noble only a year or two ago (when they were preteen) and showed them where the garden was and how it was layed out for our wedding as they recall from the pictures. Even they were saddened that they couldn’t see how beautiful it was then. Thank you for the lovely day forever etched in memory.

  24. Lisa Mittleman Cardazone on

    I don’t know what made me google “Alex & Henry’s”, but I’m certainly glad I did. Reading all of these wonderful comments has brought me back to a wonderful time in my life. My parents were very good friends of Nat & Mario. My mother and brother even worked there for many years before the restaurant eventually closed. My brother’s Bar Mitzvah, my Sweet 16, my grandparents 40th anniversary and my wedding were there, besides the many other dinners and other functions that we attended. It was my home away from home and to say I miss it is an understatement. My parents are both gone now, but our MANY memories of our times and our friends at Alex & Henry’s remain forever in my heart.

  25. Nat was a class act…I was married there and had all my childrens parties there as well. I worked the main bar during the week-nights and the rolling bar on the weekends…Had good things and made many of friends.

  26. Thank God that my wedding was held here 25 years ago today! It was the best time of my life and we will never forget the beautiful job Nat and Mario did for us. I see the building now and it really makes me long for the good old days.

  27. My husband and I were married at Alex & Henry’s in 1999. To this day I still have people come up to me and say what an amazing wedding we had. The food was amazing (and there was plenty of it!), the staff was friendy and the place was beautiful! Even before I got engaged I knew I wanted to have my reception there. I went to many weddings there and always had a great time. To this day I have not seen any other catering hall do a wedding the way Alex & Henry’s did! Between coctail hour, the waiters holding plates cherries jubalee on fire around us while we danced, fireworks coming out of our center pieces, the parade of wine and wine cart, the waiters twirling big sparklers to the tables and tables of desserts at the end of the night it was amazing!!! I was heartbroken when I heard it was closing but so thankful that my husband and I were able to have our dream wedding there. Three of my husband’s four siblings also had their wedding at Alex & Henry’s! They really knew how to make a couple (not just the bride) feel special!!

  28. I just want to say that Alex & Henry’s Restaurants were home to me. I got married in the bronx location on Sept 1984 and most of my family got married there. It will forever be in my heart. Mario and Nat were wonderful people. Mario was my mother’s cousin – she is also a Faustini. Mario oversaw my whole wedding and made me feel like Cinderella the whole day!
    There will NEVER be any place like it!! It was professional, great food, top notch service and very fancy – CLASSY CLASSY place!!! My daughter got married this May and it just wasn’t the same – I always dreamed of my children getting married there and I was devastated when it closed down 🙁

    Thanks for all the memories!!

    PS: Does anyone know if there is any memorabilia of the restaurant in the bronx? I would love to have something from there


  30. Joan Coghlan Hamilton on

    It will be 50 years this Saturday, Nov. 16, 1963. that my husband John and I will be married. Our reception was at Alex and Henry’s in the Bronx and Mario, who was a classmate of mine at Imaculate Conception was the Emcee. Mario was just out of College and new at this. He did a wonderful job that day dealing with the Irish relatives and the Irish Band. We are celebrating our Golden Anniversary at Doolans Shore Club in Spring Lake Heights with 100 plus friends and family and another Irish Band named Andy Cooney. We have been talking about Alex and Henry’s to those who were there with us that day and also to those weren’t born yet. All wonderful memories.
    This Saturday, November 16, 2013 will bring back lots of conversation about
    that day in the Bronx where it all began. We are Countin our Blessings!

    Joan and John Hamilton

  31. My memories of Alex and Henry’s will always stay with me. Started in the Bronx in 1977, then one day Nat tells me ” Marsala your going uptown Saturday I’m gonna make you a star.” This day changed my life. Being a waiter for Nat and Mario taught me so much growing up. There should be more places like this today but there will only be one Alex and Henry’s.

  32. Indiana Girl on

    I had my wedding there in 1987. Back in they day the plate per guest was 35.00. We had one hundred and fifty guest. How time flies?? Lots of beautiful memories and great pics that we have of our wedding day. Thank you for letting me post and remember.

    Indiana Girl

  33. tony sorrentino. nickname ZEKE on

    anyone who remembers me please email me. i would love to hear from any one from alex henrys.

  34. I want to start off by saying my name is Giovanni Venuto i was a member of the former Wedding band the Caleps I was the young guy they used to call little Johnny singing on the speakers dancing in the shows I grew up at Alex & Henrys. The best place, the best Carnevale hands down! Nat and Mario watched me grow up, 2 of the greatest, kindest good hearted people Ive ever known , and who could forget the staff they were simply the best like no other! From the shows we all put on with the staff to the great food especially that appetizer shell they made for carnevale yum yum loved it (lol) how i miss those great Carnevale’s … All i want to say is , it was a place that made you feel at home even though we all came from brooklyn ( lol) and we are truly greatful for all the great memories… long live A&H

  35. My step dad was Mario’s uncle. He love Alex and Henri’s. He went to so many functions there, for the post office. No one did Mardi Gras like they did. I loved what they did for my on March 16, 1980. It was truly an amazing place. You always felt special when you where there. I have amazing memories from there, which I hold close to my heart.

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