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Lighting  

By far the biggest lunchtime scene was at La Grenouille, which just happened to be Fairchild’s favorite observation post. Owned by Charles Masson Sr., yet another disciple of Henri Soulé, and his wife, Gisele, the restaurant is still considered by many to be the most beautiful in New York. Whereas other Le and La restaurants might have bouquets of roses or peonies on the tables, La Grenouille was a bower of dogwood, forsythia, or cherry-blossom branches, depending on the season. Charles Masson Jr., who runs the restaurant today, told me his father had an obsession with flattering lighting, and when General Electric discontinued the lightbulb he preferred, he had Westinghouse reproduce it, despite the fact that the minimum quantity for a custom order was 25,000 bulbs. ‘My father understood one thing, that if he made an environment as beautiful as possible, where women would feel beautiful, the women would come and, guess what, the men would come after them.’

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