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21 Club
Photograph: Courtesy of 21 Club

NYC's iconic 21 Club is closing its doors after 90 years

The famed midtown restaurant is shuttering for the "foreseeable future" due to the pandemic

Written by
Christina Izzo

After nearly a century on West 52nd Street—including a storied stretch as Manhattan's most thirsted-after speakeasy—the 21 Club and its famous jockey statues will be waving goodbye for the "foreseeable future" due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the latest in a crushing wave of corona-era closures that have hit New York.

"In light of the ongoing global crisis and anticipated extended recovery period for the hospitality industry, the difficult decision was made that it will not be feasible to reopen the 21 Club in its current form for the foreseeable future," a restaurant spokesperson said in a statement released Saturday.

Although the team is "exploring potential opportunities that will allow 21 Club to remain a viable operation in the long term," the restaurantwhich has played host to many a famous patron, including U.S. presidents and celebrities like Frank Sinatra, Ernest Hemingway and Jay-Z—will cease operations indefinitely and lay off nearly 150 employees come March 2021. 

The news come hot on the heels of Governor Cuomo's announcement to ban indoor dining again, starting today, sparking plenty of heated reactions among restaurant owners and staffers. However, the 21 Club dining room had already been closed since March 16 of this year due to the pandemic. But it seems like reopening the Gotham classic is an eventual hope. 

"At this early stage, we are not ready to announce any final concept or timeframe," said the spokesperson. "But the vision is that 21 Club will always remain an important social and cultural hub and icon of New York, one that is well positioned to fulfill its role in the City’s exciting future when the time comes."

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