New York, NY May 20th – Manhattan Sideways
For thirty-nine years, this family-owned shop has been hand-rolling Dominican and Nicaraguan tobacco into Ecuadorian and Brazilian wraps. The Nicaraguan tobacco, the clerk assured us, is arguably the best in the world. “People fall in love with Cuban cigars because we want what we can’t have.” This could be true – psychology 101 in a tobacco leaf.
For our crew, the cigars themselves, while fit for one’s greatest victories, are not the most amazing part of the shop. Rather, it is the experience of being there. In a small space at the back of the store, the rollers pull tubes of tobacco from stacks of wooden blocks and expertly shape dried leaves from giant bundles into just-so shapes to do their enveloping duty. When we asked the clerk if he could roll, he replied, “No, man, it’s like a language. You have to start when you’re little.” The sentiment is borne out in the mesmerizing motions of the rollers.
Up front, a group of regulars gather around blowing puffs of smoke from their cigars while chatting. The air reeks of yet-to-be-smoked cigars mingling with smoking ones of all sizes. Everyone gets along. Long-time friends mingle with new ones, brought together by a shared languorous pastime. And then there is the added treat of stopping by on a Saturday afternoon when people gather to play a serious game of dominoes.
New York, NY – April 26, 2017 – ABC6 NEWS
Just off of busy Seventh Avenue in Manhattan is a family-owned factory where they have been making handmade cigars now for generations. This diamond in the rough is well known in the neighborhood as Martinez Cigars. It is tucked away in the Chelsea section of NYC, and this retailer has seen a major boost in their online sales over the last year.
Owner Jesus Martinez says, “My father started the business here in New York in 1974. At that time there were many cigar factories not only here in Manhattan, but all over the city and even the county.” With the cost of rents in NYC continuing to rise over the years, it has forced many operations to relocate or simply close up shop.
The Martinez family originally had two locations, one uptown in Inwood in the 1970s, as well as their current location on 29th Street and Seventh Avenue. Due to rent and overhead increases, Martinez decided to close the Inwood location and keep the 29th Street factory open. Today, this location supports four full-time rollers working five days a week, as well as a staff that places labels on the cigars and packages them in boxes for sale.
New York City-based Martinez Cigar Factory is proudly participating in the Movember Foundation’s annual Movember campaign, by hosting a Movember cigar rolling event. The Movember Foundation challenges men to grow a moustache, men and women to be physically active and move, or host a fundraising event. All of which spark conversations and raise vital funds and awareness for men’s health.
On November 15h, Martinez Cigars will be hosting a Movember cigar rolling event to raise money for men’s health at their cigar factory in Manhattan. For more details on the event, you can go to their event page.
Cigars are typically reserved for special occasions (weddings, holidays, raises, promotions), but it doesn’t have to be that way: NYC has plenty of cigar shop options for casual smokers and aficionados alike. Whether you’re a regular at vape shops and smoke shops or you’ve never even set foot in a cigar bar, here are the best shops for stogie-savoring or discovering a new favorite flavor.