LET’S ROLL: A CIGAR LOVER’S GUIDE TO THE CITY’S HOTTEST TABAQUERÍAS

RIGHT in our backyards, and nestled in various neighborhoods throughout the city, are a variety of cigar shops maintaining the old practices of smoke rolling – some dating back to the indigenous people of the islands – offering New Yorkers some of the freshest stogies outside Santo Domingo or Havana.

The secret to hand-rolling is binding just the right amount of tobacco tightly enough to burn slowly and evenly – but not so tightly that the customer has to work to draw smoke.

The craftsmen, who normally start as children learning to roll small, cheap cigars, get paid by the stogie: the bigger the cigar, the higher the pay. A good cigar roller can make about 350 cigars in a day – and can earn up to $400 per shift turning out big or hard-to-make cigars.

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