New York, city of angles? A short and satisfying trip from DC to NYC via I-95 revealed a few things.A major wreck on the turnpike can turn a four-hour trip into a seven one. Two star hotels can be efficient and practical, and offer just what you need, maybe just not when you want it. Cigar events are sinfully fun, as is Hogs and Heifers in West Village. People watching in NYC is just damn hard to beat, as is the low-priced coffee and bagel from the street vendors. And most of all, there are a lot of fun people in NYC, aside from the cab drivers.

Angles, yes, not a misprint but an obvious play on LA’s Angels (which is not to be confused with Victoria Secrets show which of course is in NYC). In my self-portrait I was channeling Man in a Bowler hat, notice, Apple icon in my face, sans hat. Anyhow, walk through the city…. notice all of the right angles, then walk through the city, angles, everywhere, massive rectangular structures so rigid and cast shadows of the same. Streets composed of a grid system, again, angles. Window panes, angles. Ok, so maybe you’ve noticed.

So the reason for this trip was the Cigar Aficionados Big Smoke at Pier 92. For 3 hours over 2,000 cigar lovers impatiently strolled through the rope lines to pick up a free cigar from over 20 cigar manufacturers from central America with most headquartered in the U.S. No Cubans of course, and I honestly don’t care that there are none present because the current state of cigars coming from central and south America are amazing. Aside from the cigar companies you had accessories and other things that interest this crowd like Guinness, Conundrum wine and Ardbeg! Ardbeg was my favorite of course, I did imbibe the Guinness and wine because, who passes on free booze? Not me.


Like last year, the big lines to wait in were the Alec Bradley line, the A. Fuente line (yes, Carlito was there) and the mother of all lines, Rocky Patel. Along with the celebrity status of the aforementioned gentlemen, America’s Mayor Rudy Guiliani showed up and patiently shook hands and took pictures with throngs of fans. No, he isn’t in office, but he will always be the Mayor of NY to me. Noticeably absent, well, its hard to notice because there are just so many people there! But there is a noticeable absence of women. My friend Michelle came with me because as she puts it, “where else in NY do you see this many men!” Michelle is among the subset of beautiful women in NYC who have too few options in dating, and are victims of their success in business. So ladies of NYC, if you don’t mind cigar smoke and have $240 for the event ticket, you might want to start making plans now! Having Michelle with me gives me unexpected recognition, hey, that dude has a chick with him! After spending some time with Michelle’s friends in the West Village, I’m hoping for at least two more women in my company in 2012, which will make me look like a rockstar!

After the event Michelle and I went to the West Village area for drinks and conversation. I can’t remember all of the bars we hopped to but seriously enjoyed my time at Hogs and Heifers. Remember Coyote Ugly,the actual bar is in the Meat Packing district and is called Hogs and Heifers. It was a Wednesday night, when we opened the door it was just as you would expect it, crowded with slightly inebriated people and bra wearing bartenders screaming at the crowd with megaphones. In a word, perfect! Michelle had hesitation bringing me there, at which I said, you obviously don’t know me! I love dive bars, it’s just an environment that graphic design and quirky chalk boards can’t top. I also love Pabst Blue Ribbon! Yes, I do like it and have drank it before it was fashionable to do so.

Overall, the trip was fast but intensely fun, the cigar event is maddening because the sheer numbers of people and it is a little disconcerting if you are seeking to be educated about a brand or product. I do wish that some of the smaller boutique cigar makers could break into the event but giving away that many cigars is probably a non-starter for boutiques. All in all, the event was worth the trip to NYC and having good friends who live there exponentially enrich the experience. I’m going to write more on that soon, I took the opportunity of being in the city to spend some time at Nat Sherman’s store and Davidoff’s of Geneva’s new store and had a blast at both of them.

See you next year in NYC for the 2013 event!