December 09, 2014

New York Big Smoke 2014 (Our trip to New York City!)

We arrived in NYC around 11:30 am. We stayed at the Millennium Broadway Hotel in Times Square! We were in the center of everything!

Our room would not be ready until around 4 pm so we dropped off our luggage and set out to see the surrounding city. After a quick lunch we started our sightseeing.

Here's what it looks like just outside out hotel.


The first thing I did was light up a Perdomo Double Aged Vintage Sun Grown. Then Connie and I decided to walk to Cigar Inn.

The walk to Cigar Inn was easy. It took about 25 minutes. Traffic is crazy right now. This is the busiest time to be in New York City. I could not live here and drive anywhere. It is incredibly busy.

So, we found Cigar Inn. This is also the shop with the Cigar Aficionado Lounge, which is the site for the Big Smoke After Party. I met Gus, one of the owners. He was a great guy. In fact, everyone we met in New York City was very nice. Most of my opinions of mean New Yorkers were dissolving. Oh, I'm sure there are mean people out there but we did not find them. Everyone we came in contact with was extremely nice and helpful. We even felt very safe walking the streets at night.
Here is Gus, one of the owners of Cigar Inn.

And here are shots of his shop.

That's Jeff, to the right. He gifted me a nice Cuban H. Upmann torpedo which was quite tasty. Thanks again, Jeff!

After a couple hours at Cigar Inn it was time to head back to the hotel and check in. The Big Smoke started at 6 pm so we had to get ready and head out.

Our room was 3002, which is on the 30th floor. We had a corner room which was very cool. We looked down right on Times Square. Here is the view from our room.

The room itself was nice but not very plush. You're paying for location, location, location; not luxury. 

Because of the crowds in town we decided to leave early. We knew that traffic would slow down our progress, so we left at 5:15. 

The Big Smoke was held at Pier 92. A very large warehouse with plenty of room for everyone. There were several hundred people in attendance. 

Once inside the Big Smoke we got our ticket book and canvas tote bag. 

Here is the list of cigar companies at the event:
Aging Room
Alec Bradley Nica Puro
Arturo Fuente
The Banker by H. Upmann
CAO Colombia
Casino Gold
Cohiba Nicaragua
Diamond Crown
Drew Estate
Dunhill 1907
E. P. Carrillo
Joya de Nicaragua
La Aroma de Cuba
La Flor Dominicana
La Gloria Cubana Serie R Esteli
Macanudo Café
Nat Sherman 1930 Selection
Oliva Serie O
Partagas 1845 Extra Fuerte
Rocky Patel
1875 Romeo y Julieta
Studio Tobac - Nub
Villiger Cabareté

After visiting each company's table I immediately went about meeting some of the people I had "talked to" online. It would be great to actually meet these people.

Me with Rocky Patel

Us with Liana Fuente

Us with Robert Levin

Me with Irma Osborne

Me with Rafael Nodal

Us with Carlos Fuente

The Big Smoke was amazing. Connie and I had a fantastic time. Here are the cigars we got at the event. It's somewhere around 70! I even had a few people gift me some cigars. They had recognized me from my reviews! Very cool!

We left the event at about 9:20 pm and headed back to Cigar Inn for the after party.

Once there we met more people.

Us with Sandi Turnipseed

More friends at the After Party. Ade Mccoy on the far left, Karl Peterson (second from left), Sandi Turnipseed in the middle; Kevin Bristow on the far right.

The Cigar Inn after party was rocking! The music was loud and the place was packed. There were so many cigar lovers and we had a fantastic time.

Around 11:30 we were pooped! After getting up at 4 am we had hit the wall. We headed back to the room for a well deserved good nights sleep.

The next day we headed into the city to see the sights. We took the hop on-hop off bus which is a great way to see the highlights of the downtown area.

Madison Square Garden

We stepped off the bus when we got to the sight of the World Trade Center. You had a weird sensation knowing you were at the spot of so much tragedy.

On the second day in the city we made it our mission to see the Fox news center. 

We knew that they had weather segments with Rick, the Fox weatherman, on Saturday mornings so we staked out the plaza in hopes of seeing Rick and being on national TV. Our wait was not in vein. Rick emerged from the building for a weather segment.

I stood right behind Rick while he gave the weather forecast. I was on national TV! I hope you saw me!

We walked around the area near Fox and saw some beautiful Christmas lights.

Connie wanted to go to Chinatown to get a handbag. So, we left the Fox studio and grabbed the hop on-hop off bus which would eventually stop in Chinatown. Here she is with the Chinese women "taking care of business".

If you're a Starbucks fan you will have absolutely no trouble finding one in New York City. On the bus tour they told us there are 179 Starbucks in the downtown area! There is literally one on every corner. There are even Starbucks in Chinatown!

After lunch on the second day we headed over to see the Statue of Liberty. I'm not sure what Rick was saying about the weather forecast but it undoubtedly included the word rain. It started raining just after our visit to Chinatown and didn't stop the rest of the day. 

The trip to the Statue of Liberty was quite tedious. First you have to go through airport type security where you remove your coat and everything in your pockets; all your rings, wallet, watch, etc. Once through security you stand in line waiting for the next boat. Since it was raining Connie stayed on the lower deck where she could stay dry. I headed to the third deck on the outside to snap some great pics of the trip over.

Once we docked we got to see the Statue of Liberty up close. She is quite impressive when you see her in person.

It makes you proud to stand that near a true American treasure.

We grabbed some lunch nearby and grabbed a cab back to the hotel. It took forever to get back! Since it was raining we had to take a cab but even though it was so far from the hotel I truly believe we could have walked back quicker.

Once again we headed out to Cigar Inn for our last night in New York City. I had been contacted by Enrique Sanchez Icaza, the owner of 1502 Cigars, who wanted to meet me. He was in New York City also. We decide to meet at Cigar Inn.

It was great meeting Enrique. A great end to a great trip. 

On the morning of our last day we went to Times Square to see the massive billboards that were everywhere.

The Crystal Ball that drops every New Years Eve.

Here is the New York City police department substation in Times Square.

With our flight time approaching we grabbed a cab for the last time in New York City and took the 30 minute ride to LaGuardia Airport. We enjoyed our time in the city very much. We met some great people. In fact, everyone we met in New York City was very friendly and helpful. I'm sure we'll be back. Thank you New York City and everyone we met for a wonderful time.

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