1996 New York Big Smoke

Well, as Big Smokes go, this was truly the classic New York Big Smoke. If you have ever been to Big Smokes elsewhere in the country, then you should try this one. It is classic New York. People everywhere. It can easily take several minutes just to get down one aisle because there are so many people there. New York is it’s own style when it come to the Big Smoke.

I continue to be amazed at how many people actually come to these events. I think it’s great. Many of the people I visit with say it’s their first Big Smoke which is encouraging. While at the same time there are always those annual regulars that I keep running into each year in the Big Apple. What a great thing. Running into friends that you see every year and catching up on all the news of each others lives.

This year for the Fall event, I took a couple of extra days and relaxed a bit. One of the greatest things about the Fall Big Smoke in New York, is the fact that it always seems to fall on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving Day. What a great time. This year I got to do something I have wanted to do for years. I stayed an extra day and watched the Thanksgiving Day Parade from the streets of New York. If you have done this, then you know the rush that your get as you look at all these people and you see the balloons and floats up close and personal It is truly an amazing experience. I think it was the perfect way to cap off a Big Smoke trip.

The Big Smoke itself was great as I mentioned above. There is no doubt the cigar boom is still going strong. From all indications it doesn’t look like it is ready to slow down at all either. Of course, depending on how you look at that fact, could determine whether this is good or bad news. Obviously I say it is good news. I have waited a long time to see cigars as popular as they are today. Having smoked cigars for twenty years it is nice to see that they are doing well today. After all, in the 70’s and 80’s, it started to look pretty bad for us cigar lovers.

While things are looking up for the cigar in this present day and age, I have to admit that I am seeing something that does concern me a little. I noticed this in New York while I was there. Because there is so much popularity for cigars today, there are many more people involved with the industry than before. I can’t begin to tell you how many new brands have hit the market in the last year alone, but it is a big number!

My only concern about that is the fact that there is obviously money to be made by making cigars. And many new people are getting into the act so to speak. Some of these people don’t really share the passion and love of the cigar and how it is made like the members of the old school. I am afraid that some people may be getting into the industry simply to make money, regardless of the product’s quality.

This could be very dangerous. Here’s why: You go buy a new cigar made so it can simply make someone some money. You pay a lot of money for that cigar and it proves to be so-so. I’m concerned that people will start doubting the real quality of cigars that is out there because they are coming into contact with so many cigars that are not made with proper care and aging. I am in no way saying that someone should not get into manufacturing cigars, but what I am saying is this; if one is going to make cigars, then make them well and keep alive the great tradition of premium handmade cigars.

Money is not the ultimate goal in making great cigars. Pleasing the cigar smoker is. I grew up hearing this phrase as a young boy: “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well.” I think the same should apply to the making of cigars. While in New York I saw more and more new brands, new companies etc. I just hope that those people who are all of a sudden on the cigar manufacturing bandwagon, will keep the tradition and spirit of a fine handmade premium cigar alive. It would be ashamed to loose that quality and craftsmanship that have made the cigar what it is just for the love of money.

Lastly, I say this about the New York trip. It is without a doubt one to the greatest cities there is to attend a Big Smoke not only because of the event, but also because of the many places to eat. And those of you who know me, know that I like to eat! If you can make it out to the Big Apple next Fall for the Big Smoke, I hope you will try to make it. I can’t begin to tell you how special and unique it is. It’s just one of those things in life that has to be experienced, if you know what I mean. If you can’t wait till next Fall, then catch the one this Spring in May. I’m sure you won’t forget this experience!

Keep Your Smoking Holy!