16 May 2006
When you think of the Big Apple you might think of the tall buildings, the Broadway lights, the attitude of its residents, or even some of its famous food items (Carnegie Deli sandwiches, slice shop pizza, bagels with lox…). But cigar making probably doesn’t come to mind.
And yet in a recent trip to New York I made it a point to visit two shops where you can see experienced cigar-makers roll a handmade stogie right before your eyes, and then smoke it right there. One such place is La Rosa Cubana.
While only a brisk 10 minute walk from Nat Sherman Cigar’s glitzy flagship store at 5th Avenue and 42nd Street, La Rosa Cubana’s second floor mini cigar factory and shop on 6th avenue (between 30th and 31st streets) could be worlds away. As a lifelong New Yorker before seeking it out, I have walked past it at least a handful of times without taking notice of the neon signs proclaiming “La Rosa Handmade Cigars: Cuban Seed.”
To get from the street to La Rosa you need to ascend a daunting flight of steep, rickety stairs, but as you approach the top the smell alone makes the trip worthwhile. The small one room factory/shop is taken up primarily by presses, rolling tables, and prep areas where the Dominican “cuban seed” cigars are produced. The rest of the room consists of a simple “lounge” consisting of two chairs and a table and a display case/humidor from which any Stogie Guy can select from the many styles of cigars that La Rosa produces. The cigars come in most popular sizes, plus the nearly 1-inch in diameter 6 1/2 inch by 60 ring gauge “King Churchill.”
And while I’ll spend more time on La Rosa’s cigars in future StogieGuys.com articles, I must say that there is something so very authentic and pleasing about seeing handmade cigars produced in front of your very eyes. And I’m certain that when I do get around to enjoying that King Churchill, it will be that much better because I have seen the effort, attention to detail, and years of experience that went into creating it.
Click photos for a larger view:
Visit La Rosa Cubana yourself at:
862 6th Avenue (second floor) between 30th & 31st Streets
New York, New York 10001
Or see their website for more information: