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Commentary: The Joy of Cigar Smoking in Parks

9 Jun 2011

Every great city has a great park. Many city parks—including New York’s Central Park, Chicago’s Grant Park, and Boston’s Post Office Square—are more than mere gathering places; they’re symbols of the cities themselves and beacons to locals and tourists alike.

“From botanical gardens to ice skating rinks, from jogging paths to bison paddocks, a great city park can contain multitudes,” wrote Rob Baedeker in Forbes when he ranked America’s best city parks. “But beyond their physical features, the best urban oases may well be defined by a feeling.”

Whatever feeling I get from whatever park I happen to be visiting, I often find that a cigar only enhances the experience. And why not? Cigars and parks are great complements for a variety of reasons. For one, parks are outdoor spaces. As much as I love my indoor cigar havens when the weather turns foul, nothing beats a cigar smoked in the great outdoors—be it a sunny afternoon or a cool evening.

Parks also tend to have plenty of benches, tables, and other places to sit. Sitting down with company or on your own is a great way to focus on the cigar at hand (especially if, like me, you’re the kind of cigar smoker who likes to take notes). If you’re not the note-taking type, sitting in a park can still be quite entertaining. Try “people watching” as you enjoy one of your favorite smokes. Or maybe read a book.

Better yet, you may want to get up and move around with your cigar. Parks are great for that, too. My favorite parks have spectacular vistas and a plethora of paths. Sometimes I’ll just stroll along Millennium Park (pictured) and see what piques my interest, what band happens to be playing, or what event is taking place.

Sadly, though, not all people share my passion for cigars, freedom, and tolerance. In cities like New York, it is now illegal to smoke in outdoor parks. What a terrible shame. I wonder what’s in store for my city of residence, Chicago, where local politicians’ attitude towards cigars isn’t much better than in the Big Apple.

I can’t predict the future. What I can do is enjoy some fine cigars in my favorite park locales before the next Chicago winter sets in—or before politicians rob me of the right to do so.

Patrick A


photo credit: Flickr

5 Responses to “Commentary: The Joy of Cigar Smoking in Parks”

  1. Former Chicago Resident Thursday, June 9, 2011 at 10:44 am #

    I moved away from downtown Chicago a little over a year ago. Shortly before I left the city enacted a smoking ban for the beach parks, supposedly because of the “litter” it caused-mainly cigarette butts. In reality I believe it was part of the anti-smoking zealotry. So, I had to give up sitting on a bench near the lake smoking a cigar.

    Then there’s that personal safety issue now. . .

  2. Patrick Ashby Thursday, June 9, 2011 at 10:57 am #

    I was lucky enough to also visit Tokyo a few years ago. Loved it. Wonderful parks in that city. It's interesting to sit in one of the many very traditional-looking parks that are situated in the middle of such a modern metropolis. But. That sums up Japan for me — ancient alongside innovation.

  3. Smokedrift Thursday, June 9, 2011 at 3:26 pm #

    The very latest news from Chicago is that very large groups of youths are beating and robbing people in some of the city's most outstanding locations.
    One of those attacked was a 68 year old man sitting on a bench smoking a cigar.
    It is not clear if the bench was near a park or a beach, which would have made this illegal in Chicago.
    The man was identified as an oncologist, in town for a convention of cancer specialists.

  4. EdMac Thursday, June 9, 2011 at 4:57 pm #

    I agree with you about parks and cigars.

    Geez…I am glad that you mentioned that smoking cigars aren't allowed in Central Park. The last time (February) I was in NYC I just walked down Madison Ave after a purchase from the Davidoff store.

    Living in Boston I enjoy walking through The Boston Common; however, the Rose Kennedy Greenway is now a new destination. One section is adjacent to the North End where there are great Italian restaurants, bakeries, etc. If you come to Boston, then this is a must take:

    The picture on my blog with Red is only a stone's throw from the Greenway.

  5. Lee Wednesday, June 15, 2011 at 11:52 am #

    Post Office Square? Did you pick that out of a hat? Change it to Boston Common.