Thursday, March 8, 2007

The Metropolitan Society

I think someone more eloquent than me could/should write a great book on this amazing congregation of passionate cigar lovers, so I will only attempt a short tribute. Last night I had the pleasure and privilege of attending an extraordinary event at The Metropolitan Society, with Rene Castaneda of La Aurora/Miami Cigar Co.. The abbreviated history of this organization: Around thirteen years ago, a small group of cigar smokers started having a monthly dinner where they could eat well, enjoy delicious beverages, and smoke great cigars with their friends and fellow aficionados. Last year, with the NJ anti-smoking laws coming into effect, the Society was faced with their own demise. Rather than give up and accept the consequences of the ridiculous prohibition, they took their destiny into their own hands and formed a private club. Today that club occupies approximately 4000 sq/ft of beautiful space in Fairfield, NJ. It is appointed with every conceivable amenity and convenience you can imagine: kitchen, beverage machine, pool table, bathrooms, giant ashtrays, club chairs, sofas, tvs, dining/meeting room, ventilation, air cleaners, art, etc... Currently their membership consists of about 150 of the most interesting cigar-loving characters you will ever meet. The club itself is private, affordable, and crafted with the same love and affection that a great cigar maker would give to their own products. I have never seen anything like it. And it is a testament to the passion, commitment, ingenuity, and resilience of people who refuse to have their rights taken away. While anti-smoke hysteria threatens the future of cigar and pipe smoking, The Metropolitan Society remains a beacon of hope for those of us who need it.

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