Sweet Spot: The One New York City Park Where Cigar Smoking Is A-OK

June 28, 2018 - 7:03 pm

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- If George Burns, Mark Twain, Winston Churchill, and Lt. Columbo all took a walk in a New York City park, which one do you think they would choose?

As WCBS 880’s Mike Sugerman reported in this week’s “Sweet Spot,” there is only one park where they could enjoy their passion of cigars. That park is Paley Park, on 53rd Street between Fifth and Madison avenues.

“Samuel Paley Park is the only park in the city of New York where you can still smoke a cigar,” said Matthias Clock, publisher of FineTobaccoNYC.com.

Visitors to the park can puff away in public like no other place in New York City.

“Generally, what I can expect is to get yelled at by, you know, some French tourist or longtime New Yorker,” Clock said.

There may be a good reason from some perspectives.

“Cigar smoke is not pleasant,” said Kelvin Batista, who was puffing on an Avo South America Ritmo. “I also am considerate of nonsmokers.”

But he doesn’t have to worry about it at Paley Park. There are ashtrays and kindred spirits.

“As a cigar smoker, there’s no better place than to sit outside and people watch,” Batista said.

In 2011, then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg outlawed all smoking in parks. But William Paley, whose family started the CBS Network and owns the cigar company La Palina, also owned Paley Park – a private space open to the public.

The Paleys figuratively stuck a cigar in Bloomberg’s eye and deemed the park cigar-friendly.

“I did not know about it,” said John Dematto.

It’s not well publicized, and many cigar smokers like John Dematto don’t know about.

“It’s something that I now need to check out, because apparently, I’m not going to get kicked out of this place and be able to smoke a cigar,” he said. “That sounds kind of awesome.”

Paley Park is not hard to find in Midtown. You smell it long before you see it.​