UPDATE: THIS LOCATION NO LONGER EXISTS. THE NEW “CIGAR LANDING CAN BE FOUND” HERE.
The South Street Seaport, however, still allows smoking and is a great location.
During the past decade, New York City smoking taxes and regulations have trended towards “more” and “stricter” respectively. Mayor Bloomberg is even embarking on a campaign to end smoking at beaches and public parks, and the threat is very real. So, it is important that fine tobacco lovers in the New York City area do what they can to keep the art of relaxation alive for others. Recently, that has taken the form of a slew of new and exciting cigar lounges in Brooklyn and Manhattan. It has also meant a shift towards smoking at bars and restaurants that have open-air back patios.
Unfortunately, that has left anyone wanting to sit down and smoke a pipe or cigar in a beautiful atmosphere without forking over $10-$30 for a night with few options. That is why the South Street Seaport is such an amazing find for smokers in the city.
Just down Fulton Street in the Financial District, the Seaport juts out into the East river with a spectacular view of the Brooklyn Bridge to the East, downtown Brooklyn to the South, and the Financial District to the West. The seaport is essentially a beautified three-story shopping mall, but the real utility and magic of the place is in its three upper-floor decks, all of which are smoker friendly. The floors are well lit, built of sturdy wood, and are generally stocked with enough tables, lounge chairs, and benches for a large group of people. Because of the quality of the environment, the decks are usually full of tourists during the day, but after about 10:00pm, the decks (which are open all night) clear out, leaving what is essentially an open-air cigar lounge free for relaxation.
But “what about wind”, you ask? That is, after all, the main difference between indoor and
outdoor smoking locations for many fine tobacco enthusiasts. The beauty of the Seaport is that it sports top floor decks on three sides, all of which are shielded from one wind direction (east, north, and west). So, whatever way the wind blows (which is usually from north/northeast), the cigar smoker can find an enclosed space sheltered from the wind, with a beautiful view. It is a complete win-win, which is why I have visited this location four times in the past two weeks for a last summer smoke.
Even if the wind manages to catch your smoke or the temperature turns cold, the Seaport has you covered. On the ground floor of the west side of the building is “Cyber Cigar & Coffee Bar.” The bar sells an assortment of “Seattle’s Best” coffee and a few beers. They also have a few humidors full of cigars, although the selection is a bit limited (I did see a Rocky Patel “Old World Reserve”). The establishment has seating, and allows cigar smokers to smoke indoors, allowing another opportunity for relief from the elements.
So, the long story short is, the South Street Seaport is a great smoking location in New York City that will probably avoid smoking regulation because it qualifies as neither a beach or a public park. It may not be the best location in the dead of winter (but which outdoor locations are?), but during the spring, summer, and even early fall months it is definitely worth a visit.