On the side streets of New York

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  • Photo: Tom Arena, Manhattan Sideways

Martinez Hand Rolled Cigars — 171 West 29th Street

For more than forty years, this family-owned shop has been hand-rolling Dominican and Nicaraguan tobacco into Ecuadorean and Brazilian wraps. According to the owners, Nicaraguan tobacco is arguably the best in the world, but “people fall in love with Cuban cigars because we want what we can’t have.” In a small space at the back of the store, the rollers pull tubes of tobacco from stacks of wooden blocks and expertly shape dried leaves from giant bundles. When asked if anyone could roll, he replied, “No, man, it’s like a language.” The sentiment is borne out in the mesmerizing motions of the rollers.

To read more, visit Manhattan Sideways (sideways.nyc), created by Betsy Bober Polivy.

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