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12 East 42nd Street
Nat Sherman 1 Cigar Shops Midtown East

The "tobacconist to the world," Nat Sherman's eighty-three years of business have given it ample time to sharpen itself and gain an international reputation. Being a tobacconist, the backbone of the business is the cigars. But along with cigar-smoking comes a feeling of macho excellence, and to indulge that feeling Nat Sherman also peddles high end men's accessories: cuff links, pens, lighters, cigar accouterments, and the like. The inside of the shop is designed to feel like an old-school opera house, boasting a menagerie of finery, with pipes lining the walls, old rugs lining the floor, and antiques scattered throughout, providing a bit of eye candy through the smoky atmosphere.

Its advent being before the embargo on Cuban goods, Nat Sherman did business with Cuban tobacco companies "back when that sort of thing was legal." Now, tobacco comes from elsewhere, but reminders of this history remain: downstairs, in the room full of members' lockers, an antique Partagas humidor commands attention. A gift from legendary cigar man Ramon Cifuentes, it is a source of pride for the folks at Sherman and surely a source of wonder for the connoisseur.

Pipe tobacco and fine pipes complement cigars from across the world. Among the tobacco available are Nat Sherman blends created in-house. Seating areas in front and back offer comfortable places to sit and smoke, with various groups wiling away at any given hour.

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Nat Sherman 1 Cigar Shops Midtown East
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Nat Sherman 4 Cigar Shops Midtown East
Nat Sherman 5 Cigar Shops Midtown East
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Nat Sherman 7 Cigar Shops Midtown East
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Nat Sherman 9 Cigar Shops Midtown East
Nat Sherman 10 Cigar Shops Midtown East
Nat Sherman 11 Cigar Shops Midtown East
Nat Sherman 12 Cigar Shops Midtown East

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Lost Gem
Chez Josephine 1 Brunch French undefined

Chez Josephine

Manuel Uzhca's story reads like a fairytale. He came to New York from Ecuador when he was seventeen with absolutely nothing to his name and spent time as a dishwasher in a number of restaurants. He met Jean-Claude Baker when both were working at Pronto, an Italian restaurant on the Upper East Side. In 2011, Jean-Claude offered Manuel the position of manager at Chez Josephine — little did Manuel know that only four years later, the restaurant would belong to him. Manuel still recalls the day that Jean-Claude asked him to bring in his passport. Confused by his request, Manuel chose not to comply. Jean-Claude teased Manuel by saying, “If you don't bring your passport, that means you don't want my restaurant. ” The next day, still perplexed, Manuel presented his passport. Jean-Claude marched the two of them to the bank and added Manuel's name to his account, giving him permission to sign checks for the restaurant. Shortly after, Jean-Claude announced that he was retiring, but Manuel did not take him seriously. Jean-Claude then told him that he was leaving and insisted, “I won't be back. ” Jean-Claude proceeded to his attorney's office, changed his will, and went off to the Hamptons. He called Manuel to make sure that everything was in order at the restaurant, and then, very sadly, Jean-Claude took his own life. “I did not believe I owned the place, not even when they showed me the will, ” Manuel declared. Jean-Claude was the last of the children adopted into singer-dancer Josephine Baker’s “Rainbow Tribe, ” created with a mission of racial harmony. He lived and performed with her for a time before making his way to New York and eventually opening this restaurant. It quickly became a haven for Broadway clientele, known for its charming and colorful ambiance as much as its haute cuisine. Since taking over in 2015, Manuel has continued running this famed French restaurant exactly how Jean-Claude left it — paying homage to Josephine Baker, who captured the Parisian imagination in the 1920s and did not let go for decades.