“Beating the Drum,” by Jeffrey Toobin. The New Yorker, 9/10/2018.
I am ignoring the main theme of this long article (an excellent article that suggests lawyer and former mayor of New York City Rudy Giuliani has adopted Trump’s strategy of piling up falsehoods, misstatements, and half-truths in such abundance that it becomes futile to pick out any single one to criticize). I am ignoring it to focus on one place described in passing: an old-fashioned smoking club where Giuliani hangs out and where he was interviewed for the article. Smoking clubs in NYC have boomed in popularity since smoking was banned from restaurants and bars in 2002.
This is a club prominent in old movies where old men (and only men) would sit in overstuffed leather chairs and mainly read a newspaper. Occasionally, they would chat with a friend, but mostly the room would be silent, which is why they went there.
I thought these clubs disappeared in the 1940s, but no, they still exist. The New Yorker article says of Giuliani:
. . . there is one place in the city where he still presides: the Grand Havana Room, a tatty [worn, shabby] cigar club that occupies the top floor of 666 Fifth Avenue [the building is owned by Jared Kushner]. Giuliani is on the Grand Havana’s board of directors and is a regular presence at the club. The room is filled with overstuffed armchairs, oversized ash trays, and the persistent haze of smoke. Thick velvet drapes, many the worse for wear, block out the view of the city, and ventilation machines wheeze from the ceiling.
Giuliani draws a $40 cigar from a carrying case, lights up, and the interview begins.