Coming Soon: Maraya Cigar Shop at 87 Orchard

Posted on: August 23rd, 2010 at 6:32 am by

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Those rumors about Mother-in-Law’s Kimchi assuming control of the old Guss’ Pickles HQ can now be put to sleep for the duration.  Six months after the pickle stand decamped for Borough Park as Ess-a-Pickle, a completely different type of business is moving into the small storefront.  A specialty cigar shop called Maraya.

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Saturday afternoon, the security gates were up and the doors open at 87 Orchard Street, beckoning us to explore further.  Sitting on the tiled floor inside with a trowel in her hand was one of the co-owners, Joy Florentz.  Ms. Florentz was busy preparing the space, but kindly took five to explain to us the nitty gritty.

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We learned that all of the craft cigars are hand-rolled and manufactured in the Dominican Republic. Florentz also stressed their somewhat non-traditional marketing stance – cigar smoking is an acceptable pleasure and should be enjoyed as such. Period.  Here is a bit of copy from their website:

Our aim is to preserve the centuries-old tradition and craft of cigar-making, an authentic livelihood, deserving a continued place in the world. We want to educate and inform those who continue to enjoy fine cigars made in countries around the world.

Maraya promotes the enjoyment of cigar smoking as an acceptable pleasure, rather than accepting being dogged in a downward spiral by negative social stigma. We want to enjoy cigars when and where we please, at appropriate times and in appropriate places without being forced into smoking rooms.

We celebrate the fine craft of cigar-making as an art form and artisinal form of pleasure today and for many generations to come. We encourage the fight for freedom to continue making great cigars, and freedoms to pursue our natural instincts of pleasure.

Maraya is tentatively scheduled to open in time for the third annual NYC Apple Day on September 26. Given the appearance of the interior, though, one month to ready the joint might be lofty thinking.  And as an aside, it should be noted that throughout our conversation, a number of people stopped to ask where Guss’ went.  Take pictures while you can, because that green-and-red awning is on its last legs.

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[April 2009]

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