RUSH: So last night was the annual Night to Remember cigar dinner. I’ve attended every one of these for like 20 years, however many years it is. I only missed one, and that’s because I had a weather departure delay here, couldn’t leave here in time to get there. Other than that, every one. They’re always held at the Four Seasons restaurant, 52nd and Park Avenue in the Seagram’s building in Manhattan, except the Four Seasons restaurant’s not there anymore.
It’s moving to a new location on 49th Street ’cause of a lease problem with the owner of the building who drove a hard bargain so Julian Niccolini and the gang at Four Seasons had to move. But the cigar dinner was in the same facility. It’s just under new ownership and new operation. So I sneak into town once a year. ‘Cause I get audited. I haven’t been to New York in years to work precisely because just to make a statement. These people audit me every year. I haven’t lived there since 1997.
Anyway, I don’t want to sidetrack myself. I arrive just at the end of cocktail hour when everybody’s moving into the dining room, ’cause I can’t hear anybody at cocktail hour. It’s pointless to try to talk in those circumstances. It’s nothing but frustrating for me. So I time my arrival. So I land in New Jersey. I change cars twice on the way in to avoid the New York tax authority. And I’m driving up to the building, I’m a little early, so I told the driver, “Go around the block a couple times.”
And in front of the building on the plaza, in front of the Seagram’s building is a big white tent. I said, “What the heck is that?” It didn’t register at first what it was. And then I saw a lot of people in the tent the next trip around the block. And I said, “Uh-oh. Don’t tell me that’s where the cigar thing is. Oh, no.”
I said, “Well, surely that’s just the cocktail hour. Surely we’ll be able to smoke at the table, it’s a cigar dinner.” No. I went to the first-ever cigar dinner that did not allow cigars. Unbelievable. Bill de Blasio. Actually, the guy that got this insanity started is Bloomberg. You can’t smoke anywhere in that city legally outside — Central Park, nowhere. I guess they have little cigarette smoker huddles outside bars and stuff. There is the Grand Havana Club and some others, but these are not large enough for our cigar dinner.
I mean, it was incredible. And this is the city that never sleeps, this is the city where anything goes. First-ever cigar dinner where cigars were not permitted. After dinner people had to go back out to the tent. I’m sure they happily did so. I just couldn’t get over the irony of it. I even made mention of this in my eagerly anticipated remarks. I had a lot of fun with it. It’s like going to a wine tasting and they serve sparkling water.