On New Facades in Washington Heights: The Soberano Cigar Shop


In which The Gay Recluse, with very little sarcasm or irony, reports on retail in Washington Heights.

Development: Cigar Shop
Address: 609 West 161st Street between Broadway and Fort Washington

Remarks: Except for the famous quote — likely apocryphal — attributed to Sigmund Freud, we don’t know shit much about cigars except that they are a major export of the Dominican Republic, so it makes sense that there would be a shop in Washington Heights. What we like about this place — which we’re pretty sure went in just a few months ago — is not only that it seems to meld elements of Dominican and American culture in a way that’s very reflective of the neighborhood, but that it does so in such an understated and appealing manner. The colors — a warm taupe and muted blue — the sturdy, unpretentious font, the cloth awning and the storefront display — just a few wooden cigar boxes — provide a thoughtful, cohesive and ultimately inviting design that works for us in a way that the more garish offerings on Broadway almost never do. We can almost see ourselves this summer, strolling up Riverside Drive, puffing on a stogy and pretending to be Sigmund Freud himself as we take in the glorious ruins of Washington Heights.

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