Posted: May 24, 2007 2:05pm ET
My wife and I recently attended the Governor’s Ball at Sleepy Hollow Country Club, where I am fortunate enough to be a member. It’s an old, traditional country club with a golf course that was built in 1911, and a mansion/clubhouse constructed by one of the great industrialists in the early part of the 20th Century. Tuxedos and gowns are perfect in the grand old setting.
The ball is always a pleasant evening with good camaraderie and good food. The evening fetes the new members and the members who are celebrating their 25th anniversaries in the club. It’s a great way to meet new people that you don’t run across during a weekend round of golf, or on the driving range.
After dinner, I was standing in the foyer getting ready to leave, and a friend of mine walked up and said what I had been thinking for the last 30 minutes. “Isn’t it a shame we can’t have a cigar?” he said. I nodded in agreement and muttered something about it being just another sign of the times.
But I couldn’t help reflecting later on the idea that for nearly 100 years, that grand old mansion had been the scene of a lot of great cigar-smoking evenings. The club catered to both formal and informal gatherings in a setting tailor-made for sharing a smoke with a group of friends. Now, even though it is a private club, no smoking is allowed anywhere inside the building. Wait. It gets worse. There’s a large terrace, covered by an overhead awning that’s 20 feet high at its peak, and completely open to the outdoors. You can’t smoke under the awning, but sit just outside the physical outline of the awning, and you can light up. Crazy.
For now, we have to abide by the laws of the State of New York. But after that night, I couldn’t help but think again, when are going to be able to restore some sanity to the smoking in public debate?
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