Heroes in the Streets

My Afternoon With the Boys of Rescue Ink

Two weeks ago I had the opportunity to meet some incredibly special guys to interview for an upcoming issue of Cigar Magazine. Their names – Joe Panz and Big Ant – and they run one of the most courageous rescue operation units in the world known as Rescue Ink.

Maybe you’ve heard of the boys as their reality television show was incredibly popular on the National Geographic Channel. Or you might have seen them on the news, in a magazine, or on a talk show, because their little group ain’t so little any more. They are gaining recognition the world over for the unsung work they do, all in the name of love – for animals.new line up

Rescue Ink started about six years ago when Joe Panz began hearing more and more about animal abuse in his neighborhood in Queens, New York. Since then, Joe has gathered a small army of his “street” friends, and the group has become internationally famous as the people to turn to when Club-Macanudothey simply have no more options and there’s no where else to turn.

The interview was set for lunch at Club Macanudo in Manhattan, thanks to General Manager, Mr. Mauricio Cordoba. He is a true gentleman, and he made sure our experience was excellent in every way. Although there is a dress code, Mauricio was kind enough to make an exception, allowing Joe and Anthony to enjoy the club in their everyday work attire, as you can see by the photos – and Mauricio, I thank you again for the outstanding hospitality. I have to mention that Club Macanudo is NOT private – it is open to the public seven days a week including lunch, dinner, and Sunday Brunch. Guys, there’s only a handful of places left in New York where you can enjoy a cigar, let alone along with your favorite drink and some spectacular food, and there isn’t a better atmosphere to revel in your favorite smoke.

UnknownMy Rescue Ink friends are bigger than life characters – New York street savvy tough guys who have taken it upon themselves to protect helpless animals who simply cannot defend themselves against cruelty and abuse. When they receive a call or an email about a potential problem, a group of eight or so rescuers arrive at the abusers front door, warning them about their unacceptable behavior, while putting the fear of god into them, if deemed necessary. Trust me when I say that you DON’T want these guys coming back for a second visit… capiche? What’s amazing is that these brave souls put their life on the line every single day, entering neighborhoods so bad that even the National Geographic camera crews refused to follow them in. Joe says with all sincerity that he and his guys have NO fear, for if they did, they could not function in a manner that gets the job done. And if you were wondering, they don’t play the role of vigilante, because they know that breaking the law or use of excessive force would land them in jail – a place where they can’t be of any help to their animal friends.

Unknown-1I’ve done a lot of great interviews with some big name people, but I have to say that I enjoyed this one the most to date. The guys were an absolute pisser, showing up on their gorgeous Harleys and brandishing three hours worth of colorful “street” language to boot. I did my part to keep up with the expletives just so I’d fit in and not have any bodily parts snapped or removed… although, Joe was kind enough to give me a neck rub while Big Ant helped me find my chair. (See photo.) And as a side note, I have never seen three guys eat so much goddamned food in my life. Joe works out three hours every day and he and Big Ant wolfed continuous appetizers like the Russians were invading Newark. Yeah, I did my share to help, but after Club Mac ran out of food, we had a live steer brought in and butchered on the premises – and yeah, the guys volunteered.

P1010297The Cigar Magazine Story won’t be out for a few months, so I wanted to let you guys know about these modern day heroes who have answered a calling and need our help to continue. People think because they’re on TV that they have skads of money, but it’s not so at all. They spend a lot of their own money and precious time on the streets and they need your financial donations, badly.

Look Rescue Ink up on the web or call the Rescue Ink Rescue Hotline at 800-510-7355.

Rescue Ink LLC, 459 Columbus Avenue, Suite 1800,  New York, NY 10024.

Thanx my peeps, this is an amazing cause and we’re doing our best to give the boys our support.

Have a great week,


JR Cigar Blog With the ZMAN

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