simple is beautiful
New York Daily Photo: Hookah
2 ... 2 ...

Thursday, 24 April 2008


The hookah is a social instrument, so it is not surprising that it would be adopted by students. Hookahs are now common in colleges around the country as are hookah bars (this site gives a national hookah bar directory by state). Smoking bans in the city have made smoking all but impossible indoors. There are certain exemptions for cigar bars - hookah bars have been battling over this for some time. There are a number of hookah bars all over New York City - an area of Astoria (in Queens), known as Little Egypt, has a quite a number of them.
The hookah originated in India and as most know is ubiquitous* all over the Arab world, particularly in Turkey - read more here. In the last few years, the trend has been adopted by students as seen in the photo, taken in Washington Square Park.
There can be a certain naivete, however, when things become trendy - all of a sudden, the reinvention and new adoption with perhaps some minor tweaks, somehow leads participants to believe the old rules don't apply. Hookahs are a good example. A variety of hookah tobaccos are used, called Shisha, including varieties that are flower and fruit flavored. But no matter - the evidence still indicates that although the water filtration makes the tobacco less harsh, the exposure to dangers of nicotine are actually as great or even greater than cigarette smoking. I read that there are non-tobacco herbal alternatives, but websites have maasel on this list including wikipedia - my reading indicates that maasel is a fruit flavored tobacco ...

*A note about ubiquitous. Doesn't this word now seem predominantly used in a gratuitous manner by those trying to impress with their vocabulary? I saw it on a Top Ten Catchwords of the Literati, along with juxtaposition and iconoclasm.
However, I also saw the word described as one used by pseudointellectuals and a number of other articles that found it overused.

Photo note: For those of you who are wondering what it says on the bottom of that girls T-Shirt, see here.


Post a Comment