New York Daily Photo Analytics

Thursday, April 24, 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.


Litsa Dremousis said...

So many great details in this shot, including the dog nestled under the bench and the girl's thong peeking out in the foreground.

I hear your point about certain words getting waved around like SAT scores, but as a writer, I want the full palate available to me. "Ubiquitous" is a great word and you shouldn't feel like a jerk for using it. Dancing around select words makes as much sense as painters avoiding hot pink or orange b/c Koons has used them and he sometimes seems like a self-important wang.

Chuck Pefley said...

Brian, can't agree with your characterization of the word ubiquitous ... interesting photo and ideas though. Pretentious perhaps, but undeniably a more interesting word to describe things common and pervasive. My 2¢ worth -:)

Brian said...

I'm glad that I'm still safe using ubiquitous - I always like the word.

Just Roaming The Cities said...

You know what cracks me up? That one of the guys, which I noticed in the close-up shot of the girl's shirt, is not only taking a hookah-hit but has a cigarette in his hand also! Must be double-whammy nicotine rush for him. And I think I noticed the girls whale tail thong action before I even noticed what they were doing.
This shot is sure interesting.

Anonymous said...

there was a "Hookah Under the Stars" thing last thursday night at Columbia Univ.
$5 for hookah, $1 for tea/desserts
they had carpets and pillows set up on the grounds and stuff.

it was pretty cool.
but yeah, this Hookah trend is crazy amongst us College kids.

Anonymous said...

hookahs and hookers.

hooka said...

haha i love the girls thong.
Hooka rox <3

Johnny Hineze said...

Gotta love chilling and smoking a
hooka with a bunch of college friends! Anyone know of any cool hooka shops in NYC?

Anonymous said...

Whale tails, hookas, and thongs, oh my!

Check out this article by journalist Mary Spicuzza ("Panty Ranting") about some high school girls and their crusade to make thongs legal at school: