The Rise of Hookah in Manhattan: Understanding the Trend and its Origins


Hookah smoking has seen a resurgence in popularity in recent years, especially in Manhattan. The traditional Middle Eastern practice of smoking flavored tobacco through a water pipe has become trendy for many young adults. But where did this trend originate, and why is it so popular in Manhattan? In this article, we will explore the history and origins of hookah in Manhattan.

Origins of Hookah Smoking

Hookah smoking, also known as shisha or narghile, originates in ancient India and Persia. The practice of smoking flavored tobacco through a water pipe was first recorded in the 16th century and quickly spread throughout the Middle East and eventually to Europe and America. The hookah is a large, often ornately decorated water pipe with a long stem and multiple hoses for multiple smokers to use simultaneously.

The traditional hookah smoking experience involves using natural and often sweetened tobacco blends placed in a bowl on top of the hookah. The smoke is then drawn through the water in the hookah’s base, which cools and filters the smoke before it is inhaled. This smoking method is considered less harsh on the lungs and throat than traditional cigarette smoking.

The Rise of Hookah Bars in Manhattan

In the past decade, hookah bars and lounges have become increasingly popular in Manhattan. These establishments offer a relaxed and social atmosphere for patrons to smoke hookah and enjoy a variety of flavors and blends of tobacco. Many of these bars and lounges also serve food and drinks, making them a popular destination for groups of friends or a night out.

One reason for the rise in hookah bars in Manhattan is the city’s diverse population. Many of these establishments are owned and operated by immigrants from the Middle East and North Africa, who have brought their cultural traditions and practices to the city. Additionally, the city’s large student population and young adults have also contributed to the trend as they are often attracted to hookah bars’ social and laid-back atmosphere.

The Trend of Hookah Smoking Among Young Adults

Hookah smoking has become a trendy activity among young adults in Manhattan. The practice is often associated with a sense of rebellion and nonconformity among this demographic. In addition, the marketing and promotion of hookah smoking as a sophisticated and exotic activity has also contributed to its appeal among young adults.

Many young adults in Manhattan view hookah smoking as a way to relax and socialize with friends in a comfortable and low-key setting. The ability to choose from various flavors and blends of tobacco and the option to smoke in groups further adds to the appeal of hookah smoking for this demographic.


The trend of hookah in Manhattan has its roots in the traditional practice of smoking flavored tobacco through a water pipe. The rise of hookah bars in the city can be attributed to a combination of factors, including the city’s diverse population, the influence of immigrants from the Middle East and North Africa, and the attraction to the social and laid-back atmosphere of hookah bars among young adults. As the trend continues to grow, it will be interesting to see how hookah smoking will evolve and continue to shape the cultural landscape of Manhattan.