La Marina Hookah Service Flouts Smoking Ban in City Parks

By Carla Zanoni and Claudio Cabrera  on September 17, 2012 9:14am

UPPER MANHATTAN — Smoking has been banned in city parks, beaches, marinas and pedestrian plazas in New York City for more than a year, but that hasn't kept patrons at one parks-contracted venue from lighting up.

La Marina restaurant and bar on Dyckman Street offers patrons hookah table service, or Middle Eastern-style smoking pipes, in an assortment of flavors, including mint, guava and watermelon for $30 per unit with $15 refills.

Among the patrons who have puffed hookahs while admiring the spectacular views of the George Washington Bridge and the Palisades are actor Leonardo DeCaprio, who was spotted smoking a hookah at La Marina last month after DNAinfo.com New York first reported that he visited the restaurant on Labor Day weekend.

A New York Times review of the new restaurant also mentioned patrons enjoying hookahs.

An employee from La Marina confirmed over the phone that hookahs are on the menu — adding that they are only available on weekends. A reporter who asked to order a hookah in person last week was told they are available, upon request, at any time during the week.

The City has banned smoking at city parks, beaches, marinas and pedestrian plazas since 2011.  That ban includes all smoking apparatus without exception.

The Parks Department did not respond to a request for comment.

A copy of the agreement between La Marina's owner Manhattan River Group, run by Alain Chevreux, Fernando Mateo, Chris Villano, Josh Rosen, and Jerald Tenenbaum, and Parks includes no provision allowing smoking.

The restaurant owners did not respond to a request for comment.

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