While the New York Times coverage of hooping hasn’t always been the best, this time around they’ve spun up something pretty good. Initially inspired by all of the recent hoopla surrounding the Chanel Hula Hoop bag at Paris Fashion Week, they’ve once again turned the spotlight on our favorite subject – hooping. Citing everything from Anderson Cooper’s hoop bag knock off to Christie Brinkley hula hooping for World Smile Day to Jimmy Fallon challenging Michelle Obama to a hula-hooping contest, the New York Times paints a vivid picture that the hula hoop is clearly in fashion, but did they get the real hooping story as well? Actually, we’re pleased to report that they did.
New York Times reporter Caroline Tell contacted several hoopers from The Big Apple to get their spin on hooping, including Bex Burton of Sense of Motion in Brooklyn. “A lot of people are interested in hooping for its health benefits, which might get them hooked, but it’s also such a fun way to do cardio,” she explains. Stefan Pildes of GrooveHoops, who teaches classes at the 14th Street Y in Manhattan, told Tell, “One of my constant quotes in class is if you’re giggling, you’re doing it correctly. It’s not about how graceful you are, or what trick you can do. It’s about finding the joy in your workout.”
The Times didn’t just get the fitness scoop this time around either. Tell writes, “Die-hard hoopers are also taking their passion outdoors, to concerts and giant group hoop sessions called ‘hoop jams’ set to music. Devotees can be spotted in the subway with oversize hoop bags.” One such devotee is graphic and web designer Jenni Schwartz. Schwartz said, “Everyone is in their own hoop world at hoop jams, but it’s friendly at the same time.” While acknowledging that long-time hoopers have long stood by their claims surrounding the aerobic and exercise virtues of hooping, Tell also takes time to note that others are comparing it with yoga. Geetika Agrawal, 34, said, “I can get into the groove: it’s very meditative.” The associate creative director at a digital agency in Midtown Manhattan, Agrawal is also taking hooping workshops and lessons to learn new hoop tricks.
Calling the trend bicoastal, which doesn’t really take into consideration just how big hooping has become in the American heartland as well, The New York Times reports that Los Angeles workplaces are embracing hooping as a healthy alternative to smoke breaks or trips to the vending machine. Dina Strada, the manager of employee events at DreamWorks Animation, encourages staff to take hoop breaks twice a day for 15 minutes and about 10 to 15 of her staffers are doing just that. “Even on days where we’re so crazed with work, we force each other to take a quick break,” Strada explained. “On really busy days, I can hoop and respond to e-mails at the same time.” Near Venice Beach in Los Angeles, Hoopnotica also receives a New York Times mention as a fitness company selling hoops, videos and other accessories.