How to Hash in NYC

Q: What the hell?

A: Yeah, we know.

Q: No seriously. What the hell?

A: Oh. We r*n around the streets, alleys and parks of the NYC metro area in our never-ending quest for beer, food, good times and beer.

Q: What exactly is hashing? Why is it called hashing?

A: Hashing . . . it’s a mixture of athleticism and sociability, hedonism and hard work; a refreshing break from the nine-to-five routine. Hashing is an exhilaratingly fun combination of r*nning, orienteering, and partying, where bands of Harriers and Harriettes chase Hares on eight-to-ten kilometer-long trails through town, country, jungle, and desert, all in search of exercise, camaraderie, and good times.

Hashing, as we know it today, began in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in 1938, when a group of restive British company men started a hare & hounds r*nning group. They named the group after their meeting place, the Selangor Club, aka the “Hash House.” Hash House Harrier r*ns were patterned after the traditional British public school paper chase. A “Hare” would be given a short head start to blaze a trail, marking his devious way with shreds of paper, soon to be pursued by a shouting pack of “Harriers.” Only the Hare knew where he was going . . . the Harriers followed his marks to stay on trail. Apart from the excitement of chasing down the wily Hare, solving the Hare’s marks and reaching the end was its own reward, for there, thirsty Harriers would find a tub of iced-down beer.

Hashing died during World War II (Japanese occupying forces being notoriously opposed to civilian fun), but came back to life in the post-war years, spreading slowly through Singapore, Indonesia, Australia, and New Zealand, then exploding in popularity in the late 70s and early 80s. Today there are thousands of Hash House Harrier clubs in all parts of the world, complete with newsletters, directories, and regional and world Hashing conventions.

Despite its growth, Hashing hasn’t strayed far from its British and Malaysian roots. A typical Hash “kennel” is a loosely organized group of 20-40 men and women who meet weekly or biweekly to chase the Hare. We follow chalk, flour, or paper, and the trails are never boring. When forced to, we’ll r*n streets or alleys, but in general we prefer shiggy . . . fields, forests, jungles, swamps, streams, fences, storm drains, and cliffs. And although some of today’s health-conscious Hashers may shun a cold beer in favor of water or a diet soda, trail’s end is still a party. Perhaps that’s why they call us the “drinking club with a r*nning problem!”

Q: That was a long response.

A: Yes it was.

Q: I sweat like a pig, even worse when I r*n. Will this be a problem?

A: So do we. Your small bag of dry clothes will be transported by the Hare to the On In.

Q: What’s an On-In?

A: That’s the venue (usually a bar) where the trail ends and the party begins. Some bars have actually allowed us to come back for subsequent trails.

Q: What exactly happens on trail?

A: The trail is set by another Hasher called the Hare. The Hare marks the trail in flour or chalk. Periodically the Hare ends the trail with a “check”, and starts the trail again somewhere nearby. The Hashers – called a Pack – try to find the continuation of the trail. The idea is that the fast r*nners will get to the check before the slower r*nners; will expend a lot of time and energy finding the continuation of the trail; this will allow the slower r*nners to catch up; and the whole pack – fast and slow – will finish the r*n at about the same time. There is an explanation conducted by the Hare of the marks used at the start of each r*n. The length of the trail varies from too short to too long. Forty-five minutes for a good r*n, one and a half hours for a lousy one. Bring money on the r*n, you can often get a cab if you’re lost or just want to pack it in.

Q: What kind of marks should I be looking for in my quest for beer?

A: Here’s a breakdown of the marks you’ll be looking for…

Q: Do I need to join the Hash?

A: Nope. Just show up at a regularly scheduled Hash.

Q: Does Hashing in NYC cost anything?

A: Other than your self-esteem and the respect of your colleagues, family and friends, all it costs to Hash in NYC is what we call Hash Cash. Hash Cash covers the cost of beer and food following a hash. This usually means two to three hours of beer and pizza. The amount of Hash Cash varies from r*n to r*n but is usually $20. Special events have been as much as $30.

Q: When does all this happen?

A: There are many chapters located in the area so there’s bound to be at least a couple of trails each week. Occasionally it works out that there’s a Hash nearly every day of a given week, depending on how the planets align. Hashers that attend all of the Hashes during such a period are usually recognized for their dedication and superior constitution but pitied by the group for having such a barren and pathetic social life outside the Hash. Here’s a quick breakdown:

New York City Hash House Harriers: Sundays @ 3:00 PM from October – April, Wednesdays @ 7:00 PM from May – September

Brooklyn H3:  Mondays @ 7:00 PM

Greater Gotham Full Moon H3 Once a month on the Friday closest to the full moon @ 7:15 PM

New Amsterdam Summer Sunday H3 Every other Sunday @ 3:00 PM From May – September

New Amsterdam Winter Wednesday H3 Every other Wednesday @ 7:00 PM from October – April

New York (Westchester) H3 Mondays @ 7:00 PM

Q: That’s confusing.

A: Yes it is.

Q: Is there an easier way?

A: We have a hotline (1-212-HASHNYC) that lists all of the start and On-In locations or check here on the website, all trails are posted in the “Receding Hareline” section and it’s occasionally up to date.

Q: So you expect me to check the website every week and hope it’s current?

A: I’m sorry, what?

Q: Are you not listening to me?

A: Gus was talking to me. Sorry. What did you say?

Q: I asked if you just expect everyone to check in every damn week to find out the Hash schedule?

A: Or you can join the mailing list, we send out a weekly announcement listing the upcoming week’s trails.

Q: Will you sell my e-mail address?

A: Yes, this website is actually an elaborate scam to sell your precious e-mail address for 1/16th of cent.

Q: Prick.

A: Please frame your insults in the form of a question.