Ping-Pong mania

The New York Times reports how table tennis is gaining popularity again.

Mr. Green and Ms. Sarandon are part of a growing number of players in New York City and beyond who are meeting in clubs, apartments, art galleries and even laundry rooms that have a table, brought together by their fervent, almost evangelical love for the game — known generically as table tennis but often called Ping-Pong (a trademark) by its devotees.

Now, it seems, this secret society may soon emerge from behind unmarked doors: the trickle of places in the city that serve up the sport is becoming a flow. Some billiards halls are removing pool tables to make way for the sport. Fat Cat, a sprawling shabby chic spot featuring jazz and games in the West Village, added three table tennis tables over the summer, and plans to add more to the 10 it now has.

“We just have a lot more people who want to play,” said Noah Sapir, 32, the owner. “Every night of the week we have a waiting list.”

Slate, a hall with 16 pool tables near Madison Square Park, reports waiting times of an hour for its six table tennis tables. Ocean’s 8 at Brownstone, in Park Slope, Brooklyn, added its first five tables this year because customers using its 33 pool tables kept asking to play.

A tournament in the spring in Brooklyn, at the Powerhouse Arena, a gallery, attracted 32 corporate teams representing entities like Google, MTV, Red Bull and Comedy Central. There were lines out the door, said Khairi Mdnor, the organizer.

Grand Opening, a glass-fronted gallery space between tenement buildings on the Lower East Side, has old Chinese men playing hipsters on its table despite the language barrier. “People can communicate through their game,” the owner, Ben Smyth, 27, said.

I’d love to play Susan Sarandon, tough she’d probably kick my ass. I wouldn’t be able to keep my eyes off her beautiful bouncing rack!

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