5 spots to play 'Ping-Pong' in NYC

Bryant Park in Manhattan offers free, year-round pingpong, Bryant Park in Manhattan offers free, year-round pingpong, with tournaments and special events. Photo Credit: Rebecca Disbrow

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To purists, it's called "table tennis," but to generations of suburbanites who grew up playing it in their basements, it's "Ping-Pong." Technically, that's a Parker Brothers trademark -- but it's much more fun to say.

City hipsters have caught the suburban vibe, with tables and paddles popping up in bars (thanks to fans like Susan Sarandon) and other venues.

Now comes Pongtopia! a three-day festival that continues through Saturday in the grand Winter Garden atrium of the World Financial Center in downtown Manhattan. There you'll find a tournament, with experts showing off their technique, and an exhibit of cool graffiti-painted tables and paddles curated by street artist Billi Kid.

Got the urge to play? Here are five city spots to get your pong on.

 

1. PONGTOPIA!

 WHAT Table-tennis fest with masters tournament, exhibit of graffitied tables (auctioned) and paddles (selling for $250 each; proceeds benefit Operation Design, a nonprofit bringing architects and designers together with kids in public schools), plus tables where the public can play or get topspin tips from pros.

WHEN | WHERE Friday, noon to 10 p.m. (public play, noon to 2 p.m.), Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. (public play, all day). World Financial Center Winter Garden, 200 Liberty St. (near Chambers St. subway stop)

INFO Free, worldfinancialcenter.com/arts-events

 

2. SPIN NEW YORK

WHAT Clubby hot spot with 17 "courts," plus bar, restaurant, pro-shop and VIP room. Keep your eyes peeled for co-owner Susan Sarandon.

WHEN | WHERE Monday, 11 a.m. to midnight; Tuesday and Wednesday till 1 a.m.; Thursday till 2 a.m.; Friday and Saturday till 4 a.m.; Sunday till 10 p.m. 48 E. 23rd St.

INFO $10 per half-hour before 6 p.m., $20 after; 212-982-8802, newyork.spingalactic.com

 

3. FAT CAT

WHAT A subterranean bar/cafe with live music, pingpong, billiards, foosball, Scrabble and more.

WHEN | WHERE Monday to Thursday, 2 p.m. to 5 a.m.; Friday and Saturday, noon to 5 a.m. 75 Christopher St. (at Seventh Avenue)

INFO $5.50 to $6.50 per player per hour; 212-675-6056, fatcatmusic.org

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4. BRYANT PARK

WHAT Two outdoor tables at the northwest entrance, near the ice rink, holiday shops and Southwest Airlines' new "Porch" (with bar and Adirondack chairs).

WHEN | WHERE Daily through November, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. 42nd Street and Sixth Avenue.

INFO Free; 212-768-4242, bryantpark.org

 

5. IONA

WHAT Cozy Williamsburg bar with 22 beers on tap and a table in a back patio; small, yes, but free and comfy as your own rec room. Come cooler temps your serve better pack some heat -- the patio's only partially heated.

WHEN | WHERE Daily, 1 p.m. to 4 a.m. (patio closes around 11:30 p.m.) 180 Grand St., Brooklyn.

INFO Free; 718-384-5008; ionabrooklyn.com

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