Ping-Pong Stars to Attend Unveiling of Table in Tompkins Square Park
By Patrick Hedlund
DNAinfo News Editor
EAST VILLAGE — A host of table-tennis enthusiasts are expected to fete the arrival of a new ping-pong table in Tompkins Square Park this weekend.
Academy Award-winning actress and ping-pong proponent Susan Sarandon is rumored to attend when the permanent table is installed between the park's flagpole and center lawn on Saturday at 3 p.m., sources said.
Also slated to join the festivities is USA Table Tennis Hall of Famer George Braithwaite, a longtime Roosevelt Island resident who played in a 1971 friendly match against China to helped ease international relations.
The table comes courtesy of local manufacturer Henge, whose founder drew inspiration for the project from within the community.
"I have a long love of Tompkins Square Park as my backyard, and I tip my hat to the neighborhood as an idea factory full of creative people who don't just work with their minds, but also with their bodies," said Henge president Alan Good, who's company has built tables for Gulick Park on the Lower East Side and a playground in Jamaica, Queens.
"I offer it as a way for people to meet each other, strangers to listen to each other and perhaps rediscover their inner physical rhythms that we all can share in this great neighborhood."
The table itself is made of polished concrete and includes a steel net, so players can compete no matter the conditions.
Good has been visiting businesses near Tompkins Square Park to ask them to support the sport locally by selling paddles and balls to would-be participants in need of equipment to play.
He is also planning to bring three tables to Roosevelt Island and potentially one to Inwood's Fort Tryon Park.