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Ping Pong has bounced again.
Desk tennis is lastly out of your dad and mom’ suburban basement and getting into a golden — and concrete — age with mini-courts popping up in bars, eating places and even retail outlets.
“It’s change into Ping Pong world,” mentioned Frankie Violante, the proprietor of Ocean’s eight, a longtime hangout with table tennis, air hockey and pool tables on Flatbush Avenue in Park Slope.
He mentioned reputation spiked over the past two years when he began promoting booze, a lubricant that someway enhances lots of the nation’s hottest leisure actions.
The suburban sport of kings is actually changing into the game of Kings County.
Maybe not because the heady days of “Ping Pong” diplomacy in 1971 between President Nixon and Chairman Mao of Pink China has the game had such a presence within the public consciousness.
“Oh sure, it’s getting extra widespread,” mentioned Nison Aronov who performed 35 years ball on table tennis courts within the frozen tundra of the previous Soviet Union. He’s seen explosive development since he opened the Brooklyn Desk Tennis Membership on Coney Island Avenue, a mecca for expert combatants, six years in the past.
Aronov has room for gamers of any talent stage, he mentioned.
In DUMBO, the Water Avenue Bar and Grill lately started organising a court docket for pickup matches after the kitchen closes.
And late evening paddlers have began crawling out of the woodwork.
“We get lots of people from the theater [St. Ann’s Warehouse] and the River Café,” mentioned Nina Guardione, a waitress.
The motion has been scorching for about three months.
“We get regulars now,” Guardione mentioned.
The fervour culminated in a current grudge match between the Water Avenue employees and its counterparts on the River Café. The Water Avenue gang allegedly received (and is now difficult that different DUMBO establishment, The Brooklyn Paper, in a winner-take-all duel).
The aggressive spirit overtakes Royale, a Park Slope saloon, which hosts a double-elimination event, typically with a money prize, for all comers on the primary Monday each month.
“I knew we had been getting a following when a man confirmed up along with his personal paddle — in a case,” mentioned James Bradley, a bartender who typically oversees the video games.
The table is usually out there for informal play, when there aren’t any reside exhibits within the bar, a number of different nights per week, “strictly for the love of the sport,” mentioned Bradley.
That love has sparked on ongoing schism throughout the Ping Pong neighborhood over whether or not sport ought to even be known as “Ping Pong.” Some folks, like Violante at Ocean’s eight, say that solely “table tennis” is suitable.
“I’ve no feeling about it in any respect,” mentioned Mikey Weiss, an ardent participant who owns Mikey’s Hook Up, a Mac retailer with a Ping Pong table in each its DUMBO and Williamsburg branches. “It’s like saying ‘soccer’ or ‘soccer.”
In truth, Ping Pong is a copyrighted model title like Xerox or Kleenex — on this case, owned by Parker Brothers because the flip of the 20th century. The proud custom of the game stretches again to the rarefied airs of higher class Britons within the 1880s, however ultimately grew to become a chief instance of Americana.
Weiss mentioned he discovered to deal with a paddle — which he does actually, very well (see sidebar) at household gatherings.
“I discovered to play within the yard,” mentioned Weiss, whose brother performed table tennis within the Junior Jewish Olympics.
One other devoted participant mentioned his dedication to the sport was fortified at a younger age.
“It was undoubtedly one thing I grew up with in southeastern Ohio,” mentioned Michael Masse, who works in Quick Ashley’s picture studio in Williamsburg, which has hosted table tennis tournaments in years previous.
Aronov, the seasoned Soviet server, defined the common attraction of table tennis, what some folks say is really the Stunning Sport.
“It’s thrilling and excellent train,” he mentioned. “You’ll be able to play 365 days a yr with none accidents.”
Brooklyn Desk Tennis Membership [1100 Coney Island Ave., between Glenwood Road and Avenue H, (718) 421-2200]; Mikey’s Hook Up [70 Front St., between Washington and Main streets, (718) 596-1312] and [88 N. Sixth St. between Wythe Avenue and Berry Street, (718) 599-8906]; Ocean’s eight [308 Flatbush Ave., at Park Place, (718) 857-5555]; Royale [506 Fifth Ave., between 12th and 13th streets, (718) 840-0089]; Water Avenue Bar and Restaurant [66 Water St., between Main and Dock streets, (718) 625-9352].