Volume 80, Number 12 | August 19 - 25, 2010
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

In Pictures

A concrete-and-steel ping-pong table like this one is coming to Tompkins Square in a few months.

Will industrial ping-pong table be Tompkins tough?

By Cynthia Romero

At first glance, the ping-pong table in Gulick Park doesn’t look like anything but a ping-pong table. But it’s gray, not green and the net is made of steel, not nylon mesh and upon closer inspection, one can come to appreciate the table for its sleek design and durability.

The ping-pong table is a project of Henge, a company that specializes in building and placing durable and stylish concrete ping-pong tables in public spaces.

“When I started looking into this project, I realized there aren’t that many ping-pong tables in the city,” said Henge president Alan Good. “Other places, like China and Barcelona, there are ping-pong tables everywhere and I wanted to bring some of that here. I know Susan Sarandon has a table-tennis club in the Flatiron District.”

The first table, which is made of smooth concrete and a steel net, was permanently placed in Gulick Park, at Bialystoker Place and Delancey St., on June 22. The next ping-pong table will be placed in Tompkins Square Park in October.

Good said he received the support of Lower East Side residents and the Parks Department for the first installation.

“I originally proposed the idea to the Gulick Park community last year,” he said. “I actually compiled around 300 signatures from the public housing residents in favor of the table.”

The table was presented at a New York trade show and received many accolades, something Good hopes sparks the attention of potential sponsors.

“We have the support of a couple of sponsors right now, but we could always use more,” he said. “Each table comes at about $4,500, but you have to understand that it’s going to last for a very long time and it’s going to benefit the public space where it’s put in.”

Good worked closely with a designer, Jeff Melin, to create the two-piece concrete ping-pong table.

“I told him what my vision was and he ran with it,” Good said. “The base is a whole other story: Its shape is made out of four tunnels which is based on a tilted circle, which is known as an ogee, which is a form you see in math and physics.”

The design has already caught the attention of several Lower East Side residents, like Will Burgos and his son Brandon Burgos, who were trying out the Gulick Park table.

“It’s my first time playing ping-pong, but I’m quite liking it,” said Will. “I think we’re going to be spending a lot of time down here.”

Good smiled as he approached the ping-pong table, introducing himself to a couple of Lower East Side residents.

“I really love this community, I do,” he said. “There’s just such vibrancy and history here. I couldn’t think of a better place to place these tables.”

For more information, visit www.hengetable.com .

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