A couple of months ago the scenesters behind the infamous Naked Ping Pong parties went legit and opened a beautiful 13,000 square foot table tennis emporium in a subterranean space on East 23rd Street, formerly occupied by Woolworths. Called SPiN New York, the approach is sort of like what Brooklyn Bowl is doing with bowling; taking a sport normally associated with basement-dwelling poindexters and recreating it in a funky nightclub context with a bar, restaurant, DJ.
The main space has ten tables or more, depending on demand, and they're available for rent for $30 per hour per table (not per person). Members, who pay $500 a year or $50 a month, get their own lockers in the bathroom. The lounge area serves gourmet sandwiches, organic salads, smoothies, a variety of flavored popcorn, and other upscale bar food. And behind a curtain at the entrance, the owners have just opened a laid-back new private room with a stainless steel table and glass net. Retail price: $60,000.
Owner Franck Raharinosy, a tournament-level player, insists the room is open to the public and anyone is invited to set up a reservation at firstname.lastname@example.org, with admittance ultimately determined by attitude at the door. (The idea seems to be to keep out frat boys who'd use the table for beer pong.) A recent visit found the table available, with plenty of seating on the vintage furniture, or inside the old revolving door rescued from the Woolworths. It's open Thursdays through Sunday from 10 p.m. until 4 a.m., and the rest of the club is open 7 days a week.