What do you get when you combine Susan Sarandon, Alan Cumming, Judah Friedlander from 30 Rock, and a scantily-clad female Asian table tennis player? An opening party for one of New York's newest private clubs, obviously. This awesomely random grouping turned out last night for the opening of SPiN New York, a new Ping-Pong social club on 23rd Street and Park Avenue, and in which Sarandon is an investor. The space holds 17 Ping-Pong tables (two are in a private room) and has Olympic-quality cushioned flooring, special "player-friendly" lighting, and of course, a full bar. Does it get any better?
Sarandon rocked a demure purple shift dress and cheered on the Ping-Pong pros exhibiting their skills. Friedlander spent a solid amount of time chilling near the busy bar. And Cumming took to the tables dressed in all white, as if ready for a country club tennis match. Things got dangerous later on at the party—which was hosted by Vanity Fair and Hermès—when hundreds of orange Ping-Pong balls (abandoned by overserved patrons honing their skills) littered the floor, nearly taking down multiple stillettoed partygoers.
Sarandon hasn't been shy about her love of table tennis, so her involvement in Spin isn't exactly a surprise. In 2008, she told the New York Times, "I started finding out that there was this subculture of Ping-Pong and all these people that you wouldn't expect are serious about it," she said. "I just worked with Ed Norton, and he's so committed that he trained in China while he was shooting a film there."
This new addition only adds to the list of unconventional and somewhat bizarre sports clubs and teams around the city. The New York Bowling Club has participated in lawn bowling on a green near Sheep Meadow in Central Park since the 1920s. There are bocce courts at 39 parks across New York City, although it's unclear just how any teams there actually are. La Boule New Yorkaise—a club for those who prefer the French version of bocce—plays in Washington Square Park and Bryant Park. There's also the Fencers Club of New York and various cricket clubs. And if you're a member of the exclusive Racquet & Tennis Club, you can play the arcane sport of court tennis there.
Now, if only someone could open up a private tetherball club.
SPiN New York [spinyc.com]
— Molly Fahner