We might forget that parks are supposed to be for play. Striking sculptures, like Jaume Plensa's four-story fiberglass head in Madison Square Park, are nice to look at, but they take up valuable picnic and catch-playing real estate. That's why the Tompkins Square Park Ping-Pong table is so perfect. The table sits near the park's dog run, but its sleek concrete design makes it look like something from Walter Gropius' game room. This is so aesthetically pleasing, it's easy to forget that you can actually play Ping-Pong on it. That is, until you see two strangers locked in a tense best-of-three series with each other. The table's sturdy construction is care of local manufacturer Henge, whose mission statement says they "coax donors into giving [the tables] to public spaces." Like most stationary objects in the East Village, the table has been subjected to its fair share of graffiti. Unlike elsewhere in the neighborhood, however, the Parks Department is quick to use high-pressure hoses to clean up any tagging—the table is dedicated to one of their own, after all: retired Tompkins manager Harry Greenberg. Avenues A to B, from East 7th to East 10th streets, nycgovparks.org/parks/tompkinssquarepark

Location Details

500 E. 9th St.
New York NY 10009


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