At a private party held Friday evening at the new home of the at 175 Tompkins Ave., scores of club members and their guests took advantage of 18 tournament level tables newly housed in more than 13,000 square feet of space. The night was filled with plenty of good food, camaraderie and raves about the club.
Lloyd Thomas, from White Plains, has been a member since the club’s inception four years ago.
“This will be my second home," he revealed. "It’s a beautiful game…a game you can really enjoy."
Thomas wasted no time in remarking on the caliber of the club’s permanent home.
“There is no comparison between this club and other table tennis facilities in the U.S.," he said.
Table tennis, also known as ping-pong, has been an Olympic sport since 1988 and boasts benefits more than just having fun.
Steven Horowitz, a club member and cardiologist from White Plains said, "Anything that involves exercise is good. The American Heart Association continually recommends more and more exercise. This definitely counts! It doesn’t even have to be full-blown aerobics to be beneficial.”
Horowitz also likened the strategy and physical demands of table tennis to a game of “moving chess.”
Clearly proud to be a member of such a diverse group of interesting and enthusiastic participants, Horowitz added, “This game is extremely international…it’s nice to meet people from so many other countries.”
Taking a break after rotating through bouts, Will Shortz, the club’s owner and Stefan Kanfer, member and biographer of noted personalities Lucille Ball and Marlon Brando, welcomed guests, spoke about the clubs history and thanked many for making the opening happen.
Kanfer was enthusiastic in noting, “Will is the heart, soul and lungs of this club.”
Outlining some of the club operational basics, Shortz ensured guests there will be specific tables for dedicated for coaching, kids, tournaments and league play. Match results will be posted n the club’s website.
A special program for autism will held as well. Educational therapist Robert Bernstein will lead therapy sessions using table tennis as a method of overcoming the challenges of autism.
Shortz thanked his team of friends and helpers for their herculean efforts in readying the center for its Friday night private premier.
“I have played in 125 clubs in the United States and assured attendees that this club was special," he said. "My goal is to make it one of the best table tennis clubs in the country."
Throughout the night, others continued to relish in the club’s offerings.
Victor Krupinski, of Briarcliff Manor, said he began playing table tennis as a 10-year-old growing up in Poland.
“This is like a candy store for us,” he said, elated his long wait for tables would now be over. In fact, Krupinski shared how table tennis impacted the purchase of his home.
“I couldn’t find a house that would fit a table for table tennis. The house hunt took a year longer than it should have," he revealed.
Other players, such as Fred Ellman of Tarrytown, brought a particularly individual perspective to the game.
Armed with a customized paddle, shaped like a gun, he explained, "The paddle is easy to use and comfortable for play."
The paddle, held like a pistol, has a grip appropriately named “the pistol grip.”
When asked if the paddle was “legal,” Ellman responded, “Just keep the police away and everything will be ok!”
The club is now officially open to the public and everyone is welcome. For more information on daily rates, programs and memberships visit the Westchester Table Tennis Center's website.