Ping Pong Featured in Documentary

Colin Miller

One day, circa 2013, film-maker Jon Bunning happened to walk past Ping Pong in Bryant Park with a friend. They were both avid ping pong players, so they decided to take a closer look. It proved to be a serendipitous impulse: "I was immediately drawn to all the interesting characters that were playing there. It was so much diversity," Mr. Bunning said in a 2017 interview for the Art of Brooklyn Film Festival.

Taken by the lively scene at The Tables, Mr. Bunning made them the subject of a documentary film. "At first we just hung out to play, but that's when I discovered that there's a whole group of regulars that show up at night, and they're there all the time. They're this community and I knew there was something special about this place and decided to embark on creating a film about it," he told Chron.com.

The resulting film, appropriately titled “The Tables,” took four years to complete, and has been making the rounds at film festivals around the country. One of the subjects of the film is Wally Green, the co-founder of SPiN New York nightclub, who first brought the two state-of-the-art ping pong tables to the park’s northeast section.

Mr. Green has a fascinating story to tell about how he became involved in ping pong and we won’t spoil it for you, so you must see the film if it comes your way. We’ll just leave you with his thoughts: "[Viewers] should definitely get ready for something that's real. One thing about this film that makes it different is that it's 100 percent real. Everything in this film is real. Real stories, real life. Nothing's fake. It's very touching and it might make you cry." The next showing is at the Inspire Film Festival in The Woodlands, Texas.