April 21, 2022 By Michael Dorgan
A new 24/7 facility that offers table tennis on demand is opening in Astoria Friday
The establishment, called PingPod, will consist of six table tennis tables and will open at 30-18 Steinway St. – a one-story building previously occupied by Atlantic Bank.
The venue will be the company’s fourth location and its first in Queens. PingPod has two locations in Manhattan and one in Brooklyn. All of its locations, known as “pods,” are on ground floor spaces and come with high windows to allow passers-by to see in.
The facility mixes table tennis with technology since the tables can only be reserved via an app and the establishment will have no employees. Customers can let themselves in by using a tab on the app that lets them unlock the door. The tables can be booked for 30-minute time slots.
When inside, a basket of balls and a paddle will be at a table for players to use.
PingPod was established in 2020 by three business partners; Ernesto Ebuen, a coach and former number 1 ranked U.S. table tennis player; Max Kogler, a former COO/CFO of the children’s soccer program Super Soccer Stars, and David Silberman, the creator of the PingPod concept.
Kogler said the company’s business model has proven successful and its goal is to make it easier for people to play table tennis. For instance, the facility is easily accessible since it is open round the clock and is available to people of all ages and skill levels.
It also comes with a “robot table” which serves balls to single players who don’t have playing partners.
Cameras inside the facility, he said, can record instant replays of shots or rallies – helping players to improve their skillset.
Kogler said the company was drawn to Astoria for its vibrancy and diversity. However, he said the area has a shortage of recreational facilities.
“We believe that PingPod will help fill that void by providing a safe and comfortable space for all people [to play], from retired adults to young families,” Kogler said.
“We are so excited to be in Astoria.”
To mark the opening, the facility will host an open play day Friday between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. where tables will be free to use.
Table tennis trick shot master Adam Bobrow will also be in attendance showing off some of his best shots.
Bobrow is also known for being a commentator for table tennis matches at the Olympics.