You probably haven't noticed that I've been away for a couple of weeks, but I'm back and here to remind you that YES it has been THAT long!
Lots to catch up on, and I will be catching up, but I can't do that without telling you all about this past Halloween weekend.
Before I do that and before I forget, this week you are going to get two articles from me, today and one on Friday, which will be a very special feature of British singer/songwriter David McAlmont who hits New York this weekend to play some amazing live shows.
Also, before I took my impromptu vacation I caught up with Franck Raharinosy from that ultra hip ping pong place SPIN on 23rd St, More of that later in my five questions in five minutes.
So lets get back to work, this past weekend was one of the biggest party weekends on my calendar. I was hopping about all over the shop, and here's a few places that were cooking.
The Empire Rooftop over on 63rd and Columbus had it large with "The Haunted Rooftop." This spot is always a winner, DJ RYO was spinning on the decks and guess what - It was Free -. Room 55 at the Dream Hotel on 55th st was offering something a little more intimate, there were cash prizes for best costume, but by the time I got there I was too late to enter - yeah right - Polar lounge on East 24th st celebrated earlier than most, their bash was on Friday. Again their were cash prizes for best costume and this time, I WON! Yep, I went as Gary Spencer, and the judges instantly knew that this time it was not an impersonator!!!
I would also like to congratulate everyone at Joonbug for their brilliant Halloween party at Capitale, you guys did an amazing job!
Ok, on to my regular feature five questions in five minutes, and this week I am talking to camera shy (there is no video) Franck Raharinosy, Franck is that very amiable chap who with Jonathan Bricklin and actress Susan Sarandon provide us with 13000, sq feet of space every day to play Table Tennis or Ping Pong as they like to call it. If you have never been to SPIN on 23rd st ,then go, you will have the best time.
I asked Franck 5 questions as to how it all started:
GS - Franck this is a magnificent space you guys have here, how did it all start ?
FR - About three and a half years ago Jonathan and I bought a state of the art ping pong table, started taking lessons with an Olympic coach, going to tournaments and ended up throwing ping pong parties in our loft in Tribeca under the name of Naked Ping Pong. The mix of people ranged from artists, ping pong pros, models, bankers, hipsters, celebrities, people from all walks of life; we must have thrown over a hundred parties. Then we met Susan and Andrew Gordon almost at the same time. Andrew introduced us to a friend of his who had a space available in this building and here we are now.
GS - What I always get from you is your enthusiasm for the sport of Table Tennis, you are not someone who just wants to make money out of this, you actually love playing.
FR - I love playing, I really do, I am very competitive about the game and I play in tournaments as much as I can. I am a good player but still not where I want to be, between playing and expanding the business, that more or less takes up my whole life.
GS - Would you say that the success you guys have had here at SPIN has made other places introduce ping pong to their clubs and bars ?
FR - Oh yeah, without a doubt, now there are so many ping pong parties going on all over the City, large corporations are using ping pong as a gimmick to add to their events and we ourselves have now started to franchise SPIN to other major US Cities. For instance we opened in Milwaukee three weeks ago and people there were having the time of their life, we are open in LA, and next we would love to open in London and the rest of Europe. Ten years from now I think that ping pong will be a major sport in the US, just like it is in most of Asia and Europe.
GS - You hold the "Dirty Dozen " tournament here every Friday that has some of the countries best players competing, but who is the best player so far to play here?
FR -This Swedish guy called Jan-Ove Waldner, Jan had won a Gold Medal in the Olympic games and is a multiple World Champion. We got him and Mikael Appelgren, another World Champion to come to SPiN from Sweden for our Legends event. One night, we took them out to dinner and explained to them about The Dirty Dozen tournament, after a couple of hours of eating and drinking Jan came back to the club and decided to play in the tournament, which of course he won in his sleep, but the atmosphere in the club that night was electric to have such a legend here.
GS - I know nothing about top table tennis but I do know a bit about tennis, so that said, Roger Federer versus you at Table Tennis, who wins?
FR - Federer against me, haha, I would definitely beat him, maybe not at tennis, but ping pong, yeah me, absolutely!
And that was that!
Go check out SPIN on 23rd St, and dont forget to look back in this Friday to read my interview with David McAlmont
Until then, keep safe