Wally Green, 29, from the Marlboro Houses in Coney Island, picked up the game after losing money to pool hall hustlers. Susan Sarandon, the actress, discovered the game through her son Miles, 16. She and Mr. Green find themselves at the same events sometimes.
"There was no table tennis over there," Mr. Green said of the Marlboro Houses. "There was a lot of bullets going over, but no table tennis."
Ms. Sarandon was not running from pool hustlers or bullets when she became interested in the game. "I started finding out that there was this subculture of Ping-Pong and all these people that you wouldn't expect are serious about it," she said. "I just worked with Ed Norton, and he's so committed that he trained in China while he was shooting a film there."