Art and beauty relax and stimulate.
You could think of it as the James Bond syndrome.
People relax in certain situations. Then, there are other situations where they relax, but you can see that in the room where they are standing, the wood or fabric or flowers or smell in the wind coming through the window, or sounds, or colors, or the feel of the steering wheel or the gait of the children, something about these things loosens up the people. The people find themselves walking into a place they have never visited, or they are seeing something they never have seen before, but it just looks or feels so familiar.
People react. They loosen. Something in their gut says, "Hmm, yes, as it happens, I want to be here. I thought I was just passing through, but sure enough, there's something here that grabs me. In fact, I don't know exactly what it is that I am noticing. I've just arrived, and something is surprising me. Something that I like.
Or they might say, I already am here, but now I would like to be here a little bit more. That is when people relax, but it is a singular species of relaxing, a relaxing with a hunger in it, or not a hunger, but an appetite. Sometimes, they wait, or wait actively: we could call this lingering. Sometimes, they buy something, or they buy anything. Sometimes they crack a joke. They might talk to the friend walking with them, and speak a bit louder than usual, or turn their head when they speak, with apparently less than usual circumspection--as if inviting someone nearby not just to hear, but to address them.
They walk into a zone in which they find they want to act.
James Bond, if you strip him of his need to drive a fast car and shoot and solve problems during a movie, if you look at him in the first twenty minutes after the action opening, holds a clue to this feeling that many of us feel when we walk into this area of surprise and participation.
More on him later.
There are now thirteen fixed tables in New York City, in nine parks, including two that are parked in a garage awaiting a fork lift and crew to install them shortly before their offiicial opening, and two Joola tables that Susan Sarandon donated to Bryant Park in 2009.
With the warm winter, people are out there playing.
People are starting to talk of a city-wide outdoor tournament.
Dr. Pong in Berlin, Germany, founded by American Oliver Miller, is one of the birthplaces of a recent trend of ping pong tables in hip bars. The concept transplanted under different management to Sydney (now closed) and San Francisco (American Tripps).