Showing posts with label OTBs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label OTBs. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

The OTB parlor-bank branch post that you've been waiting for

Heading outside the usual coverage area for a moment... for this item of possible interest to people curious about former OTB parlors and new bank branches.

So! Down at the end of the Bowery at 7 Chatham Square in Chinatown, the OTB has sat empty — its lettering intact — since the New York City Off-Track Betting Corporation closed in December 2010.

This past summer, a for sale sign arrived...

[July 17]

And plywood went up last month...

[Feb. 26]

And on Monday, signage for the new tenant made its debut... woo!

This replaces the Chase branch that was a few storefronts to the north.

Patch first reported on the incoming Chase back in January. Wellington Chen, executive director of the Chinatown Partnership, said that this OTB was the most profitable branch in the city.

Meanwhile, the other branch, Chase, is expected to open next month.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Missing the OTBs

The Kentucky Derby is today... though betting on it is more challenging now with the closure of the OTBs (like the one above on Third Avenue in the 40s) back in December.

From an article in The Wall Street Journal yesterday:

In a city where it's possible to do just about anything imaginable, it's suddenly become enormously difficult to legally put money on the most prestigious horse race on the planet.

So it's off to Belmont then... instead of a trip to Delancey...

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Spending $2 million to combat "unpleasant perceptions of OTB parlors and clientele"

At the Times today, Russ Buettner looks at the latest OTB wretched excess...spending millions on consultants and research ... Why?

Much of the [the consultants'] effort involved wrestling with unpleasant perceptions of OTB parlors and clientele.

As the Times notes, "For now, the consultants’ expensive work product appears to have no more value than a torn race ticket on a dirty linoleum floor." The new OTB boss doesn't care for the work that was done by his predecessor.

Wonder how much longer before the whole OTB system is shuttered... they're what, $200 million in the hole now? Go to one while you can.

This line from the Times a few years back sums it up best about the future of the OTB: It is an ever-narrowing slice of New York that still belongs to the hustler and the old-timer. Soon it may be extinct...

Like everything else that helps give the city some character.

[Photo at the Delancey OTB by EV Grieve]

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Another doomsday scenario for OTB

The Post has the scoop:

The city's teetering Off-Track Betting Corp. will seek permission to close as many as two-thirds of its 68 branches when it files a bankruptcy reorganization plan, The Post has learned.

Sources said the plan also calls for eliminating half of the remaining 1,100 betting clerks, through attrition or buyouts, and for OTB to float $250 million in bonds to meet its obligations.

One source said the bonds would have to be backed by the state, which faces its own monumental budget woes.

"Who in their right mind is going to buy OTB bonds?" asked the source. "The only way it works is with a state guarantee."

Here's a passage from a May 2008 post on the shuttered John Street OTB:

This line from the Times article sums it up best:

It is an ever-narrowing slice of New York that still belongs to the hustler and the old-timer. Soon it may be extinct...

Like everything else that helps give the city some character.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

That joke isn't funny anymore: Duane Reade opens at location of former OTB parlor on John Street

Last May, I wrote about my favorite OTB parlor at 17 John St. in the Financial District getting closed by the state...

... THE NIGHT BEFORE THE KENTUCKY DERBY, only the biggest racing day of the year.

Shall I even bother mentioning what just opened in that old OTB spot?

Seriously! There are now SIX Duane Reade stores within a three-or-so-block radius. (Not to mention a CVS.) And how about that new Duane Reade logo?

Monday, June 30, 2008

"Changing for the bettor"

As you may know, the OTB outlets will stay open now that the city and state hashed out an agreement deal two weeks back.

Now that all this drama is settled, I hope we can see some OTB commercials, like this one from 1986:


An ad from 1986 for Belmont Park:

[YouTube videos via MyCommercials]

Monday, June 16, 2008

OTBs will stay open

Good news, as the Times reports:

Confusion and discord gave way to handshakes on Sunday as Gov. David A. Paterson and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg agreed on a deal authorizing the state to take over the city’s Off-Track Betting Corporation while still granting the city a share of gambling revenues.
The agreement allows the city’s 68 OTB parlors to open on Monday, averting a shutdown the mayor had threatened for Sunday that would have put hundreds of people out of work.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Checking in with "The God of Gambling"

Lysandra Ohrstrom at the Observer checks in with some OTB regulars, including "the God of Gambling." It's a brief slice-of-life of the character that will be lost if the parlors go:

If a deal to save the city’s 61 Off Track Betting parlors is not hammered out this weekend, we bet the Aqueduct race track in Queens is going to be pretty crowded come Monday.
The regulars clustered at the branch on Lafayette and Canal streets Wednesday morning almost all said that if they can’t gamble in the stark, grimy, fluorescent-familiarity of OTB, they’ll go to the track instead. No matter how inconvenient playing the ponies becomes, if OTB were to close, no one we spoke to had any intention of stopping.
“Gas is five dollars now, but people still want to bet,” said Sylvio, a suavely dressed retiree, sporting a Panama Jack straw hat. “If people want to bet and they got money they’ll bet, it doesn’t matter where.”
A man placing a bet at the counter interrupted, shouting, “We’re never going to stop! We can’t stop!
“I don’t work. I just play the horses,” said the jumpy, Asian man, who identified himself as “the God of Gambling.”
“I can survive. I pay rent and I have two cars, but too many people lose. I suggest they close it. A man will come in here with three restaurants and leave with two. They’ll come back another day and leave with one. Then they lose that and they’re broke. It happens all the time.”
A retired merchant marine who served for 38 years now visits the Canal Street OTB two or three times a week and goes to the track on Wednesdays. Though he “loses more than he wins”--$700 to $800 per day is not uncommon—he keeps on coming back “for revenge.”
“Some people come with 50 bucks to bet, they’ll lose 48 and have two dollars for the subway home,” he said. “Some people come with 50 bucks, lose it all, and walk 60 blocks home.”

[OTB photo by Bonnie Natko via Flickr. This native New Yorker has many more great photos here.] 

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Hope for OTB: The end may not be so near

According to NY1:

A day after Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the end is near for the city's Off-Track Betting Corporation, Governor David Paterson said he is considering a state takeover of the organization. Bloomberg has threatened to close down the city's betting parlors on Sunday unless a permanent resolution can be reached that will not cost the city money. OTB actually generates $125 million a year in profits, but the city loses money because most of the revenue goes upstate to subsidize horse racing. Today Governor Paterson said he would explore every option to preserve the revenue and jobs that OTB generates. Nearly 1,500 workers would be out of a job if OTB shuts down.

Previous OTB coverage on EV Grieve can be found here.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Happy Belmont Stakes Day (and so long OTB?)

Affirmed vs. Alydar -- best rivalry in sports history? And how about that 1978 Belmont Stakes race in the video above? Best ever?

Meanwhile, head to your local OTB parlor today to make your bet(s). The parlors are expected to close June 15. In fact, more than 1,000 OTB workers were just sent their pink slips. As the Times put it in a Feb. 22 feature: If OTB Goes, So Would a Relic of a Grittier City

Previously on EV Grieve:
So long, OTB (and happy Derby day)

A photo taken outside the OTB in Chinatown by Alison Grippo (via Flickr)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Everything must go?

The OTB drama continues today. As the Post reports:

The city's Off-Track-Betting Corp. is advertising today for an auctioneer to liquidate its assets as talks drag on in Albany on a new revenue-sharing formula to rescue the cash-strapped bookie operation before June 15.
Among the items that would be up for grabs are leases to 62 OTB parlors, a warehouse, a repair facility, a print shop and a storage depot.
Gov. Paterson, state Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver issued a joint statement on April 15 saying they're committed to saving OTB and its 1,500 jobs.
But one source said, "They're not close to consensus."
Mayor Bloomberg has threatened to shut OTB on June 15 if Albany doesn't change the formula that now forces OTB to pay out more than 100 percent of its profits.
"Everybody thinks this is going to go to the 11th hour, 59th minute," said one insider

If you have the Post, the public notice -- "request for expression of interest" -- is on Page 55.

Previously on EV Grieve:

Scenes from a Derby day

So long, OTB (and happy Derby day)

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Scenes from a Derby day

Had more. But not feeling all that festive.

[At the OTB on Delancey]

Back at the OTB on Delancey. Not all that thrilling. But a tiny slice of life there. Went the sneaky, hidden camera route for a variety of reasons, mostly not to draw any attention to myself...

Saturday, May 3, 2008

So long, OTB (and happy Derby day)

The Kentucky Derby is today. And in the EV Grieve household (aka, apartment), it's a national holiday. There are screenings of The Lemon Drop Kid, Saratoga, The Killing and Seabiscuit. Well, won't get into all the rituals. Don't want you to think we're really weird. Oh. And there's the ceremonial trip to an OTB parlor. This year, though, the whole thing is a little bittersweet. Bloomberg is pushing for these things to shutter after the Belmont. Anyway, much has already been written about the future of OTBs. In fact, the state just closed two, including the parlor right by my office at 17 John St.

I'm stunned that the state closed this location for good at 7 last night, HOURS BEFORE THE BIGGEST BETTING DAY OF THE YEAR.

Idiots, yes? As the Post reported, the branch, open since 1982, generated bets of $5,915,870 in fiscal 2007.

I stopped by John Street yesterday at lunch. There were FOUR people inside. It's actually a lovely little spot. The paneled walls give it a basement rec room feel circa, well, 1982. There are 12 betting windows (15 if you count the three automated tellers). Yesterday, only three of the windows were open. I was shocked how quiet it was. I took exactly one picture inside the door (and a lousy one at that) before I was shooed away by a OTB worker standing guard by the door. I tried to explain what I was doing. He didn't seem interested in my story.

This line from the Times article sums it up best:

It is an ever-narrowing slice of New York that still belongs to the hustler and the old-timer. Soon it may be extinct...

Like everything else that helps give the city some character.