Care to show your support and help build a piece of New York history?
To be honest, I’m not even sure if that question makes sense for the majority of readers in the United States. Does OTB exist outside of my tiny existence in and around New York? I had always assumed it did – now I’m actually not so certain.
I grew up within walking distance (15 minutes) or driving distance (5 minutes) of a place called “OTB”. I hear you could also get there by pony in about 6 minutes, but I never tried that.
It was a place you could park your car, walk in, place a bet on a “pony”, and either win or lose. It was the closest we had to Las Vegas in my suburban town, or something like that. Truth is, I had no clue where this all happened, who had the horses, where the horses lived, what happened to the money that got lost or who provided the money that got won. It was a big opaque thing that I barely ever gave a second thought, as I walked past on my way to the train station. Just like the lottery counter at the local convenience shop.
Years later, I worked in New York City, around the block from another place called “OTB”. It always seemed busy if I walked past on my way to the cupcake bakery for an afternoon snack. I still had no clue what went on there, except that I knew there was betting.
Turns out, there’s a HISTORY. And a good friend of mine is working with a few others to make a movie about it: Finish Line: The Rise and Demise of Off-Track Betting
There’s even been some politics about it recently, which somehow managed to bypass the rock I occasionally crawl under:
- OTB Saved, But Bloomberg-Paterson Fight Brews
- Levy balks at OTB bankruptcy resolution
- NYC Off-Track Betting Bankruptcy Case Dismissed
But, they need money to do it, so I figured I would plug their fundraising campaign on my blog. Because you see, making movies is expensive, and they want to get George Clooney (who is pricey) to play one of the jockeys. 😉
I’ve seen the trailer (you can too), and I, personally, am looking forward to the end product. I like slice-of-life, documentary of all sorts, independent film, and good stories. And I am guessing that this production will provide all of those. If you contribute, I heartily believe that your contribution will be well-invested in a movie you will later have the chance to enjoy.
In other words, this bet’s a sure thing! 😉
- The Last Days of OTB [And Now Its Dead] (gawker.com)
- OTB fall may doom benefits, too (nydailynews.com)
- New York City OTB Closes Down Betting Parlors (nytimes.com)