Off-track bummer! Parlors close — railbirds loose their favorite

Off-track bummer! Parlors close — railbirds loose their favorite
Photo by Paul Martinka

Horseplayers were barn sour on Wednesday, hours after the city’s Off-Track Betting Locations, including 16 in Brooklyn, were shuttered after years of losing money.

Most of the inveterate railbirds weren’t even aware that their betting parlors had been ordered closed after a last-minute deal to save the agency fell through on Tuesday night in Albany.

“What are we going to do now?” asked Downtown resident Miles McCormick, who had planned on making some bets at the Livingston Street OTB parlor near his home. “I come down here to play a few races, some of my friends play all of them. We enjoy it.”

E. Gibson, who lives in East New York, but comes Downtown to bet, also showed up on Wednesday to play the ponies.

“This is really something else,” he said. “It was a hobby for many of us.”

The OTB Restructuring Bill, which would have bailed out the bankrupt OTB, was approved by the Assembly but failed to pass in the Senate because of lack of Republican support.

This may have been a state matter, but for bettors it was personal. One man was crying, not because he didn’t hit the exacta, but because his favorite — his favorite place to go, that is — crapped out on him.

He wasn’t the only one feeling the pain.

“I feel terrible over this,” said the landlord of the building at 86 Livingston St., who gave his name as M. Lev. “They were good tenants. We’re all feeling this.”

The New York Racing Association is offering a free bus service to Aqueduct Racetrack from parlors on Flatbush Avenue in Flatbush, Flatlands Avenue in Canarsie and on Avenue U in Gerritsen Beach, but for many this isn’t an option.

“It’s during the day, how am I supposed to go down to the track?” said Gibson. “I have so much to do, coming here was convenient.”

One Brooklyn OTB location [6719 Bay Pkwy. between Avenue O and 65th Street, (800) 682-8118], will be opened until Dec. 13 for customers to cash winning tickets.