From the NY Times:
It took OTB a long time to be born. And it is taking a long time to die.
Make no mistake: the 50 or so Off-Track Betting Corporation parlors across the city have been closed since December. But very few of the spaces have found new tenants — not in this economy, and not in their condition. So OTB lives on in ghostly apparition.
The corner parlor at Queens Boulevard in Forest Hills still wears its 1971 livery, the original OTB logo, like strands of spaghetti on a Kelly green platter. A field of blue ponies still thunders across the facade of the parlor and teletheater on Avenue U in Marine Park, Brooklyn. At Seventh Avenue and 38th Street in Manhattan, a red neon sign still blazes “Off-Tra,” as if noir set designers had been through. And stacks of fresh betting slips still sit in the window of the parlor at 7206 13th Avenue in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn.
But the bettors have dispersed, and with them so has another small “d” democratic New York community — or communities, really, since the parlors were distinctly local. Puerto Rican on Westchester Avenue in the Bronx; Chinese on Chatham Square in Manhattan; Caribbean on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn. All vanished.