The OTB closed down last week, and today is said to be the last day that the remaining three locations will be open including the midtown one at 38th and Seventh Avenue. Why should you care? Because thats the address of one of the citys most unique eateries, the Winners Circle, whose passing we first fretted about nearly three years ago: To be sure, the décor of the restaurant, above the OTB at Seventh Avenue and 38th Street, is as dreary as the food, but well be damned if watching a harness race at one of the tabletop TVs, with a shrimp cocktail handy, doesnt beat watching the game on one of the ESPN Zones tabletops. (Little did we know the ESPN Zone would beat it to the glue factory.)
So will the Winners Circle be open today, to see the midtown OTBs last gasps? An employee at the restaurant couldnt say. I have no idea, she told us, sounding more than a little bit distressed. I have no clue whats going on, and theres no one here I can ask. The OTB doesnt even know. Its a shame, because the restaurant was recently renovated, according to a page on the OTBs site that instructs us to look for the neon sign or listen for the loud cheers to find the racing excitement. Well, the neon sign is still there, anyway, but if all of this plays out, itll likely become another mere relic of a seedier time, like Bare Elegances haunting illumination. If you never went, read nymag.coms listing for a sense of the place that was as close as midtown gets to vintage Vegas.