February 22, 2008
The OTB - Where Everybody Knows Your Name
New York's betting parlors cross social barriers--but then, so does the church.
The board that oversees New York's 71 remaining OTB (off-track betting) parlors has voted to close them, according to an article in the New York Times. Apparently, they are no longer profitable for the city of New York.
People are already mourning the demise of OTBs because of the unique social atmosphere they provide. (The article is strong on atmospherics.)
Here's the quote caught my eye in that article. A regular at the OTB on Seventh Avenue at 38th Street told the Times reporter:
"Wherever you have gambling, you're going to have rich guys and beggars next to each other," observed ... Eric Quinones, 40. "And that's what makes these places unique."
Oh, wait a minute. I thought that having "rich guys and beggars next to each other" was supposed to be the church. As a matter of fact, it is what the church is called to be.
And from what I read in Christianity Today, New York's churches are doing a pretty amazing job. (See this important article by Tony Carnes from December 2004.)
Cross-posted at the Ancient Evangelical Future blog.