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Upper East Side OTB Shuttered Because of Second Avenue Subway Construction

By DNAinfo Staff on June 15, 2010 7:07pm  | Updated on June 16, 2010 6:09am

By Gabriela Resto-Montero

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

UPPER EAST SIDE — The Off Track Betting Company took its last bet on the Upper East Side Sunday, closing its doors not because of bankruptcy, but because of ongoing Second Avenue subway construction.

The branch at 1318 Second Avenue off of 70th Street closed after administrators determined that Second Avenue subway work scheduled to begin soon, including the use of the MTA's tunnel-boring machine, could make the OTB's building unsafe.

It's already been a bad year for the state agency, which handles horse-racing bets. Since December 2009, the OTB has operated under bankruptcy protection. In March, the agency threatened to lay off 1,300 workers, but managed to hold on to the positions in a last-minute deal, the Daily News reported.

But an OTB spokesman, David Vermillion, said that the closure of the Upper East Side branch had nothing to do with the agency's ongoing fiscal problems.

"This was not a business decision," he said, insisting that the closure was purely because of the construction.

The spokesman would not comment on whether the OTB would get any financial compensation from the MTA for the outpost's closure.   

A sign posted on the branch's door Tuesday thanked customers for their patronage and encouraged them to visit other OTB locations.

About 60 Off Track Betting locations remain open in the city, Vermillion said, including one at a bar called The Inside Track at Second Avenue and East 52nd Street.