By Trevor Kapp and Julie Shapiro
MANHATTAN — This is one jackpot no one wants to miss.
New Yorkers flocked to bodegas and delis on Wednesday morning to buy their tickets for a shot at the record $500 million Mega Millions prize, which will be drawn Friday.
"I'd buy a big yacht and just live off of it," said Tommy Brown, 56, a Stuyvesant Town resident who works in sales and bought a lottery ticket Wednesday.
The multi-state Mega Millions jackpot has been growing for more than two months — shattering the previous record prize of $390 million, set in 2007 and split between winners in New Jersey and Georgia.
The prize climbed from $363 million Tuesday night, then ballooned again to $476 million after no one correctly guessed the six winning digits.
The prize bumped up yet again, to $500 million by noon, as people across the country bought lottery tickets on Wednesday morning,a lottery representative said.
Friday's prize is now worth an immediate cash payout of $359 million, and it could continue to grow.
The gargantuan jackpot is already putting money in the pockets of bodega owners and other outlets that sell lottery tickets.
"There have been a lot of customers," said Columbus Chodhury, 52, who owns C&B Convenience Store on 14th Street between Second and Third avenues. "There have been long lines. It's not usually like this. It's good for business."
Some of the New Yorkers buying Mega Millions tickets Wednesday dreamed of quitting their job, while others hoped to help others.
Aldin Richards, 41, a Queens resident who works in health information, said she would return to her home country of Jamaica to start a charity.
"There are too many kids there not going to school, and I'd want to change that," Richards said after she bought several lottery tickets in the East Village.
Asim Khan, a 21-year-old Manhattan College student who lives in Riverdale, said he would invest his winnings in New York real estate, in the hope of making even more money.
"I'll be watching," Khan said of the Friday drawing. "I'll keep my fingers crossed."