I can’t believe I’ve neglected you for over a month. I’m sorry! This is all I can offer for now, some free association…
The other day I was at the CHASE (formerly WAMU) on 88th and Madison, waiting in line to deposit a check. Only one teller was present and was busy helping a Hasidic man wearing ill-fitting pants, with a complicated cash transaction. After a few minutes a little old lady hunched over a small shopping cart joined me in line. Throughout the next eight minutes we waited and I glanced over my shoulder several times to see what she was up to. She was depositing a check- her name, an old fashioned Jewish one, and the address of a building on 87th Street between Madison and Park Avenue, were printed on it. The check was from the New York Lottery. I waited for the amount to become visible and after a few more minutes of shifting in our designated standing area, she moved her thumb over to reveal the staggering amount of $2.00. I looked her up and down and saw that her clothing was very well-made, old fashioned but definitely expensive. So that was kind of crazy.
Then, a few weeks later, I heard of an old man in a nursing home sending his younger relative often, to buy stamps for him. The stamps were for mailing in game pieces for some sort of lottery. His relative didn’t understand it but it seemed to be the old man’s favorite source of entertainment.
Then, the other day I noticed the newest New York Lottery gimmick- the ‘New York Lottery Black,’ another game piece like the rest but its design evokes classic New York luxury, like a 1950’s hotel advertisement, or a fancy whiskey.
I frown on the existence of a state-run lottery. It feels ruthlessly cynical to me that the government provides a pass time whose popularity rests on and highlights the most depressing aspects of the American condition.
I would be curious to know, though, how NY Lottery Black does in ticket sales and what demographic is buying these seemingly classy lottery tickets.