Film-generated OTB storefront panics M.P.

A new movie being filmed in Morris Park scared community residents with an OTB sign that went up on Morris Park Avenue, resulting in a community outcry. Photo by Victor Chu

All bets are off!

Residents of Morris Park can rest easy that a New York City Off-Track Betting will not be opening in the area.

According to John Fratta, district manager of Community Board 11, calls began pouring into the office on Friday, June 19, with community members outraged at the OTB sign going up at the vacant former site of WaMu, on Morris Park and Hone Avenues.

“I got the first phone calls on Friday that there was going to be an OTB,” said Fratta. “I immediately called up OTB like a raving lunatic and they didn’t know anything about it.”

Senator Jeff Klein also received calls from constituents nervous at the prospect of the unwelcomed neighbor.

“Over development is a continuing problem in our neighborhoods, and I thank the residents that contacted my office when they saw something they didn’t like,” said Klein. “It is incumbent on all of us to ensure new establishments speak to the community before opening their doors.”

Fortunately, both CB11 and Klein discovered on Monday, June 22, that the sign in question was merely the prop for a movie, Ponies, directed by Bronx native Nick Sandow, being filmed in the area.

“We found out it was a movie, but they forgot to notify the neighborhood. The phone hasn’t stopped ringing,” said Fratta. “The outcry was unbelievable.”

Ponies is a contemporary film focusing on the lives of three immigrants from different countries, who encounter one another in an OTB.

“It represents three different aspects: American immigration, American identity and the American dream,” said producer Tom Donahue. “It is based on the play which premiered in 2002, about the loss of liberty in the Bush Era, and many of those issues are relevant today.”

Starring Johnny Ventimiglia, Kevin Corrigan, and Tonye Patano, and also produced by Ginny Galloway, the film is expected to continue shooting around the area for the next week or so.

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