‘Off Track Betty’ Short Film Captures Delancey Street in Flux, and One Woman’s Faded Sense of Belonging

Posted on: July 1st, 2015 at 5:09 am by
OTB ghost signage on Delancey St., April 2010

OTB ghost signage on Delancey St., April 2010

One local filmmaker just completed a film shot completely around the Lower East Side. Specifically, the intersection of Delancey and Essex Streets. Its subject matter is also of the neighborhood.

Shot exclusively on 16mm film, Off Track Betty is a narrative short about a longtime resident who realizes she no longer recognizes, nor belongs in her home. A theme that many can certainly relate.

Its director, Clayton Smith, has lived on the Lower East Side for fifteen years. The creative spark behind the story was the east-facing facade of 101 Delancey with its aged OTB ghost signage. An exercise in imagining the person who may have lived behind the letters – hence the name of the film.

But what happens when the local filming locations for an independent movie begin disappearing? Such was the case with Off Track Betty. According to Smith, demolition for the Essex Crossing mega-project commenced on his second day of production. So, in essence, the film documents a place and time that is rapidly disappearing.

SONY DSC

Photo: Off Track Betty

Same with the format on which the story was captured. Smith notes that Off Track Betty was one of the last film projects on 16mm processed in New York City. Ever. The only film lab remaining in the city – which also serviced Boardwalk Empirerecently discontinued developing services. Film Lab New York closed in December 2014.

Off Track Betty is almost complete, but needs a final boost to wrap the final edit. There’s a Kickstarter campaign underway to raise $11,000; roughly $9,000 has already been raised. Head here if interested in donating.

Recent Stories

‘Marm Cafe’ on Clinton Street is Kaput, Transitions to ‘Bricia’

The end of the road is here for Marm Cafe. The three-year-old corner establishment at 79 Clinton Street hasn’t been open since at least mid-August, its fate finally sealed this week with those brown paper shades. We communicated with ownership via email several weeks ago and were told that the cafe was actually on holiday. […]

Celebrity Endorsed ‘Sycamore Style’ to Open Orchard Street Footwear Boutique

The search for a new retail occupant at 145 Orchard Street just came to a close. It’s been four months since Killion departed the block, but now signage is in place for the latest entrant. Another fashion boutique. Here comes Sycamore Style, a decades-old footwear brand that hawks “custom hand-dyed shoes.” According to their website, […]

In Move from Midtown, ‘Ierimonti Gallery’ Readies 55 Delancey Showroom

After Brennan & Griffin Gallery relocated to Norfolk Street last year, its former headquarters on Delancey Street remained vacant. The only action during its year-long dormancy was when Petee’s Pie used the space for its busy Thanksgiving rush last November. But now, more of the same is on the way. An art gallery from midtown […]

Judge Grants Notorious Landlord Steve Croman Reprieve for High Holidays, Postpones Sentencing

Convicted landlord Steve Croman will spend the Jewish High Holidays in the comfort of his own home instead of prison. At his hearing yesterday, Manhattan State Supreme Court Justice Jill Konviser elected to postpone the sentencing another two weeks for the observance. Prosecutors on behalf of state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman opposed the motion, but […]

With Final Votes Counted, Margaret Chin Squeaks by Marte for Third Term

The Board of Elections yesterday completed its final tally of absentee and affidavit ballots, and the results are in. Incumbent Councilwoman Margaret Chin maintained her narrow margin over challenger Christopher Marte by just over 200 votes. So, it’ll likely be another four years of the same. The results should be certified by the city at […]