‘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

This image has been archived or removed.

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.

This image has been archived or removed.

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

Another Look at the Remodeled DeSalvio Playground in Little Italy

Two years of construction, and a decade of advocating, finally let up. About a month ago, Little Italy locals scored early access to a reinvigorated DeSalvio Playground on Spring Street ahead of the “official” opening. The upgraded park at Spring and Mulberry Streets includes a curved seating area with benches, basketball court (with two hoops), jungle gym […]

Report: Teen Boosts Taxi from LES and Attempts Drive to Six Flags

If you’re gonna steal the car, don’t pull over for R-and-R. Police say that 19-year-old Jonathan Gualpa boosted a taxicab parked on the Lower East Side early Tuesday morning and attempted to drive it down to Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey. The vehicle was reportedly still running at 5:45am when the teen hijacker drove […]

Neighborhood Group Sues the City to Stop New Towers in Two Bridges

Three months after first leveling the threats, the Lower East Side Organized Neighbors (LESON) has filed a lawsuit to stop four new towers (as part of three developments) from sprouting on the Two Bridges waterfront. The community organization partnered with the Asian American Legal Defense Fund to take the fight to the city. LESON has […]

Man Hit in the Head with Baseball Bat, Robbed on Broome Street

Some crime to report on the new doorstep of Essex Crossing. A man on the eastern fringe of Broome Street was clocked in the head with a baseball bat, and then robbed of his computer, police said. The victim was apparently on his way to a date Monday afternoon when he was struck on the […]

Martin Keehn Boutique Celebrates New Home on Ludlow Street

Menswear designer Martin Keehn began selling on the Lower East Side nine years ago. The boutique occupied a unique fractional address across from Seward Park – 27 1/2 Essex Street – until last summer. The eponymous store made the move around the corner to 53 Ludlow Street back in August. (This was the former home […]