Taking the Express Bus to Gambling Town With NYC’s Budget High-Rollers
The free shuttle from New York’s poorest neighborhoods to the city’s only casino is a little red bus packed chock-full of dreams, disappointment, and daily diversion.
Illustration by Wesley Hamilton
It’s a late-summer day in Bushwick, Brooklyn and I ask the guy hawking cold bottles of water on the corner where the bus stop to the Resorts World Casino is. His finger jabs at a group of a dozen people on the sidewalk, insinuating they are, in fact, the bus stop—there’s no actual sign.
“There goes one right now, papi," he says, pointing to a burning-red bus moving along Broadway.
The vehicle’s accordion-style front doors fold open. A few eager riders extinguish cigarettes before they walk on and take a seat. No fare is required.
Passenger Luisa Westerband, a middle-aged woman with her brown hair tucked under a baseball cap, clutches a black vinyl purse, bought from the casino’s gift shop with “comp points” awarded for her loyal patronage. She wears a t-shirt that reads: “You can teach me the skills but the ATTITUDE is all mine!!”
On workdays, she’s a school bus driver. At Resorts, a forty-minute ride away, she is a high roller.
“They give me money to play be…
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