Long Islanders rake in lottery winnings

The first thing Long Island's newest lottery multimillionaire did after claiming her prize last month was to collect her laundry from the Laundromat.

Then, said Nora Murphy of New Hyde Park, newly richer by $5,090,237 thanks to the lump-sum payoff on a scratch-off ticket, she went home alone to sit. "I thought about what was happening," she said. "There's a lot to be thought about."

Murphy, who bought the ticket at Lakeville Pharmacy in New Hyde Park on Sept. 13, was joined Thursday for a New York Lottery news conference at the pharmacy by West Babylon construction worker Jose Hernandez, 47, winner of $549,294, his take home from a $1 million win.

Murphy said she has "no specific plans" about how to spend her money. She offered no general ones either and declined to answer questions about her age, family or job -- except to say she was happy working and planned to continue.

She said she did not believe in fate, at least when it comes to the lottery. "I believe it was sheer chance," she said; and when one person among the midday shoppers suggested that she'd have "a lot of new friends," she answered: "Let's hope they'll be true friends."

Hernandez, who bought his winning ticket at a Hess Mart in Glen Cove, said he'd played the lottery for 10 years before his big win, buying tickets with whatever spare change was in his pocket.

Speaking through lottery hostess Yolanda Vega, who translated from Spanish, he said he would buy a house and help his family, including his three children. He, too, would continue to work. "I have to," he said. "It's not that much."

If the ebullience seemed to be in short supply outside the pharmacy, where the winners spoke, Elaine Colatosti provided more than enough inside. She sold Murphy her winning ticket, she said, and recalled how the winner's body began to shake as realization set in.

"It was beautiful. I'm always happy to see anybody win," Colatosti said. "God bless her. Her, her family, they'll all be set for life."

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