A record $580 million jackpot was up for grabs in Wednesday night's Powerball drawing.
The winning numbers are 5, 16, 22, 23, 29 and the Powerball is 6. It was unclear late Wednesday night if there were any winners.
The thought of winning more than a half-billion dollars consumed the Hudson Valley earlier in the day.
At the Riverside Deli in Croton-on-Hudson, which sold an $18 million lottery ticket during the summer, workers were keeping any advice on a winning formula to themselves.
"I wish I knew which number," said a deli employee who would only identify himself as Victor. "I'd play it myself."
Other Hudson Valley residents were searching for an omen.
"I had a good dream last night, so I'll buy a ticket," said Mary Seo, co-owner of Dairydel in Hartsdale, which sold a $70 million Powerball ticket in February.
What would someone do with a sudden infusion of $580 million? Gabriel Berrios, manager of the Valero Food Mart in White Plains, said the winner might not show up at work once he hit it big.
"Retirement is the key word," he said.
Victor Rodgers of Yonkers, who bought three tickets at the Dairydel, said he would have no shortage of things to spend money on.
"Oh, man, there's so many things I would do," he said. "I'd pay off a new car I just bought and then share some with family."
To date, the five winning numbers plus the Powerball number have been elusive, letting the jackpot build. On its website, the New York State Lottery lists the chances of winning the grand prize as 175,223,510 to 1.
Some of the biggest dreamers are people with the smallest financial resources.
Leo Pema, manager of the ATS News & Grocery store in Valley Cottage, said the top ticket buyers are people of limited means.
"Poor people spend the money," he said. "For example, one lady spent $300 on Powerball. She's not rich. She's a poor lady. Last year, I sold one lady $500."
Rich or poor, the lure of a half-billion dollars was undeniable.
Past winners of big prizes say it's a life-changing experience.
"I had to adapt to this new life," said Sandra Hayes, 52, a former Missouri child services social worker who split a $224 million Powerball jackpot with a dozen co-workers in 2006, collecting a lump sum she said was in excess of $6 million after taxes.
"I had to endure the greed and the need that people have, trying to get you to release your money to them," Hayes said. "That caused a lot of emotional pain. These are people who you've loved deep down, and they're turning into vampires trying to suck the life out of me."
The single mother immediately used her winnings to pay off an estimated $100,000 in student loans and a $70,000 mortgage. She spent a week in Hawaii and bought a new Lexus, but six years later she still shops at discount stores and lives on a fixed income -- albeit at a higher monthly allowance than when she brought home paychecks of less than $500 a week.
"I know a lot of people who won the lottery and are broke today," Hayes said. "If you're not disciplined, you will go broke. I don't care how much money you have."
With The Associated Press