Now that's how you ring in the new year.
The winning ticket for the $425 million Mega Millions jackpot — the largest lottery prize in state history — was sold to a lucky, but yet unknown, individual at a convenience store on Nassau County's North Shore.
The grand prize for the New Year's Day jackpot, which amounts to the eighth largest in the game's history, was purchased at Brookville Auto Service Shop on Northern Boulevard, the New York Lottery said Wednesday. The mailing address for the shop is Glen Head, but the location is in Upper Brookville.
The winning numbers are 34, 44, 57, 62 and 70, plus the Mega Ball of 14.
Shop owner Jay Huang initially thought the worst when he arrived at his store Wednesday morning to find television news vans and police vehicles in the parking lot. But Huang said he was ecstatic to learn that one of his customers hit the jackpot.
“I hope whoever won needs the money and helps people with it,” said Huang, who has owned the shop, which has four employees, for 10 years.
Huang said he feels that his shop — which, while located in a wealthy enclave also serves blue collar workers such as drivers and landscapers — may be lucky.
“I feel like we’re really lucky given that it happened at the beginning of the new year,” he said. “It’s a good start to the year.”
New York Lottery officials said his store will receive $10,000 for selling the ticket. Huang said he plans to use the money to take his wife and four children on a family vacation.
Throughout the morning, regulars came into the shop to check their numbers and lament about a lost opportunity to become a mega millionaire.
“I had to check for myself,” said Joe Sadkowski, a tow-truck driver from East Northport. “I am happy it’s in this neighborhood but I wish it was me. But whoever won, good luck to them. I hope they need it.”
Shortly before 11 a.m. a pair of New York Lottery employees arrived at the shop to hang a banner outside announcing that the store had sold the winning Mega Millions ticket.
The winner, who has yet to come forward, has one year to collect his prize, lottery officials said.
Andrew Ross of West Babylon said he plays Mega Millions every day hoping to hit it big.
"When am I gonna get my winning ticket?" Ross asked as he tossed his losing tickets. "But I'll keep playing."
Glenn Hutner of Brookville said the key to winning may just be dumb luck.
"You have be to lucky and lucky is better than smart sometimes," said Hutner, who bought $200 worth of tickets to Tuesday's drawing and won back $60. "So being at the right place at the right time is pretty lucky."
Lottery officials say the Mega Millions jackpot had been rolling since Oct. 23, when a world record-breaking $1.537 billion was won in South Carolina. The winner of that prize has yet to come forward.
Tuesday's jackpot has an estimated cash value of $254.6 million. The win claims the title of largest prize in New York history from the Oct. 27 Powerball drawing of $343.8 million, won by Robert Bailey at a Harlem deli.
The next Mega Millions drawing, reset to an estimated jackpot of $40 million, is at 11 p.m. Friday. The odds of a single ticket winning the Mega Millions jackpot are about 302 million to 1.
The previous largest Mega Millions jackpot in Long Island history was sold on Dec. 27, 2011, to a California man who claimed a $208 million prize at the King Kullen supermarket in Middle Island. Daniel Bruckner said at the time that he went into the store to buy groceries for dinner, saw the size of the drawing, and on an impulse spent the $26 he had left in his wallet on tickets.
"It's very surreal," Bruckner said.
If You're The Winner:
First off, congratulations! Here's what's next.
First, sign the back of your winning ticket and keep it safe because you'll need it to claim your prize. Now download and fill out the official New York Lottery claim form. Prizes over $500,000 must be claimed at a Customer Service Centers, and they'll send your claim to the Prize Payment Unit in Schenectady for payment. The two service centers on Long Island are 45 South Service Road in Plainview and Jake's 58 casino at 3635 Express Drive North
in Islandia Winning tickets for all amounts may also be mailed to New York Lottery; PO Box 7533, Schenectady, NY 12301-7533. All prizes must be claimed within one year of the drawing.
A year of jackpots
- Jan. 1, 2019: $425 million (estimated) won on Long Island.
- Oct. 23, 2018: $1.537 billion won in South Carolina.
- July 24, 2018: $543 million won by an 11-member Santa Clara County, California, office pool.
- May 4, 2018: $142 million won by the ABC XYZ Trust with a ticket purchased in Moraine, Ohio.
- March 30, 2018: $533 million won by Richard Wahl of Vernon, New Jersey.
- Jan. 5, 2018: $451 million won by Secret 007, LLC, of Port Richey, Florida.
Source: Mega Millions