Three-card monte dealers, a memory of New York’s seedy past, have been spotted in Midtown according to the New York Post. Though the NYPD performed a crackdown on the practice decades ago, at least six crews set up shop between West 53rd and 56th streets along Fifth Avenue on Thursday, dealing “both crooked card and shell games” to anyone who wanted in:
When a reporter got too close to one of the operators in the middle of a round of cards, his thuggish partner threw a hard elbow as a signal to get back. When asked about the game, none of the dealers would talk. One just said that “business is good.”
The game works by sleight of hand, asking the player to follow the location of one card — usually a red Ace of Hearts — among two black cards as the dealer shuffles it. It’s a deceptively simple ask that’s virtually impossible to do, according to experts, because the dealer’s hands move faster than the players’ eyes.
“It’s a waste of time!” said one man who walked away after losing several hundred dollars.