By Stephen Stirling
The New York Lottery announced last week that Hashmatullah Karimzada, a 55-year-old Flushing resident, won $1 million playing the lottery's Big Bucks instant win scratch-off game. Karimzada, who emigrated from Afghanistan in 1986, said he is looking at life through a new lens after his big win.”Life's decisions are much easier now,” he said. “I would like to open my own restaurant and my wife, Nooria, wants to attend school to become a hair dresser. Financial stability makes anything possible.”Karimzada had worked at various eateries around Brooklyn and Queens, before recently retiring from Brooklyn's Royal Fried Chicken.He said without his wife he never would have bought the winning ticket from Zeel convenience store on Northern Boulevard in Flushing.”My wife told me to buy Lottery tickets this week and she never does that,” Karimzada said. “It was meant to be.”He will receive his prize in payments of $50,000 a year, which will reduce the amount of taxes taken out of the winnings, for the next 20 years, the New York Lottery said.During its 40 years in operation, the New York Lottery has generated more than $31 billion to help support education in New York state, including a record $2.3 billion in fiscal year 2006-07 on incoming revenue of $7.18 billion.Reach reporter Stephen Stirling by e-mail at Sstirling@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.