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May 29, 2024

Queens Senator Puts the Brakes on Major Casino and Entertainment Proposal

Aria Williams
WriterAria WilliamsWriter

Key Takeaways

  • Senator Jessica Ramos opposes the $8 billion casino proposal in Queens, New York, aiming for a greener and more community-friendly alternative.
  • Steven Cohen and Hard Rock International's vision for a gambling and entertainment complex next to Citi Field faces major opposition.
  • Ramos proposes an alternative that focuses on a convention center, hotel, and the doubling of green space, while still allowing Cohen and Hard Rock to profit.

NEW YORK – A bold move by State Senator Jessica Ramos has cast a shadow over the ambitious $8 billion project that aimed to transform Queens, New York, into a gambling and entertainment hotspot. The plan, spearheaded by New York Mets’ billionaire owner Steven Cohen and supported by Hard Rock International, envisioned a sprawling complex of blackjack tables, gaming venues, hotels, and entertainment facilities adjacent to Citi Field. However, with Tuesday's announcement, Ramos has positioned herself as a significant roadblock to the proposal, advocating instead for a more community-centric development.

Queens Senator Puts the Brakes on Major Casino and Entertainment Proposal

Ramos’s firm stand against the casino proposal is not just about rejecting gambling in her district; it’s about reimagining the future of Queens. In a statement released on her X account, Ramos outlined her vision for an alternative that would still capitalize on the strategic location near LaGuardia Airport but focus more on sustainable and community-friendly development. “I have drafted an alternative alienation bill that strikes a balance and would allow Mr. Cohen and Hard Rock to build a convention center and hotel, and more than double the proposed open green space,” Ramos explained.

The senator's proposal emphasizes the need for investments that not only promise economic returns but also enrich the community’s cultural and environmental landscape. By proposing more green space and a convention center, Ramos aims to attract visitors and tourists to the area’s vibrant food scene and address climate change challenges.

While Ramos’s stance may seem like a setback for Cohen and Hard Rock International, it opens up a dialogue about the kind of development that benefits both the investors and the Queens community. Ramos, who is eyeing a mayoral run next year, underscores her commitment to her constituents by prioritizing green spaces and recreational areas over casinos. Despite this opposition to the original casino plans, Ramos acknowledges the potential for compromise, noting that Cohen and his team share a mutual affection for their community.

The proposed shift from a casino-centric project to one focusing on convention space, hotels, and greenery represents a significant pivot in how development projects might be envisioned in urban areas. It places a spotlight on the need for balanced development strategies that consider long-term environmental sustainability and community well-being alongside economic growth.

As the debate over the future of the proposed site near Citi Field continues, Ramos’s alternative proposal sets the stage for a broader conversation about development priorities in New York City. Whether this marks the end of the road for the casino and entertainment complex or the beginning of a new, greener vision for Queens remains to be seen. However, one thing is clear: community voices like Ramos's are pivotal in shaping the city's landscape, ensuring that development projects serve not just the interests of investors but the needs and aspirations of the residents they impact.

About the author
Aria Williams
Aria Williams
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Aria Williams, New Zealand's prominent voice in online casino game localization, masterfully fuses the thrilling world of gaming with the rich Kiwi spirit. Their deft touch ensures every game not only entertains but resonates deeply with the locals.

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