Tag Archives: Aqueduct Racino

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST: 

Tuesday: Partly cloudy in the morning, then clear. High of 61. Breezy. Winds from the WNW at 10 to 20 mph. Tuesday night: Partly cloudy. Low of 48. Winds from the NW at 5 to 10 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Live Classical Music

A special presentation of classical music featuring the artistry of soloist Lesley Zlabinger with Catherine Frank on piano. The program will include the song cycle “Frauenliebe und-leben” by Robert Schumann; three songs by Claude Debussy, “Nuit d’etoiles,” “Voice que le printemps” and “Paysage sentimental;” the secular cantata “Lucrezia” by G.F. Handel; and four songs by Mozart, “Ridente la calma,” “Warnung,” “Als luise die briefe” and “An chloe.” Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Fight over proposed Queens Kickshaw bike corral could be paved over with compromise in Astoria

The battle over a proposed bike rack in front of an Astoria eatery may come to a hault. Read more: New York Daily News

Queens landlord wanted in teacher murder nabbed in Maryland

The Queens landlord wanted for questioning in the stabbing death of a 39-year-old public school teacher has been caught in Maryland, authorities said Monday. Read more: NBC New York

Roughly half of Aqueduct racino’s top managers reside in the borough

The operator of the Aqueduct racino released new jobs data this month showing that about half of its top executives call Queens home. Read more: New York Daily News

A ‘match’ for Nobel

Two American scholars — one of them born in Queens — netted the Nobel economics prize yesterday for work on a matchmaking technique that has sharply reduced the number of New York students who end up in high schools they didn’t want to attend. Read more: New York Post

Mayoral hopeful switches to G.O.P.

The field of likely Democratic candidates for New York City mayor narrowed by one on Monday when Tom Allon, a newspaper publisher waging a long-shot bid, announced that he would switch to the Republican Party to increase his odds of making it to the 2013 general election ballot. Read more: New York Times

Brooklyn Nets win their Barclays Center debut game

The Brooklyn Nets won their first basketball game at the new Barclays Center against the Washington Wizards on Monday night, and the preseason victory marked the first time professional sports were played in the borough since the Dodgers left in 1957. Read more: NY1

Pundits: Hofstra presidential debate could easily mean doom for rhe loser

All eyes in the United States and around the world will soon be on a Long Island university. Read more: CBS New York

 

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

2012 Scripps National Spelling Bee: Arvind Mahankali of Queens finishes third for second straight year

New York’s reigning wordsmith again came achingly close to a title at the Scripps National Spelling Bee Thursday, notching a third-place place finish for the second straight year. Arvind Mahankali of Bayside Hills, Queens, who was sponsored by the Daily News, sailed through his third national bee until well into Thursday night’s finals – aired live on ESPN – when pronouncer Jacques Bailly hit him with “schwannoma,” a tumor of the sheath of the peripharal nerve. Read more: [New York Daily News]

 

P.S. 174 Teacher Now Accused Of Molesting Five Boys

A Queens elementary school teacher arrested in February is now accused of molesting a total of five boys. 49-year-old Wilbert Cortez was originally charged with fondling two young boys in his classroom earlier this year. Read more: [NY1]

 

Deli fury at city’s ‘grocer’ injustice

Big Apple deli owners yesterday cried foul over Mayor Bloomberg’s plan to ban them from selling sugary drinks that are more than 16 ounces — a rule that wouldn’t apply to “Big Gulp” king 7-Eleven and other grocery stores. Read more: [New York Post]

 

State Senator’s husband tells cops he was mugged at Aqueduct racino 

A casino may be the perfect place for bluffing, but not when guns and the law are involved. The husband of a Queens lawmaker claims that he was recently mugged at gunpoint in the parking lot of the Aqueduct racino. Read more: [New York Daily News]

 

Decorated Marine named valedictorian of York College in Jamaica 

A decorated former Marine corporal who served two tours of duty in Iraq has overcome yet another challenge: college, and with flying colors.Chemistry major Tony Wan, 25, of Fresh Meadows, was named valedictorian of his class at York College. Wan, the first college grad in his family, is to accept his diploma on Friday. Read more: [New York Daily News]

 

Man Who Hijacked Plane In 1968 To Be Re-Sentenced

A federal appeals court ordered a new sentencing Thursday for a man sent to prison 15 years ago for hijacking a plane from New York to Cuba in 1968. Authorities say 69-year-old Luis Armando Pena-Soltren hijacked the plane to Cuba after it took off from Kennedy Airport. Read more: [NY1]

Police involved in Sean Bell shooting get canned


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

The-Afternoon-Roundup2

Police involved in Sean Bell shooting get canned

The cops that gunned down Sean Bell, the Queens man killed on his wedding day in a 50-shot fusillade, will be drummed out of the department, the NYPD said Friday.

Detective Gescard Isnora, who fired the shot that touched off the senseless 2006 killing, was found to have violated department guidelines by shooting his weapon while undercover. He will be fired and will not get a pension or health benefits.

Read More: The Daily News

 

College student killed by L train after drunken man attacked him and pushed him onto tracks

A LaGuardia Community College student was killed by a Brooklyn subway train Friday, after a boozed-up straphanger started a fight and the the tussle spilled onto the tracks.

JoshuaBasin, 20, was riding an eastbound L train to go to his girlfriend’s house in Long Island when a drunken man began berating him and his two friends before theBedford Ave.stop inWilliamsburg, sources and a friend said.

Read More: The New York Daily News

 

Whistleblowing NYPD sergeant had a hand in crime spike in Queens precinct: sources

A whistleblowing NYPD sergeant had a hand in the monstrous spike in crime that plagued a Queens precinct last year when his scrutiny of fellow cops’ official reports prompted them to properly classify a wave of felony complaints, law-enforcement sources said yesterday.

For doing his job, Sgt. Robert Borrelli was banished to an abysmal night shift at Central Booking in the basement of theSouth Bronxcriminal courthouse, the sources said.

Read More: The New York Post

 

Queens Borough President Helen Marshall’s daughter works at Aqueduct racino

As the gaming giant behind the Aqueduct racino pushes its lawmaker allies for a shot at full casino gambling, Genting’s hire of one employee in particular is coming under scrutiny from watchdogs.

That employee, Agnes Marshall, is the daughter of Queens Borough President Helen Marshall, an influential force inQueensDemocratic politics. Helen Marshall could be a valuable ally for Genting given its long-term ambitions, which include a convention center and the conversion of its racino to a full-fledged casino, watchdogs said.

Read More: The Daily News

 

Lawyer: Redinel Dervishaj acted in self-defense in fatal stabbing of groom-to-be Antonio Lacertosa

One day after aStaten Island groom-to-be was laid to rest, a lawyer for his accused killer claimed his client had acted in self-defense.

Redinel Dervishaj, 35, was arraigned Friday on murder charges in the stabbing of Antonio Lacertosa, 27, during a brawl following the victim’s engagement party. The reputed Albanian gangster, who was caught at a relative’s home inIllinoisthree days ago, pleaded not guilty and was ordered held without bail.

Read More: The Daily News

 

Syrian troops stormed northwestern town: activists

BEIRUT (AP) — Syrian troops backed by tanks stormed a northwestern town on Saturday in the latest of a series of pushes by regime forces into rebel-held areas, but faced strong resistance from defending army defectors, activists said.

The British-Based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the Local Coordination Committees said the troops entered Saraqeb from the north and were advancing amid heavy shelling.

Read More: The Daily News

NYPD detectives crack 30-year-old unsolved murder of Holocaust survivor who fled Poland

A fingerprint left on a ransacked jewelry box helped cops crack the case of a Holocaust survivor who was strangled in his Queens apartment nearly 32 years ago.
The arrest of a convicted robber for Cecil Schiff’s brutal murder stunned a former neighbor who was close to the victim’s widow, Gertrude, and lived in their Flushing building.
Read More: The Daily News

 

Obama puts Trayvon in a ‘son’ light

WASHINGTON— President Obama yesterday cast a national spotlight on the racially charged killing of unarmed black teen Trayvon Martin, telling the nation, “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.”

Taking a rare personal tack, Obama took on the wrenchingFloridacase during an unrelated Rose Garden ceremony — stopping unexpectedly to answer a reporter’s question about the shooting.

Read More: The New York Post

If you build it, they will come


| editorial@queenscourier.com

Last week’s State of the State address by Governor Andrew Cuomo promised big things for Queens, chief among them building the country’s largest convention center on the former site of the Aqueduct Racino.

The 3.8 million-square-foot convention center would accommodate the nation’s largest events, up to 3,000 hotel rooms and many restaurants, and create new tourism revenues. The project would be a $4 billion investment financed by Resorts World that the governor said is estimated to generate 10,000 construction jobs and 10,000 direct, permanent jobs and thus create new economic activity throughout the state, especially in our own backyards.

The project would be headed by Genting America, the same company that conceived and constructed the Resorts World Casino at Aqueduct.

We say bravo to Cuomo, to Genting, the elected officials in support and to the project as a whole.

The New York International Convention and Exhibition Center will put Queens on the map and make us a “destination location.”

The first phase, 2.6 million square feet, is set to be completed at the earliest, in November 2014.

But before that can happen, certain improvements must be in place.

Traffic and road conditions need to be ameliorated on the Belt Parkway and local streets need to be studied and prepared for the additional traffic, including extra parking spaces.

The good news is that Resorts World and the state have already agreed to work alongside the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) to help fund and introduce uninterrupted subway service between Midtown Manhattan and the center.

Our borough is bustling and bourgeoning, and a convention center will be the perfect way for Queens to hit the jackpot!

Meanwhile, on the other end of the borough, 13 acres of waterfront property — the single largest building site in the borough — is now for sale in Whitestone.

According to Massey Knakal Realty Services, the site has already been approved for the construction of 52 single-family homes by the City Planning Commission.

The area, according to locals, is one of the most desirable in the borough, with houses selling for $2 million. And the development of the 52 homes, according to one local official, would “set a precedent for future development.”

And in Astoria, the Lincoln Equities Group, a real estate company based in New Jersey, hopes to build seven residential towers, dubbed Hallets Point, a supermarket and a waterfront park along the East River.

This would create roughly 2,200 units of housing. Approximately 1,800 of the units would be market rate, with 400 to 500 – or 20 percent – reserved for affordable housing. The privately-financed project, which is expected to create 1,400 construction jobs and 300 permanent jobs, has an estimated cost of over $1 billion.

With all these development projects, it’s clear that Queens is the place to be!

 

[Update with pics] Cuomo wants convention center, table gaming for Aqueduct Racino


| smosco@queenscourier.com

Convention Interior 1 w

There were two major points in Governor Andrew Cuomo’s State of the State speech that everyone saw coming, both of which have a lot to do with Queens.

During his speech on Wednesday, January 4, the governor formally introduced the idea of legalizing full table gaming in New York State, which would mean big news for Resorts World Casino in South Ozone Park. He also revealed his plan to initiate the building of the country’s largest convention center on that ground, the former site of the Aqueduct Racino.

The 3.8 million-square-foot convention center would accommodate the nation’s largest events, drive demand for hotel rooms and restaurants, and create new tourism revenues. The project would be a $4 billion investment that the governor said is estimated to generate tens of thousands of jobs and create new economic activity throughout the state.

“Today is different. We are not just talking about problems, we are talking about our opportunities,” he said. “Let’s build the largest convention center in the nation, period.”

The project would be headed by Genting America, the same company that conceived and constructed the Resorts World Casino at Aqueduct.
“Genting America is extremely excited about this opportunity to partner with Governor Cuomo to build the largest convention center in the country,” said Genting America’s senior vice president of development Christian Goode. “It’s a great time to invest and grow in New York, and we are thrilled to be able to play a role in creating jobs and increasing tourism.”

On the gaming end, Cuomo said the state must develop a comprehensive approach to casino gaming because the state is losing tax revenue, tourism dollars and jobs to neighboring states. Cuomo said he will support a constitutional amendment to allow gaming in the state, which he said will generate an estimated $1 billion in economic activity in the state.

“It’s not about chips and cards, it’s about jobs,” he said. “Let’s get the jobs back in New York, and let’s take the first step this year.”

Cuomo delivers 2012 State of the State [Watch Video of Speech]


| smosco@queenscourier.com

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In his second State of the State speech since taking office, Governor Andrew Cuomo said he plans to straighten out the state’s fiscal problems while expanding job growth and strengthening education.

In front of hundreds of lawmakers, policy leaders and other New Yorkers, the governor delivered his vision for 2012 – a vision that seeks to spin stagnation into governmental action.

“New York State is on the way to coming back stronger than ever before,” the governor said during his speech from Albany on Wednesday, January 4. “By working together in a bipartisan manner and putting the people first, we have established the credibility to govern and to lead. Now we must build on what we have already accomplished to begin to undo decades of decline. We have big problems, but we are confronting them with big solutions. Now is the time to get to work, building a New New York together.”

Cuomo revealed his “Economic Blueprint for New York” and issued a challenge to the state and to himself: “Our challenge for 2012 is this: How does government spur job creation in a down economy while limiting spending and maintaining fiscal discipline? The answer is forging public-private partnerships that leverage state resources to generate billions of dollars in economic growth and create thousands of jobs.”

Some of the governor’s major points included:

- Building the largest convention center in the country at the Aqueduct Racino in South Ozone Park
-Revamping the Jacob Javits site
-$1 billion economic development package for Buffalo
- A second round of Regional Economic Development awards
- Utilization of casino gaming
- New York Works Fund and task force to create private sector jobs and rebuild the state’s infrastructure.
- An “Energy Highway” system to power New York’s economic growth
- Invest in solar energy

Cuomo said that in order to tackle his agenda for 2012, the state government would have to be reimaged in a way that it performs better at a lower cost. To accomplish this, the governor proposed:

- Long term commitment to fiscal discipline by holding the line on spending and closing the remaining $2 billion budget deficit with no new taxes or fees.
-Mandate Relief, which will reform the pension system. The governor said he will ask the joint legislature and executive mandate relief council to hold public hearings.
- Transform public education by appointing a bipartisan education commission to work with the legislature to recommend reforms in key areas including teach accountability, student achievement and management efficiency.
-Redesigning New York’s Emergency Management System by calling for a statewide network of municipal and regional emergency responders.

Cuomo also lauded New York for its progressive history and said that history will be built upon with these initiatives:

- Foreclosure Prevention Assistance
- Tenant Protection Unit
- Continued commitment to Minority and Women-Owned Businesses
- Additional SUNY Challenge Grants
- Increase participation in food stamp programs
- Create an all-crimes DNA database
- Establish a tax reform and fairness commission
- Implement campaign finance reform

Resorts World’s new gaming floor set for early opening


| smosco@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Steve Mosco

A fully functional and totally revamped Aqueduct Racino is no longer a decades-long pipedream with little hope and less funding.

After a highly successful partial opening that saw thousands of gamers try their luck, the new casino in South Ozone Park is ready to reveal the rest of the facility on Friday, December 16 — a full four months ahead of schedule.

The additional space on the second floor will double the amount of Video Lottery Terminals (VLT) and Electronic Table Games (ETG), while also adding an upscale gaming option and two signature restaurants with views of the track below. Resorts World representatives also revealed a third floor, which will house the largest event space in Queens.

Resorts World president Michael Speller called the casino’s second floor an “alternative” for exclusive members who desire a higher level of play and service.

“The main difference is the finishes and it’s more comfortable,” said Speller, adding that Crockfords Casino, an invitation-only room on the second floor, will offer high stakes gamers a chance to gamble amid an opulent setting. “It’s a very upscale and private gaming experience.”

The upscale casino is designed to lure out-of-state gamers to Resorts World — where Speller hopes they will spend locally.

“They’re [gamers] going to Jersey. They’re going to Vegas. They’re going to Connecticut. They’re going to Pennsylvania,” he said. “That’s all money that’s leaving the state.”

Although casino construction is moving swiftly, the same cannot be said for the “Skybridge,” which is designed to move customers from the A-train station to the casino without stepping outdoors. That development is moving at a slower pace and has been pushed back to early spring.

That doesn’t seem to be slowing down business, as Resorts World raked in more than $50 million since its opening. Speller said that since opening business has leveled off, but the customers are still coming in at a regular clip.

“This has been a very good success story so far,” he said. “Not only in terms of business, but also in the thousands of jobs that have been created here in Queens.”

Speller said that there are no plans to buy additional land for hotels, but he noted that if full scale table gaming was brought to the state Resorts World would be ready to accommodate.

“We can adjust for table games rather quickly,” he said. “We certainly support enhanced gaming in the state and we look forward to seeing that unfold next year.”

Resorts World Casino scored big during opening week


| smosco@queenscourier.com

Resorts World

Resorts World Casino, the rejuvenated Aqueduct Racino in South Ozone Park, hit the jackpot during its first 10 days as it pulled in about $15 million in net profits, while gamblers bet almost $178 million.

This is great news for New York State, as about $1 million of the casino’s daily revenue goes to Albany to support state education programs and the horse racing industry. A portion of the money also goes to state lottery, while the casino operator keeps less than a third.

A Resorts World spokesperson said that large crowds were expected for the opening because of the novelty factor, but the education department and the racing industry stands to benefit from such novelty.

The company also said that it plans to hire an additional 150 workers, bringing the total number of employees to 1,500 — a 76 percent increase from Resorts World’s original estimates. Resorts World Casino New York President Michael Speller said the hiring of additional workers demonstrates that they are constantly looking for ways to better serve Queens.

“We have said from the beginning that we will continue to look for opportunities to create even more jobs and are thrilled to be able to do that so soon after our first phase of opening,” he said. “With our expanded staff in place, our second phase of opening in December will be a tremendous opportunity for visitors to experience the full extent of what Resorts World has to offer.”

The second phase of the casino’s opening, coming in December, will bring additional Video Lottery Terminals and Electronic Table Games, as well as a 130,000-square-foot events center — which Resorts World has called the largest event space in the borough.

Addabbo and Goldfeder tour Aqueduct Racino


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Senator Joseph Addabbo

After touring Resorts World New York City on October 3, Assemblymember Phil Goldfeder (left) and Senator Joseph Addabbo (right) learned the Racino — set to open on October 28 — was up to speed with construction. They also previewed other amenities separate from the casino, including an indoor parking lot and family-friendly restaurants.

Resorts World Opening Announced


| smosco@queenscourier.com

They’re off to the races.

Resorts World Casino New York City will open its doors at 1 p.m. on Friday, October 28, kicking off a new era for the former site of the Aqueduct Racino in South Ozone Park.

Michael Speller, president of Resorts World, said that the facility will offer tourists and New Yorkers who typically visit casinos in other states a world-class gaming, dining and entertainment experience.

“This project has created more than 1,350 jobs and together we’ve built a truly state-of-the-art entertainment facilitiy for the borough of Queens and beyond,” said Speller. “The grand opening is the result of the vision and hard work of so many different people – both our unbelievably hardworking construction crews that have seen the project through from the beginning and our top-notch permanent staff who have worked tirelessly to ensure we are able to introduce the very best of what ResortsWorld represents to New York City today.”

In terms of games, the initial opening will boast 2,485 Video Lottery Terminals (VLTs) and Electronic Table Games (ETGs). These games will be housed at Resorts World’s Times Square Casino on the first floor. The space will also offer visitors global dining selections, including Aqueduct Buffet, Wolfgang Puck Express, Stage Deli and Queens Burger.

Moving forward, Resorts World will unveil other casino features in the next two months. The facility will pull back the curtain on the 5th Avenue Casino and Crockfords Casino on the second floor, as well as the Central Park Events Center. These will feature upscale dining options RW Prime Steakhouse and the Chinese-themed Genting Palace – and will also hoouse 2,515 additional VLTs and ETGs.

Resorts World and its new amenities will be easily accessible to visitors by public transportation. The Q37 bus will stop on property and the A Train stops at the Conduit subway station. By the end of 2011, a new covered skybridge connecting Resorts World directly to the Aqueduct subway station will be fully operational.

Resorts World Casino is part of the New York Lottery’s video lottery program. All gaming machines are supplied by the Lottery and are controlled by a statewide computer system operated by the lottery.

More information on RWNY is available at www.rwnewyork.com.