Tag Archives: aqueduct

Resorts World closes buffet, lets go of more than 100 employees


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Maggie Hayes

Resorts World Casino shut the doors to its Aqueduct Buffet on Monday, and in turn on about 175 employees.

“I thought it was a drastic move, certainly one that could be reconsidered down the line,” said State Senator Joseph Addabbo.

The buffet closed on Jan. 6 after “trying to make it work for two years, and just couldn’t,” said a spokesperson for the New York Hotel and Motel Trades Council (HTC).

“We have made the difficult decision to close the Aqueduct Buffet, which never caught on with our customers and has consistently lost money,” said Ed Farrell, Resorts World president. “We sincerely regret the impact this closure has on the buffet’s employees and are working closely with the HTC to ease this transition.”

The HTC is in contract with Resorts World and has begun helping the laid-off employees find new work.

In the interim, the buffet workers will receive up to five weeks severance pay, depending on how long they were employed at the casino and what job they did. They will also get 120 days of extended family medical coverage and preferential hiring in other Resorts World departments, according to the spokesperson.

The employees did not receive notice the buffet was closing, but the spokesperson said the “federal WARN notice,” the worker adjustment and retraining notification act, does not apply in this situation. The buffet had to have more than a third of Resorts World employees to receive forewarning.

The HTC will be meeting with the laid-off workers in groups and individually if needed, and Addabbo said he will be meeting with both the HTC and Farrell.

The state senator said if he had known the buffet were suffering, he would have liked to look at alternatives to closing it entirely.

“We see Resorts World as a job generator,” he said. “It has great potential. If it’s going to reach that maximum potential in creating jobs, this is not the way to go.”

 

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Op-Ed: Recovery through economic activity and investment


| editorial@queenscourier.com


BY ASSEMBLYMEMBER PHILLIP GOLDFEDER

Last year, the legislature passed a bill, as the first step in the process to amending the state constitution, allowing enhanced gaming in up to seven locations across the state. While this was only the beginning, it was a huge victory for Queens families who have already benefited from the economic development and jobs created by Resorts World at Aqueduct and realize the potential for growth. In his annual state of the state address, Governor Andrew Cuomo shared a vision for the future of our state and I look forward to our continued partnership and collaboration in an effort to boost every community across the state.

In southern Queens and Rockaway, Sandy has left a path of unimaginable devastation and destruction and it will take the coordinated efforts of the public and private sector to fully recover. Now, more than ever, we need to find new and creative ways to help our small businesses to create good-paying jobs and rejuvenate our local economy. Creating a full-scale, enhanced gaming casino at Resorts World would not only increase revenues for the community and the state, but the impact would be felt immediately in terms of economic activity and job creation for southern Queens and Rockaway families.

Expanding gaming also provides opportunities for continued investment in southern Queens and Rockaway infrastructure. I continue to be a staunch advocate for the complete restoration of the abandoned Rockaway Beach Rail Line, as it would be the right solution to not only encourage economic development but to increase transit options for all of Queens’ families. Created at the turn of the century, the Rockaway Beach Rail Line, also known as White Pot Junction, was owned and operated by the Long Island Rail Road. Strategically placed within a major network of trains throughout New York City, the rail line provided residents with safe, affordable and expedient access to other parts of Queens and the rest of the city.

There is no need to look any farther than Resorts World at Aqueduct, a proven location for enhanced gaming and reliable community partner. Since their first year anniversary, Resorts World has set records in slot machine gaming, beating out the casinos in Atlantic City and Las Vegas, contributing millions of dollars towards the education of our children. Further, Resorts World has been a valuable neighbor that has worked hand-in-hand with elected leaders, the NYPD and our community to ensure a seamless development at the Aqueduct facility. Resorts World is the perfect example of partnership and we need to give them the tools necessary to continue to succeed so that our families and small businesses may continue to recover and become even more resilient.

In addition to their success as a casino, Resorts World is committed to a long term partnership with our community and has continued their positive relationship through vital investments in our local organizations and standing on the front lines of Sandy relief and recovery. Given the right tools, Resorts World will continue to exceed every expectation, expand on our local workforce and stimulate our local economy, in addition to creating opportunities for the continued success and recovery of Queens.

Goldfeder represents the 23rd Assembly District including Ozone Park, Lindenwood, Howard Beach, Broad Channel and the Rockaways.

 

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Pols say ‘no dice’ to no downstate full gaming


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

File photo

Governor Andrew Cuomo pulled a wild card last week.

New York will get seven new casinos if voters approve a full-gaming amendment this fall, Cuomo said during his State of the State address. Most of these casinos, however, will be upstate — particularly in the Finger Lake region — to drive tourism to other areas of New York.

The news has some elected officials working to ensure Resorts World Casino New York City will continue growing in South Ozone Park and creating jobs in the area.

Immediately after the governor’s generalized proposal on gaming in the state, State Senator Joseph Addabbo texted Cuomo staffers about the statement; Assemblymember Phillip Goldfeder got to Twitter. Both officials, who represent the Aqueduct property and surrounding neighborhoods, are working to ensure that Resorts World becomes one of those seven full-gaming casinos.

The governor’s proposal was open for interpretation, Addabbo said, and the already-built Racino is prime for table games. Should gaming laws pass this fall, Addabbo said the Racino’s proximity to JFK Airport makes it the prime place for further development and could build up the burgeoning area.

“There’s too many facts here that cannot be ignored to say, ‘no, we’re not doing a full-fledged casino there,’” Addabbo said. “That would be an irrational thought.”

Goldfeder likewise said future expansion at Aqueduct was crucial to job growth and economic impact in south Queens.

“Especially post-Sandy, we need to create jobs and spur, boost our economy,” he said. “And putting gaming at Aqueduct would do exactly that.”

Resorts World executives are confident the company’s partnership will continue to grow, said spokesperson Stefan Friedman. Executives also plan on continuing to generate revenue for the state, particularly for education. “We remain interested in enhancing the extremely successful partnership with New York State that has led to Resorts World’s status as the number one slot machine revenue generator in entire country and look forward to reviewing the governor’s proposal to facilitate economic development in Upstate New York,” Friedman said in a statement.

Both the senator and assemblymember said they expect the pre-developed land used for a venue that would bring more visitors to the area. Having full gaming at Resorts World would only help that cause, Goldfeder said.

“We’ve got a lot of big plans for that site and enhanced gaming would be a great anchor,” he said. “But I’m confident that, working with the governor, we’re going to come to a real conclusion that would be in the best interest of the community.”

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Weekend Roundup


| brennison@queenscourier.com

The Afternoon Roundup

No bail for accused ‘cannibal cop’

Alleged “cannibal cop” Gilberto Valle will have to stew behind bars a while longer after a federal judge denied his request to get out on bail. Valle — who the feds say had been cooking up a plan to kidnap, rape, torture and eat as many as 100 women — was not in court, but the lawyer for one of his alleged victims was. Read more: NY Post

David Petraeus resigns as CIA director, admits extramarital affair; reports point to his biographer being the other woman

David Petraeus has given new meaning to the term “being embedded” in Afghanistan. In a stunning turn from hero to heel, the CIA director trashed his storied career by having a top-secret affair with his biographer. Paula Broadwell — who has called Petraeus “a very high-energy person” who is “relentless in everything he does” was outed Friday by Slate.com as the disgraced general’s other woman. Read more: Daily News

DOE: Some relocated schools to open in regular buildings Tuesday

Several schools forced to be relocated by Sandy are expected to reopen in their regular buildings Tuesday, according to the New York City Department of Education. Read more: NY1

Hurricane Sandy recovery workers save restaurant employees from burning fire

Three employees at an East Side restaurant were burned — one badly — Friday after a worker spilled gasoline in the kitchen and it ignited, fire officials and witnesses said. A chef, busboy and waitress were all injured about 10 p.m. at Eno restaurant on First Ave. at E. 58th St. Witnesses said the workers’ arms caught fire, as did their clothing. Read more: Daily News

‘Boozed-up’ Brooklyn ADA busted after Brooklyn Bridge attack: sources

An allegedly boozed-up Brooklyn assistant district attorney was arrested after he attacked an EMS worker early this morning on the Brooklyn Bridge, police sources said. EMS spotted Michael Jaccarino, 30, walking across the bridge intoxicated shortly before 1 a.m. and tried to bring him to Beth Israel Hospital, sources said. Read more: NY Post

Aqueduct racino rakes in dough despite Superstorm Sandy’s wrath

The Aqueduct racino’s earning power appears to be hurricane proof. The gambling hub operated by Resorts World Casino New York City raked in more than $8 million during the week that the city was under siege from Superstorm Sandy, according to recent State Lottery figures. Read more: Daily News

 

OpEd: Happy 1st Anniversary in Queens, Resorts World


| brennison@queenscourier.com


By State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo Jr.

A year ago this week, the Queens community came together to welcome Resorts World Casino New York City to the borough. One year later, we have 1,750 new jobs, $410 million in additional tax revenue, and an anchor business in Queens that is partnering with local business both in joint marketing plans and vendor agreements, helping them to thrive and grow. Resorts World has been a tremendous partner to the Queens community and the impact it’s having on our local economy will only grow in the years to come.

As a destination attraction, Resorts World Casino has brought millions of visitors to Queens, who would otherwise travel to Connecticut, Atlantic City and elsewhere for gaming. In doing so, the casino has been able to recapture millions of dollars in revenue for New York City, New York State, and for the state’s education coffers.

At the same time, Resorts World Casino has made a commitment to our local workforce by not only providing good-paying jobs, but by developing careers for the thousands of Queens residents who work there. Over the last year, they have promoted more than 130 employees and have provided opportunities for hundreds of others to transfer within the company to develop their professional skills.

Resorts World Casino was the single largest job creator in New York State in 2011 and made an extensive commitment to the hiring of a diverse workforce that represented the Queens community.

It’s also important that in addition to the economic shot-in-the-arm Resorts World Casino has provided to the borough, the company has also made a significant commitment to partner with and support our local community organizations, which represent the social fabric of Queens. In making this commitment, the company is setting a public example of corporate responsibility that we are hopeful other companies will emulate.

While last year has broken every expectation we have had for tax revenue, job creation, and visitors to the casino, we fully expect next year to be even bigger. As the State Senator for the area, I intend to continue working with the operators of Resorts World Casino to ensure that the residents and businesses of the community and throughout Queens continue to benefit from hosting this first-rate, professional business.

Senator Joseph P. Addabbo Jr. is the State Senator for the 15th District, now representing in whole or in part, the Queens neighborhoods of Howard Beach, Hamilton Beach, Kew Gardens, Kew Gardens Hills, Ozone Park, Woodhaven, South Ozone Park, Glendale, Middle Village, Richmond Hill, Ridgewood, Maspeth, Sunnyside, Woodside, Elmhurst, Forest Hills and Rego Park.

 

Resorts World celebrates first year


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

COURIER FILE PHOTO/Photo by Steve Mosco

A wager on a South Ozone Park casino a year ago turned out to be a good bet for jobs, and for all of Queens.

A year after Resorts World Casino New York City opened its doors, there has been a lot to talk about. In that time, the Racino has seen millions go in and out, several boxing matches and concerts, and even a robbery.

“Resorts World Casino has been an incredible success overall for Queens, for New York City and also the state as a whole,” said Resorts World president Michael Speller.

The Racino has sent more than $410 million in tax revenue back to the state toward education, the racing industry and other state-run programs. The casino, and parent company Genting, is committed to giving back to the community and the state where it’s found a home, Speller said.

“Clearly [it is] a great outcome for education; a great outcome to the state,” he said, adding that of the tax revenue sent back, roughly $263 million, was earmarked for education. “It’s been a great experience. We’ve been accepted by the community, we’ve worked hard with the community and it’s been a great experience over the last year.”

More than a million people walked through the Racino’s doors in July, two months after Genting announced Resorts World had beaten out Atlantic City and Las Vegas for slot machine revenue.

In June, however, a man later identified by the Queens District Attorney’s office as Kevin Lides, entered the second floor and handed a note to a teller. Lides was able to make off with about $63,000, but was caught just a month later in northwest Pennsylvania — in part from the surveillance system at Resorts World and collaboration with the 106th Precinct.

Speller said the casino’s security staff has worked closely with the 106th since inception and the working relationship continues daily.

The future of Resorts World has even crossed in to the hotly contested Senate District 15 election. Both incumbent Senator Joseph Addabbo and Councilmember Eric Ulrich said at a recent debate they believe in full gaming at all of New York’s seven racetrack casinos. At the same time, Addabbo said he hoped as the number of jobs at the Racino increases, the number of Queens-based employees there should as well. Ulrich said if gaming laws in the state were to expand, Resorts World must continue to be a responsible neighbor.

Resorts World currently employs just over 1,750 people, Speller said, about 1,100 of whom live in Queens. Executives promised last year that 70 percent of its employees would be based in Queens, though that was based on a projected 850 employees.

“Creating jobs is a big focus for everybody,” Speller said. “Obviously we continue to work on that. It’s a commitment that is not a one-time commitment. We continue to do whatever we can to improve on that.”

Throughout the entire growth of Resorts World, the community has been involved.

Liaisons from Resorts World attend the monthly Community Board 10 meetings, and executives meet with the board once a month to hear community feedback, Speller said.

“So it’s been a very collaborative and successful relationship between us and CB 10,” he said. “They tell us what the things are we need to be looking at and we respond to that.”

Board chair Elizabeth Braton likewise said Resorts World has lived up to all of its commitments to the surrounding neighborhoods, and had been responsive with any issues or comments.

“Their community relations are excellent,” she said. “They have ensured they have had a person available to just about any organization in the area to attend their meetings, and listen to people’s concerns and answer questions.”

But aside from enhanced gaming, which Speller says could find a home on the Racino’s open third floor, there is still more development on the horizon. Talks between the state and Genting for what would have been the nation’s largest convention center broke down in June, leaving plans at a standstill and sending developers back to the drawing board. Talks for a convention center, or other development at Aqueduct, would be held off until 2013, when voters will decide on proposed gaming law changes.

Assemblymember Phillip Goldfeder, a proponent of Resorts World and more jobs and business in the region, said plans for Aqueduct were not done yet. In order to help south Queens continue to grow as a destination in the borough, Goldfeder said the state needed to give Resorts World and Genting the tools it needed to grow, particularly full gaming and better, faster transportation.

Top headlines around the web


| mchan@queenscourier.com

afternooonroundup

Aqueduct racino and tax coffers in the chips

This is one gamble that paid off.

The Aqueduct Resorts World “racino” in Queens is celebrating its one-year anniversary — amid positive reviews from state officials and community leaders that the facility has boosted jobs and swelled Albany’s coffers in a fragile economy. Read more: New York Post

More express buses flying to La Guardia

If only they checked bags.

The city announced yesterday that it’s adding Select Bus Service routes to and from La Guardia Airport — complete with dedicated transit lanes — that will shave 10 to 40 minutes off trips. Read more: New York Post

Noel Polanco, the unarmed Queens National Guardsman killed by a cop, promoted to sergeant at his funeral

In life, he held the rank of specialist in the National Guard. In death, he is a sergeant.

Noel Polanco, the unarmed Queens man killed last week by a cop, was posthumously promoted Friday at his funeral.

“This is a promotion for outstanding accomplishments and service,” First Sgt. Gregory Sinclair said as the hundreds of mourners jammed inside the Eternal Love Baptist Church in Corona, Queens rose and applauded. Read more: Daily News

EXCLUSIVE: Strawberry’s to shutter suddenly Sunday

A New York baseball legend’s sports bar will shutter Sunday after poor management ran the popular Douglaston dive to the ground, the Courier has learned.

Strawberry’s Sports Grill – the brainchild of the Mets’ and Yankees’ four-time World Series champ, Darryl Strawberry – had only been open for two years before the prominent restaurant struck out, having to suddenly shut its doors for good this weekend. News of the closure came out of left field to employers and upper management, sources said. Read more: Queens Courier

Aqueduct still on track to be a destination


| tcullen@queenscourier.com


Less than three months after Governor Andrew Cuomo acknowledged talks had broken down with a developer for what would have been the nation’s largest convention center, the question remains: what will become of the land adjacent to Aqueduct Racetrack and Resorts World Casino New York City.

State and Resorts World officials say they are working to get the area developed and have promised the community that something will come in the area, bringing with it a number of jobs and economic activity. In order to do this, the Legislature and voters must approve gaming laws that would allow table games in select locations throughout the state.

Economic development, a use for the land at Aqueduct and better transportation are the three things Assemblymember Phillip Goldfeder said he has been pushing for to spark further growth in south Queens.

Better transportation, he said, meant upgraded service on the “A” train and consideration for a Rockaway LIRR line — something that Goldfeder has pushed for since being elected. Goldfeder recently sent a request to MTA Chair Joseph Lhotta asking for improvements to the “A” train stops at Aqueduct. Since Resorts World opened last October, Aqueduct “A” train service has increased by 100 percent, Goldfeder said. Resorts World, approaching its first birthday in Ozone Park, has promoted its accomplishments in the short amount of time, breaking several state gambling records, both for revenue and attendance. In July, the Racino saw more than a million visitors come through its doors, despite a robbery in late June.

State Senator Joseph Addabbo, who has long supported development in the area and jobs with it, said there will be something developed in the area, should it be an entertainment venue, hotel or other amenity. Community need as well should also be taken into consideration when planning what will go into the area, he said. This included not only mass transit, but traffic on local streets and neighborhood effects.

“We also have to keep in mind that it’s very closely adjacent to residential homes,” Addabbo said. “So whatever they build there, we must take into account the quality of life of those who live right adjacent to the casino.”

The three-term senator went on to say that Resorts World has listened to the community in the past, and expects they will continue to moving forward.

“I’m optimistic that as in the past Resorts World will be very cognizant of the fact that residents are impacted daily on what goes on there,” he said.

The Racino’s parent company, Genting, is waiting to see if voters approve gaming laws in November 2013 before laying concrete plans for the area, spokesperson Stefan Friedman said.

“I think the idea of seeing where things come down on the [state] constitutional amendment on gaming will help determine a great deal of what we’re going to do in the future for the entire site,” Friedman said.

Resorts World officials still see the area potentially becoming a destination location, he said, in regards to hotels or restaurants in the area.

Op Ed: The case for Willets Point


| editorial@queenscourier.com


By State Senator Jose Peralta

It was tremendously disappointing to learn that Governor Andrew Cuomo’s plan to build the country’s largest convention center at the Aqueduct Racetrack will not come to fruition.

No sooner had the governor announced the plan during his State of the State address in January than I endorsed the idea and offered to help however I could in making the governor’s vision for the Aqueduct venue a reality.

Fortunately, there is another viable venue in Queens that has numerous significant advantages over other locations reportedly under consideration elsewhere in the city.  That site is Willets Point.

Willets Point is, quite literally, across the street from some of the city’s most popular destinations: Citi Field, the National Tennis Center and Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.  The No. 7 train runs from these locations westward, all along Roosevelt Avenue, to Grand Central Terminal.  Millions of New Yorkers and visitors to the city each year take in a Mets game or U.S. Open match, or participate in a festival or recreational activity in the park.

And there perhaps is no more diverse a culinary experience to be enjoyed anywhere on the planet than along neighboring Roosevelt Avenue, which is lined with restaurants specializing in a nearly mind-numbing array of cuisines from all over the world.

In addition, the area, which is also accessible via multiple bus lines and the Long Island Railroad, is just minutes from La Guardia and Kennedy Airports.  The extension underway of the No. 7 line, already one of the city’s busiest, will add greatly to the area’s commercial appeal and potential.

Whether by plane, train, subway, bus or car, you can get to Willets Point relatively easily from anywhere in the world.  The transportation infrastructure already servicing the area dwarfs what other potential venues in and around the city have to offer.

Making the case for Willets Point even stronger are the plans to develop the area, long an eyesore that includes the Iron Triangle, a maze of auto repair and scrap businesses.  To the east of Citi Field, plans call for retail, hotel and commercial spaces to go along with a residential community of 2,500 housing units, 875 of which will be affordable housing.

Immediately to the west of Citi Field, a stadium parking lot will be converted into a one-million-square-foot retail and entertainment center, complete with more than 200 retail stores, movie theaters, restaurants, entertainment venues, a parking structure and surface parking for 2,500 cars.

Not surprisingly, Crain’s New York Business reported last week that Willets Point “is seen as the trade show industry’s first choice for a huge convention center.”

I trust that the governor will give Willets Point the serious consideration its many advantages warrant.  I look forward to a meaningful discussion of why the site would make an ideal home for the largest convention center in the United States, as well as the opportunity to help bring thousands of construction and permanent jobs to Queens.

 

With or without convention center, a push to revive Rockaway LIRR


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Josephine Wendell

Elected officials and advocates are campaigning for the revival of a long-closed LIRR line in the hopes that plans for the nation’s largest convention center at Aqueduct will not be derailed.

Assemblymember Phillip Goldfeder said the convention center delay — which will now wait until voters decide on gaming laws next November — could ultimately help the campaign and plan for a Rockaway Long Island Rail Road route that serves south Queens.

“As far as I’m concerned there’s actually a silver lining,” he said. “I think everybody agrees, whether it’s a convention center or a casino, Aqueduct is right for a railway development.”

Currently, the area through which the now-defunct line once ran is owned by either the city or several entities who bought properties after it folded in 1962. There have been talks of turning the overgrown area into a nature walkway, similar to the High Line in Manhattan. An MTA spokesperson said the transit authority did not have any plans currently to revive the line.

The land can be taken back for LIRR, however, if the city or MTA choose to revive the line, according to Lew Simon, district leader. Simon has advocated the rebirth of the line since 1997 and has plans for it to be reinstated.

He compared a ride to Howard Beach on the current “A” train service — an hour and 40 minutes, he estimates — to a railroad ride, which could be under 40.

“The old Rockaway Beach line and the railroad is a win-win,” Simon said, meaning that it would not only provide a quicker commute to a growing workforce in the area, but would spark more initiative for either a convention center or other venue at Aqueduct.

The push for better, faster rail service had been a deciding factor in getting a convention center to Queens. Goldfeder said no matter the outcome, he wanted a line that would provide quick service to Aqueduct — as the planned property would eventually be developed into something.

“Aqueduct is right for development, and Queens should finally get the transportation we deserve,” he said. “I’m excited about dealing with the challenges that may arrive as we look to improve transportation for the entire borough of Queens.”

Ed Wendell, president of the Woodhaven Residents Block Association, said while the railway could be a good idea, the community would have to have its say once plans were drawn up. Wendell had been hopeful the line would be back, but with the news of the convention center plans shutting down he said it’s now less likely.

“We would never presume to make a decision on what is the community’s opinion,” he said, “not without really consulting with the residents.”

Any progress, however, is still in the earliest of stages, all have said. The timing, Goldfeder said, is the key advantage though.

“Even absent a convention center, we’re very likely to get some form of a responsible development,” he said. “We have more time to organize, we have more time to explore the various opportunities.”

State Senator Shirley Huntley’s husband allegedly robbed outside Aqueduct Racino


| lguerre@queenscourier.com


The husband of a Queens public official alleged he was robbed at gunpoint outside Resorts World Casino, but Racino officials are calling his bluff.

State Senator Shirley Huntley’s spouse, Herbert Huntley, told cops last month that while walking outside the Ozone Park facility, three males with revolvers stopped him and stole approximately $380 in cash from his wallet.

However, representatives from the Racino have contradicted the husband’s account after reviewing the facility’s surveillance cameras.

“A preliminary look at our surveillance system does not support the allegation,” said Stefan Friedman, a spokesperson for Resorts World. “The safety of our patrons is Resorts World New York’s top priority, and working alongside the NYPD, we have launched a thorough investigation of these allegations.”

Investigators at the 106th Precinct are looking into the claims of both sides, but have not confirmed anything at this time.

“We investigated the night of the report and we forwarded it to the detectives who are now working on it,” 106th Precinct community affairs officer Kenneth Zorn said. “It is absolutely an open investigation.”

Repeated calls to the senator’s office for comment were not returned by the time this paper went to print.

Last month The Courier reported that the 106th Precinct, which covers the Racino, added 15 new officers. In anticipation of the first summer after the opening of Resorts World, four additional officers have been designated to the casino during the weekends.

 

Aqueduct convention center scrapped, Willets Point eyed


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

convention center

Willets Point might become the new destination for a convention center, after it was announced that plans for one near the Aqueduct Racetrack have fallen through.

Governor Andrew Cuomo acknowledged Friday, June 1, that talks for what would have been the largest convention center in the country were not working out. Any future plans to discuss building elsewhere will wait until voters decide on new gaming laws in November 2013, said Jack Friedman, executive director of the Queens Chamber of Commerce.

Because the Genting Company – the desired builder of the center – holds the rights to build at Aqueduct, other investors may be called in for alternative sites, should the new gaming laws pass next year, he said.

While directly discussing potential projects with new bidders may not start until then, Friedman said planning for an alternative at Willets Point has already begun.

Willets Point would be the desired alternative, he said, because of its closer train ride to the city and LaGuardia Airport. Currently, the area known as the Iron Triangle is planned for a shopping mall, but Friedman said a convention center would bring more and better jobs.

“We’d like to see that plan modified for a much larger convention center,” he said.

Afternoon Roundup


| brennison@queenscourier.com

The-Afternoon-Roundup2

Passenger plane crashes in Nigeria’s largest city

A passenger plane crashed into a two-story building in Nigeria’s largest city of Lagos on Sunday, officials said. Read more: USA Today

Man Wanted For Attempted Child Kidnapping In Queens

Police are searching for a man they say tried to kidnap a young boy last week in St. Albans. Authorities say Mark Synclair, 33, tried to grab the seven-year-old child outside P.S. 192 on Tuesday morning. Read more: NY1

Cuomo’s $4 Billion Plan for Project in Queens Falls Apart

A $4 billion plan announced by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to create the country’s largest convention center and a casino in Queens has fallen apart, the governor acknowledged on Friday. Read more: NY Times

Die-hard Mets fan arrested after running onto field following Santana’s no-hitter

A front-row seat at Citi Field: $315. Getting arrested for storming the pitcher’s mound: a possible $1,000 fine and a year in jail. Being a part of Mets history: priceless. Rafael Diaz, 32, lived the dream of every fanatic Friday night when he bolted past security to join the joyous huddle of Amazin’s congratulating pitcher Johan Santana moments after he succeeded in putting in the books the team’s first-ever no-hitter. Read more: NY Post

Three-Car LIE Crash Kills Two In Queens

Two people are dead and a child is injured after a three-car crash on the Long Island Expressway in Queens. Investigators say a yellow taxi cab was traveling westbound on the LIE near 66th Street in Maspeth when it slammed into the rear of a Porsche at around 12:30 a.m. Saturday. Read more: NY1

Queens jury clears former NYPD narcotics detective charged with planting drugs on bar patrons

A Queens jury has cleared a former NYPD narcotics detective charged with planting drugs on innocent victims. Adolph Osback was acquitted of multiple charges of falsifying police reports, perjury and official misconduct after jurors deliberated for only 90 minutes Wednesday, his attorney Damien Brown said. Read more: Daily News

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Police Bust 14 In Queens, Brooklyn Auto Theft Ring

If you own a specific type of luxury SUV, you could have been the target of a sophisticated car theft ring. The New York City Police Department and Attorney General’s office announced the arrest of 14 people Wednesday in a sting they’re calling Operation EZ Steal. Read more: [NY1]

 

A Whitestone tradition in danger of disappearing 

 

A Memorial Day tradition in Whitestone is in danger of disappearing. The Whitestone Veterans Memorial Day Parade has hit tough times, with organizers barely able to fund this year’s event. Some residents are worried it may become the last. Read more: [New York Daily News]

 

Board Threatens To Disband NYRA Amid Pay Out Scandal

 

State regulators are threatening to replace the New York Racing Association amid allegations the entity cheated bettors out of millions of dollars. The state’s Racing and Wagering Board is blasting the agency for holding back $8.5 million in winnings and is now considering reorganizing all of NYRA which operates the tracks at Aqueduct, Belmont and Saratoga. Read more: [NY1]

 

JFK Airport Cargo Worker Accused Of Stealing From Care Packages Meant For Troops Overseas

 

A cargo worker at John F. Kennedy Airport is accused of stealing from care packages meant for U.S. troops serving overseas. Investigators said the theft was discovered when the suspect was caught wearing one of the stolen items. Read more: [1010WINS]

 

Like they never Met

Guess he’s still more of a Wally the Green Monster kinda guy. Mayor Bloomberg seemed to give Mr. Met the cold shoulder at City Hall yesterday as he announced that next year’s MLB All-Star Game will be played at Citi Field. Read more: [New York Post]

 

Queens College students plant one of the city’s biggest apple orchards on campus

 

Where most Queens College students saw an empty field, senior Grace Magee imagined a place where an undergrad could pluck a low-hanging piece of fruit on her way to class. She suggested to school administrators last month that the campus partner with an initiative that plants Newtown Pippin and other apple tree types in New York’s public spaces. Read more: [New York Daily News]

Board Threatens To Disband NYRA Amid Pay Out Scandal


| jlane@queenscourier.com


State regulators are threatening to replace the New York Racing Association amid allegations the entity cheated bettors out of millions of dollars.

The state’s Racing and Wagering Board is blasting the agency for holding back $8.5 million in winnings and is now considering reorganizing all of NYRA which operates the tracks at Aqueduct, Belmont and Saratoga.

Investigators are also probing the deaths of 20 horses at Aqueduct in its race season over the winter.

In the wake of the scandal, the association already appointed a new president and secretary.

[NY1]