Tag Archives: resorts world casino

Addabbo calls for more cops in 106th Precinct


| mchan@queenscourier.com

The pressure is on for NYPD officials to assign more officers to an area local leaders are saying is quickly becoming inundated with mass volumes of visitors.

Senator Joseph Addabbo sent Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly a letter on February 8, requesting a “significant increase” in additional officers for the 106th Precinct in Ozone Park — home to the newest city hotspot, Resorts World Casino.

While Addabbo said there is “never a magic number” in regards to how many officers are needed, he said major changes to the precinct coverage areas should be coupled with substantial increases in their resources.

“We are a different precinct than we have been in the past. Rationally, there is a dire need for an increase of police officers,” Addabbo said. “I don’t expect a quick answer, but I think everyone is on the same page. Nobody would want to see the neighborhoods around Resorts World become a bad area if they want the casino to flourish.”

According to Betty Braton, chair of Community Board 10, the current number of officers the precinct has is not enough to properly service an area that now sees over 20,000 visitors per day and close to 100,000 on the weekend.

“That number of people adds to the load of the day-to-day work of police officers,” Braton said. “For the police department not to assign additional police officers to the 106th Precinct when we have that volume of people coming in, out and through our area is not acceptable.”

Addabbo said the fight to secure more resources for the precinct has been ongoing since even before the casino made its debut. Now, more than ever — especially with the proposed convention center at the same location — he said there is a “greater need for public security” in the area.

The senator also cited the “recent rise in crime in the area” as one of the reasons for his request, however NYPD officials did not comment regarding reported rumors of crime spikes near the Racino.

Though Stefan Friedman, spokesperson for Resorts World, declined to comment on these specific allegations, he said the facility has been “incredibly safe.”

“We just want to be preventive of any spikes in serious crimes,” Addabbo said. “We should always stay ahead of the curve.”

The NYPD did not comment as to whether the 106th Precinct will be getting additional officers.

Officials dispel rumors of crime spikes near Racino


| mchan@queenscourier.com

While reported rumors surface about crime spikes near the Racino, officials hope to dispel the so-called fallacies.

A recent New York Post article alleged petit larcenies and misdemeanor assaults have increased within the 106th Precinct — which covers the new Resorts World Casino — though they say it’s unclear whether the offenses can be tied to the South Ozone Park gambling operation.

The published story started a flurry of worry, according to Captain Thomas Pascale, the 106th Precinct’s commanding officer.

However, local officials said so far there’s no cause for concern.

“There’s no indication that any increase in crime is related to activities at the casino,” said Betty Braton, chair of Community Board 10. “We work closely with the police department and casino security to monitor what is actually going on. So far, there’s nothing out of the ordinary.”

According to the Post, “at least three” separate crimes have occurred on casino property, including “a car stolen from a parking lot, a dropped wallet snatched in the Racino by a patron, and one gambler who tried to use a counterfeit bill in a slot machine.”

Though Stefan Friedman, spokesperson for Resorts World, declined to comment on these specific allegations, he said the facility has been “incredibly safe.”

“The safety of our patrons is priority number one,” Friedman said. “Our commitment to keeping criminal activity out of our project has resulted in extremely few incidents on and around the casino property since our opening.”

Pascale of the 106th Precinct directed comment — in regards to statistics and allegations — to NYPD officials, who did not respond as of press time.

Local businesses benefit from Giants’ championship run


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

As Big Blue heads to Indianapolis, New York is seeing green.

After their teeth-clenching defeat of the San Francisco 49ers in overtime, the Giants are set for Super Bowl XLVI — and local companies are experiencing an upswing in business as fans flock to retailers and restaurants teeming with team spirit.

Shoppers stormed Modell’s within minutes of the NFC Championship Game’s end, scouring racks and shelves for coveted Giants gear. A spokesperson from the store’s College Point location divulged that the “Locker Room Tee” and the “Roster Tee” are two of the hottest items flying off the shelves, as well as the “always popular” hat adorned with the official Championship logo.

At the Modell’s in Ozone Park, patrons arrived as early as 7 a.m. on Monday, January 23 to be the first to score Championship duds. The store had been receiving shipments of merchandise intermittently throughout the day. According to a store spokesperson, five tables were set aside to hold Giants merchandise.

Athletic apparel outfitters were not the only businesses suddenly stricken with Super Bowl fever. At Strawberry’s Sports Grill in Douglaston, fans enjoying the Championship game were thrown into a frenzy when the Giants scored the final points.

“The place went nuts,” said Strawberry’s General Manager James Scholz. “It was amazing.”

According to Scholz, guests packed the restaurant, taking up every reservation slot and filling up the waitlist. Several Giants diehards have already cemented their Super Bowl Sunday plans at Strawberry’s, making reservations nearly two weeks in advance.

Stefan Friedman, a spokesperson from Resort’s World Casino, said the complex’s Bar 360 was jammed “wall to wall” with Giants supporters during the penultimate match. Friedman said the room’s post-win energy was “euphoric.” Resorts World is planning a special party for February 5 to celebrate the Super Bowl.

If you build it, they will come


By Queens Courier Staff | 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.”

Raising the stakes: Resorts World unveils VIP casino


| smosco@queenscourier.com

RESORTS AGAIN AGAIN 024w

High-rollers now have a space of their own at Resorts World Casino in South Ozone Park.

Following a grand opening that drew more than 65,000 visitors, the casino at Aqueduct Racino unveiled the remaining two floors of its new facility on December 16 – showing off high-priced amenities and big payoff games.

The new features include 2,514 additional Video Lottery Terminals (VLT) and Electronic Table Games (ETG) at the Fifth Avenue Casino, bringing the grand total to 5,000 machines. The casino also gave visitors a sneak peak at two new 250-seat fine dining restaurants with private dining rooms and balconies featuring panoramic views of the racetrack.

“We are ecstatic to open our full facility to the public today, well ahead of schedule,” said Michael Speller, President of Resorts World New York. “We have received tremendous support from patrons and our community and are thrilled to offer even more options for visitors to enjoy. These new offerings make Resorts World one of the most exciting and dynamic entertainment and dining destinations for New Yorkers and travelers alike. The enthusiasm we have seen over the past six weeks, and even more so today, is indicative of the bright future for Queens and New York State that we are proud to be a partner in developing.”

With each new opening at Resorts World, the chorus of support for full scale table gaming grows louder and louder. Assemblymember Phil Goldfeder said that bringing these games to state casinos would not only stimulate the economy, but would also add much needed jobs.

“Bringing table games to the casinos in New York is a fantastic way to stimulate our economy and draw more businesses into the state,” he said. “Doing so creates opportunities for countless jobs, increased tourism and much-needed revenue.”

Any amendment to legalize table gaming in the state would have to be approved by both houses in the legislature in two separate legislative sessions, with a general election separating them. From there, the amendment would go to voters and must be approved by a majority before becoming part of the Constitution.

For now, electronic versions of these games must suffice – and Resorts World has plenty to go around. The Fifth Avenue Casino provides a more sophisticated and luxurious gaming environment for guests, with invitation-only gaming at Crockfords Casino. These two new floors are meant to lure guests, as those who hold loyalty cards from casinos in other states will receive free play when they exchange those cards for a Resorts World loyalty card between December 19 and January 31.

As for the third floor event space, Speller said that it is the largest event space in Queens and that Resorts World is currently taking reservations for use. Dubbed the Central Park Events Center, it features 70,000-square- feet of space for all manner of events.

Although casino construction was completed four months ahead of schedule, the “Skybridge” – designed to move customers from the A-train station to the casino – is still mired in the design and construction phase. That project is expected to be completed in early spring.

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

Resorts World opens as Governor Cuomo pursues full scale gaming


| smosco@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/PHOTO BY STEVE MOSCO

Queens gamers will soon have more room to play at Resorts World Casino in South Ozone Park.

The former site of Aqueduct Racino, which received a much-needed facelift this year, will open its final phase on December 16 — four months ahead of schedule.

Resorts World’s full scale opening couldn’t be timelier, as Governor Andrew Cuomo said on December 4 that he plans to pursue gambling legalization in the state as a way to spur economic and job growth.

Laying out what he called a jobs-creation agenda for his second year, Cuomo said, “We should pursue a comprehensive gaming plan — recognizing the reality that New York is already in the gaming business. Through this plan we can promote job creation and recapture revenue that is currently being lost to other states.”

New York Gaming Association President James Featherstonhaugh said that the governor’s proposal could very well help to reverse the state’s economic fortunes.

“We are pleased to hear of [the governor’s] support for legalizing enhanced commercial gaming in New York State, which will create tens of thousands of much-needed jobs, generate hundreds of millions in additional state revenues and stimulate significant private sector investment,” he said.

Resorts World officials, eager to lure Atlantic City customers to their establishment, are offering guests who have loyalty cards from casinos outside of New York free gaming in exchange for a Resorts World loyalty card. Guests can take advantage of this from December 19 through January 31.

“We have been truly humbled by the response of New Yorkers and tourists alike and we thank them for their ongoing support and patronage,” said Michael Speller, president of Resorts World New York. “Due to the hard work of our 1,500-person staff, we’re confident that we will be able to continue providing the highest level of service to our customers as we unveil the second stage of our facility.”

Among the elements set to open this month include the remaining 2,514 Video Lottery Terminals (VLTs) and Electronic Table Games (ETGs), bringing the grand total to 5,000 gaming stations. The facility will also open two new 250-seat fine dining restaurants, as well as the largest event space in Queens.

The new casino space, dubbed 5th Avenue Casino, will provide a more upscale space for gamers to try their luck, with rewards for Silver, Gold and Platinum club members. Genting Palace, one of the two new restaurants, will offer Chinese cuisine on a terrace overlooking the racetrack. The other new restaurant is RW Prime, a steakhouse.

DSNY and Goldfeder update Community Board 10


| nkarimi@queenscourier.com

Bring on the snow.

During the last meeting of the year for Community Board 10, the New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY) said they were ready for the winter weather and any blizzard it may bring.

According to DSNY Deputy Commissioner Vito Turso, last year’s snow storm on December 26 stopped the city for about 24 hours. There were 2,000 trucks on the streets, he said, but the DSNY was only able to communicate with 365 of them because two-way radios weren’t enabled on the rest.

“We let folks down,” Turso said. “With the help of other city agencies and the New York City Council, we developed a very comprehensive plan that we believe will prevent something like that to occur in the future.”

According to Turso, the plan includes putting GPS systems in city snow removal vehicles and phones to say where and how long they have been in that location. He also said there is now better communication with other city agencies, such as the Parks Department, the Department of Transportation, the police department and the MTA.

The snow plan also includes online services that locate whether people are on primary, secondary or tertiary streets. With six inches of snow or more, the DSNY will hire private contractors to plow the tertiary, small and narrow streets, Turso said.

Later on in the meeting, Assemblymember Phillip Goldfeder addressed his ongoing project — a petition to end the Cross Bay Boulevard toll.

“It’s only $1.40, but if you rely on that to go to work every day or take your kids to school, that adds up. I was talking to a senior in Lindenwood and she said that she breaks her pills in half when she gets her prescription because she can only afford to get it every other month. A round of trip of $2.80 is a lot of money for people who are on a fixed income and budget,” Goldfeder said, urging residents to sign the petition.

“The more signatures, the better it looks,” he said. “[Governor Andrew Cuomo] will see the tremendous will of the community.”

Patrick Jenkins, a representative of Resorts World Casino, also spoke at the meeting, telling residents that the second and third floor of the Racino would open in a couple of weeks, as well as a new seafood and steakhouse restaurant.

“We had a great month so far, so we thank the people in this room and community. We’re excited,” he said.

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.

Leaders wary of businesses opening near Aqueduct Racino


| mchan@queenscourier.com

doc4e8b60ae898e7676003661

Pawn shop and bar owners in South Ozone Park are looking to cash in on their own jackpot once the city’s first casino opens for business.

The stores have been sprouting up on Rockaway Boulevard and owners say it’s the perfect time and place to set up shop.

“Why open up a bar here? To make money. The casino’s coming up. A lot of people are going to come from everywhere and the place is going to be busy,” said Mohammad Saddique, co-owner of Johnny’s Bar and Restaurant.

The bar closed last Thanksgiving for renovations and plans to reopen late this October — just in time for the first stage of Resorts World Casino New York City to open to the public.
“It makes sense,” said pawn shop owner Amit Verma. “When somebody is a little low on their luck in the casino, they get lucky over here, especially now when the gold price is so high. They get paid a lot of money for their jewelry, and then they can try their luck again and maybe win their money back.”

Verma opened up his shop, Nassau Buyers, about a year ago. He said he signed the lease on the same day he found out the casino was coming to town.

“Right now it’s really slow. We only see a few people a day. But we expect the numbers to [multiply] by ten,” he said.

But local leaders are less than thrilled with their presence.

“These are the last types of businesses that the community wants,” said Councilmember Eric Ulrich. “I doubt very much that this was the type of job creation that people had in mind when we heard that Aqueduct was going to be turned into a racino.”

Betty Braton, chairmember of Community Board 10, said she’s concerned that the businesses will take advantage of local gamblers.

“The owners assume they’re going to get business from gamblers. We are very concerned that there are people who will try to capitalize on other peoples’ gambling needs by opening businesses that cater to problem gamblers,” she said. “You can’t say they can’t be there. They have a right to be there, but we don’t believe they are particularly an asset to the community.”

But pawn shop owner Primo Arjun said he doesn’t see his business as a “bad thing.”

“You have people who don’t have credit cards or bank accounts, and they come in to get a loan in a hurry. There’s nothing wrong with that,” he said. “The pawn shop business has changed throughout the years. You now have middle class people coming in, not just the lower class. It’s not like before where people would bring in a lot of stolen stuff. It’s mostly people who just need a loan. I’ve seen police officers, people from real estate, nurses — people from all walks of life come pawn with you.”

Arjun, owner of Primo’s Pawn Broker, said he has even been cooperating with the police.

“Everything we do gets transmitted to the precinct, and they kind of run everybody’s name through the system just to make sure. If there’s something they need to see, if they feel suspicious, we show it to them. They can come in and inspect whatever they need to,” he said.

Both pawn shop owners said they’ve been trying to erase the bad name associated with the industry.

“We’re not here to take advantage of people. There are so many locals who come out here that don’t have money for oil to heat their houses for the winter. I can’t tell you how many bills we’ve helped pay,” Verma said. “I’m a proud owner and I think that it’s a good part of the community.”