Tag Archives: south ozone park

Officer honored for drug, gun bust


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Terence M. Cullen

Police Officer Frank Calafiore was honored as the 106th Precinct Community Council’s May Cop of the Month.

Calafiore, part of the anti-crime unit, was cited for the April 11 arrest of a suspect and for recovering narcotics and a loaded firearm.

The suspect, 18, followed a woman to her South Ozone Park home and pointed a gun at her, according to Deputy Inspector Thomas Pascale.

Calafiore and other officers from the unit then followed the suspect into a nearby home. Inside, police found five people, Pascale said, and detained them while cops searched the house. A loaded 9-mm. gun and marijuana were recovered. Calafiore then obtained a search warrant and recovered 200 Xanax pills.

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST 

Wednesday: Overcast with thunderstorms and rain. High of 70. Winds from the East at 5 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 90% with rainfall amounts near 0.4 in. possible. Wednesday night: Overcast with thunderstorms and rain showers. Low of 54. Winds from the SE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 60%.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Queens Symphony Orchestra

The Queens Symphony Orchestra will perform at LeFrak Hall at Queens College. Admission is free and open to the general public. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Homeless man arrested in South Ozone Park child sex assaults

A homeless man has been charged with sexually abusing two South Ozone Park girls in separate incidents, District Attorney Richard A. Brown announced Tuesday evening. Read more: The Queens Courier 

Subway service to return to Rockaway in June

The MTA is set to restore subway service to the Rockaways for the first time since Superstorm Sandy knocked it out of commission, agency officials said Tuesday. Read more: New York Daily News

Video released of suspect in Queens rape

Police in Queens are searching for a rapist, and they are hoping surveillance video will help lead to an arrest. Read more: ABC New York

New York City set to pass paid sick days plan

A national push for paid sick days is poised to score a significant victory, with lawmakers in the nation’s largest city set to vote on requiring businesses to provide the benefit to an estimated 1 million workers who don’t have it now. Read more: AP/ABC New York

Father, daughter fire off pellet gun in crowded Ditmars Park

A man and his young daughter terrorized a crowded Queens playground Tuesday when the dad fired a pellet gun that looked like a real firearm, frightened parents said. Read more: New York Daily News

Suspect in Ohio helped neighbors look for missing

In the years after his friend’s daughter vanished while walking home from school, Ariel Castro handed out fliers with the 14-year-old’s photo and performed music at a fundraiser held in her honor. Read more: AP

Homeless man arrested in South Ozone Park child sex assaults


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

A homeless man has been charged with sexually abusing two South Ozone Park girls in separate incidents, District Attorney Richard A. Brown announced Tuesday.

Lee Samuel, 25, is currently awaiting arraignment on charges of a first-degree criminal sexual act, endangering the welfare of a child and forcible touching.

The hunt for the suspect had the Queens neighborhood on edge since last week when the man allegedly had sexual contact with the seven-year-old girls.

The incidents happened within just hours of and approximately two miles away from each other on Wednesday, May 1.

According to the criminal complaints, said Brown, the suspect approached the first victim as she was tying her shoe on the sidewalk and tapped her on her buttocks.

Several hours later Samuel allegedly came up to his second victim and pretended that he wanted to play a game with her. He then exposed himself to the girl and engaged in a sexual act with her.

“The defendant is accused of being a sexual predator. Such an allegation makes him a threat to children and a clear and present danger to society in general. Such conduct, if proven true, cannot go unpunished,” said Brown

Samuel faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted.

 

 

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Cops release third video of man sought in string of sexual assaults on kids


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Photo and video courtesy of NYPD

The hunt is still on for a suspect in South Ozone Park wanted for sexual assaults on young children as cops release a third video of the alleged perpetrator.

Police say the perv sexually assaulted two seven-year-old girls in separate incidents on Wednesday. The suspect approached the first girl around 3 p.m., police said, and groped her while she sat on the stoop of her home.

He approached the second girl around 6 p.m. while she was playing in her driveway. Police said he performed a sexual act on the girl before fleeing on foot.

Community response has been rapid and active in the wake of the assaults.

The NYPD has increased its presence in the area, giving the 106th Precinct more cops to search for the suspect.

The extra forces include officers from the sexual crimes and criminal response divisions along with eight police cars and 16 officers.

The Community Affairs arm of the NYPD is passing out fliers depicting the suspect and will speak to schools in the precinct on “stranger danger.”

Police have also increased the award to $12,000 for information on the suspect, who is described as a man in his 20s of dark complexion.

City Council Speaker and mayoral candidate Christine Quinn visited South Ozone Park on Monday, May 6 to pass out flyers.

“We’re asking the public, if you recognize this man, call the anonymous tips line,” Quinn told reporters. “We need your help. If you or your child were victimized by him, call the police.”

Councilmember Eric Ulrich, who was also at the appearance, said the community was visibly shocked by the reported assaults.

“It happened in my district,” Ulrich said, “And I can tell you that since this heinous crime took place, the residents in South Ozone Park have been shaken to their core.”

He added that the community and NYPD have been working together to spread information about the suspect through flyers, social media and other means.

“People have been keeping an eye out for this creep,” he said. “People need to be vigilant so he can be apprehended as soon as possible.”

Some Indar, who comes to South Ozone Park to shop at the Home Depot on Rockaway Boulevard, said it was odd for something like this to happen in a community-oriented environment.

“People don’t expect these things around here,” he said.

Anyone with information in regards to either of the above crimes is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (5477).  The public can also submit their tips by visiting the Crime Stoppers website at or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.

 

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New video released of South Ozone Park child sex assault suspect; $12K reward offered


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Video courtesy of NYPD

Police have released a second video of the suspect wanted for the sex assaults of two Queens girls in South Ozone Park last week.

The newly released footage shows the suspect after he groped a seven-year-old as she sat on the stoop of her home Wednesday afternoon.

A previously released video allegedly shows the same man who came up to another seven-year-old girl around 6 p.m. that same day outside of a South Ozone Park driveway. He performed a criminal sex act on the girl, then fled on foot.

The NYPD is offering $12,000 reward for any information leading to the arrest of the man.

The suspect is described as a man in his 20s, of dark complexion, 5’11 – 6’1″ tall, 160 pounds, with black hair. He was last seen in a blue hooded-sweatshirt with unknown white writing on the front, dark jeans and carrying a purple backpack.

Anyone with information in regards to either of the above crimes is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (5477).  The public can also submit their tips by visiting the Crime Stoppers website at or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.

Police previously released the following sketch and photos of the suspect:

 

 

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Suspect tied to second child sex assault in South Ozone Park


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Sketch courtesy of NYPD

Police believe the suspect wanted for sexually assaulting a seven-year-old in South Ozone Park on Wednesday, inappropriately touched another girl in the area the same day.

The man allegedly came up to the victim, also seven, around 2:45 p.m. as she was sitting on the stoop of her South Ozone Park home and grabbed her buttocks, said police. Her 12-year-old sister, who was also on the stoop, yelled at the suspect, at which time he fled.

According to authorities, the suspect  matches the description of the man who came up to a seven-year-old girl around 6 p.m. that same day outside of a South Ozone Park driveway. He performed a criminal sex act on the girl, then fled on foot.

The suspect is described as a man in his 20s, of dark complexion, 5’11 – 6’1″ tall, 160 pounds, with black hair. He was last seen in a blue hooded-sweatshirt with unknown white writing on the front, dark jeans and carrying a purple backpack.

Anyone with information in regards to either of the above crimes is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (5477).  The public can also submit their tips by visiting the Crime Stoppers website at or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.

The following video and photos are from the incident that occurred around 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 1:

 

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Robbers strike same Queens hotel twice in two months


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

robbery suspects video

A pair of men sought in a string of hotel robberies hit the same Jamaica Howard Johnson for the second time in two months.

According to the NYPD, the suspects and another individual entered the 153-95 Rockaway Boulevard hotel around 2:15 a.m. on Friday, April 5, displayed a firearm, removed cash, then fled.

Two of the suspects struck the same Howard Johnson on  February 4. They also robbed a Quality Inn in Jamaica on December 29 and a South Ozone Park La Quinta Inn on February 4.

In the first three incidents the suspects fled the scene in a silver Audi.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto Crime Stoppers website or by texting their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

Video of an April 5 robbery at a Howard Johnson located at 153-95 Rockaway Boulevard. (Courtesy of NYPD)

 

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Family mourns Queens man allegedly killed by bouncer


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Maggie Hayes

Deosarran “Deo” Ramdular was just starting his life at age 24. But the motivated man went braindead after being brutally beaten outside of a Queens club, and died a week later.

“I never expected anything like this would happen to him,” said Ramdular Baboolall, the victim’s father. “There are no words to describe this.”

On Sunday, March 17, Ramdular went out for a night with friends at Club Moka in South Richmond Hill. Before leaving his South Ozone Park home, he asked his mother, whom he lovingly called “Binky,” if he could pick anything up for her while he was out.

“I never knew that he wouldn’t come back,” said Lee Baboolall through tears.

Early the following Monday morning, according to the DA, Ramdular was beaten by the club’s bouncer, Kristian Sorbera, 27. Sorbera repeatedly punched and kicked Ramdular about the face and head, causing him to suffer multiple face fractures, lacerations and bleeding, which ultimately resulted in severe brain damage.

His father said he does not know the reason that Sorbera went after his son, but he was told that the bouncer followed Ramdular away from the club and beat him.

Ramdular was rushed to Elmhurst Hospital, where he was put on life support. On the evening of Thursday, March 21, doctors told the family that he was braindead. Baboolall waited until relatives from out of state arrived at the hospital, and that Sunday, Ramdular’s mother agreed to take him off life support.

She said her son had an excessively swollen head and doctors said his brain was swelling. She couldn’t bear to see him in that condition anymore, and even if he were to come back, he wouldn’t be the same person he once was.

The 24-year-old was an air conditioning technician, and aspired to one day have his own business, according to family. He was also taking classes to become a certified EMS worker. As of recently, he was picking up odd jobs, acting as a handyman. He was the youngest of two boys, and always put family first.

“He was always willing to help. He was very kind-hearted,” said Baboolall. “I can’t find the words to describe how good he was.”

Sorbera has been charged with assault in the second degree with intent to cause serious physical injury to another person and is being held on a $500,000 bail. Since Ramdular died as a result of his injuries, charges against the bouncer could change after he appears before a grand jury. His mother, Karla Sorbera, said she believes her son is wrongfully accused but did not wish to comment further. Additionally, Club Moka did not return calls for comment.

Ramdular’s family held his funeral on Thursday, March 28 and cremated his body.

“Sometimes, I can’t even speak,” said his father. “This is more than a tragedy.”

 

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South Ozone Park college student shoots for NFL


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Stockton Photo

David Lopez wants one particular job when he graduates college this spring: playing in the National Football League.

“I like the aggression of the game,” he said. “I love the game. I was never afraid to hit, it’s fun.”

Lopez, of South Ozone Park, has been working on getting himself drafted, or signed, after finishing up his collegiate career as a safety for Pace University. Because the school does not have a draft day for professional scouts, Lopez has faced an uphill run to the endzone.

He came to Pace after playing running back at Christ the King High School, a team that made it to its league’s championship during his final year. When Lopez, now 22, arrived at Pace, however, he was the young guy on a team of seasoned veterans. In order to gain some experience and retrain for a new position, Lopez opted to red-shirt his freshman year — essentially benching himself.

“The first year I was completely clueless to the schemes,” Lopez said of adjusting to college gridiron life. “I learned from the older guys. The older guys taught me a lot.”

Lopez was ready to go the following year and said it was astounding to take the field for the first time. Although Pace lost its first game, Lopez found his groove and took off.

“Two plays in I got a big hit and it was all smooth from there,” Lopez said.

Tragedy struck the team during Lopez’s tenure, however, and soon after he was forced into a leadership position.

In late 2010, Lopez’s teammate, D.J. Henry, was shot by police in Westchester as he drove away from an altercation outside a bar. As a result, some players were deemed ineligible to play, and others decided to transfer out.

“It took a lot out of us as a team,” he said. “The last two years at Pace, I was one of the older guys with a bunch of 17- and 18-year-old kids.”

Suddenly Lopez, intimidated by the veterans two years earlier, found himself propelled into a leadership role. As a captain who still felt like he was 18, Lopez was now mentoring new players both on and off the field.

Ideally, Lopez says he’d like to play safety for his favorite team, the New York Jets, but getting into the league is his top priority right now. To get himself into big-league shape, he’s been training with former Miami Dolphin and Christ the King alum Willie Poole and teammates from Pace.

One fundamental he’s taken from his mentors is that he is gunning for a job that hundreds, if not thousands, of others are vying for throughout the country. His next step is to make it to a pro-day either at Fordham University or Stony Brook University. The challenge there, Lopez said, is getting the schools to allow him to try out, as players from the home school would obviously get preference.

Under Poole’s leadership, Lopez has learned a new physical and mental aspect to football:

“He’s turned it up a notch on us, but it pays off,” Lopez said of Poole’s training. “He pushes us to stay perfect.”

Poole, who’s trained Lopez for a little more than a month now, said his protégé is conscious of the struggle he faces coming from such a small school. Despite this, Poole said Lopez is a true football player with strong skills and even stronger determination.

“I can honestly say that I really, truly believe that he is a better talent than the school he went to,” Poole said. “He works tremendously hard…he wants to get better.

“The bottom line is the kid can play football,” he added. “This kid is a football player.”

 

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Suspects rob Queens hotels at gunpoint


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of NYPD

Two suspects are wanted in a string of Queens hotel robberies, said police. In each incident the suspects displayed a firearm, demanded money, then fled with the cash in a silver Audi.

The first robbery occurred on December 29, at approximately 1:00 p.m. at a Quality Inn located on 138-68 94th Avenue in Jamaica. In addition to cash, the suspects also took an iPad.

About a month later, they struck two more motels. On Monday, February 4, they robbed a Howard Johnson at 153-95 Rockaway Boulevard in Jamaica around 6:30 p.m. The following day, at about 1:30 a.m., the suspects stole cash from a La Quinta Inn on 111-26 Van Wyck Boulevard in South Ozone Park.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto Crime Stoppers’ website or by texting their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

 

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Final redistricting lines released


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Queens_Feb6

The final district lines that will go before the City Council were released on Monday, February 4, with moderate changes to the map that was released just two months ago. The new maps were released two days before the Districting Commission was to vote on the lines and discuss the changes district-by-district and borough-by-borough.

Several neighborhoods opposed the lines released in early December, mainly insisting the plans would divide neighborhoods and certain demographics. Independent residents and civic organizations made their unhappiness known at several hearings.

The Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association (WRBA) opposed the December map, as the neighborhood would continue to be divided between two councilmembers. The district currently represented by Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley was essentially flipped with that represented by Councilmember Eric Ulrich.

Members spoke out against the lines at a January 14 hearing. WRBA President Ed Wendell said he was disappointed, but realized at this point change probably would not have come. He said the WRBA would “have to work twice as hard to get our elected officials’ attention.”

Kris Gounden, an Ozone Park resident who’s been active in the West Indian community, said he was disappointed that parts of South Ozone Park were still incorporated into the 32nd District, despite pleas by residents.

“We want someone that’s born of us,” he said. “That looks like us. That’s more likely to speak of our own interest.

 

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Where to watch the Super Bowl in Queens


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

File photo

BY ANTHONY O’REILLY

While the Harbaugh brothers try to coach their teams to victory in the “HarBowl”, you can enjoy the game at one of Queens’ many bars, offering various drink and food specials throughout the night, along with free giveaways.

Bourbon Street, Bayside

For $45 per person, enjoy a hot and cold buffet, unlimited mixed drinks, bottled and tap beer, wine and soda during the game. Raffles and prize drawings will also be held during the event, which starts at 6 p.m.  Reservations and deposit required.

Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden, Astoria

“The Biggest Tailgating Party in Astoria,” offers free admission, free hot dogs, wing specials and $10 pitchers on select beers and the game is played on a 200-inch high-definition screen. The event will start at 6 p.m.

Studio Square NYC, Astoria

Starting at 4 p.m., enjoy unlimited draft beers, red & white sangria, loaded lemonade and red stag iced tea as well as an in-game buffet from the garden grill and shot specials during the game. Auction on past Super Bowl memorabilia and several raffles will be held for the chance to win an 80” led screen. Watch the game on more than three dozen 60” flat screen TV’s. Tickets are $40 online (studiosquarenyc.com) and $45 at the door.

Austin’s Ale House, Kew Gardens

For $50 per person enjoy bottled beer, top-shelf cocktails, half-time buffet and raffles & prize drawings. Order wings by Feb. 1.

Resorts World Casino, South Ozone Park 

Watch the game on a huge 16’x28’ flat screen TV, along with several other screens around the circular bar. Two packages are available. $25 per person gets you six wings and two domestic draft beers. The VIP package, priced at $60 per person (must order 25 tickets for a grand total of $1500), gets you 150 wings and 50 draft domestic beers.

Play, Elmhurst

Starting at 5 p.m., guests can enjoy a five hour open bar and watch the game on one of 16 flat screen TV’s for $25 per person. A mechanical bull, billiards, bowling and ping-pong and more also available. VIP tables are also available by calling 718-476-2828. VIP options include a bottle of liquor of your choice and two food platters or a la carte food and beverage service. After party will be held until 4 a.m. Tickets are required. Visit play.ticketleap.com to order.

 

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Resorts World Casino brings in record-breaking $1.2 billion


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

File photo

They did it again.

Resorts World Casino New York City officials announced they broke the bank once again after patrons spent $1.2 billion in the facility’s two floors of games last December — the most to go through a Racino in state history.

The Racino took back just about half of that, with $59.2 million in revenue and $42 million going back to the state in tax revenue. Continuing to earmark money for specific programs, $26 million will go to New York’s Education Fund.

Resorts World President Michael Speller lauded the record, noting it was a good way to kick off the New Year with high hopes for 2013.

“Resorts World Casino is breaking records on a regular basis,” Speller said. “With more visitors than ever coming through our doors, it’s clear that New Yorkers and tourists alike know that Resorts World Casino New York City is a world-class gaming experience right here in Queens – just minutes, not hours away. With a fantastic first year in the books, we look forward to doing even more to improve the gaming and entertainment experience in 2013.”

This caps off a record-breaking year for state gaming, with Resorts World sending $460 million back to the state, according to Racino representatives. Of that intake, $295 million was allocated for education. The remaining revenue has usually been earmarked for programs for the racing industry.

New modes of transportation are leading to increased numbers of gamers walking through the Racino’s doors. These include an upgraded A train stop at the Aqueduct site and a new visitor’s center at the arcade shops at Sutphin Boulevard.

 

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Residents fight against redistricting division


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Terence Cullen

In their last attempt before the maps went to the City Council for votes, residents told the New York City Redistricting Commission changes had to be made to keep neighborhoods such as South Ozone Park and Woodhaven in one piece.

“This isn’t about which district we end up with, this isn’t about which representative we get,” said Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association (WRBA) President Ed Wendell. “We just know that when we’re divided, it weakens our position.”

The Monday, January 14 hearing was the third before a final draft is sent to the City Council for a vote. Representatives have three weeks to vote either in favor or against the map; the new Council lines will be adopted if the legislature can’t come to a vote by deadline. The commission will re-explore lines after this latest round of hearings and make any changes it feels necessary.

Concerns about neighborhoods in Flushing and Bayside were addressed at the meeting — particularly Mitchell Linden, Broadway and Murray Hill — where many say the towns were split or dislocated from traditional districts. Councilmember , reading from a prepared testimony, called for the commission to keep these neighborhoods united, as they had been in the past.

Wendell, one of several WRBA members to speak, harkened back to the first draft of Council lines in which Woodhaven was almost completely in one councilmember’s district. The second draft, however, essentially flipped Woodhaven’s representatives and divided the area again.

Colin Bucca, another Woodhaven resident, told the commissioners continuing to keep Woodhaven in two would ruin the integrity and the character of the neighborhood.

“It’s not just equations on a spread sheet, it’s not just lines on a map, it’s people,” he said. “A neighborhood is defined by the people that live there. I live in Woodhaven; that’s my neighborhood.”

Many others spoke about neighboring South Ozone Park being placed in District 28, but wanted the western line of the district pushed to Woodhaven Boulevard — incorporating such landmarks as John Adams High School.
The desire for a unified Indo-Caribbean community has been the driving force behind this push, something that many in attendance spoke to.

“We are disappointed that South Ozone Park, part of the same community of interest, remains falsely divided along Lefferts Boulevard,” said Videsh Persaud, a program coordinator for the Indo-Caribbean Alliance. “While we appreciate the changes that were made in Richmond Hill, the process is incomplete without adjustments to South Ozone Park as well. These are part of the same community, and they must be kept in the same district.”

Kris Gounden, a community activist for the area, said residents want elected officials who understand their cultures and needs. Gounden said the city had suppressed the Indo-Caribbean community in south Queens and had stunted its ability to grow and prosper.

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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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