Senator says Steve Cohen’s casino not in the cards for Citi Field

Sen. Jessica Ramos introduced alternative legislation for Queens lot

Sen. Ramos Rejects Steve Cohen’s Citi Field Casino Plan
Senator Jessica Ramos and Steve Cohen with map of Metropark (Getty, Metropark)

Sen. Jessica Ramos is all for something being built at the parking lot next to Citi Field — just not a casino.

With a week left in the legislative session, Ramos introduced a bill Tuesday that would allow a hotel and convention center, as well as athletic fields, a parking facility, a revamped 7 train station, flood protection and other upgrades at the site. The measure would not, however, permit Steve Cohen’s vision for an $8 billion casino complex, dubbed Metropolitan Park. 

“We disagree on the premise that we have to accept a casino in our backyard as the trade-off,” Ramos said in a statement. “I resent the conditions and the generations of neglect that have made many of us so desperate that we would be willing to settle.”

The 50 acres of asphalt is technically parkland, so plans to transform it for another use require state approval. 

Cohen’s Point 72 Asset Management, which has 81 years left on its ground lease on the site, has said that it will not build anything without securing a casino license, maintaining that the gaming aspect is necessary to make the project financially feasible. 

On Tuesday, the Metropark team pointed to the extended timeline for the casino competition — applications are not due until 2025.

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“We have over a year and multiple pathways to secure the required approvals,” a spokesperson said in a statement. 

Those “multiple pathways” could include another Senator introducing a “parkland alienation” bill identical to one put forward by Assembly member Jeff Aubry last year, which would pave the way for Metropark. Ramos acknowledged in February that this was a possibility, the Queens Chronicle reported. Another measure could be introduced that aims to address state approvals needed by other applicants (Bally’s also needs approval of a parkland alienation bill for its proposal in the Bronx).

Still, without buy-in from both local state leaders, the proposal faces an uphill battle. The legislative session ends June 6. 

Ramos’ refusal to propose legislation allowing the casino was not a surprise: She commissioned a poll this year that showed little community support for the project. 

Meanwhile, other local officials have publicly backed the proposal. Last week, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, local Council member Francisco Moya and Assembly member Jeffrion Aubry sent a letter urging Ramos to support Aubry’s legislation, the New York Daily News reported.    

On Tuesday, Richards urged the governor and state Senate to back the project, writing on social media platform X that “No one elected official should be the sole arbiter of this $8 billion investment.”

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