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Outrage as billionaire Mets owner’s $8BILLION casino re-development of a barren parking lot tipped to bring 25,000 new jobs to an under-privileged area is blocked by a single Liberal state senator

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Democrat State Senator Jessica Ramos has blocked billionaire New York Mets owner Steve Cohen’s $8 billion casino development in her impoverished Big Apple district. 

The ‘Metropolitan Park’ entertainment complex proposed by the Major League Baseball tycoon was set to bring 25,000 jobs to Corona in Queens – but Ramos said it would also lead to the ‘extraction of wealth’ from the area. 

‘My neighbors work their butts off every f***ing day. We deserve the best. And we are constantly short changed at every level of government,’ Ramos, 38, told New York Magazine

‘We’ve been desperate for economic development here. And our greatest hope is a f***ing casino?!’ 

Hedge fund heavyweight Cohen, 67, said his proposed 50-acre casino, hotel and music complex spanning the derelict space between the Mets’ Citi Field and Flushing Bay would generate $130 billion in economic impact over 30 years. 

Democrat State Senator Jessica Ramos (pictured) has blocked billionaire New York Mets owner Steve Cohen's $8 billion casino development in her impoverished Big Apple district

Democrat State Senator Jessica Ramos (pictured) has blocked billionaire New York Mets owner Steve Cohen’s $8 billion casino development in her impoverished Big Apple district

But Ramos worries this would come at the expense of the largely Hispanic residents in Corona, where the average income of $66,000 is around 14 percent lower than the NYC average of $78,000, according to Furman Center data. 

The single mother-of-two, who is the daughter of Colombian immigrants, said she’s spent the past several months ‘playing chess with a billionaire’ as Cohen moved to push his development through city law.

‘I’m resentful of him holding our entire community hostage by saying that it’s a casino or nothing,’ Ramos told New York Magazine. 

‘Why should anybody just get their way like that when it’s a decision that is going to impact millions of people? This is actually public land. Our land.’ 

‘We’re not in a place to host a casino,’ Ramos added, noting that casino customers do not generally benefit from the business – particularly cash-strapped ones. 

Hedge fund heavyweight Cohen, 67, said his proposed 50-acre casino, hotel and music complex spanning the derelict space between the Mets' Citi Field and Flushing Bay would generate $130 billion in economic impact over 30 years

Hedge fund heavyweight Cohen, 67, said his proposed 50-acre casino, hotel and music complex spanning the derelict space between the Mets’ Citi Field and Flushing Bay would generate $130 billion in economic impact over 30 years

Ramos (pictured) worries the development would come at the expense of the largely Hispanic residents in Corona, where the average income of $66,000 is around 14 percent lower than the NYC average of $78,000, according to Furman Center data

Ramos (pictured) worries the development would come at the expense of the largely Hispanic residents in Corona, where the average income of $66,000 is around 14 percent lower than the NYC average of $78,000, according to Furman Center data

‘The people who are here, they’re hoping to build generational wealth. And I just don’t see how a casino helps us meet that goal. I mean, it’s literally the opposite. It’s the extraction of the very little wealth we have.’ 

Queens-born Ramos cemented her refusal to table permit legislation in an official statement shared via X on Tuesday.

‘We want investment and opportunity, we are desperate for green space, and recreation for the whole family,’ her statement reads. 

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

Ramos said she has ‘drafted an alternative alienation bill that strikes a balance’, allowing Cohen to build a ‘convention center and hotel and more than double the proposed open green space’. 

The 'Metropolitan Park' entertainment complex proposed by the Major League Baseball tycoon was set to bring 25,000 jobs to Corona in Queens - but Ramos said it would also lead to the 'extraction of wealth' from the area

The ‘Metropolitan Park’ entertainment complex proposed by the Major League Baseball tycoon was set to bring 25,000 jobs to Corona in Queens – but Ramos said it would also lead to the ‘extraction of wealth’ from the area

Landscape architect, Field Operations, would design the park, according to Cohen. Previously the group designed Manhattan's High Line, as well as Pier 17 at the South Street Seaport

Landscape architect, Field Operations, would design the park, according to Cohen. Previously the group designed Manhattan’s High Line, as well as Pier 17 at the South Street Seaport

‘Mr Cohen and Hard Rock would still make a profit, albeit less,’ her statement reads.  

But not everyone agrees with Ramos. Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. said residents ‘badly deserve the 25,000 good-paying union jobs’ the casino complex would bring. 

He made a veiled dig at Ramos, saying ‘no one single elected official should be the sole arbiter of this $8 billion investment in our borough’ – while urging New York Governor Kathy Hochul and the State Senate to ‘explore other avenues’ to ‘bring the proposal to life’. 

‘There is very little generational wealth in Northwest Queens, where survival work is prevalent, public services are lacking and hard-working immigrant street vendors are displaced and demonized,’ Richards said. 

‘That’s why the families of this community so badly deserve the 25,000 good-paying union jobs, the $163 million community investment fund, the Taste of Queens food hall designed for borough-based vendors, critical support for community-based organizations, rising property values and more that the Metropolitan Park proposal puts forth.

‘We are in a state of emergency in Northwest Queens, which was hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and which continues to struggle as the cost of living rises. 

‘The Metropolitan Park proposal will create countless avenues for generational wealth building right here in Corona, Jackson Heights, Elmhurst and other communities surrounding the proposed site, which is currently a parking lot that sits empty for more than 200 days per year. 

‘By no means should acres of asphalt block the ascending of financial and societal ladders to the middle class by families deserving of upward mobility.’

General view of Citi Field as the sun sets behind the stadium during the third inning between the New York Mets and the San Francisco Giants on May 24

General view of Citi Field as the sun sets behind the stadium during the third inning between the New York Mets and the San Francisco Giants on May 24 

Cohen, who is the real-life inspiration for TV series Billions about a powerful investor, heralded the casino complex as something people could be ‘truly proud of’ when he introduced his plans in November. 

‘It’s time the world’s greatest city got the sports and entertainment park it deserves,’ he said.

‘When I bought this team, fans and the community kept saying we needed to do better. 

‘Metropolitan Park delivers on the promise of a shared space that people will not only want to come to and enjoy but can be truly proud of.’ 

Landscape architect, Field Operations, would design the park, according to Cohen. Previously the group designed Manhattan’s High Line, as well as Pier 17 at the South Street Seaport. 



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