We can hardly wrap our heads around the idea of New Yorkers flocking to casinos around town—let alone one built in the parking lot of Citi Field. Alas, that's exactly what New York Mets team owner Steve Cohen is currently pitching (pun intended).
This isn't the first time we're hearing about Cohen's intentions. In fact, according to The City, Cohen actually hosted Mayor Eric Adams and other City Hall officials at Citi Field this past January, specifically pitching ideas for Willets Point, "the 61-acres piece of land across the street" from the ballpark.
The project likely has a lot to do with the fact that parts of the area are currently undergoing an environmental clean-up plan that was first introduced almost a decade ago, in 2013, and seeks to bring 1,100 affordable apartments and a new school to the neighborhood by 2030.
In February, Politico reported that casino operators were actively looking at the area as one of few sites that they could set up shop in.
"For decades, New Yorkers have known that our city can get more out of the area around Citi Field," Tiffany Galvin-Cohen, a spokesperson for Cohen (they're not related), said in an official statement this week. "Steve has invested in the team, the ballpark and the borough because he views owning the Mets as a civic responsibility. He will continue engaging stakeholders across Queens as the community thinks about how to revitalize the neighborhood."
And so: what are the chances that Mets fans could soon play on slot machines both before and after a baseball game? If the Mayor's recent comments are of any indication, it's all looking pretty good.
"As the mayor has said many times, he is willing to talk to anyone who is committed to boosting our economy and helping our city recover from COVID-19," Charles Lutvak, a spokesperson for Adams, said in an official statement. "He is willing to consider any idea that would help achieve the goal."
Governor Kathy Hochul seems to be on board as well. According to The Real Deal, in January, Hochul "called for speeding up authorization for as many as three casinos in or around the city" as part of her proposed budget. Originally, the state's Gaming Commission was scheduled to give out the required licenses after 2023 but the Governor asked for them to be tackled before then.
Where, exactly, these potential casinos will open up is yet to be seen. Until then, you might want to spend some time at this speakeasy casino training center that you probably never knew even existed.
Love doing stuff in your city? Tell us all about it in our annual, global, Time Out Index survey.