Service of Gambling II: Not in My Back Yard

January 19th, 2023

Categories: Betting, Casino, Gambling, New York City, NIMBY

I would lose the East River view if a developer wins a bid to build a casino where the [dead] grass is. The parcel continues a few blocks uptown [to the left].

The developers bidding on winning one of three gambling licenses to build casinos in NYC, Long Island or Westchester County are serious: Each proposal is accompanied by a $1 million entry fee.

Expect protests against the gaming tables by businesses and residents in some communities.

What would you think of going to Saks Fifth Avenue, across the street from St. Patrick’s Cathedral, facing the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree–between 49th and 50th –for a night at a casino? “The project, starting on the ninth floor of the luxury department store, will cover about 200,000 square feet, including a new lobby with a separate red-carpet-lined entrance for the casino,” Stefanos Chen reported in The New York Times.

“Compared to many of the other casino bids, which include sprawling development projects, the Saks proposal is relatively modest — which could ultimately work in its favor,” wrote Chen. “The redesign, which would not involve changing the size of the building, could be completed in fewer than 12 months, Ms. Danuser said, while more complicated proposals could take years to get underway.” Spokeswoman Trenesa Danuser works for Saks’ parent company, Hudson’s Bay.

I’m in trepidation about one of the proposed sites—the 6.7 acre lot across the street from my apartment building. There goes a chunk of my East River view. Tenants—co-op owners and renters–in the new luxury skyscraper also directly across the street from the now empty lot must be hyperventilating as their views would disappear altogether. Parking spaces under the proposed buildings are no doubt part of the plan as the neighborhood has so few currently. And the disruption…oh my. Among the plans are a Ferris wheel and a museum.

I worked at Art & Antiques magazine when it was located at 1515 Broadway in the Times Square district. That’s where a conversion from offices to a casino and entertainment center is being proposed. The streets are already jammed in Times Square.

Hudson Yards is also a site under consideration, turning it into “a convention and casino district with a school and new housing,” wrote Chen. My question: With the Javits Center so close, does NYC need another convention center there?

Chen mentioned areas near Citi Field in Queens and Coney Island in Brooklyn as well as “the so-called racinos in Yonkers and Queens that have horse racetracks and digital betting.” In addition, there’s an 80-acre site on Long Island—the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum—also being considered.

A casino would change the complexion of some neighborhoods more than others. The possibilities inspire so many questions. Here are only a few: Would a casino on Broadway hurt or help the theater business? Would developers compensate apartment owners and landlords–who lose their views–for the decreased value of their apartments? With traffic and parking difficulties as well as bridge and tunnel tolls to enter Manhattan as high as $16, not to speak of impending congestion pricing–$23 per car—and $40+ parking fees, is this borough viable for a casino that out of towners would visit?


Image by Stefan Schweihofer from Pixabay

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9 Responses to “Service of Gambling II: Not in My Back Yard”

  1. BC Said:

    Yikes! Seems like a bad area to put a casino. Period.

    Awful thought. They will get what they want, because they have money to buy their way.
    We have a casino which goes way offshore for folks to gamble. Maybe they could go offshore too!

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:

    BC,

    In Venice folks take a vaporetto to the Lido to gamble. Not sure we have an equivalent island for this and most of us don’t have boats and the ferry system isn’t robust enough at this point. But I like the idea! Maybe Governor’s Island?

    There are places already set up to accommodate lots of cars, busses and people. Manhattan isn’t one of them. But you are right: Whichever developer promises the most will get one of the three licenses. Lifestyles of the citizens will be the last consideration. Sigh.

  3. Debbie Kunen Said:

    Debbie on Facebook: ALL good points! $$$ the greed factor drives all decisions without significant consideration to the CONSEQUENCES intended or otherwise.

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Debbie,

    I wish I could disagree with you. There are arguments about all the work that these projects will generate to build, maintain and run the establishments. But will public transportation be increased to handle increased traffic? Yet another question.

  5. Debbie Kunen Said:

    Debbie on Facebook: Agree among a host of other issues not yet considered.

  6. lucrezia Said:

    Given the state’s outrageous cost of living and housing, it’s nice not to be living on the street corner, so the arrival of a casino might not be welcome, but no cause for complaint.

    That said, New York City does not appear to be a good fit for such an establishment. There’s already a huge concentration of people, hospitals are bursting at the seams, and public resources are stretched to the limit, possibly further.

    Casinos attract money which alleviates taxes. They also attract a multitude of ills which may destroy the peace and well-being of the community in which it inhabits.

  7. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Lucrezia,

    Not everyone who owns a co-op or condo in NYC —or anywhere else— is wealthy. Many saved for years—just as suburban homeowners do—and are hard working salaried people. Some bought and had a reversal in fortune—illness, job loss. Life can be funny that way. The assumption and suggestion that a drop in property value is tough and they should move—losing on their biggest investment and going through the nightmare of a move—is unfortunately the kind of thinking of developers and their lobbyists. People don’t matter.

    I rent and yet I empathize with those who own their apartments. I don’t need to travel at rush hour yet I am concerned about those who must in an already overtaxed system. I can live without a view of the river. I’ll have enjoyed it while it lasted. But if the landlord sells the apartment —and I wouldn’t blame him—because of the intrusion of a casino that will impact me because the current one is superb and unlike any I’ve come across. The thought of yet another move doesn’t make me happy.

  8. Deb Wright Said:

    I think it is a terrible idea to have casinos in already congested urban areas. Your point about the crazy expense that a person would have even without being a tourist is absolutely true. I sincerely hope your city planners think twice about the burdens that a casino in a neighborhood would place on the residents. This gambling craze is destroying neighborhoods, and just inviting crime right into the package. Wasn’t gambling illegal?

  9. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Deb,

    So much of the state of New York cries for work. A casino would help these towns. NYC has so many other selling points. It doesn’t need to take a lazy way out to generate tax dollars.

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