There’s a new article making the rounds about Willets Point, but I am not going to link to it (I will link to a different one below) I read the first one, and I feel like the person who wrote it just accepted Steve Cohen’s Talking Points – including just accepting the Orwellian-Speak of “Visioning Meeting” or whatever they are calling these things. In my opinion, this is a dog and pony show that winds up with a casino on parkland, and politicians getting generous donations to their re-election campaigns.
So instead of linking to the article, let’s see what some are saying on twitter.
Then there is an article to which I WILL link, from TheCity.com
..part of Cohen’s gamble appears to be a bet on the market of Chinese immigrants next door in Flushing, said a hedge fund analyst who covered gaming and casinos and declined to be named by THE CITY due to their company’s policy.
But wait there’s more!
To get the go-ahead to build a structure, New Green Willets needs the legislature to redesignate the parking lot, which has officially been public parkland since 1939.
That hurdle has stopped past development schemes, including a plan by former Mets owner Fred Wilpon to convert the lot into a shopping mall, which the New York Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, blocked in 2017.
As Cohen angles to build on the lot, his family and associates have stepped up with donations to the campaigns of key local politicians.
His wife, Alexandra Cohen, donated $117,300 to the state Democratic Committee last year. And Michael Sullivan — the chief of staff at Steve Cohen’s equity management firm, Point72, and an in-house lobbyist of New Green Willets — gave nearly $35,000 in total to several state lawmakers who represent the direct or adjacent areas. That includes $9,400, $5,000, and $2,500 to Assemblymembers Aubry, Catalina Cruz and Jenifer Rajkumar, respectively, as well as $5,000 each to Queens State Sens. Ramos and Mike Gianaris, the deputy majority leader.
Zeng told THE CITY in Mandarin. “At the same time, it conflicts with public safety concerns. The reason people oppose a casino is because it could attract crime and bring out high-interest underground loaners who target people with gambling losses and debts.”
Aubry told THE CITY that “as far as I’ve heard … they would not necessarily be wanting to go forward without a casino. The casino would provide the economic engine for the rest of the work that they propose.”
So don’t read the story to which I didn’t link, read the one on The City from which I have excerpted.
Anyway, all this is much ado about nothing because… IT IS PARKLAND.