It’s always a gamble to go to a Mets game at Citi Field; how bad will the team look on the field? Well, Fred Wilpon reportedly wanted to add to the gamble by building a casino across the street.
The New York Post reports that back in September 2011, Wilpon’s development company, Sterling Equities, submitted a proposal to the city for a casino as part of a $3 billion entertainment and retail complex on the site of what now is junkyards and auto body shops. The plan called for Sterling to pay the city $100 million for the 62-acre site. The Shinnecock Indian Nation of Southampton signed up to run the casino.
But it turns out the scheme was against state law. Live-dealer casinos are illegal in New York, except on Indian land. And there is no Indian land in Queens, especially where those ugly chop shops are located.
This past June, the city did give Wilpon 23 of the 62 acres to build the complex, minus the casino.
Something has to go in that decrepit, depressing spot. Now, people just go to Mets games and head home after the latest loss. It would be nice to hang out in the area before a game, and to be able to retire to a bar across the street to drown our sorrows afterwards. There are many stadiums in the league that have such a set-up; Minute Maid Park and Chase Field come to mind, not to mention stadiums that are in the middle of vibrant, established neighborhoods such as Wrigley Field and Fenway Park.
This should have been the plan for Citi Field all along. Planning and construction of the complex should have happened while the stadium was going up. But like everything else, the Mets just can’t seem to do anything right.