Pol: Put Project Back In The Saddle
With business booming at the Resorts World New York Casino at Aqueduct Racetrack, a local lawmaker is calling on the MTA to renovate the South Ozone Park facility’s subway station along the A line.
Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder announced that he recently contacted MTA Chairman and CEO Joseph Lhota about overhauling the station, which is only used while the New York Racing Association (NYRA) conducts racing at Aqueduct from November to April.
The Aqueduct Racetrack station, which is connected to the casino with a skybridge constructed as the gaming facility was built within Aqueduct’s grandstand, also has just one platform, which is serviced by Manhattan bound A trains. These trains generally stop at the station on racing days from 11 a.m. until about 5:30 p.m.
Visitors heading to Resorts World/Aqueduct via the Far Rockaway bound A train must depart at the Aqueduct-North Conduit Avenue station, located about a half-mile south of the Aqueduct Racetrack station. They must then walk or take a free shuttle bus provided by Resorts World to reach the track’s grandstand and clubhouse.
Noting that the Resorts World casino has generated millions of dollars in economic activity since its opening last October, Goldfeder stated that the time had come for the MTA to reconstruct the Aqueduct Racetrack station into a full-service facility, with platforms on both sides to get visitors to and from the casino and racetrack at all hours of the day.
Goldfeder noted in a press release that MTA officials “have withheld approval” of the construction of a southbound platform at the Aqueduct Racetrack station.
“The Aqueduct Racetrack and casino is an incredible asset to our area, drawing thousands of paying visitors to southern Queens every month from across the five boroughs,” Goldfeder said. “The fact that no adequate transportation exists only pushes potential commerce away from our area. An expansion of this rail station would provide a boost to Aqueduct and Resorts World, two of the largest tax-revenue generators and employers in our area, while increasing the number of patrons at other local businesses as well.”
The Times Newsweekly contacted the MTA seeking comment, but as of press time Wednesday afternoon, none was provided by the authority.
In recent months, Goldfeder publicly called upon the MTA to increase public transportation options to the Aqueduct/Resorts World site and, in general, locations in southern Queens. Most notably, he has advocated for the revitalization of the defunct Rockaway Beach branch of the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) north of Ozone Park.
The LIRR took the line, which ran from the main branch in Rego Park to the Rockaways, out of service over 50 years ago. Part of the line south of Liberty Avenue was converted into subway track and now carries A trains between the Rockaway Boulevard station and Far Rockaway.