Contrasting poll results on Queens’ support for Metropolitan Park Casino and Entertainment Complex

Two recent polls show very different results over Mets owner Steve Cohen’s plan to build Metropolitan Park, a casino gaming and entertainment venue on the parking lot west of Citi Field, where Shea Stadium used to stand.
QNS file photo

Before the shovels hit the ground on New York Mets owner Steve Cohen’s proposed $8 billion casino and entertainment complex in Corona, he would need new legislation allowing construction atop the public parkland where Shea Stadium once stood.

State Senator Jessica Ramos who represents the district, is still undecided as to whether she will carry that bill in Albany.

Recent polling commissioned by both sides gauging support from area residents for the billionaire’s Metropolitan Park project elicited results that are diametrically opposed.

Cohen and Hard Rock International showed their cards last Tuesday, polling that shows strong support across Queens for the Metropolitan Park complex that would rise on the parking lot to the west of Citi Field.

After sharing details of the project and announcing more than $1 billion in community benefits, the Queens Future survey showed support exceeds 80% borough-wide and when asked about the Hard Rock hotel with a live music venue and casino gaming, 76% supported it borough-wide.

“For more than three years, we’ve been working closely with local leaders and the community to solicit input to create a shared vision for Metropolitan Park,” a Metropolitan Park spokesperson said. “This project represents the feedback we’ve received over the course of hundreds of meetings and thousands of conversations and is why the more people who live and work in Queens see and hear about Metropolitan Park, the more supportive they are.”

Metropolitan Park map. Photo courtesy of Queens Future LLC

The proposal is contingent on approval for one of the three downstate casino licenses the state is expected to award in late 2025, and it would require park alienation legislation to be introduced in Albany by Ramos. The Queens Future survey was conducted by pollster Doug Schoen from Mar. 15-23 and interviewed 600 Queens registered voters, including 250 registered voters in Ramos’ Senate District 13.

It found that 75% of SD-13 voters support the project and 62% approve of a Hard Rock hotel with a live music venue and casino gaming as part of the project. When it comes to jobs, parks, and entertainment, 62% of SD-13 voters polled say there is a lack of entertainment options, 58% say there is a lack of public parks and 77% say there is a lack of good paying jobs.

The survey also showed that 31% of SD-13 voters are less likely to vote for Ramos if she opposes the project, compared to only 14% who said they would be more likely to vote for her.

Meanwhile, Ramos dismissed the Metropolitan Park polling and released results of her own survey to The City in which 61% said they would not want to see a full casino anywhere in Queens, and 75% said they would not want one in their neighborhood. The poll was conducted by the consulting firm Slingshot Strategies and cost $27,500 which was paid for by a donor that Ramos declined to identify to both QNS and The City. Ramos also launched an e-mail survey with her constituents which she will consider when deciding whether she will introduce park alienation legislation.

“During my third town hall in February, I promised my neighbors I would be making my decision in advance of the end of [the legislative] session,” Ramos told QNS. “So since the session is ending in early June, I think it’s reasonable to say I will announce my decision in mid-May.”

Attendees of Ramos’ town hall in February. Photo by Athena Dawson

Asked about Council Member Francisco Moya’s announcement last week that he is supporting the Metropolitan Park proposal, Ramos laughed and said, “I would have liked to have had more of a conversation with him about it, but we have not talked about this in a long time.”

Ramos is a strong union advocate who worked with Build Up NYC to fight for construction, building and hotel maintenance workers in New York City before she was elected to the Senate where she serves as chair of the Labor Committee.

When asked about a letter sent to her in February from eight prominent union leaders imploring her to do everything she could to make Metropolitan Park a reality along with the promise to create more than 15,000 good-paying permanent and construction jobs, she said, “Every project should be union — from shovel to broom.”