Citi Field, home to the New York Mets, has been one of the MLB’s top ballparks since its opening in 2009. However, the same cannot be said about the area around Citi Field, which is laden with concrete, closed-down auto shops and an outdated subway station.
If billionaire Mets owner, Steve Cohen, gets his way, Citi Field will become a destination not just for baseball, but for the area surrounding it too. These proposed renovations are long overdue. In addition to Citi Field, the Flushing Queens complex houses USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, which is home to the US Open. Millions of people travel through this area of Queens each year.
Cohen unveiled plans on Tuesday to create a fresh development encompassing the 50-acre expanse surrounding the ballpark. Dubbed “Metropolitan Park,” this endeavor will feature 20 acres of brand-new public parkland, along with an extra five acres designated for athletic fields and playgrounds.
If successful, the proposal would also create an estimated 15 thousand jobs.
Additionally, the development includes a food hall, designated tailgate areas, bars, restaurants, conference facilities, accessible transit and cycling paths.
Perhaps the biggest announcement is the Hard Rock Hotel, complete with a live music venue and casino.
The casino could come with an issue as there are several other potential casino bids in the works, with the city pledging only to issue three licenses.
Queens community leaders are just as optimistic about the proposed plans. “ Any developer that seeks to put shovels in the dirt must come prepared to deliver significant benefits to the surrounding community in the form of local hiring, economic opportunities and much more,” says Queens Borough President Donovan Richards.“I’m encouraged by Steve Cohen’s Metropolitan Park plan and its numerous community-centric proposals…I look forward to working with our public and private sector partners to ensure it delivers for workers, businesses and families in North Queens and across the ‘World’s Borough.’”
For Cohen, a lifelong Mets fan and Long Island native, this is only the beginning of what fans hope to be the greatest era of the Mets franchise to date.
“It’s time the world’s greatest city got the sports and entertainment park it deserves,” said Cohen. “When I bought this team, fans and the community kept saying we needed to do better. Metropolitan Park delivers on the promise of a shared space that people will not only want to come to and enjoy, but can be truly proud of.”
About the Author/s
Peter Candia is the Food + Drink Editor at New Jersey Digest. A graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, Peter found a passion for writing midway through school and never looked back. He is a former line cook, server and bartender at top-rated restaurants in the tri-state area. In addition to food, Peter enjoys politics, music, sports and anything New Jersey.