FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM JANUARY 27, 2022 • THE QUEENS COURIER 21
A full-scale casino license for Resorts World
New York City would boost tourism in Queens
NYC TRANSIT COMMUTERS
DESERVE ACCESS TO
CLEAN, SAFE BATHROOMS
MTA Acting Chairman Janno Lieber’s
statement at his New York State Senate
confi rmation hearing, “We are a transportation
agency; reopening subway station
restrooms is not a priority,” is disappointing.
I guess when riding the subways, he
has never had the urge to go. Perhaps
his bladder is stronger than most riders’
or he wears Depends to and from work.
Th ousands of subway or commuter rail
riders who utilize existing restrooms on
a daily basis would disagree with Lieber.
Long Island Rail Road restrooms at
Penn Station, Atlantic Terminal, Jamaica
Station and dozens of other stations
are open. Metro-North Railroad Grand
Central Terminal and dozens of other
stations are open. Staten Island Railway
passengers have direct access to both
the NYC Department of Transportation
Staten Island Ferry St. George and
Whitehall Street Ferry Terminal restrooms.
Perhaps Lieber forgot that his colleague,
then NYC Transit President Sarah
Feinberg, in June 2021 said she would like
to reopen NYC Transit subway station
bathrooms as quickly as possible. Th is
Th ere are 76 existing bathrooms at
NYC Transit’s 472 subway stations. Until
the early 1960s, subway riders respected
authority. Th ere was a 10-cent fee to
use station bathrooms. Th at generation
of riders did not litter subway stations or
buses, leaving behind gum, candy wrappers,
paper cups, bottles and newspapers.
Th ey didn’t spit, urinate or defecate on
subway platforms or cars. Pre-COVID-19,
riders were always reluctant to use subway
station bathrooms, even when available.
Many stations had no working facilities or
were closed. No one wanted to deal with
the lack of toilet paper, soap or hot water,
unhinged doors to stalls or fi nding a mess
left behind by the previous patron. Who
wanted to fi nd others using it as a safe
place for consumption of drugs or for sex?
Homeless people afraid to go to shelters
end up using the bathroom sink to
shower in an attempt to maintain hygiene.
Why not assign a matron to each male
and female bathroom? Install security
cameras to provide protection for both
employees and riders who use bathrooms.
Ask any local business, college or hospital
to adopt an adjacent station bathroom
to help cover the costs of staffi ng.
In exchange, give the sponsor free advertising
space at the station. If necessary,
charge a nominal fee to use the facility.
Reopening secure, safe subway station
bathrooms with adequate supplies
of toilet paper, soap and hot water would
be one way to attract several million former
pre-COVID-19 riders who have yet
to return. Access to a public restroom is a
basic human right.
Surely, within the $51 billion 2020-
2024 Five-Year Capital Plan funding
can be found to reopen the existing
76 NYC Transit subway system bathrooms.
Bringing more subway stations
into compliance with the Americans for
Disabilities Act should also include construction
of restroom facilities at those
stations lacking such amenities. Th e MTA
was eligible for $1.5 billion in funding
from the Federal Transit Administration
in 2021. Th is will grow by several hundred
million more in 2022. Th e MTA
historically has allocated 70% of these
annual federal funds for NYC Transit.
Why doesn’t the MTA add functioning
restrooms to the NYC Transit Capital
Program and use federal funds to pay for
Larry Penner, Great Neck
letters & comments
WORKING ABOVE QUEENS BOULEVARD // PHOTO BY JOE ABATE
Send us your photos of Queens and you could see them online or in our paper! To
submit them to us, tag @qnsgram on Instagram, visit our Facebook page, tweet
@QNS or email email@example.com (subject: Queens Snaps).
BY THOMAS J.
When people think of
casinos, they oft en only
think of gaming. But,
in the nearly 10 years
since Resorts World
New York City has been open, our members
have come to see it as so much more.
Th ey’ve gone there for concerts, to watch
sporting events, and for comedy shows.
Th ey’ve sat down for a nice meal at the
RW Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar. In
fact, the Queens Chamber has hosted
numerous events on site. And they’re not
the only ones. Queens residents and visitors
to the borough have come to view
Resorts World as a destination for entertainment
and good food.
When the world stopped due to the
pandemic, much of life in the “World’s
Borough” stopped as well. Tourism was
curtailed and foot traffi c took a huge dip.
With fewer people heading to Resorts
World, neighboring small businesses were
also hit hard. We need an infl ux of people
to the borough to help these organizations
begin to erase the huge losses they have
suff ered over the last two years.
Our members are aware of Resorts
World’s push to be allowed to compete in
the bidding process for table game licenses
and they fully support the move. If Resorts
World were able to expand its off erings
as an entertainment destination, people
would fl ock there to take advantage of the
new options. Th is would create potentially
thousands of needed good-paying union
jobs in the retail, leisure and service sectors.
And while they were there, staying in
the new hotel, they would also be infusing
cash into other businesses in the area,
many of which are minority- and womenowned
enterprises. Th is would create even
more jobs and economic activity indirectly.
Th ese businesses have perhaps felt the loss
of the pandemic more acutely than others,
as their employees and customers have
been adversely impacted by COVID-19.
New York should be exploring any and
all options that would bring people back
to the city. We’ve seen the good neighbor
that Resorts World has been to the chamber
and its members. We know its commitment
to hiring Queens residents and
helping local entrepreneurs. We know the
work it’s done with the community and
local nonprofi ts – helping them achieve
fundraising goals, amplifying their work
and connecting them with volunteers and
supporters. We’ve seen its commitment to
providing its customers access to locally
produced goods. Th e chamber believes
adding table games to the facility would
do nothing but strengthen these ties
between Resorts World and the Queens
community. Its success would spell success
for all of us.
Many of our members were forced to
make the hard decision during the pandemic
to lay off employees. And they
weren’t the only ones – over a third of
Queens residents say they or someone in
their household lost their job since the
pandemic started. Many people who are
now unemployed are people of color.
As a representative of over 1,300 organizations
in Queens, we support awarding
Resorts World a full-scale casino license
because the move would also create thousands
of union jobs. As we said, Resorts
World is committed to hiring minority
employees who live in Queens. Th is
move could quickly create options for
employment and get these people back
to work in the borough where they live.
Th ese jobs would be good-paying, so aft er
months of uncertainty, they could fi nally
breathe a little easier without wondering
where their next paycheck was coming
from. Plus, they would get high-quality
healthcare at no cost to them, in addition
to defi ned pension plans.
New York’s path to recovery will be
long. By supporting options that get people
back to work and bring people back to
the most diverse community in the country,
New York can help the borough, the
local business community and the entire
region as they strive to return to pre-pandemic
Th omas Grech is president & CEO
of the Queens Chamber of Commerce.
Th e Queens Chamber of Commerce has
served the Queens business community
in New York City since 1911. It’s committed
to “fostering economic growth and
prosperity in the most diverse community
in the country by promoting the interests
of business through advocacy, networking