Manhattan residents push back against Murray Hill casino proposal  

Situated in a residential neighborhood just south of the United Nations, residents and elected officials gathered for a recent town hall hosted by state Sen. Kathrine Gonzalez to voice their concerns.

Edric Robinson

Jan 17, 2024, 12:43 AM

Updated 184 days ago

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Developers are eyeing the possibility of three casinos in New York City, with Murray Hill emerging as a proposed location. Situated in a residential neighborhood just south of the United Nations, residents and elected officials gathered for a recent town hall hosted by state Sen. Kathrine Gonzalez to voice their concerns.
Some residents expressed vehement opposition to the Murray Hill casino proposal. 
"I don’t think a casino is appropriate for a residential neighborhood. It brings in all kinds of riffraff," said Martha Ball, a 38th Street resident. 
Susan Steinberg, president of Stuyvesant Town–Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association, admitted the developers had work to do in convincing the community.
“I’m not a yes or a no right now,” Steinberg said ahead of the town hall. 
Conversations revolved around the fate of a vacant plot of land along 1st Avenue between 38th and 41st streets - once home to a Con Edison power plant. Residents like Steinberg said the plot had been vacant for years with many wanting to see housing built there. 
“I’d like to see affordable housing and a big green park,” said Steinberg. 
“This is the largest vacant piece of land in Manhattan...and we definitely need affordable units,” said Assembly Member Harvey Epstein, who said he had some reservations regarding the casino plans. 
Soloviev, the developer, says the latest proposals are ambitious. 
“We’ll have a park, we’ll have a museum, the first in the world dedicated to freedom and democracy, and a hotel,” said Michael Hershman, Soloviev's CEO. 
Hershman also outlined plans for two residential towers with 1350 units, 513 of which would be affordable housing funded by the gaming component of the proposal.
"[The casino] would be all underground, not even visible from 1st Avenue,” said Hershman during a December interview with News 12. 
Residents at the town hall remained unconvinced. Concerns were raised about the potential impact on the FDR, safety of the United Nations, traffic and threats of political repercussions for supporters of the casino proposal.
Officials highlighted the extensive process ahead, featuring public hearings and a Community Advisory Council. The council would be composed of appointees from the governor, mayor, borough president, the City Council and state legislators. For the casino to pass, it needs two-thirds approval from this committee before it’s considered by the Gaming Board. 
If not approved, developers confirmed plans for four market-rate towers on the site.
As the debate unfolds with strong opposition from Community Board 6, the future of Murray Hill and its potential transformation into a casino hub hangs in the balance, with residents emphasizing their vision of anything but a casino. 


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