- How much power does the New York Lottery Division have to get a racino open if it really wants to? They've allowed slots to operate at Yonkers, even though there's no racing and the track was fined $9 million for brazenly polluting the Bronx River with human waste.
Now, the Albany Times-Union reports that the racino is a fire hazard.
An Oct. 5 inspection by the state Office of Fire Prevention & Control found 56 violations, most of them "serious" or "significant." The casino opened Oct. 10. Most of the violations were supposed to be fixed by Oct. 12, if not sooner. Another inspection report is pending.While the track wouldn't comment for the paper, a spokesperson for the Lottery Division said they hadn't seen the report. Nonetheless, for an agency that is acting so deliberately and meticulously with respect to Aqueduct that NYRA is expected to soon file for bankruptcy, they sure seem lax about Yonkers.
The racetrack's main building had 56 violations, according to Deputy State Fire Chief Paul D. Martin. He rated 15 as serious and 37 as significant. Others were moderate or unrated. The casino fills one of the building's floors.
Violations included carpeting used as wall covering, blocked exits, non-working alarms and no emergency plan.
- The Port Authority of NY/NJ, which runs JFK Airport, claims that NYRA has known for five years that it would be taking over the parking lot on the clubhouse side of Aqueduct for airport use. Vendors at the popular Aqueduct Flea Market, which is being shuttered on weekends during the crucial run-up to the holidays and beyond in order to make way for racing patrons, say that they've been blindsided after three decades of selling their goods there.
Vendor Yvonne Kissoon learned on Saturday that it would be her last weekend selling women's under garments at the Aqueduct Flea Market.If what the Port Authority says about NYRA knowing about the takeover is true, then they need to direct these questions to NYRA, and to not expect any handouts from a near-bankrupt association which is asking themselves some of the same questions.
"We had no indication about this,” said Kissoon. “All the money we earned all summer we took it and stocked up for the winter, to sell for Christmas, now we are stuck here with tons of merchandise and nowhere to sell it."
"We could not coexist with the flea market, especially on the weekends, and, still accommodate our racing patrons,” said Bill Nader, of the NYRA. “And our primary business here is thoroughbred racing so and so we have to accommodate our fans."
"How do we pay our bills?” asked Kittoon. “How do we pay our mortgage? How do we live for the rest of the winter? What do we do now?" [NY1]