Last year Jones Beach had to close Field 1, one of the park's largest parking areas, because of the state's budget mess. (Even worse, the MTA suspended buses to Jones Beach amphitheater, making it a real headache getting out there for Creed.) But a couple of forward-thinking lawmakers have come up with a solution to the budget shortfall: Build a casino at the beach! Reactions to the idea have been mixed, to put it mildly.
"I think Robert Moses would turn over in his grave," Malcolm MacKay, head of the Jones Beach Rescue Organization, tells Newsday (paywall). "A casino at Jones Beach is inappropriate. Jones Beach is an extraordinary public facility for recreation and for preservation and appreciation of the environment." Another preservationist says, "Building a casino at Jones Beach would be like building a mall at Yellowstone—entirely antithetical to the ideals that created the park in the first place, and a real compromise to its historic integrity."
Assemblyman Fred Thiele Jr. (I-Sag Harbor) and Assemblyman Steven Englebright (D-Setauket) are the ones talking about the possibility, which would involve converting state-owned land to the Shinnecock Indian Nation. But when a Newsday reporter called the Shinnecocks's representive, the idea was news to him. And the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation says, "It’s not being contemplated, nor would it be consistent with our mission." But the nascent proposal does have the backing from one Donald Trump, who's trying to build a catering facility and restaurant in the heart of the park: "It would be good for my project."