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Real estate developers are reviving interest in a long-shelved proposal: open casinos in New York City. They’ve been trying to capitalize on the dense, tourist-rich market of midtown Manhattan for decades, but have been traditionally shut down by state lawmakers and governor Andrew Cuomo. But as the state is seeking additional sources of revenue amid a $15 billion shortfall, lawmakers are reconsidering their stance. The latest proposals highlight the fragility of the commercial real estate market, where there’s vast uncertainty about how to reuse office buildings as workers have adapted to working from home during the pandemic. Vornado Realty Trust, for example, is pitching the idea of a casino on an expansive site near Manhattan’s Herald Square, while L&L Holding Company has proposed a casino for a $2.5 billion, 46-floor mixed-use tower it’s building near Times Square that includes a 669-room hotel. For now, the most feasible option is likely for the two downstate “racinos”—Genting’s Resorts World Casino at Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens and MGM Resorts’ Empire City Casino in Yonkers—to update to full casino licenses.
Animal lovers rejoice: ONA—an acronym for Origine Non Animale—located in the southwestern village Ares, near Bordeaux, is the first vegan establishment to earn a Michelin star. Serving a strictly animal-free menu, the eatery lovingly run by self-taught chef and former archaeologist Claire Vallée was established in 2016 piggybacking a successful crowdfunding campaign and small loan from a green bank. That made the recognition all-the-more sweet: “It felt like I got hit by a train,” said Vallée in response to winning the classic star in addition to the green star, a new introduction to recognize establishments with strong ethical values. ONA delights vegans with a seven course meal for $72, specializing in yellow zucchini ravioli with black truffle gnocchi and a Swiss chard ballotine with vegetable ricotta.
As the pandemic continues to disrupt the social calendar, Art Basel announced it would delay its marquee Swiss fair from June to late September. The fair’s leadership said that delaying the in-person gathering would let more attendees get vaccinated—a move that may potentially increase the amount of international participants. “While the first phase of Covid-19 vaccination programs started in many parts of the world last month, 2021 is a year in which planning remains complex due to many uncertainties,” Marc Spiegler, Art Basel’s global director, said in a statement. “By moving our Basel fair to September, we hope to offer our galleries greater possibility for successfully preparing their year.” As part of the announcement, Art Basel said it would host three thematic online viewing rooms in March, June, and November.