* Here at City & State, we don’t normally toot our own horns. But today we’ll make an exception. Two of our reporters, Chris Bragg and Laura Nahmias, were honored with the New York Press Association’s 2011 “Writer of the Year” distinction. Chris took home the top prize, Laura the runner-up, but both are equally exceptional in our eyes. On Chris’s award, the NYPA judges wrote: “This is a powerful body of work, consistently characterized by high-profile (meaning high-difficulty) topics, deep and detailed reporting, and sharp writing that keeps the reader engaged.” On Laura’s runner-up award, one judge wrote: “I’m from 3,000 miles away and don’t know New York well, but I was drawn to these stories.” Laura also won second place for best news story, and first place for best news/features series in our division. The paper as a whole took home several other prizes: third place for coverage of education, third place for in-depth reporting, third place for coverage of local elections and third place for coverage of elections/politics. Last but not least, our photo editor, Andrew Schwartz, was honored in the category for feature photos. Congratulations to all of them. We couldn’t be more proud.
* With crowds flocking to Queens to play slots at the recently opened Resorts World New York casino, gambling activity at the nearby Empire City Casino in Yonkers has dropped off slightly. But Tim Rooney, Jr., Empire City’s general counsel, noted that while novelty and convenience were diverting some customers, a competing casino was always going to be part of the equation. “We’re confident that the market is sizeable enough for both of us to be successful here,” he said. “We figured that the total impact would be somewhere between 10 and 15 percent at the end of the day, and it’s actually on the lower end of that right now.” But if a constitutional amendment legalizing full-fledged casinos paves the way for a third – or even a fourth – casino in the New York City area? “Between the two of us next year, we’ll pay the state close to $800 million just in terms of our taxes to the state education fund,” Rooney said. “We’re not quite sure if a third entrant, depending on their tax rate, increases that or just cannibalizes the existing businesses here. It’s a big concern.”
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