More than 100 Queens Restaurants Join Metropolitan Park’s CommUNITY Passport Program

By Metropolitan Park | January 30, 2024

New Initiative will Support Queens Restaurants by Encouraging Hotel Guests to Spend Reward Points at Local Small Businesses

QUEENS, NY – Metropolitan Park, the visionary plan to transform the 50 acres of asphalt around Citi Field into a revolutionary sports and entertainment park, today announced that more than 100 local Queens restaurants and businesses signed up for its CommUNITY Passport program. The new initiative will allow guests at the hotel and entertainment destination to use Hard Rock International loyalty reward points at local participating restaurants and businesses across Queens.

Queens small businesses and restaurant owners interested in the CommUNITY Passport Program can learn more at The new program would begin when Hard Rock at Metropolitan Park opens.

“The community made it clear that any development must work with, support and help grow local businesses and restaurants. We listened. The Community Passport initiative will encourage hotel and entertainment guests to explore Queens – driving business to local restaurants and businesses,” said Mets owner Steve Cohen. “Our message is simple: come for a show or some fun at Metropolitan Park, and fall in love with all of Queens.”

Metropolitan Park is an $8 billion private investment by New York Mets owner Steve Cohen and Hard Rock International to transform the parking lots around Citi Field into a community-driven vision that delivers over 15,000 jobs, 20 acres of new park space, and a renovated and accessible mass transit station.

Hard Rock at Metropolitan Park CommUNITY Passport Program

  • Encourage and enable hotel and entertainment guests to use reward points at partnering small businesses and restaurants across Queens
  • Feature partnering small businesses in a “Queens Guide” made available to all guests of the hotel
  • Offer partnering small businesses free marketing and promotional materials including signage to advertise participation in the program
  • Provide partnering businesses with a device or software to accept points as payment
  • Reimburse partners for the amount of charges paid with points

“The millions of Hard Rock fans across the globe will have another reward added to their perks of being a UNITY member: the ability to use their loyalty membership to explore the rich history, diversity and energy of Queens,” said Jeff Hook, Chief Marketing Officer for Hard Rock International. “This program not only allows us to bring additional revenue to Queens business owners, but it allows a deep integration with the surrounding community around the proposed Metropolitan Park.”

“Community Passport will bring visitors to our community, introduce them to iconic businesses like Moon Cheese and encourage them to become long-time fans. We’re in,” said Bryant Gonzalez, owner of Moon Cheese in East Elmhurst.

“Marketing is one of our biggest expenses. The Community Passport program is going to give restaurants like Pio Pio a major, free platform to advertise – and to guests who are already in Queens and looking for a great meal and a great time,” said Juan Inga, owner of Pio Pio in Jackson Heights.

“Everyone loves getting rewards for having a good time. With Metropolitan Park, guests are going to come out to see a music concert and then be rewarded to explore Queens. That’s going to mean more business for us and other businesses in our community,” said Jarvis Fernandez, owner of Emoji Burger in Jackson Heights.

“I think that this is a great incentive program for visitors to try the real taste of Queens! I am excited as an immigrant to be a part of this program and have people try my authentic Latin American cuisine,” said Sandra Sayago, owner of Budare Cafe.

“As a Colombian business owner, I’m excited to join the Unity program in partnership with Metropolitan Park. I think this is a great way to introduce tourists and locals alike, to the rich flavors of my culture and the warmth of our hospitality,”said Giancarlo Franco, owner of Cositas Ricas.

“As a restaurant owner, it’s pretty simple – Metropolitan Park will be a global attraction, bringing more visitors to Queens and more guests to my restaurant. I’m excited to be a part of this program,” said Luisa Torres, Owner of Mojitos, a latin fusion restaurant in Corona.

METROPOLITAN PARK: Turning a Parking Lot into a Park

Metropolitan Park will be a space that people can come to every day of the year to hang out by the waterfront, enjoy the park, listen to live music, try their luck at the casino, place a bet at the casino, as well as eat, drink, and shop at locally-owned small businesses.

The result is a vision that delivers:

  • An investment of $8 billion
  • 15,000 good-paying permanent and construction jobs
  • 20 acres of new park space and 5 acres of community athletic fields and playgrounds
  • Climate-ready infrastructure including solar, green roofs, and flood mitigation
  • Visionary entertainment complex with a Hard Rock hotel, live music venue, and gaming
  • New connections to the waterfront, park, and surrounding community
  • Taste of Queens Food Hall
  • Accessible and renovated mass transit station
  • Improved and modernized road network, bike paths, and parking infrastructure

Building dedicated open space for the public

Parks and public space are essential to any community. Dedicated green spaces are needed for people to enjoy and relax and the area around Citi Field shouldn’t be an exception.

Creating permanent local jobs and economic opportunity for local small businesses

Turning this space into usable parks for the public and an entertainment destination with live music, restaurants and bars will create thousands of good-paying jobs throughout the construction process.  This will mean opportunities for local residents and minority and women owned businesses, as well as access to on-going workforce training programs.

Connecting surrounding neighborhoods to the waterfront

Metropolitan Park is an opportunity to connect the surrounding neighborhoods, create easy and safe waterfront access, increase walkability and cycling access, and improve transportation options.

Bringing year-round entertainment to life

Entertainment is the economic engine that will make this area a destination every single day of the year— regardless of the weather or if it’s baseball season.

Queens Food Hall

Queens is widely celebrated for its rich culinary scene. By featuring local restaurants and vendors, we can showcase the incredible cultural diversity of Queens. The borough is famous for its vibrant street food culture and offering some of the most authentic food experiences outside of each cuisine’s native country.


To bring Metropolitan Park to life, Cohen has brought together the right partners with the extensive expertise to turn vision into reality. With deep roots in New York and experience creating world-class entertainment destinations, creating spaces that bring people together and elevated design, the entire team reflects the thoughtfulness and care that has gone into developing the vision for Metropolitan Park.

Hard Rock International

The cornerstone of the project is creating a world-class entertainment experience that brings people to the area every day of the year, no matter the weather or if there is a ball game. Hard Rock brings a globally recognized brand for delivering best-in-class hospitality, creating memorable live music experiences, and offering exceptional casino and sportsbook gaming.


SHoP Architects is a New York-based global design leader, with iconic projects completed or underway across more than 100 million square feet on five continents. SHoP works with the world’s most important and innovative companies across a wide range of industries to create award-winning projects of international renown. SHoP takes a high-performance approach to design and planning that introduces definitive new and enduring architecture to the great city skylines and streetscapes. Some of SHoP’s most iconic New York designs include the Barclays Center, East River Waterfront, Essex Crossing, and the Domino Sugar Refinery master plan, among many others.

Field Operations

Field Operations is a leading-edge landscape architecture and urban design practice based in New York City. Field Operations is renowned for strong contemporary design across a variety of project types and scales, from large urban districts, master plans and complex planning sites, to small well-crafted, detailed design projects. Regardless of scale, there is a special commitment to the design of a vibrant and dynamic public realm, informed by the ecology of both people and nature, rooted in place and context. Key projects in New York City include the High Line, Pier 17 in the South Street Seaport, Domino Park, Freshkills Park, and the newly opened Gansevoort Peninsula in Hudson River Park.


McKissack is the oldest minority/women-owned professional design and construction firm in the United States. A family-owned business for more than 118 years, McKissack has been a leader in planning, design, and construction of more than 6,000 projects, proudly upholding the standards of excellence established by its forefathers.