Amazon was going to open a headquarters in New York City and now they’re not. The reasons why are both complex and simple. On the one hand you have people trumpeting the moving of so many new, well-paid residents to steroid-inject the New York economy. On the other side are those concerned about the poor Joe’s already here. Where would they move once all of these Amazon employees moved-in? Isn’t there enough traffic and congestion as it is?
For those readers on Mars, Amazon is a multinational, tech company founded by a man named Jeff Bezos in 1994. The company was recently hoping to open a gargantuan corporate campus in Queens, the project spearheaded by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. Both men were insistent that Amazon’s moving to Long Island City would launch New York’s economy through the stratosphere.
Instead the project is never going to happen ever, not in this lifetime.
Reactions are mixed, to say the least. When the “New York Times” broke the news, some people actually danced in the streets with Mariachi bands.
For developers expecting their investments back, this news is nothing short of catastrophic. Many Long Island City developments are sitting empty, awaiting high-dollar tenants that are no longer boxing up and moving here.
Area business owners are disappointed by the sudden disappearance of guaranteed foot traffic—but deep inside are also breathing a sigh of relief. There would be a price to pay for that foot traffic. Eventually their rents would go up too. Space would become even more sparse, boxing and Queens self-storage companies would be filling up from so many companies and individuals moving.
It’s hard to say what exactly went wrong. New York is not an easy city to come barreling into. Space and storage are precious. Residents have a large say in what happens to their homes. There are plenty of shipping businesses already here. Most of all, we have enough unions and local lawmakers that $3 billion in tax breaks for Amazon and other incentives won’t simply go unexamined. And why does Bezos get his own helicopter pad while his neighbors get priced out of the projects?
Add the star power of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to the situation and the deal is snuffed out for good. She reminded everyone of Amazon’s disgraceful fair labor history. Her and others also claim it’s no coincidence Amazon made their decision to move elsewhere after being asked, please, to cooperate with local unions. Amazon blames the decision on a lack of support from the community.
Meanwhile, Coumo has decided to blame the politicians for placing political self-interest above thousands of jobs and around $30 billion dollars added to the New York economy. Even in his released statement, Cuomo sounded irate: "The New York State Senate has done tremendous damage. They should be held accountable for this lost economic opportunity.”
The last word is that Bezos is moving the company to Virginia instead…where there’s a lot more space and storage…where they’re more needed.
Lee Anderson is a writer out of Park Slope, Brooklyn. He keeps a music review blog called "Alphabet Pony" which you can check out here!
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