Long Island City

Press Association

Leaders, residents protest Amazon Long Island City HQ

November 14, 2018 - 7:59 am

NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo rolled out the welcome mat for Amazon after it announced its plans to open its new headquarters in Queens – but some critics want that welcome mat rolled back up.

State Senator Michael Gianaris is leading a rally Wednesday with politicians, community leaders and small business owners.

Critics of the deal say it makes no sense for a community that’s already thriving, and they say giving one of the richest corporations in the world nearly $3 billion in city and state tax breaks isn't necessary.

Amazon says it will invest $2.5 billion in New York and bring some 25,000 jobs to the area.

“I’m all for jobs, but they should come and be a good neighbor and say, ‘Here’s what we’re going to do to help make Long Island City make sure it can handle all the people we intend to drop in the middle of this neighborhood,’” Gianaris said.

The senator says giving billions of dollars to Amazon “would be very low on the list” of how to best help New Yorkers. “I’m appalled at the size of the subsidy,” he said.  

Other critics of the deal include newly Congresswoman-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who both represent the area.

In a statement Tuesday, Gianaris and Van Bramer said: “We were not elected to serve as Amazon drones.”

Cuomo insists that for every dollar being invested by the state and city, the return is nine-fold.

As part of the deal announced Tuesday, Amazon also gets to bypass local rezoning processes in the city; projects like Hudson Yards and Cornell Tech on Roosevelt Island had to go through years of scrutiny before their construction began. 

It took a secret meeting with Amazon, de Blasio and Cuomo to push the massive deal to the finish line. The online retail giant wanted to make sure the often-feuding mayor and governor were on the same page.