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Goodbye Amazon

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In a bizarre turn of events, on February 14th, Amazon decided to no longer continue through with their plans to have their HQ2 in New York City. There had been fierce political backlash building up over the last few weeks, particularly from local and state politicians. However, looking at the polls, the majority of New Yorkers supported the project. The major point of criticism from the opposition was due to the $3 billion in tax incentives that Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio had offered Amazon. Amazon was planning on bringing in at least 24,000 new jobs that would pay in the three figure range. At the end of the day, who gained the most from this fallout?

After Amazon’s initial announcement, there was strong opposition particularly from the Democratic Party. Politicians claimed that Amazon moving in to Long Island City would displace families and in turn, hurt the current residents in the long run. “Democratic freshman U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, whose district borders the proposed Amazon site, has rallied against the tax breaks for the project.”[1] She also claimed that rent prices were hiking up after the initial announcement. However, there seems to be no proof of that, “though the internet retail giant’s three-month flirtation with Long Island City did trigger a flurry of real estate activity in the neighborhood, the rental market saw little immediate impact.”[2]  These are two strong contrasting stances, one of which could be a spread of misinformation. Who is truly looking out for New Yorkers? Or was this all just politics?

In a further fallout from Amazons decision, and in complete contrast to the political warfare, local residents took to the streets. At an anti-Amazon demonstration on February 15th, numerous participants stood outside an Amazon store in Manhattan to show their disdain. However, they were angry with Amazon for another reason. The organizer of the event, a landlord in Long Island City, allegedly paid participants to stand outside the Amazon store on West 34th Street. They held signs that showed outrage at Amazon for backing out of the deal.[3] The participants seemed to be upset over the back and forth from Amazon. The landlord had taken out money to invest in his buildings in Long Island City, in anticipation of a real estate boom. After Amazon announced that it would no longer set up their second headquarters there, the landlord ended up losing a lot of money.  As it turns out, any decision that Amazon makes would leave a collective of individuals unhappy. In the end, seems that Amazons departure turned out to be a battle of political motives.


[1] The Real Deal (February 2019) New Yorkers favor Amazon deal despite lawmaker opposition, poll says, Retrieved from The Real Deal https://therealdeal.com/2019/02/12/new-yorkers-favor-amazon-deal-despite-lawmaker-opposition-poll-says/ Accessed on February 25, 2019

[2] Sun, K. (February 2019) AOC says rents went up $200-$300 after Amazon selected Queens. That appears to be untrue, Retrieved from The Real Deal https://therealdeal.com/2019/02/21/ocasio-cortez-says-rents-went-up-200-300-immediately-post-amazon-but-that-appears-untrue/ Accessed on February 25, 2019

[3] Kaufman, M. (February 2019) Amazon Protester Say They Were Paid to Be at Rally, Retrieved from Patch https://patch.com/new-york/queens/s/gmq0v/amazon-protesters-say-they-were-paid-be-rally Accessed on February 25, 2019

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