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Cuomo Says Amazon’s Manhattan Announcement is “Crumbs From the Table Compared to a feast”

The sites that would have made up the General Project Plan as part of Amazon’s headquarters project. Amazon planned to build over the sites outlined in red. The site outlined in green, known as “block c” would have moved through the upzoning process despite not being part of Amazon’s headquarters. (Google Maps)

Dec. 9, 2019 By Allie Griffin

Less than a year after Amazon backed out of opening its second headquarters in Long Island City, the e-commerce giant announced it would open a new office in New York City — but this time in Manhattan and with far fewer jobs.

Amazon has signed a lease for 335,000 square feet in Hudson Yards on the borough’s west side. The new office will employ 1,500 workers and will open in 2021.

The jobs created are a fraction of the 25,000 that Amazon’s headquarters, dubbed the HQ2, would have brought to Long Island City.

The Long Island City plan would have provided Amazon with nearly $3 billion in tax breaks and subsidies. The Manhattan deal comes with none.

The announcement, however, reignited the heated debate over the scuttled Amazon deal.

“Won’t you look at that: Amazon is coming to NYC anyway – *without* requiring the public to finance shady deals, helipad handouts for Jeff Bezos, & corporate giveaways,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted.

Ocasio-Cortez was one of the main opponents of Amazon coming to Long Island City, which lead to the company abandoning its Queens plan.

But Governor Andrew Cuomo, who spurned critics of the Long Island City deal, said that Amazon’s Hudson Yard’s announcement should not be seen as a great victory for New York nor Queens in particular.

“This is crumbs from the table compared to a feast,” Cuomo told the Associated Press. “We don’t have a problem bringing businesses to Manhattan but we have been trying for decades to get that Queens waterfront developed.”

State Sen. Michael Gianaris, who has been at odds with Cuomo for some time, viewed Amazon’s latest announcement as a win for New Yorkers.

“Amazon is coming to New York, just as they always planned,” Gianaris said in a statement. “Fortunately, we dodged a $3 billion bullet by not agreeing to their subsidy shakedown earlier this year.”

But Justin Potter, a Long Island City resident who will be challenging Gianaris in the Democratic primary next year, was critical of Gianaris.

Potter tweeted “Do you want a representative who recognizes that 1,500 jobs in Manhattan is not the same as 25,000 jobs in Queens?”

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80 Comments

LIC Res

I feel like there has to be good reasons why they opposed amazon knowing the political backlash they were due to face. It’s rare that you see local elected officials stand up against big corporations. I respect it.

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Gianaris doesn't like math

“Fortunately, we dodged a $3 billion bullet by not agreeing to their subsidy shakedown earlier this year.”…$30 billion in revenue over the first 10 years minus $3 billion tax subsidy equals $27 billion net gain for NYC….please learn math…and that is not including the thousands of employees spending money on rent, dining, and entertainment locally…see ya at the polls Senator!!! Riech & Bolz gonna bitch slap yo’ ass!!!

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Anonymous

Oh, just stop!! There was never going to be $30 billion, and 25,000 jobs, and gold bricks delivered in Amazon boxes to every household at Queensbridge Houses, and every neighborhood children’s cancer would be cured by the benevolent touch of St. Bezos — and we’d all be so happy, HAPPY at last!

None of this was ever, ever going to happen. Those spaces on Vernon will eventually get developed as the market dictates. And yeah, some people will win and others not so much. Sod’s Law. But maybe all these endlessly Pollyanna lollipop dreams of the Amazon fetishists will one day just go poof. And I for one will thank St. Bezos for that.

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typical hysterical progressive

nobody said anything about gold bricks and curing children’s cancer….there was absolutely going to be 25k jobs at the minimum…these projects are planned and funded specifically to meet those goals….sorry to explode your fake progressive narrative and give you a spoiled brat hissy fit….UK just put in a conservative majority to finally make Brexit happen and next on the hit list is the wacko left wing Marxists we have in office here that we are gonna purge out in 2020….see ya at the polls!!!

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Jim

The LIC HQ2 expectation was for 25,000 jobs. I suspect that the people and politicians did not consider the future. What about all the children and grandchildren (and beyond) who would have benefited with HQ2? Too shortsighted IMO.

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Anonymous

When you have to throw in a “what about the grandchildren?” in your argument, you know you’re grasping at straws.

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Gardens Watcher

Amazon is LEASING 335,000 sq. feet of existing office space on Tenth Ave. in Manhattan. Good for NYC, but NO surprise they didn’t get a big tax incentive just for renovating an existing office space.

That’s a big difference from BUILDING a 6-8 million sq.ft. campus on the Queens waterfront. And also meant clearing out the crappy buildings that are there now. Of course the state and city would offer incentives for such a mega-project.

That campus would have been an economic driver and point of pride for Queens. It would have attracted other tech firms and form a tech cluster area with Cornell Tech on Roosevelt Island.

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Citizen

While street vendors must get permits, Amazon has, at no charge, and paying no tax or fine, colonized streets and sidewalks as outdoor fulfillment centers–and, massive sidewalk recycling dumps. Building workers have had their tasks multiplied, and buildings have had to make space for all this stuff that buyers must have delivered. But, after putting small businesses out of business, Amazon pays for nothing. It’s the Bezos business model.

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Problem Solver

Amazon is already heavily city-subsidized. It is a heedless corporation that takes no responsibility for taxing the infrastructure, while expecting New Yorkers to haul it’s garbage. Amazon could add a charge to customers for street parking and policing the mess they make on sidewalks, and garbage removal to their merchandise and pay the city for those currently city-subsidized services.

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DitmarsGuy

Whoa!!! Screw Amazon…EVERYONE (Amazon included) should pay their own fair share of taxes…period. Our city officials should be using whatever money they were willing to give up to Amazon, to fix Queen’s infrastructure. Lay the road down well, and it will be traveled. Why don’ t officials open up a bid system to come up with a plan for the waterfront? Goal should be RETURN ON INVESTMENT. Plenty of smart minds out there that I’m sure could come up with a plan that will benefit Queens and the local community.

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gil

The Highline started with two guys and a logo. It ended with the complete gentrification of the neighborhood with the penultimate insult of Hudson Yards.
I actually enjoy walking the Highline myself, but I recognize that it is a complex project and the founders admit that there were serious flaws in the way it was financed that lead to massively inflated real estate prices all around it.

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Observer

Or it started with the acceleration of interstate trucking and the decline of railway freight usage. To which gentrified neighborhood do you refer and why do you think that the slated removal of the tracks would not have had a similar effect?

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Anon

Look at what happened in Wisconsin with Foxconn. They promised a lot and never delivered. Amazon- how can you trust them when they don’t even pay taxes- would have done the same thing. NYC isn’t hurting for jobs and it’s nice to not have Amazon further gentrify an already gentrified area. They would have been the last nail in the LIC coffin.

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Anonymous

So foolish!! Amazon will not build a new, 600-seat school; it will not build a tech incubator, nor will it build a 10,000-square-feet training facility. It will not build a 3.5-acre public waterfront space; it will not build 260,000 square feet of affordable light industrial space with 25,000 square feet designated for nonprofit arts uses. The 1500 residents of QueensBridge Housing Projects will not be trained and placed in upwardly mobile jobs, nor will the 300 NYCHA residents get career training in cybersecurity, IT and web development. Such a huge win for the community!!

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Gardens Watcher

Thank you for pointing out what Queens lost out on in other economic development and community services.

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It's not UPS or FedEx

They don’t even their train delivery guys, who could hardly be less professional.
Getting past them necessitates running a gauntlet of screaming cursing, & package throwing. So why would they bother to train other minimum wage workers? It’s not cost efficient.

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Counting

Fifteen hundred was the estimated number of high paying jobs that were part of the previous deal.

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Mr. Galikanokus

Lies! It’s all lies! But they’re entertaining lies, and in the end isn’t that the real truth? The answer is no.

In all seriousness, I don’t believe that 1,500 figure for a second. 1,500 people means that they’re going to use a 225 sf/person allowance which hasn’t been used in NYC since the Dutch bought the place back in the day. They’ll probably end up going with a number closer to 125-150 which will yield somewhere around 2,500 people (give or take). Now is this 25,000 jobs? No. However, remember that the HQ2 deal’s deadline for reaching 25,000 jobs* was 1/1/2034. So we’re less than a year from the deal falling apart and we’ve already recovered 10% of the jobs with 14 years to go until the HQ2 deadline.

You guys wanna bitch about the unholy trinity of AOC/JVB/Giannaris costing us jobs and being socialists, fine. But just try to throw in some kind of fact here and there to create the illusion of an informed opinion. The world is more complicated than the Pissed-off-white-trash-conservatives and Hippie-liberal-douche-snowflakes would have you believe.

*If you actually believe Amazon was going to create 25,000 jobs at HQ2, you lack the mental faculties to be a productive member of society and should consider removing yourself from it.

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Gardens Watcher

The fact is that Queens has not benefitted from the tech boom like Manhattan has. Amazon, Facebook, Google and others are expanding in NYC, but the proposed HQ2 in LIC would have been a game changer for Queens.

As for your ridiculous closing rant*: Take your meds, Mr.G.
Might improve your mental stability.

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J hsu

This wasn’t just about job creation. This was about developing an area in LIC that would benefit all the businesses around the area. You don’t think the local economy would have benefitted from having an immediate influx of business? Ask any business owner in that area and I guarantee you they will feel like there was a massive missed opportunity

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Anon

Nope. Seattle has complained about the negative Amazon effect long before they even talked about a HQ2.

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Mr. Galikanokus

Why do you and so many other people talk like Amazon pulling out is the 100% finite end to Anable Basin? It’s not like other firms or developers can’t come in and develop the site into something as good or better than what Amazon had in mind. I wouldn’t be surprised if Amazon walking away goes down in history as being the catalyst that really started the redevelopment of Anable Basin. Firms like TF Cornerstone and Simon Baron Development are already looking at the site. The fact that they’ll actually have to go through a proper plan review process means that the end result will likely be more beneficial to the neighborhood.

Don’t get me wrong, loosing 25,000 ALLEGED jobs is a bitter pill to swallow. I was definitely excited when Amazon announced HQ2 (despite finding the concept of HQ2 absurd), and I was sad when it fell apart. However, it’s not the end of the world, and I don’t for a second doubt that something as good or better can get built in Anable Basin by 2034.

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prove it

show us any facts or proof that they were not going to create 25k jobs….that campus could handle almost double that….and when the recession comes all the mom and pop and smaller chains will go out of business and Amazon will be the only game in town…well just not our town unfortunately….

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Mr. Galikanokus

Well, for one, the fact that they abruptly tucked tail and ran should give you a clue that it was never gonna happen. Seriously, if you’re the CEO of a company and do years of research into how to best grow your company, and it’s determined that creating a massive presence in NYC will be the best outcome, are you gonna just pull the plug because some local politicians gave you a little push-back? Amazon even had the Mayor AND Governor on their side. There were no protests, no threats of boycotts. It was by-and-large a minimal amount of objection. Do you think it’s logical for a company that has a multi-year outlook to abandon ship so quickly? They didn’t even try to exert any political pressure or run a PR campaign to cement public approval (not that they really needed it). For something that was allegedly so crucial to Amazon’s long term success, HQ2 in LIC was abandoned shockingly quickly.

Secondly, if Amazon was going to split the 50,000 HQ2 jobs between LIC and DC, shouldn’t DC be prepping for an additional 25,000 people? Well, according to the Arlington County Board, Amazon has told them to only prepare for the 25,000 that were originally announced. So, just like that, 25,000 jobs that were absolutely going to happen in LIC vanished. That doesn’t strike you as odd, especially in the context of everything else?

Is this undeniable PROOF that it was absolutely never going to happen? No. However, there’s a lot more to suggest that it was never going to happen than that is was going to happen.

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Anonymous

Just wondering why the Queens politicians didn’t ask to negotiate. Maybe Amazon would also have agreed to zero or a lesser tax break if asked instead of bad-mouthing their intentions

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JD

Revisionist? Amazon backed out, they weren’t kicked out. They were not interested in any negotiations or in using union labor.

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gil

Queens pols made it very clear they wanted to negotiate this deal. Unfortunately, they where cut out of the process, along with our community boards and everyone else. Except a couple dozen people who professed their support to Amazon by joining the Steering Committee. Anazon decided to leave Queens rather negotiate with us.

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Jgny

Sick. This is the perfect example of politics gone haywire in New York. Allowing dopes like Cortes anywhere near the financial markets or policy is a recipe for disaster.

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An LIC owner who is angry that HQ2 didn’t happen

Hudson Yards development received $6B in tax subsidies and investment to extend the 7 line. When the HQ2 opponents claim victory it just underlines how ignorant they are. We *could* have had $5B in new construction, 25K jobs, and the creation of a high value technology ecosystem in LIC, which would have generated massive long term economic benefits for the area. This is no victory.

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Melissa

Why is everyone acting like 25,000 non union jobs are a good idea for New York? Amazon makes billions while its employees get no benefits. Also they are trying to develop a mini Manhattan in a quarter of the space. Get the MTA on track first so people can get to their jobs before you create 25,000 more.

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Anonymous

I live in LIC. I would have loved amazon to come here… and pay their damned taxes. There’s no reason they should have been offered those tax breaks. And bezos doesn’t need a helipad, he can take the train like everyone else

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Anonymous

Of course they don’t need the breaks. But when you’re shopping around you’ll take the best deal presented to you. That deal was offered to outbid the other offers from the other cities.

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Gardens Watcher

Amazon has publically stated that the major factor was the talent pool rather than the monetary incentives. For instance, Newark outbid NYC, but Amazon obviously didn’t think potential workers would want to live there.

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Monique

Love AOC and even tho it’s less jobs they may still want to expand more in the future. The foot is in the door!

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Anonymous

It’s not just Amazon jobs…it’s lost business from construction workers, vendors, shops, and other businesses in the local LIC community,

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Anon

LIC isn’t hurting from lost construction worker business. There’s construction on damn near every corner.

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Anonymous

25,000 jobs is great and all, but when the government is effectively paying for it, then it just becomes welfare with extra steps. Also, allowing huge companies to shake down governments sets a dangerous precedent. Regardless: screw Amazon.

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ap

I think the waterfront in LIC is no longer suffering from problems developing it. It is starting to suffer from a lack of supporting infrastructure and affordable housing, and the Amazon deal gave away far too much for what we would have gotten.

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Ak Lic

It’s a sad loss for LIC. We lost whereas Manhattan (already a hub for top companies) got another tech giant.
Shame on our representatives!!

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Gardens Watcher

25,000 minus 1,500 = 23,500. That’s simple math, AOC & Gianaris, and a fraction of what we could have had with an Amazon HQ2. And the number of jobs created for Queens? ZERO. And you’re calling this a win? Maybe a tiny one for the already busy Hudson Yards neighborhood, but NOT for Queens.

Also, the NYTimes reported that it was unclear whether the 1,500 people expected to work at the 10th Avenue building starting in late 2021 would fill newly created positions. So won’t you look at this, AOC: Amazon already employs more than 8,000 employees in NYC. Didn’t you know that?

Amazon told CNBC that the new leased house office space will house employees from its consumer and advertising teams. These kind of jobs are not comparable to the high-paying, high-tech jobs that would have been created with a second Amazon headquarters in LIC. Plus a new campus would have brought construction jobs and other economic development to western Queens, not western Manhattan.

So what is your plan B for jobs here in Queens, AOC & MG? We’re still waiting for your response. JVB is not quoted in this article, so we await his comment too, especially since he’s running for Queens Boro President.

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LIC Resident and Neighbor

Jimmy Van Bramer and Gianaris need to go… never to hold a public office again. They slapped working class people, blacks and latinos and the residents of the LIC NYCHA projects in the face. They said we were not smart enough or our kids were not smart enough to aspire for one of those new 25,000 jobs that would be created or the thousands of construction jobs, or the thousands of service jobs. They killed Amazon , they did this – and they must pay next time you go to the polls remember them, remember what they did to keep us in misery, substandard housing and on the perennial unemployment line.

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RealTalk

Enough about this! Wake up! The LIC HQ2 was never going to happen. To begin with, the site has so many issues it would have taken years before they begin construction. It did not make sense for Amazon to use this site…even with the tax benefits.

Amazon used LIC as a stepping stone to get into NYC–and they used the negative community feedback as a scapegoat. They knew what they were doing all along. Now it’s turned into political stigma. No one blames Amazon but very easily blames AOC, who does not even represent the part of Queens that HQ2 was supposed going to go. Pretty sure they got a sweetheart of a deal on that lease in Hudson Yards. They’ll probably continue to find spaces all over the city slowly but surely.

We need to start thinking about the future. The community leaders and politicians should have a few scenarios in place should another entity want explore that site. It could very well happen. At the end of the day, whomever is building there needs some kind of benefit from NYC/NYS if they are going to redevelop that site.

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Anonymous

Guys amazon is already in Manhattan- 12 stories in herald square , this is not their first property.

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Anonymous

I have so many comments on these local politicians who led to Amazon bailing out earlier this year, but my comments here are in regards to frustration of AOC. She still doesn’t understand that the Amazon deal of providing tax breaks was CONTINGENT on Amazon REALIZING/CREATING those jobs. The political spin she goes on is straight up obnoxious, uninformed and egotistical. If you’re wrong, you’re wrong. Amazon is going to come to NYC no matter what.

If you want to work out a better deal for them to come, do so. Be productive. Don’t be a hater. Do something. Help NYC gain jobs. Help Queens gain jobs. All you’re doing is blocking progress.

AOC, DO YOU WANT JOBS HERE OR NOT?

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Gardens Watcher

As for AOC, The WSJournal reported the Amazon deal on Friday, and AOC put out a cocky tweet posing on a yellow couch that evening — “Me waiting on the haters to apologize…”

What a juvenile stunt! Amazon HQ2 wouldn’t have been in her district anyway, and it was a NY state and NYC deal—having nothing to do with Congress.

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Enough

Not her district–yet still you are obsessed with the woman. Or was it the color of the couch that troubled you?

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Gardens Watcher

I live in her district and expect more substance and maturity, not Trump-like tweets — especially in a week of Impeachment hearings.

I actually like the couch.

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..is enough

If you don’t get the difference between drollery and angry ranting you will always be disappointed.

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Gardens Watcher

She put herself in the hot seat with her tweet, and still doesn’t get it. She doubled down in subsequent tweets and was fairly criticized, but I get it: her staffers and supporters have to mop it up. Enough, Much better discussion on SSP.

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coced

Alexandria doesn’t care one way or the other. For her it’s an opportunity to show off, to show her photo on Twitter and … to show off )) Her and her friends’ favorite hero of all times – V.Lenin – said that in a new state even a cook would be able to govern. That’s what we have right now, no negativity towards a noble profession of cooks ))

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Anonymous

25000 minimum wage jobs, with no benefits. What kinda great deals can come out from Jeff Bezos anyway? Billionaires are billionaires because they are immoral and stingy, not because they are generous.

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B

Software engineers do not make minimum wage. Maybe you are talking about the 10s of thousands of other jobs those highly paid employees would have generated and injected into the Queens economy?

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Mr. Potter

1,500 jobs in 1 year can’t be compared to the possibility of 25,000 jobs over 10 years, with terrible rezoning. Jobs in Hudson Yards (previously empty) are barely different from LIC (an existing community), just a few short subway stops.

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Anonymous

I think they are stupid if they think 1,500 jobs compares to 25,000. Maybe they wanted a kickback to approve the deal in LIC.

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Anthony

Morons. The space the amazing is renting is for sales execs. The space in queens would have been all levels. Thus Headquarters 2!!!! They were going to create a training center to train for coders etc. this was a huge loss for nyc. You know why AOC and others were against it? They wanted amazon in queens but what they wanted was their prints on the deal. They had to be part of it for their political agenda

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Peter Beadle

The stupid part is believing Amazon would actually create that many jobs. There were no guarantees built in to the agreement and this 1,500 is already higher than what jobs would have been supposedly created in the first few years of the LIC Amazon deal. Virginia’s HQ2 rollout is going slowly. Seattle has Amazon interfering in its council races. Don’t be so quick to roll over for a mega corp. And for better/worse there is already another effort underway to develop the waterfront so Cuomo’s concerns are moot.

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Mr. Galikanokus

Holy shit! Someone who actually gets it! This whole HQ2 debacle is so much more complicated that 25,000 alleged jobs. As you pointed out, these were NEVER guaranteed. Amazon getting all of the tax breaks was contingent on generating 25,000 jobs by 2034. However, if Amazon had an ulterior motive (like getting a sweet plot of land on the East River) and never cared about the tax breaks, it wouldn’t have any motivation to create those 25,000 jobs.

I also find it funny that people are getting all upset about a supposed loss of 25,000 jobs. If Amazon actually created this many jobs, they didn’t need to hit that number until 2034. It hasn’t even been a year and Amazon has already announced 1,500 jobs. If they really need a presence in NYC, they’ll develop here with or without HQ2. Let’s put the pitchforks away for a couple of years and see what actually materializes before we mourn the loss of HQ2.

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Gianaris cant count either

Good luck in the primary Justin. We will be voting for you in the hopes of seeing the end of Gianaris and ocasio-cortez.

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LastchancetosaveNYC

PLEASE get out to vote these 2 (AOC and MG) out of office. And do not forget about the other self serving loser JVB who is running for Queens Borough President.

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