Nov. 13, 2018 By Nathaly Pesantez
Local politicians, leaders and community groups will rally tomorrow morning against part of Amazon’s plans to locate its new headquarters to Long Island City.
The rally will take place at 11:30 a.m. at Gordan Triangle, located at 44th Drive and Vernon Boulevard, and directly across from where Amazon is setting out to build a campus spanning millions of square feet in coming years.
Attendees include Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, State Senator Michael Gianaris, and a lineup of nonprofits including Make the Road New York and labor groups like ALIGN, who will speak out against the roughly $3 billion in government subsidies Amazon could be receiving as part of the plan.
The rally, while scheduled since last night, follows Amazon’s official announcement this morning of its plans to build new headquarters in the Queens neighborhood and in Arlington, Va.
The city and state, as part of the formal announcement, said the company will receive around $1.5 billion in state subsidies and potentially millions more in other city and state credits and incentives. The announcement also said that a plan will be put through by the state to rezone the area surrounding Anable Basin to facilitate the headquarters’ buildout.
But the billions in subsidies that could have led to more state revenue, coupled with the state-led plan to effectively rezone the Long Island City sites without binding City Council or local approvals, have led both Van Bramer and Gianaris to reject Amazon in the neighborhood.
“New Yorkers have real unmet needs from their government,” the two said in a joint statement. “Our subways are crumbling, our children lack school seats, and too many of our neighbors lack adequate health care.”
At the rally, the two will say no “to the richest company in the world robbing over $1 billion from state funding,” according to the event flyer.
“Too much is at stake to accept this without a fight,” Gianaris and Van Bramer said.
The statement follows scathing remarks made by the two in the days leading up to the formal announcement, with Van Bramer calling the roll out “an assault on community engagement and consultation on a project that would change the face of Queens.”
Both electeds noted, additionally, that they were not elected to serve as “Amazon drones.”
While the two Long Island City officials are now rebuking Amazon’s plans, both Gianaris and Van Bramer once expressed great enthusiasm for the project, even as the company said in its HQ2 search that economic incentives would be a critical decision driver, and despite past and current outcry from Long Island City residents over lacking infrastructure for such a project.
In response, Van Bramer noted: “It must be said that a billion dollar subsidy, and this rigged process were never contemplated by many of us when we gave early quotes on the bid.”
Gianaris, meanwhile, told the New York Times that he welcomes the 25,000 jobs Amazon will be creating if it means the company will invest in area infrastructure “without us having to pay a ransom for them to be here.”
Apart from the two politicians, a host of electeds have come out against the project or have shared concerns about its proceedings and resulting billions in state subsidies to Amazon, including City Speaker Corey Johnson, Assemblymember Aravella Simotas (D-Astoria), Council Member Costa Constantinides and Congressmember-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Assemblymember Catherine Nolan, meanwhile, released a statement today in strong support of the project in her district.
”Long Island City has been the beating heart of New York City since the modern city began at the turn of the last century,” she said. “With this announcement, our community is again poised to be the most successful mixed use neighborhood in New York.”
She added that people will be reverse commuting with Amazon’s presence in the area, and that many will elect to live in Long Island City–both measures that in part could offset infrastructure concerns.
Nolan’s stance, however, has raised eyebrows among constituents who recalled her opposition to large developments in Long Island City and criticism of the area’s strained infrastructure, even taking to denouncing the city’s prior plans to build where Amazon will be placing its headquarters, and going as far as to demand a “moratorium” on new buildings in the area recently.
Amazon’s plan includes building out a 4 million square foot campus around Anable Basin over 10 years that could expand to a total of 8 million square feet within 15 years. The company is also expected to build out public space, artists work studios, a school and manufacturing space as part of the deal with the city and state.
Amazon will be temporarily occupying 1 million square feet at One Court Square as the buildout at Anable Basin happens, a company spokesperson said to the LIC Post.
Jimmy VAn just mad he wasnt relevant in any of this. He is a small fish and doesnt matter. This is over his head. Call him if you need a new stop sign or something in the community. Amazing idiot politicians rally for illegals to be allowed in with their babies who bring zero to society, and rally again because a compaany once to be here and employ people . They may be tech jobs sooooo,…. hmmmm maybe go educate yourself.. Sorry no handout jobs for the people getting government assistance.. Lets see, wont these employees also frequent all the local mom and pop stores that are struggling to survive??
I hope this site stays on this subject because once Jimmy Van Bramer, and Michael Gianaris get “donations” you will not hear a word out of them. All pols (red/blue) are in it for the money and nothing else. I hope I’m wrong and they take it to court and block it, but I think the other two idiots (mayor/gov) already finished the deal.
Where will the children of the 25k go to school? What medical care will they will require? Is Amazon providing that? Is it building anything for the community or to integrate into the community?
The glass canyon constructed in the last few years was accomplished by builders who conferred no benefits on the area, which has none of the services and conveniences and institutions of a neighborhood. How would Amazon city be different? the impact on Seattle could be a clue.
The difference is that Seattle is a city of 750,000 and Amazon is 50,000 and New York is 8million and it will be 25,000 staff over the next 10 years. So the city has time to plan.
Common sense is not that common anymore
Good things are bad.
Bad things are also bad.
Please proceed accordingly.
So wait! This wioo bring thousands of jobs, Tons if union construction jobs and related businesses and these guys are against it. Look the the future – it’s not manufacturing or empty land by the water – it’s tech. And New Yoirk should be a leader.
Do you take the subway? It’s mayhem now only to get worse!
The rush hour commute to Amazon HQ2 is in the reverse direction if many of these folks lived in Manhattan. If they lived local, zero impact on the 7 train during rush hr.
yes it wioo
JOBS are not promised for the community if you didn’t know. Most construction lately has been non-union with little or NO BENEFITS if you hadn’t noticed the UNION RAT by the FORMER Five Pointz Construction. It is a BAD DEAL all around. CORPORATE WELFARE. You give them your money but leave the TAXPAYERS MONEY ALONE !!!!!!!!!!!!
Agreed, we should reject the millions and millions of dollars in tax breaks billionaire developer Trump gave his fellow million- and billionaires.
You’d never support him right?
Why this sense of entitlement? Last time I checked, best qualified gets the job, not the guy that lives closest to the office.
I was born in NYC. Most of the people I know were not. Go back to Ohio, Europe, and South America. This is my city.
Where was Van Bramer when all those high rises went up. That is what is burdening the infrastructure. Maybe Amazon employees will use those underutilized bike lanes he put all over the neighborhood.
The only reason Van Bramer is organizing this is probably because the grease did not reach his wheels; his pockets are light considering the biggest company in the world is moving in Vam Bramer’s “territory.”
Nasty, cynical comments about our council representative are not supportive of the community, nor do they suppport a common bond as we face a behemoth. Perhaps a futre of helicopters taking elites to and from Hampton weekend vacation spots, or homes upstate is what you envision for our area. Van Bramer needs our support.
Hey guys! Lets have a rally on a weekday when no one can show up!! Yaaay! Seeee Dems… I’m in your corner… Vote Quimby – I mean VanBramer.
It’s time to get rid of Van Bramer, we need someone how can see the future of LIC. Over 300 cities wanted Amazon, why? And now they want to say that the infrastructure can’t handle it. This has been an ongoing issue for years and with all the new developments and tons more on the horizon where were the protest? So why now? Also, what else has Jimmy done for LIC? Crime is up, streets are not clean, homelessness is up. Vernon mall is a mess. No police enforcement in the neighborhood. Times up Jimmy, it’s time for some new blood and a better future. Let’s move forward.
The very same politicians and community leaders who are so in favor of illegal immigration into the country, and let’s be honest, are a financial burden. Are so against 25K + well paying jobs that will bring millions in revenue into the city and state coffers. what a bunch of hypocrites
Long Island City is awful. There is no there there. It is a post-industrial shitscape now cluttered with generic high rises situated on exit ramps. The capacity of the Court Square transit hub was exceeded several years ago and the traffic anywhere near the 59th St bridge entrances is forever clogged with horn blasting trucks. Imagine the impact of the L train closure and the Amazon HQ2 on all of this?
Totally disagree. The 25,000 high paying jobs , and the taxes they will pay for many years will make it worth it. Hundreds of cities wish they had this. I already know young college students excited about applying there.
NYC already has many high paying jobs and industries. We aren’t in a job crunch here. This isn’t creating net new 25,000 jobs for locals. The people who Amazon is looking to hire already have jobs in the tech sector. So they will be people hired from other companies or moved from their Washington state HQ, or H1B workers who have the skills.
Skip you are so wrong.
1) You can NEVER have enough good jobs.
2) The main reasons Amazon chose NYC is because of our great schools like Cornell Tech in Roosevelt Island which will provide future tech workers.
3) Many of the locals (like me) that won’t qualify for the Amazon tech jobs will benefit from the $2.5 billion Amazon will spend in development which will create many good paying construction jobs and the projected 5,000 to 10,000 service jobs (restaurants, hotels, grocery stores, etc) that will be created from Amazon’s presence.
4) Many locals like me won’t directly benefit from Amazon today but have children that could benefit from Amazon jobs tomorrow.
JT, your comment shows a naivete that’s too much even for this board. Please don’t tell me you actually believe the drivel you have written.
they’ll push the locals out of their homes and into the East River
25,000 High paying jobs…I doubt that.
They state an average salary of 150K.
What if 10 executives there make 700 million?
Then you have 10,000 making minimum wage at 15 per hour.
Amazon says the average salary will be 150K and people think there will be 25,000 jobs paying that much. That is fantasy
They are opening a 2nd Amazon headquarters in LIC which is for executives. Yes the top executives will earn millions but the average Amazon tech executive earns around $100k salary. The $15 minimum employees will work at the new Amazon distribution center located at the former Bulova building in Woodside.
Ahhh but who cares about the facts!!!!
Apparently you have no idea of how much tech companies pay their entry level software engineers. 150k is very reasonable.
20 years ago LIC was full of stripjoints, topless hookers and junkies but the local politicians never held a rally or complained. Today Amazon wants to bring 25,000 jobs to LIC and politicians are “concerned” and angry . Gotta love these useless politicians!
25,000 high wage jobs plus all the service jobs that it will produce and people want to rally against that!!! Are u effin kidding me?
No to jobs! Yes to welfare!
Mr. JVB is lying he was all for this in the beginning and they proof because it is in writing so he should stop with his lying. Just look in “Queens Crap” and everything is there from beginning to end.
the biggest joke is the job training for the projects. they’d be better off handing out Amazon Gift Cards!
No to tech nerd hipsters making robots to replace workers
Let me get this straight!!!
Over 200 cities competed for Amazon jobs and LIC won half them which will give us 25,000 high wage jobs and probably another 5,000 to 10,000 service jobs. Now these local politicians don’t want them.
Shame on you Van Bramer!
Shame on you Gianaris!
*yawn* screw the liberals and ovasio socialists with the same complaints about how progress and jobs are bad. SO BAD!!!
Amazons got cash and jobs so welcome Amazon, glad to have you!!
Jeff Bezos is a democrat though.
So “the left” is both creating progress and jobs, AND against progress and jobs? You Trumpeters aren’t great at logic.
This “GIVEAWAY”MUST BE STOPPED !!!!!!!!! We need that money for Transportation, Schools, Roads etc… STOP AMAZON PLEASE
Its not a give away, its 10% to 12% off the new taxes that would not be collected it the project was never done. You already have 100% of nothing. I wish people who don’t understand would stop staying stupid thing!
Common sense is not that common anymore
Jess Bezos promised me he’d build a bowling alley here if I signed up for Prime
Whether Amazon is here or not, the subway system still sucks, homeless population still rising. NYC real estate still expensive. Oh yea, and the LIC library is still under construction and probably will be by the time Amazon announces HQ3. The real protest should be at all of these progressive politicians for spending too much time spewing fairy tales and less time solving real NYC issues.
Van Bramer & Gianaris policies!!!
YES to homeless shelters & neighborhood prisons!
NO to 25,000 jobs and self-dependence!
Where is the logic???
It’s not about the jobs, Jobs are good. the point is fighting against the 1.5 BILLION given away to bring them to an already overburdened LIC. They could have gone to another part of NYC.
Queens is finally the hippest borough. Imagine that Brooklyn! The bridge and tunnel crowd will now be coming from Manhattan.
The majority of the subsidies that Amazon will get is PERFORMANCE BASED meaning that Amazon will have to first come here, build, occupy and hire in order to get it. On top that, Amazon is projected to conservatively generate $10 billion in DIRECT tax revenue to NY and probably double that amount indirectly through economic activity. Stop listening to the IDIOTS and read the fine print.
It’s called political job security!
Keep the voters down and dependent on you.