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Reactions Pour in After Amazon’s Stunning Decision to Drop Long Island City Campus

An aerial view of Anable Basin, where Amazon planned on building new headquarters. (Kevin P. Coughlin/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)

Feb. 14, 2019 By Nathaly Pesantez

A deal brokered three months ago that named Long Island City home to one of Amazon’s newest campuses has now collapsed after the company called off its plans earlier today in a striking announcement met with both exaltation and fury across the spectrum.

The Seattle-based company, in a lengthy statement published just before midday, said it decided not to move forward with its plans for Queens because of the opposition it faced, especially from city and state officials.

“While polls show that 70% of New Yorkers support our plans and investment, a number of state and local politicians have made it clear that they oppose our presence and will not work with us to build the type of relationships that are required to go forward with the project we and many others envisioned in Long Island City,” the company said, adding that it was “disappointed to have reached this conclusion.”

Reactions to the decision were swift, coming in from activist groups that vocally opposed the deal and basked in its demise, to real estate industry experts stunned at the lost opportunities, to officials who either blamed Amazon for its own decision or pointed fingers at the politicians that were sharply critical of the project.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said, “you have to be tough to make it in New York City,” and that Amazon, rather than work with the community, “threw away that opportunity.”

Governor Andrew Cuomo, who Amazon said it was “deeply grateful” to along with de Blasio for heralding the deal since the start, said the company’s decision comes after “a small group of politicians put their own narrow political interests above their community.”

While not naming the “group of politicians,” central to HQ2 opposition efforts were State Sen. Mike Gianaris and Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, which represent the area Amazon was planning on locating its Queens campus.

State Senator Michael Gianaris at the “No to Amazon” rally on Nov. 15. (Photo: Nathaly Pesantez)

Both Gianaris and Van Bramer celebrated the deal’s collapse, with Gianaris believing that the surprise decision demonstrated Amazon would have been “a bad partner” for the city, and Van Bramer noting that the news is “a victory.” He would later say that Amazon chose to leave rather than adapt to concerns laid out by him and other critics of the plan.

The responses were similar to those given by a number of organizing activist groups, mostly based in Queens, that fought hard for the deal to be scrapped on the grounds that it circumvented local review and gave away too much in tax incentives to the company; that it would fuel gentrification; and the e-commerce giant’s labor record and business dealings with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, among other concerns.

In a joint statement, groups like ALIGN, CAAV, Make the Road and Chhaya CDC quipped that the announcement, made on Valentine’s Day, is a “It’s not us, it’s you” message from New Yorkers to the company.

“This victory is a clear demonstration of the power of workers and communities across Queens and New York who came together and are fighting for a city that works for us and not for billionaires like Bezos,” the groups said. “We will continue fighting for real investment for good jobs, affordable housing, NYCHA, and transit in our communities and we will continue to stand in solidarity and support of other cities and communities facing Amazon and Bezos’s bullying tactics.”

The groups had recently canvassed and collected hundreds of signatures at the Queensbridge Houses in a “No Amazon Day of Action,” an event followed days later by a press conference where a number of tenant association presidents from public housing complexes in Queens and other area leaders spoke to their interest in seeing the project thrive, and rebuked the outright rejection to the plan.

The activist organizations also gathered at Gordon Triangle on Vernon Boulevard, close to where Amazon had sited the Long Island City and where a large anti-Amazon rally was held in November after the HQ2 announcement, this afternoon in a celebratory rally. The groups will also be at Diversity Plaza in Jackson Heights later this evening for another victory rally.

The Hunters Point rally was also attended by members of the The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, which had denounced Amazon’s anti-union stance and was critical of Amazon’s choice to pull out from the project rather than engage in efforts to allow its employees to unionize.

New York’s real estate sector bemoaned the reversal, especially after Amazon’s Long Island City campus announcement fueled the market and even “sparked a condo frenzy.” The Real Estate Board of New York said the decision means, “we have lost out on an opportunity to create tens of thousands of jobs for city residents and generate billions of dollars in tax revenue to fund vital services.”

“Nevertheless, New York City is still open for business and will retain its status as a world class center for tech and innovation,” said John H. Banks, REBNY president.

Eric Benaim, the CEO of the Long Island City-based Modern Spaces, and a fervent supporter of HQ2, said Amazon’s decision is a mistake.

“Because of this decision, 25,000 jobs were lost, 25,000 people won’t be able to afford groceries and 25,000 people will potentially remain unemployed,” he said. He last created a petition about one week ago that has since gained about 3,900 signatures in support of the Long Island City campus.

While he previously expressed fears that Amazon’s departure due to opposition would scare other companies away and dent the market, he noted things will operate “business as usual after this news passes.”

“…The real estate market was hot well before Amazon announced HQ2 and it will stay hot well after,” he said. “LIC was named the fastest growing city in the country and it will only continue to grow in the years to come.”

The LIC Partnership, which works to bolster economic development in the neighborhood and vouched for the campus, said the news was a “tremendous disappointment,” but noted that the spotlight on Long Island City shows its potential for future development and growth.

“On the brighter side, the world is getting to see what Long Island City has to offer as a home for great companies and great people,” the partnership said.

In the wake of the bombshell announcement, many sought comment from Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, whose progressive platform and popularity has worked to shifted the party and its members since she defeated former Rep. Joe Crowley in a primary last year.

Her hard-no stance on Amazon and criticisms over the corporation’s record are believed to have fueled the vocal opposition seen by electeds like Van Bramer, Gianaris and others, many who initially signed a letter in 2017 urging the company to consider New York for its new campus.

“Anything is possible: today was the day a group of dedicated, everyday New Yorkers & their neighbors defeated Amazon’s corporate greed, its worker exploitation, and the power of the richest man in the world,” she said on Twitter.

In response to a reporter’s tweet on whether her impact on the crumbled Amazon deal was being overrated, she said: “I think so. Grassroots community members led + organized the whole effort. Wouldn’t have happened if they weren’t there.”

Amazon had planned on building a campus spanning 4 million square feet, with the potential for more, at Anable Basin some time in 2020, when the state approvals process it was going through to rezone the waterfront blocks was expected to conclude.

Location for the now-scrapped Amazon campus in Long Island City (EDC)

Some of the lots under consideration are publicly owned, while the private lots are owned by Plaxall, the plastics manufacturer based in Long Island City. Both the city and Plaxall had separate plans to bring two large developments to the properties, but scrapped the plans once Amazon selected the parcels for its campus project.

“We’re extremely disappointed by this decision,” said Paula Kirby, Tony Pfohl and Matthew Quigley, managing directors of the company, in a joint statement. ” Since our grandfather opened Plaxall’s doors on the waterfront seven decades ago, our family has believed in the overwhelming promise of Anable Basin and Long Island City as centers of productivity and innovation. We continue to believe that today.”

It is unclear what will become of the prime city and Plaxall-owned lots. Plaxall declined to comment on whether it would pursue its prior plans that called for up to 5,000 apartments, including a 695-foot tower, at the basin.

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179 Comments

Rory Sunnyside

Jimmy Van Bramer and Mike Gianaris will always be remembered as the politicians that took away 25,000 jobs for NYC.
I live in Sunnyside and have yet to meet anybody that’s happy about Amazon leaving. Even my most liberal friends can’t believe that Gianaris and Bramer didn’t even try to negotiate better terms. In fact, Amazon tried contacting Gianaris on three separate occasions but he didn’t respond. Cuomo and De Blasio would have done anything to save this deal but Gianaris didn’t even want to take the Amazon call and possibly re-negotiate more favorable terms.
What a shame!

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WhyYouMadLandlords?

Cheer up landlords. There’s still plenty of time to start buying up property in Arlington.

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No Victim

This was a watershed moment in New York City history. New York City, once the Financial Capital of the World is now a joke. Of course this will lead to a significant decline here in Long Island City.

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No I

How? Jet Blue is there and there’s Luxury rentals everywhere. Hipster stores are opening and closing. Rather melodramatic aren’t you?

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LIC resident

Van Bremmer and Gianaris have stood to the side and benefited immensely from unchecked and unplanned development all over LIC in the last decade, but all of a sudden they are champions of the little guy. Hilarious. Van Bremmer wants to be mayor and is making his play. Anyone who has lived in LIC for the past decade has gotten a first hand view how much commitment they have to building a thriving, diverse community. How little beyond words they have done to build schools. But not to worry, LIC will have a library that may be done by 2050.

Queens will not attract major employers to the neighborhood without incentives, that’s just the reality. JetBlue is a unique case that is not easily repeated. And most importantly for those high fiving right now – Van Bremmer and Gianaris and others will do nothing to make your day to day life more affordable. There is no plan for the future, just reactionary politics to score points.

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D.

Competing to offer incentives against other communities with less real world, existing incentives–poorer transportation options, cultural attractions, sheer excitement–not to mention great restaurants–was foolish. Cuomo and our mayor should be ashamed of their poor judgement and willingness to sell out working people for potential financial backers–Bezos and friends would be sure to reward them.
We dodged a bullet. More like a bomb.
Real estate voices here and elsewhere have only greed as a value–community be damned.

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Fonda Peters

The plan is to bring back small business entrepreneurship: squeegee men to the Plaza, prostitutes to 44 Drive, and rub & tug joints to Vernon. Get rid of Starbucks, Chipotle, to be replaced by empty storefronts with the pungent odor of urine wafting though-out empty subway stations with platforms filled with homeless. Now thats the LIC I remember not so long ago. Lets all sing “I luv New York!!!”

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from Sunnyside

Thank god all your embarrassing groveling was for nothing. We’d give them another 3 billion were it up to you bootlickers. And good riddance to the muggers.

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🚨 JVB Cheerleader Alert 🚨

from Sunnyside is a troll and a Jimmy Van Bramer cheerleader. Don’t bother with this chump.

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JT

“From Sunnyside” responds to every post at every hour of the day. It’s obvious he is on little Jimmy Van Bramer’s payroll. He is a paid supporter. Just ignore him.

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We messed up, big time

it was mostly sunnyside and astoria, jackson heights that put this uneducated woman into office. As a resident in Sunnyside, I sincerely apologize to you all.

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AlmadeCubano

As a resident of Jackson Heights, let me repeat myself: Joe Crowley was a corrupt dog, a thief who constantly transferred our tax dollars to his family members in all kinds of ways. (Google: “corrupt joe crowley” and educate yourself.)

Alexandria is not a thief, and I’m tired of being robbed by old white democrats. I have nothing to apologize for, and neither do my neighbors who voted using their intelligence either.

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anon

I’m certain that you and the give me free stuff voters like you used the full measure of your intelligence.

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AlmadeCubano

So you don’t have the stones to use your name? You know what you can kiss, you Crowley sucker.

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AlmadeCubano

Speaking of give me free: why don’t we give $3 Billion to the richest man on earth. You are one silly person, Anon. I have to assume the “alcohol” part did this to your ability to think.

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Luis

You’re an IDIOT! We were never going to give Amazon $3 billion. You are financially illiterate. You’ve been bamboozled by little Jimmy Van Job Killer, Mike the Rat Gianaris and the bartender Cortez. BTW in a year from now, Cortez will make Crowley look like an altar boy!

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Grandpa, its over

my grandfather always said vote democrat, they’re for the working man & woman.

now im voting republican.

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Jack Knauf

No good. You need vote Democrat. We need more free stuff! You work hard, pay taxes, then I get more free stuff! Very good system. Yes

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Anonymous

If anything, LIC is not “stagnant.” Where have you been for the past 30 years? You and many of the other commenters have no idea what you’re talking about in your characterizations of the neighborhood.

Want to know why the deal blew up? It’s not because of AOC, socialists, communists, or the Red Hand. The fact is that Amazon worked secretly with a couple of sneaky politicians to scam taxpayers to subsidize their project and skip over any environmental review by the local community or to be held responsible for any negative effects of their development, which would be a horrendous breach of how we get things done in NYC. There’s no shortage of developers who (albeit, reluctantly) go through the process in the normal way and have their proposals vetted. That’s how it should work. The fact that Amazon chose to run away shows you how they play: sleazy, manipulative and not to be trusted.

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Meredith

What is the alternative? The plan that was in place was for more luxury housing. No jobs.
I think you ft them here then unionize sndget local investment. 3 billion discount on 20 billion into our tax budget? I wan Ok with that. We are facing budget cuts. Our schools need $$. Our city pensions party half salary to a cop who works 20 years FOR LIFE. So maybe for 30-50 years.. it’s bankrupting us. And our kids. It was not ideal but better than another glass tower with $4,000 rent apts…

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No I

So you’re hoping Amazon will keep its promise? You would do business without anyone without a contract? Small businesses provide the bulk of jobs not Amazon. Why did Amazon run away? They didn’t want to be asked hard questions. Bezos is arrogant and like Foxconn that received tax incentives to build factories hasn’t built one factory.

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Time for change

Amazon reached out to Gianaris multiple times in order to try and negotiate a better deal but he didn’t even take their call. Gianaris is a flip-flopping, grandstanding politician!

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The protesters have been hoodwinked!

Where is the $3 BILLION that Gianaris & Bramer said we were going to give away to Amazon? They fed the people lies and the protesters are financially illiterate.

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Some Ruin for All

So some wouldn’t benefit from Amazon and some might even get priced out of the neighborhood so they killed the whole thing. The result is the majority takes the loss in lieu. No jobs, no growth, and the area stays stagnant to appease the few. It’s kind of like universal background checks for firearms where most Americans want them but a few oppose them and hence they don’t happen. While no one wants to see people priced out is there not a better way then halting progress? Most people want to work. Jobs are good. Nothing is perfect but not doing anything is a lousey option. LIC is still in need of development, especially the water front, and this was a huge step forward that was destroyed by some elected officials. This is the result of pandering and identity politics, nothing, which we can all enjoy now.

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Warlock ShaAam!

Identity politics is right. AOC will be re-elected because the Bronx is Puerto Rican and they identify with her. No accountability for killing 25,000 jobs and gloating about it. That’s why white people in Bayside elected a Republican pagan wizard (Dan Halloran) over the Korean Democrat.

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Religious Intolerance

Paganism is a spiritual path no different from Judaism or Catholicism. You not following it or knowing of it gives you no right to berate it. I don’t know of Holloran’s beliefs and I suspect you comments are more race motivated then religious but none the less they’re inappropriate.

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Rod Gozinya

AOC is good. Yes. She get us more free stuff. That very good. Need more people to work very hard to pay the tax so more free stuff. I want to live by water. Too many rich people here. They must go so I can live by water. America very good.

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LIC Resident

WOW so much activity on here. Anyway this is no big deal. Amazon is going to continue to increase their workforce in New York.

The only difference is there won’t be a headquarter with additional high paying jobs. Those $15 an hour jobs still exist, so no worries.

Amazon already have warehouses in Queens. I’m sure someone else will swoop in to take over Anabel Basin.

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AlmadeCubano

Actually Detroit is not a state. And it’s local representatives had nothing to do with the US auto industry transferring production overseas. All of the representatives you mention were elected in fair elections, so they did receive the majority of votes cast.

So everything you say is laughably incorrect.

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Simple explanation. Read. Learn.

Shop owner buys an item for $20.
He repriced it sell at $100.
Customer asks for a discount of $30 making the purchase price $70 and landing a profit of $50.
AOC, Giannaris, and JVB step in and kick the customer out.
They then demand the shop owner to pay the city the $30 that was being discounted to the customer.
The shop owner has no money because they kicked the customer out.
You understand the difference between a discount and money that you have in your pocket?

Our politicians do not.

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AlmadeCubano

Amazon pays no taxes. Never has; never will. You can check the SEC filings if you think I’m making this up, the way you made your post up.

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Hugh Jorgin

Yes Get rid of the rich people from the towers. Make towers for poor peoples. Make rich peoples pay the tax. I no want to pay tax. No good for me to pay the tax. I want to be in the towers no pay tax. AOC make this happen

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Anonymous

Hmmmm, so what? It generates jobs where people pay income taxes and efficiently runs a corporation that gives share holders profits. The more profitable it is the more the shareholders profit (which could be you if you thought of tomorrow and invested today), and additionally more jobs created. Oh and more jobs and profits means more taxes collected by the city.

Last thing, store front retail isn’t coming back in any substantive way. I drive to 5 places and find they don’t have my size or style. I’ve created traffic, and inefficiency. I log into one site that has every retailer, I find what I want and it’s delivered to my door. No ones going back to old way. Retail needs to adapt or die.

Amazon only exists because due to technological evolution everyone has the internet in their pocket and it’s useful. It works, unlike our local leaders. I like many others look forward to their political downfalls

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Diane

Loud, hairy, slack-jawed, psuedointellectual creatures also known as New Yorkers tossed their votes to the duh-doys of deBlasio and Cuomo – they should be so proud.

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brooklynmc

Bezos and his inflated ego need to go somewhere where the populace will be more star struck and kiss his butt, like Nashville.

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John Gillooly

The above article when quoting Ms Ocasio-Cortez neglected to mention that the she said the 3 billion can now be used for trains and jobs and affordable housing. Really There was no hard cash it was soft dollars in the form of tax breaks. Talk about a wasted education at BU, she was elected and we certainly deserve her.

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stan chaz

What did NYC lose?
We lost an undemocratic backroom deal that would have brought a union-busting behemoth here while providing the richest man in the world with corporate welfare and a helipad.
Amazon acted like a big bully who refused to play ball with the community and then took the ball and walked away.
Good riddance. LIC is , was, and will be booming with or without the Amazon. Presumably Bezos is not accustomed to people and politicians standing up to him and rightfully telling him that if you come here you play by our rules. We don’t need or want a Bezos bully in the china shop.
Instead of listening working and negotiating with the community, Amazon prefers backroom deals that ignore the people and their local elected representatives, just as it prefers to squash its workplace unions.
The arrogant actions of Amazon and their refusal to positively respond or even acknowledge valid community concerns and criticism have shown us that it would not have been a good neighbor in the first place – bad for worker’s rights, bad for democracy and democratic input, and definitely bad for the free market.
Apparently Cuomo forgot the we had elected a new progressive legislature, and that the dynamics of power in this State have changed .
No longer does Cuomo have the undisputed power to impose
his secret backroom “3 men in a room” decisions on the State.
In the Amazon deal he tried to bypass the public, and failed.
I hope he learned his lessons.
For democracy may indeed be messy and difficult,
but it’s far better than the lure of quick & easy undemocratic alternatives.

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What you dont know can hurt you

You realize there are incentives in place to lure big companies to the outer boroughs?
So when the world’s largest company knocks on the door you negotiate. If someone tells you that they can generate 27 billion dollars for your state and city, you can cut them a break on 3 billion in taxes.
If your boss gives you a 100k bonus, you are ok to buy them a nice thank you card. Job generation is the name of the political game and we can’t afford to let ego get in the way. I have created hundreds of jobs and some of them are earmarked for my kids. Nepotism. So I don’t have to worry about them. What will your kids do?

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Anonymous

Hey Stan Chaz, democracy is messy but anarchy is messier. Will every deal require the sign off of every citizen and illegal resident of the city? Who were you and the protestors to think you spoke for NY’ers. Our democratically elected mayor and governor actually worked together and landed a great deal for a non-Manhattan centric project. We can’t get our local politicians to clean our streets or get real passing grades out of our local schools, instead they lower the passing grades and solicit homeless shelters that cost 4K a month per room. But suddenly for some media moments they want to be leaders!?

There’s a real growing disgusted sentiment amongst moderates in NY that are fed up with the extreme right and left wing in our city and country.

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Anonymous

How could they not know amazon was potentially setting up headquarters in LIC. Everyone knew it was a possibility along with every other city that vied for them. That’s absurd

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Chris Hawk

I can’t blame Amazon. Any sane city and or local government would have taken this deal in a heartbeat. But you can thank the imbecile “activists” and the pandering self serving politicians for loosing over 25000 well paying jobs and thousands of satellite jobs that would have been created by them. Disgusting.

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brooklynmc

Just for the record, NYC did handstands for them. Gave them billions, awesome land and a helicopter port. Coming from the West Coast, they should be able to handle some activists and a couple of ego inflated politicians.

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Bye Bye Bezos

Sorry Bezos but you could have done better. So rich but you can’t afford to buy New York’s love.

Not all of us make it in this city.

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U mad bro?

Amazon is super cheap!!!! This is sad actually, their corporate structure allows teams to compete with eachother by saving the company the most money and getting the most in return. That’s why they have a terrible culture.

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U mad because realestate value went down

True story though, most of the people who are mad are the ones who own overly priced property in the area. I mean I would be to, but we live in NYC and this is a renter dominated city.

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Laughing at the greedy bastards

Exactly! Everyone complaining either is in real estate or owns property. Just greedy people. They never cared about the jobs, but about their bottom line

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Amazon is cheap

I really don’t get it? If amazon would have wanted to stay they would have invested their petty cash into creating a campaign to give back to the community? Right?

The real winner here! Amazon because of all the free PR.

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CW

Holy sh*t your logic and reasoning are atrocious. It’s really annoying when people who just spout nonsense try to speak up because they have not read sh*t or understand how anything works. It is literally insanity and narcissism.

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V of R

They did do that. I got a piece of mail every week explaining how they were going to be good neighbors and their programs for the community. JVB just got his 4’9” feelings hurt and didn’t care. End of story.

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Angry of queens

This is the quote from Gianaris in the Guardian from the man who is proud that he threw away 25,000 jobs and didn’t even meet with amazon despite requests:
A community that was facing its own demolition was salvaged. And New York took a stand against the type of corporate subsidies that are increasing the wealth concentration in this country,” Gianaris said.

He has to be held accountable for his lies.

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What now?

What will happen to the Anable Basin now that Amazon is out of the picture? What is Giannaris and Bramer’s plan?

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JM

Amazon pulled up stakes and said “later” and who do we have to thank for that State Sen. Mike Gianaris and Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer and all those organizations that spoke for “all of LIC” thank you for costing NYC not just Queens 25,000 jobs, 25,000 lost revenues, 25,000 men and women who don’t have earning potential, 25,000 families who lost the opportunities that came along with those jobs, was the deal a little cockeyed of course it was and when you think about it those 3billion everyone is talking about, that wasn’t really monies but tax breaks, monies we were never going to see or ever use. So now LIC will have a empty lot sitting in a empty district surrounded by empty and semi empty stores. Thank you State Sen. Mike Gianaris and Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer for such a colossal screwup.

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jose sanchez

I thank you for this comment everything you say is true with elected official like van bramer and gianaris all this job has vanish they don’t worry because they have there
job secure I will still collecting my unemployment check I was hopping to get a job on
amazon but not thank to those two

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Jack

Not to mention the ideologue from the 14th District claiming some sort of victory, the Congressperson who has been in office for all of ONE MONTH, yet has continuously dictated policy from a position of sublime ignorance. Having antagonized Jeff Bezos, “the richest man in the world” (a label that cannot be authenticated), she returns to DC, where Bezos happens to own the Washington Post. I’d make popcorn, but it won’t be pretty.

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A non poor millenial

But I love them! Because unlike other politicians, they listen to their people not billionaires.

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Concerned LIC citizen

Jimmy Van Bramer spent OVER a hundred million dollars and 5 YEARS (and counting) to develop the ugly library in LIC. This project is a fraud! This man is a fraud. The FBI needs to investigate this ASAP!

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Rory Sunnyside

I will gladly place an “anonymous” call to them. Anything to get rid of that little flip-flopper.

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Disgusted in LIC

Let’s be real. It was Giannaris and Van Bramer who refused to come to the table to work our the issues which they accused Amazon of creating despite numerous invitations from Amazon. They were non cooperative throughout the whole process and want to blame Amazon for not wanting to communicate in good faith. They advanced their political agendas at the expense of their constituents.

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Do you even live in LIC?

Feel like we are getting a lot of hate, but not sure if it’s coming from locals or outsiders

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Flushing Skeptic

A very sad state of affairs, no matter which way you look at it. Yes, gentrification probably would have bee accelerated, but it has been going on for years at a moderate pace in LIC; the major loss that I see is 25,000 jobs down the tubes. Even if 10% of those jobs were to current Amazon honchos, that’s still more than 20,000 jobs for the area and the company would have been forced to improve the infrastructure. Nevertheless, a deal that would provide another $3 BILLION tax break for Amazon, even if over the years, was, to me, disgraceful. Here is a company that paid $0 in corporate US taxes in 2018 and yet made $9 BILLION in profit. You may understand that I am very ambivalent about this whole matter, and I tend to think of Gianaris’ and van Bramer’s attitudes as somewhat similar to Trump’s petulance about his stinking wall! Not that I am ambivalent about that. He should take every slat and stick it where the sun don’t shine! I’m just sorry for what I consider to be a tremendous loss for the future of LIC.

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Sara Ross

Big corporations (along with greedy landlords) have destroyed small, neighborhood businesses. People have been talking about salaries in the range of $120,000-$150,000. Did all of these people think that if they got jobs working there, that’s what they would be making?? Nope. Time to support neighborhood businesses and for politicians to start caring about these business owners and helping them out – not some billionaire with more tax benefits than is deserved.

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Angry of Queens

Cos neighborhood businesses bring in $28billion in tax revenue. Get real! Local businesses are great but you need major employers aswell and Queens right now hasn’t got many of them.

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WHY GIANARIS? WHY BRAMER?

Why didn’t these Mickey Mouse politicians re-negotiate a better deal? I’m 100% sure that Cuomo/Deblasio/Amazon would have allowed more concessions in order to get Gianaris and Bramer on board. 25,000 good jobs are going somewhere else. These clowns have to go!

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AlmadeCubano

Cuomo is a corrupt moron. If he was working on Amazon’s side, it was because they offered to “contribute” millions to his already disgustingly full campaign warchest.

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No Coumo

Agree! This amazon announcement also conveniently happened after his re-election. Otherwise a lot of people would not have voted for him.

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MitchC

I guess you all won’t be happy until we are all, standing in bread lines, waiting weeks for medical care, spending half our lives in traffic, getting shot on subway platforms, getting sucker punched in the street and oh yea, not working for the fastest growing company in the world. Oh wait…that means we’ll all be democrats. Can’t wait to be poor, broke, hungry and tired while AOC and Diblazz are living it up.

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PLEASE JVB, GIANARIS, AOC, LET US KNOW!

Ready to believe this is for the best. But if so, then surely you who fought so hard and now celebrate your victory must have an Option B, right? Some solid, ready to hit the ground running, easily enactable plan that will bring all the benefits of HQ2 – jobs, billions in taxes, new schools, global cred for Queens – without any of the negatives – tax breaks, non-union work, billionaires and their hubris.
So, at your victory rallies this weekend, let’s hear what you have up your sleeves. And not just a list of vague ideas and hope so’s. You all know how hollow that will sound at a time like this. Show the doubters they were wrong to call you ill-informed political opportunists. That there truly is a better way for us and that you will make it happen.

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VVNY

Amazon thought it’s bigger than NY and NY showed who really is bigger. If amazon wanted to play it fair and truly cared about coming here then it would have had done it similarly to any other large business, such as google, Facebook, indeed.com and the rest of IT giants, by leasing/buying space and starting business without any public stunts and back room deals with politicians. NY and LIC will survive. Do not worry. Beating the drum won’t make it reconsider.

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V of R

You must be a resident of our all mighty capital, Albany. What a shithole that is. Would you say Albany doesn’t need Amazon? This was queens not manhattan. It needed the deal.

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VVNY

It’s one stop from Manhattan. The area is developing faster than any other area in the whole of NYC, if not the country. What are you getting at that the area needed a deal? All Amazon had to do is to come and lease/buy space and conduct business and not do some shady deals with the mayor and governor.

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SMH

Yea we really showed Amazon! I guess none of the other hundred cities that were clamoring for those jobs and tax revenue will take them now. You can’t compare Amazon to Google and FB. They are in Manhattan. Amazon was tearing down decrepit warehouses in Western Queens, building a campus and school. The people of LIC have been dying for commercial business and schools for years and the politicians that ripped this away have no plan to replace any of it. The mom and pops will suffer greatly with the exit of Citigroup and no plan B in place.

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VVNY

Those other 100 cities might really need this sort of deal. NYC on the other hand has most of the talent located here that’s why all major world businesses have offices in NYC. Imagine if all of them started asking for a subsidy all of a sudden. Amazon wanted to be treated better than 1,000 other major corporations who have offices in NYC and received the pushback it deserved. No one is barring them from coming here and doing it just like other companies.

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Seriously?

Still don’t get why anyone would want to pay half a million dollars for a studio apartment with a view of the el while they wait for food delivery because there is no place to shop for food in the area of the off ramp from the bridge. The developers took no responsibility for developing the area as a functioning neighborhood and depended on tax dollars paying for schools, hospitals, and everything else that makes an area viable. If the real estate market slows sufficiently, the glass canyon could at least have use by getting converted into affordable housing.
For a cynical realtor to pretend to support anyone other than himself is noxious.

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LIC Direct

Nothing else to say. Jimmy Van Bramer & Gianaris you are responsible for all of this. You are goners, losers, fakes and you don’t even look like the people you represent. We are every shade of color, diverse and inclusive in this district. But you guys blew it. You don’t speak for us and the diversity in your district. You are trying to save your own jobs. You saw what happened to Joe Crowley and you leaned so far left that it blinded you. Most of us are for progress and jobs. You have been exposed. Your political careers are over. You are done.

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So, what is the alternative to Amazon then?

I hear both sides of the argument. But to me it comes down to “what is the alternative to Amazon?” Probably more high-rise housing which will further strain the infrastructure and exacerbate current issues (over-crowded schools, transit, sewage, etc), all with relatively negligible new tax revenue. Yes, some of the housing will be set aside for low income – but many on this forum have said even those rents are unachieveable (not to mention that they expire after a certain period and landlords can choose to increase to market prices after 10-15 years or so). By the way, Gianaris and JVB give away tax subsidies and abatements to developers on all these projects, so the notion of giving subsidies to corporates was not something unique to Amazon. I think I would have much rather had a large corporate campus to redevelop the area and provide real long-term tax revenue in order to make those needed infrastructure improvements. I think having Amazon here would have accelerated infrastructure investments (such as the new middle school which will probably take many more years now to become a reality). Let’s face it, the public sector (with their union burden) can’t do it – there are many examples of this (library, MTA, LIRR east side access, heck – even the World Trade Center). Maybe if we vote Gianaris and JVB out, that will send a message to corporates that we are still open to private sector investments. Otherwise, I can’t imagine why any other company would want to risk the corporate public relations nightmare that was HQ2.

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No I

You make it as there needs to be an alternative? Where was LIC before the luxury rental development boom? Amazon setting up a HQ doesn’t mean thing will get better. What do you mean the public sector can’t do what they’re supposed to do which is public infrastructure? Amazon and other private companies are not interested in building public infrastructure. Google runs their own buses for their own employees. They even have free bicycles that end up strewn all over town. Are you that naive with JetBlue and the luxury rental boom that the 7 train had gotten better? Sure Court Square stop was revamped and the Queens Boro but certainly not the 7 line overall and Queens borough plaza stop hasn’t been renovated.

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Anthony

Go ask the students at la Guardia community how they feel about Amazon leaving, or the thousands of CS majors at the various NYC schools.
Ever see a big construction site in NY? i have. there are many of people of color. this would have benefitted the community in so many ways. it’s a real shame.

NYC cannot take its status for granted. Yes it has survived for a long time as a world city, but it has had terrible periods, like the 70s. Don’t think it can’t happen again. Chasing out businesses, a war against people of means… that’s how Detroit happened.

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V of R

As I look out at my window today, I see the swamp land that Amazon was going to revitalize. Instead I have to go on amazon.com and order mosquito repellent for the next 20 years until JVB retires.
Quick lesson on politicians:
Governors run the state like a business. Budgets, tax revenue, etc.
Mayors run the city like a business.
These are business people.
Senators and congressmen just vote on laws and policy. They are not responsible for creating jobs and running their area. That’s why the feeble minded Senator and Congress people voted down this opportunity like any other piece of legislation that comes across their desk. Just a quick thought about if it lines their pockets. No? Ok then I veto.
It’s a knee jerk reaction for them. Criminal scum.

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VVNY

Actually he won my support now by showing that he really cares about the community and not selling himself up to a giant.

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DJS

I agree! If JVB’s lucky he’ll be able to go back to his old job in the library checking overdue books in.

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Love you Jimmy

Bro not only am I going to vote for this man, but I’m going to do what amazon didn’t and support his campaign with $$$!

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Notta Victim

I can’t believe these socialists from Venzuela cuck shill Hillary lovers shut this down. These libruls wil stop at nothing to bring down the working class. Only a billionaire tv show host like Trump could relate to the struggles of the working class. MAGA [email protected]

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Morning after breakup regrets?

“Did it have to be this way? Could anything else have been said/ done? If only xyz had happened before xyz..” Everyone is probably thinking like this right about now, it’s normal.And also”Is it really too late? Let’s try again.We both said things we could have said differently.” …Or”Maybe I WILL reach out to Seattle & SanFrancisco & find out if they were abused. Maybe a bullet was dodged..Someone else will come along, but there’s only one Amazon.”..I didnt really want Amazon, but “victory”feels a bit hollow today. I heard Long Island is already courting Amazon. People say we will all regret this& perhaps never have an opportunity like this again. Maybe not exactly the same type of thing, but life always has surprises..I vaguely recall when former Mayor Bloomberg carried on about how we had to have a FOOTBALL STADIUM right in Manhattan,& how silly NOT to do it! Oh please, imagine if that had gone through? No regrets there. It will be ok..But actually, as someone noted, CAN this be tweaked ,even now? Maybe someone is on the phone, even as we read/ write..

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young man!

I believe you are referring to Mayor Guiliani and his desire to build a new Yankee stadium on the site of where the huge Hudson Yards commercial and residential development was built. He was saying the land was useless for any other purpose.
I don’t think Mayor Bloomberg cared one way or the other about the Jets or Giants.

I’m pretty sure that Bloomberg would have made sure that the socialist leaning agitators would have not been able to unilaterally take over the conversation as DeBlasio allowed.

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astoria tom

maybe we need to start electing pro-business republicans, and not these sleazy leftists, (Cortez, Gianaris, Van Bramer), who are only in it for themselves. a big majority of local residents supported the deal. these three brought in a mob of outside agitators to kill the deal. Vote Them Out!

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Ed Parkin

57 activist groups from across the country. Some even with foreign funding. Not sure what the end goal is. Is America transitioning into a pro-socialist or communist country? Capitalism is what made this country what it is today, especially New York. If liberals want a welfare state and no borders, how will we survive?

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Jeff

You are absolutely correct. It is capitalism that destroyed what was supposed to be a democracy. Thanks for your lucid comment.

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Vote Them OUT!!

If we only vote for one party (Dem) then VanBramer and Gianaris feel emboldened – no, pressured – to pander to leftists rather than the center. Vote them out people, or we are all just talk. Let’s make an example out of them and keep our politicians honest! One term of their replacement Republicans won’t kill us. But decades of only Democrats killed 25,000 jobs.

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Andrew

It’s the “haves” versus the “have nots” and in these scary times the “have nots” are gaining more and more power with socialist ideology. When people like Ocasio take over (and they will) we are in deep deep trouble.

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Not a robot, feed me brains

By “we” you are obviously referring to those that “have”. I don’t count myself as part of your “We” and I believe it is time for those that have so much it necessitates others not having enough (see excess real estate vs homelessness; food waste vs hunger; billionaires vs impoverished) to either willingly let go of some of their worth or start feeling the undercurrent of fear as the cold, hungry and wretched begin to burn their fences and advance towards the front doors in a hunger march to eat the rich. Lol

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Sunnysider

Politicians are too polarized these days. This deal could have been tweaked to make everyone happy.
Losing out will have long term repercussions for future generations.
LIC has many small businesses which should be protected. They provide support services to Manhattan and the developing LIC and are sorely needed. Bike lanes have threatened them as parking spaces have been reduced. I say protect them from closure due to overdevelopment!

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Anonymous

Bezos wouldn’t take calls from our mayor and governor. How exactly would you have tweaked that?

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anon

That is a lie. Amazon contacted Gianaris three times to try to work things out. He refused to meet with them.

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Byee Bezos

I agree, our local politicians were working with them to create a deal that would be better for our community. But Bezos ain’t got time for that, his billionaire ass just wanted to get things his way in the cheapest way possible.

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notta victim

Kudos to Amazon! They refused to be a cash cow to be milked by the Venezuelan Style Socialists on the city council and told the Union Goons trying to shake them down to go f*@k themselves. Sure, the failed artists entering through the poor door into their subsidized 80:20 housing are celebrating but the Dems who are responsible for this epic failure should be quaking in their boots. It is time for a purge.

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Jane

So now a developer will come along, build high-rise buildings and we’ll have the same congestion with no benefits. I hope this permanently ends the careers of Gianaris and Bramer.

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Ed Parkin

We have wait and watch the 2020 elections. It looks like the radical socialist faction within the Democratic Party is calling the shots. If that is the case then AOC, VB and MG will end Cuomo and DeBlasio careers.

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Anonymous

Was the City Council too belligerent when they questioned Amazon honchos at those hearings? Their concerns were legitimate, but it is disconcerting to think of ourselves as possibly bullying THEM. Am wondering if with more effort, by all, if Amazon would have made concessions towards unionizing,etc. Who knows? …Omg, what about a new deal, at Sunnyside Yards,lol? Complete w heliport? Dont despair, NYC will go on..

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This is why Bartenders dont do taxes

25;000 jobs and the ripple effects of 25,000 jobs coud have been great for all in this area. Ocasio is an idiot….
“We can invest the 3 billion into our own people.” Theres no pile of money moron! Its a tax incentive from future financial gains, so now there’s NO MONEY.
This womans an idiot.

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Time for change kick the liberals out

Agreed….she’s an idiot…we need to vote them out….they gave up the opportunity of having the most innovative company move here…idiots..

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Anonymous

Correct me if I’m wrong, but when Citi moved in long ago, weren’t they supposed to revitalize the area? And what happened? They didn’t fulfill their end of the promise either and didn’t develop the parcel they owned (which is now becoming one of the tallest and most hideous in all of Queens) and because their business environment has changed, they’ve jumped ship in LIC altogether. Point being, this same thing could have happened with Amazon. Nothing was guaranteed, especially if they weren’t willing to come to the table and work with the community.

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Anthony

the Citi building did help the area. there are restaurans and shops there that weren’t there before. i don’t think Citi was supposed to do more than it did (ie build and occupy the building). The area has been revitalized over the past 20 years, as everyone knows. Not saying Citi is responsible for all of that, but if you want to look at how LIC did after the building went up… well, it went from being a forgotten industrial wasteland to having a residential skyline with hundreds of new businesses.

BTW, Amazon was going to take over the space Citi is vacating, which is most of the building. So now the buildign will be mostly vacant. Go ask the shops around there how they feel about that.

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Anonymous

I read a while ago Citi was supposed to build on the lot next to Citi. Again, their business plans changed and they had to sell that lot.

It is sad that the building will be without tenants in 10 months. Altice USA was renting space there but the landlord kicked them out after Amazon signed a LOI. There is so much construction in the area that hopefully the construction guys help keep places in business.

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brooklynmc

The building was going to be converted to apartments before Amazon, my guess is that will continue.

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Anonymous

that building is not designed for residential use. It will always be office space unless it get taken down and rebuilt

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LIC Resident

Sorry but can you imagine what the area would be like had that Citibank tower not been built? Think about that.

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Anonymous

I think LIC would still have been developed. It took a long time, but the location is too close to Manhattan to not have changed the way it has, even if Citi hadn’t moved in.

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39th ave

What the hell are you talking about? Before the Citi building went up, that entire area of LIC was full of empty warehouses, strip joints, topless prostitutes and crack heads. If anything, Citi helped improve the area. You are obviously misinformed.

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CW

You are early lying because I’ve been living here for years and there is nothing here but one of the largest housing projects in the usa. I hate when people lie for their own agenda but are either too stupid or dishonest to be upfront. I dont know which is worse. This deal would have helped the poor students, small business owners, and add tax dollars to the area.

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Anonymous

Fake news. There was a whole community in LIC/Ct. Square before Citi moved in. I still know people in the neighborhood that were here before Citi. Believe what you’d like, though.

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AQ says NO to Gianaris

This is great link. Many Greek-Americans from Astoria and LIC (approx 20,000) are fed up with Gianaris and will no longer “blindly” support him because of his last name. Time for change!

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DJS

I have signed up. How about a rally in front of his office this weekend to tell him what an idiot he is?

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Leo Zaks

I’ve been saying this for years. Greek Americans need to stop voting in politicians simply because we share the same ethnic background. Politicians like Gianaris, Simotas and Constantinides do NOT support our community. They do more harm than good for Greek Americans.

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anon

If you currently register as an independent or a Republican it is time to change your party affiliation. The only way to beat these bastards is to do so in the primaries. I’d prefer a party hack like Crowley to a unhinged moron that cannot understand grade school level math like AOC.

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AlmadeCubano

Crowley was and still is a corrupt lowlife. He literally helped everyone in his extended family steal money from all of us who pay taxes. Alexandria will never do that.

Thus: you are so uninformed I’m laughing at you. But it’s not funny otherwise that in a democracy dupes like you get to vote.

anon

I’ll take the party hack crook over the communist party imbecile any day. Did you break the news to AOC that $3 billion she keeps harping about doesn’t exist? One and done, vote this idiot out.

Anonymous

I’s so disgusted with our local politicians, taking away so many opportunities for revitalization of the neighborhood, a world class company, jobs for unskilled and skilled workers, opportunities for our graduating college students in the tech field. A means to get recognized and broaden our business partnership with tech companies. the money that would be awarded to the community and school partnerships.

Just because Giannaris and Van Bramer were not part of the talks they have no right to remove such an important business giant to our neighborhood. Shame on them, Shame on them, Shame on them. I heard Van Bramer say “we stand for our values. His values do not give an unskilled worker having a steady job with insurance, and vacation, and regular hours the chance to live and move up in the company. He keeps his values, his salary and his pension. He will never be in that position.

There are always two sides, but Giannaris and Van Bramer chose one side only for their “values”, selfishness and wow they made a point

It was a win win for everyone involved !!

Shame on both of you — will never get my vote.

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A Jimmy Supporter

They listen to the people that represent them, that’s how Democracy works. You are right on that we lost jobs and probably an opportunity to diversify our economy. But it is not worth it if this would create a huge economic displacement in the area. Have you been to Seattle and San Francisco? It is terrifying how bad their cities have gotten because of the lack of affordable housing and opportunities for low income people. There is just super rich tech people, people who are barely getting by living in garages and then there are people living in the streets.

New York Cities homeless problem is bad, but those cities have it on another level. Did amazon offer any resolution, commitment to share their trillion dollar wealth with helping to end this problem? No, because they don’t care.

What we really need is a better transit system so our hardworking residents can go to work. We need to revitalize the area and continue to support mixed income housing and low income housing so our people can live in safe areas with better economic mobility. We need more schools and safer learning environments to support economic mobility so people can develop skills and create a better job.

Amazon never needed New York, they took advantage of every other city to gentrify them and steal tax dollars from hard working people. New York doesn’t need amazon, we need a steady growing tech city that can grow with it’s people. Let’s bring everyone up with better policies, not with fake corporate dollars.

Also, Amazon is a cheap company. They did not care to invest in a strategy to win over locals, they thought their $3 billion dollar deal was not sweet enough. If they really wanted to stay in New York they could have worked harder but they want things handed to them. They are too entitled.

At the end of the day, our politicians listened to us and our needs instead of taking money from corporations.
This is a huge win for democracy.
Jimmy has my vote and my heart!

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LICPEOPLE

That’s why you are poor. When such great opportunity comes, you don’t think of utilizing this opportunity to get a job. Even you are not in tech field, Amazon hire a lot of business people, HR, Admin. The neighborhood will have more retails and restaurants. You can even be a delivery guy! You don’t. You just want the money directly from the government and do nothing. Now you are worrying you will sleep on the street

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A nonpoor Jimmy Supporter

Ha! I work at a Fortune 500 company and am mid income level as an independent woman. I’ve lived in Long Island City all my life and went to school here. I worked myself from the bottom up to get to where I am. Every person should have that opportunity, organic growth for my community is what I want. If you really knew how the local community felt, then you should have came to the rallies the community hearings and the city hall hearings. That’s how democracy works! People stand up for what they believe in.

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h3

yes, what we really need is a better transit system so our hardworking residents can go to work. how could this even work 25k + ppl going to work on 7 train. The 7 train is crowded as it is.
glad Jimmy listened instead of taking money from greedy corporations.
nyc will always thrive we don’t need Amazon.

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Vote them OUT!!

They wouldn’t need to take the 7 train if they lived in LIC. In fact, many would have reverse commuted from Manhattan.

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Pissed of Queens

Most people in Queens wanted this. Jimmy is a disgrace who ha never created a job in his life. He has to go.

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You are naive

Easy to say we that all we need is to revitalize the area with better transit, more schools, better infrastructure, etc. Regardless of where you stand on the Amazon issue, these are things that EVERYONE wants. The thing is, naive people like you think that people like JVB and Gianaris will make this all happen simply by screaming and banging as loudly as possible. The reality is that none of this happens without tax revenue – and where does the tax revenue come from? Private sector investments like Amazon. Let’s see how long it takes now to get a new middle school built.

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Anonymous

Amazon’s tax bill of $30 BILLION was to be given a “break” of $3 billion. Now, in part because of libtards such as you, $27 BILLION will NOT be paid by Amazon to fund vital services–and all the other non-essential-but-expensive-spendingthat-you-“progressives”-insist-on-but is-really-a-vote-buying-mechanism-for-liberal-politicians. You are not only a fool, you are a fool who spouts off a mis-informed mouth. Cease.

Correct me if I’m wrong?

So one thing I want clarification on is the following. We give Amazon tax breaks to come into LIC with the hopes of giving locals/NYers a job. That’s good for our economy. The one thing that doesn’t add up with a lot of these arguments about tax breaks/incentives.
1. Amazon would get publicly/partly private land for free?
2. They get $3 billion in city and state tax and they aim to invest $2.5 billion back. And this is probably through building their facility correct?
3. Who will be investing in building out the local area for Amazon? Will it be people who actually pay city and State tax? That means that no new tax revenue is coming in, and thus New Yorkers would have been paying to revitalize LIC?
4. Who would have been paying for the MTA to invest in better infrastructure in LIC? Not Amazon because they aren’t even paying taxes.
5. They will bring 25K jobs. Ok this is great, but how many of these jobs are ‘high paying’, temporary and what’s the median salary of the jobs being created? Because if you say average, and end up paying Bezos like people 1 million to 500 thousand a year, then it’s really boosting your average. If your lowest paid and highest regarded employee is paid 30k/50k then they aren’t able to afford the nearby area.

Also on the SF thing, it has always been a problem but it’s an ever more severe in San Francisco, you can make upwards of 100k a year and be sharing a couch with 2 other people. Housing has not kept up with demand and favors wealthier people who make at least half a million just to live comfortably.

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OY vey!

You ARE wrong. See the post directly above yours (posted in response to another fool who didn’t–and doesn’t–understand the facts about what taxes were to be paid. You make me believe that people must be able to pass basic intelligent tests in order to be allowed to vote.

Ludlow Rookwood

Detroit was the richest state until local reps like the jerks we have did the same screw up and today Detroit is bankrupt ! We need to vote these reps out of office:
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Jimmy Van Buren, Michael Gianaris, and Jessica Ramos, all of which do not represent the majority of the people .

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Vote them OUT!!

You are wrong. San Fran, LA and Seattle always had a homeless problem. They are warmer than NYC and SF had and I believe still has a program that gave homeless people $300 a month in cash, no questions asked (back in 2000). So why wouldn’t homeless people flock there? It’s conservative housing policies coupled with liberal social policies plus good weather that created the homeless problem.

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Anthony

“just because Gianaris .. were not part of the talks…” the reality is that Gianaris was upset he didn’t get a chance to set up the deal to benefit his cronies . that said, Cuomo and DiBlasio should have seen this coming.

frankly i think all the local pols played a game of chicken, and lost. They thought Amazon would give various concessions so they could then have a great reelection ad about pressuring Amazon and extracting benefits for the community. Oh well.

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Amazon is cheap

I thought so too, honestly it’s sad how Amazon didn’t want to invest more money into their local campaign.

Could have built a better campus for local schools or donated pocket change to LaGuardia CC. Come on bro this is poor PR on their end.

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