NYC politicians turn Amazon's smile to a frown

Friday, February 15, 2019
Chris Woodward (

Amazon logo w/ frownCould Amazon's decision to cancel its plans to put a second headquarters in New York City come back to haunt the Big Apple?

Upon hearing the news that Amazon was scrapping plans to build a headquarters in New York City, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) tweeted the following:

"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."

Ocasio-Cortez has been critical of the Amazon deal since last fall when she called it an example of corporate cronyism. While this opinion had support from people in other political parties, Amazon said Thursday that 70 percent of New Yorkers supported Amazon's plans and investment – but:

"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 stated.

Seth Barron, associate editor of City Journal and project director of the NYC Initiative at the Manhattan Institute, says the leftist progressives who run New York City got everything they wanted.


"Let's see how they like it now," he adds. "[The deal with Amazon] was structured in a top-down fashion by the governor and mayor – [and] maybe they should have gotten buy-in from the local politicians and from community groups, but essentially they didn't; they went around them. And in a fit of pique the local politicians and community groups decided to oppose the deal because they weren't included and they weren't going to get all the amenities and various goodies that customarily come along with something like this."

Amazon planned 25,000 jobs for New York City, which Barron admits has more than four million jobs.

"It's a huge economy, so it's not a make or break thing, but it's really a shame [because] these would be 25,000 very high-paying, professional jobs," he continues. "I think a lot of the opponents are probably embarrassed about this [because] I don't think they expected Amazon to just walk away from the deal. I think they figured the company would come back and renegotiate and throw a few more bones on their plate, but they didn't."

Barron points out that Amazon was going to build in an area of western Queens that for decades has been the focus of economic development. "Going back to the Koch administration to the 80s they've wanted to turn this into something," he says about the land. "There's nothing there – and now they're not going to get anything."

Amazon said Thursday it does not intend to reopen the HQ2 search at this time, saying: "We will proceed as planned in Northern Virginia and Nashville, and we will continue to hire and grow across our 17 corporate offices and tech hubs in the U.S. and Canada."

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