What to Know
Dozens of people took to the streets in protest of what they believe was a back door deal involving the new Amazon HQ in LIC and politicians
Protesters say the alleged deal made by NYC mayor, the governor and Amazon left everyone else in the dark
Protesters believe the money should instead be invested in improving public schools, housing and mass transit.
Dozens of people took to the streets Wednesday in protest of what they believe was a back door deal involving the new Amazon headquarters in Long Island City made between the New York City mayor, the governor and the company — a deal they say kept everyone else in the dark.
Elected officials and others are outraged by the more than $3 billion in subsidies and incentives offered up to Amazon by Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo — money protestors believe should be invested in improving public schools, housing and mass transit.
“We should be investing in housing and hot water. Not in helicopters,” Assemblyman Michael Blake said.
New York Senator-Elect Jessica Ramos said providing incentives to Amazon to come to Long Island City was unacceptable.
“It is unconscionable that we - in the middle of a housing crisis, and a jobs crisis — have to dole out so many handouts to the richest company in the world to come to our neighborhood,” Ramos said.
The group is calling the Amazon headquarters deal corporate welfare at its worse.
“They participated in this reality show like contest where Jeff Bezos has the rose and the governor and mayor were desperate on that couch to get that rose,” City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer said, comparing the deal to a popular reality dating show competition.
While Amazon is promising to give back to the community, some are not buying it.
“I don’t know if anyone living in Queensbridge Houses who got a good paying job from these companies,” Ray Normandeau, resident of the Queensbridge public housing, said.
However, some believe good things will come from the new neighbor in town.
“Obviously not every job is going to a technocrat. Some of them will be going to janitors, some security guards, some people picking up boxes. This will be many people’s first step into the middle class,” resident Jim Dillon said.
The reason people did not know of the incentives is because Amazon required every city in the finals to become home of the new headquarter to sign non-disclosure agreements.
Because of this, several city council members say they plan to introduce and pass legislation to make sure that doesn’t happen again.
In the meantime, other officials have taken steps to showcase their disdain over the deal.
“Just this morning I took out my phone and deleted the Amazon app off my phone,” Sen. Mike Gianaris said.