New York City

NYC Business Leaders Implore Amazon to Reconsider After It Announces It's Pulling Out

Business leaders have penned an open letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to try to persuade the company to return to New York City

What to Know

  • Business leaders in NYC are trying to convince Amazon to reconsider pulling out of New York City
  • They've written an open letter that will be published in Friday's New York Times imploring the company tor return to New York
  • Local business leaders in Long Island City were still fuming over the grassroots protesters who pushed Amazon out

Two weeks after Amazon skipped town amid jeers from groups opposed to corporate tax breaks, business leaders in New York City want to convince the e-commerce giant to return.

Kathy Wylde of the Partnership for New York City co-authored an open letter to Amazon's CEO that will appear in Friday's New York Times. News 4 New York has obtained a copy of the letter, and it reads in part:

"Dear Mr. Bezos: New Yorkers do not want to give up on the 25,000 permanent jobs, 11,000 union construction and maintenance jobs, and $28 billion in new tax revenues that Amazon was prepared to bring to our state."

The letter also promised that state and city leaders want another shot.

"Governor Cuomo will take personal responsibility for the project's state approval, and Mayor de Blasio will work together with the governor to manage the community development process."

Cuomo on Thursday cited public opinion during a radio interview, saying "75 percent of the people said it was a tremendous loss in polls."

The New York Times reports Cuomo spoke to Bezos in an attempt to lure Amazon back. The governor told reporters Thursday he's had conversations with Amazon -- though he didn't say with whom -- but has been given no indication the company will reconsider.  

One business owner who applauded the attempt to revive an Amazon deal is Josh Bowen, the owner of the John Brown Smokehouse, who'd said to News 4 on the day Amazon announced it was pulling out, "This was a gift to our community, and they punched a gift horse in the face."

Weeks later, he's still fuming that his restaurant lost a big chunk of potential business: "I'm still angry. This kind of stupidity you can't even get over."

"Please come back," he implored. "We love you, Amazon, please come back."

Bowen even flew to Seattle this week to deliver an in-person plea to a vice president. An Amazon spokeswoman acknowledged the meeting but said they're not reconsidering. And some of Bowen's customers were always leery of Amazon.

"They're very staunchly anti-union," said Dana Nurse of Long Island City. "That's a problem for New York City."

So on Friday, Amazon will see this appeal from business leaders: "We all hope you reconsider and join us in building the exciting future of New York."

But the corporate giant may still remember the words of state senator Mike Gianaris, who had threatened to block the deal: "Good riddance."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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