In Long Island City, it’s scars that don’t heal.
Two years after Amazon withdrew from the proposal to build a large headquarters along the Queens Waterfront, the place is a vacant annoyance. And for many locals, the financial opportunities wasted in the coronavirus epidemic are even more painful.
“The site is empty. It’s terrible,” said Donna Driver, owner of Matt LIC Art Gallery and Gift Store. “We are in the middle of a pandemic. People say,” I wish I had only Amazon. ” I didn’t get anything. “
The world’s largest e-tailer plans to create 25,000 jobs after being surprised by fierce opposition from local politicians, including Democratic Socialist Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and State Senator Mike Janaris. I suddenly canceled the campus.
Almost two years later, the large site remains desolate, reminiscent of potential waste, but COVID-19 would have benefited from the influx of potential customers into the region LIC-Western Queens. It has devastated the economy of the city, including the region.
LIC merchants and residents working to survive during the pandemic told Post that the loss of Amazon is now further annoying the community.
“What’s happening is really crazy. The city has no solution. We have a mayor who does nothing,” said Modern Spaces Realty, who lives in the neighborhood and has an office near a fallow. Eric Benaim, CEO of the company, yelled.
“I see AOC selling” tax abundant T-shirts “for $ 58 while companies leave New York. That is AOC’s solution. Who is going to pay $ 58 for a T-shirt when you are absent from work? “Benaim said.
An alternative project called “YourLIC”, which includes a residential and commercial tower on the premises, was also recently shot down in the face of opposition not in my backyard and lack of support from the city hall. The plan claimed to create 26,000 jobs, open spaces and cultural amenities.
The Your LIC Consortium included the manufacturer Plaxall, a major real estate owner of the waterfront site along with New York City.
“Their plans do not bring sufficient benefits to the community and we do not intend to force private developers to ignore their obligations to New Yorkers,” said Mitchell Schwartz, a spokesman for Mayor Bill de Blasio.
The driver angered the local police, who disappointed the neighborhood.
“AOC, Jannaris, Van Brammer [local councilman Jimmy] – wake up! “She said,” People are leaving. Business is closed. “
Gianna Cerbone, owner of the Manducatis Rustica restaurant, whose family is deeply rooted in LIC, said “delusional” democratic socialists and anti-gentlemen hijacked the Western Queen.
“I’m angry with stupidity. Everyone is afraid of AOC who doesn’t know what she’s doing. Opposition to Amazon has benefited other communities. AOC has benefited her. Imagine doing something positive with a big mouth, “Cerbone said.
She said Senator Janaris, whom she has known for years, was the most amazing betrayal.
“I believed in journalists. Mike believed in the community until he climbed far beyond the AOC’s ass,” said the salty restaurant owner.
Bishop Michelle Taylor, pastor of the Center of Hope International Church near Queensbridge Houses, said the Amazon epidemic and subsequent pandemic was a double pain for the poorest inhabitants of LIC.
“It’s like living in the 1970s. Now things are getting worse for the poor,” said Rev. Taylor.
“The Amazon project provided a light of hope for many. I don’t want handouts. The country’s largest public housing project wanted the opportunity to do business with the country’s largest retailer,” he said. I did.
The head of a local business group said it was time to develop a waterfront site.
“It will be more important than ever to come out of COVID-19 and revitalize this area to help the surrounding community. Due to its large scale, it is a big new for work, housing, culture and open space. We can create opportunities, connect the entire Western Queens waterfront and bring all our neighbors closer together as a community, “said Elizabeth Ruskin, President of Long. Island City Partnership.
The biggest complaint among critics about the Amazon project was the secret hatching with Governor Andrew Cuomo and De Blasio. Neighbor.
Janaris, the majority of State Senators who used his powers in Albany to cut off Amazon’s trade in his district, and Casio Cortez, who said the New Yorker had defeated Cuomo, supported their opposition. did.
Janaris said he hinted at Hudson Yards’ Amazon Lease Space after withdrawing from LIC’s planned headquarters, and that it had acquired Midtown’s Road & Taylor Building to create jobs in the city.
“In the last two years, Amazon has already added and announced more white-collar jobs in New York City than required by the HQ2 program, but there were no major public grants,” Senator said. Said.
He also argued that “some good suggestions” were being discussed on the waterfront sites that the city should consider, including the shelved Your LIC program.
“Our primary and general election challengers have run millions of campaigns, primarily on this issue, in the midst of a pandemic, both decided,” said AOC spokeswoman Lauren Hit. Was defeated. “
The Amazon project is ” [residents] In exchange for a campus that made no promises about hiring locals or contracting with local businesses, he paid one of the wealthiest men in the world their hard-earned taxes, “said a spokesman. ..
Lawmakers also accused the company of labor and safety records during the pandemic, claiming increased housing costs in the DC area where Amazon found a new campus.
Abandoned Amazon remains a divisive issue, even among merchants near LIC. Not all are involved in the project.
Shawn Dixon, owner of the Otis & Finn barber shop on 44th Road near the waterfront site, said he opposed the Amazon project because he was afraid of leasing space and cutting prices when renewing the lease.
“We could have experienced the double pain of COVID and market speculation,” Dixon said.
The barber also said that infrastructure improvements weren’t keeping up with LIC’s development, arguing that the issue wasn’t properly addressed in Amazon’s plans.
Dixon had his own idea: “Why doesn’t Governor Cuomo offer merchants a tax exemption period to survive the winter?”
Owner of Queens Biz suffering from Amazon loss in a pandemic
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