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Gianaris calls for boycott of Amazon at Long Island City rally

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Residents, activists and elected officials rallied at Gordon Triangle in Long Island City in protest of Amazon and the subsidies the company will receive as part of its deal with the city to establish part of its HQ2 in the neighborhood.
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City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer speaks at the rally.
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Protesters voice their disapproval.
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One of may signs against Amazon’s plan to bring it new headquarters to Long Island City.

The fight against Amazon has begun as residents, activists and elected officials gathered at Gordon Triangle in Long Island City Wednesday morning to protest the subsidies the company will receive as part of its deal with the city to establish part of its HQ2 in the neighborhood.

“I canceled my Amazon membership and I call for a boycott of Amazon,” state Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria) said.

Both the senator and City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) have publicly denounced the establishment of the one of two H2Q headquarters in Long Island City (the second H2Q will be in northern Virginia). Both are outraged that the trillion-dollar company will receive nearly billions in subsidies for setting up shop in the already highly developed area.

“Just this morning several residents contacted us to say that there is no heat in Queensbrid­ge,” Van Bramer said in front of a sea of reporters. “But somehow, those who consider themselves progressive Democrats have seen fit to throw $3 billion dollars at the richest man in the world.”

An eruption of boos punctuated the councilman’s statement.

“That is wrong and we should all be outraged at what has happened here,” he said.

Van Bramer admonished Gov. Andrew Cuomo, whom the councilman accused of making too easy of a deal with Amazon.

“Did the governor not say whatever it takes, no matter what it takes, you can even rename me after Amazon,” Van Bramer said.

Governor Cuomo offered to change his name if it would make New York City a more appealing location for their H2Q.

“Then they said we’re gonna fix the process so that they don’t have to worry about those pesky City Council members and those pesky community members who might have some problems with the deal, we’re gonna make sure we create a GPP for you and we gonna grease the wheels for the richest man in the world.”

Van Bramer and Gianaris organized the protest along with other representatives of the area and the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), Alliance for a Greater New York (ALIGN), Make the Road New York (MTRNY), New York Communities for Change (NYCC). Other Queens elected officials such as state Assemblywoman-elect Catalina Cruz, state Sen.-elect Jessica Ramos, state Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas (D-Astoria), City Councilman Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria) and state Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Flushing).

Every elected official who spoke felt that the money that Amazon receive is money that could better used to serve their constituents by addressing transit, education, infrastructure and affordable housing improvements.

Posted 12:00 am, November 15, 2018
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Reader feedback

Hirelocal from Queens says:
Let's just hope that they hire people who actually live here in NYC first. They should open their application process for jobs first to New York city residents only first. Then whatever jobs they couldnt fill, they can start hiring from out of state.
Nov. 15, 5:56 am
Angry dad from Bayside says:
That would be a great idea but u know that wont happen. Also how many mom and pops places are going to close because of this. I still do not understand why they are get tax breaks and everything when hard working people that are just making it dont . Rich or big corporations will never lose I swear .
Nov. 15, 8:46 am
John from Queens says:
The problem I have is the role of government - they shouldn't be in the business of attracting businesses. The New York State business environment is horrible hence the need for people like Cuomo to do this. It would be nice for Cuomo to cut taxes and regulations but that entails giving up control. Angry Dad - Mom and Pop businesses are helped by Amazon, which allows their small business to reach anyone in the country by listing their products online. Amazon gets these items because they swing a big stick. If I wanted to start a business employing 10 people NYC and NYS would undermine me at every turn and that is the crux of the problem.
Nov. 15, 10:08 am
Jr from Bayside says:
My only regret is that they didnt build it in Bayside. Then I could sell my house fast and move out of here.
Nov. 15, 8:36 pm
Harry T from Jamaica says:
Kid Cuomo is to blame for NY's reputation as an anti-business state. Taxes are too high and regulations stifling.
Nov. 17, 9:02 am
THINK from Queens says:
Again, how does this Mayor & Governor and this city consider themselves "liberal" and "progressives", when there actions show otherwise and the whole Amazon thing is the biggest to prove how neither deBlasio, Cuomo and this city is really liberal or progressive. They played right into the hands of the awful Jeff Bezos & Amazon. Jeff & Company, could have done the RIGHT THING and put their company in places that needed it the most, especially Trump's constituency (the blue collar, low-paying workers in the middle of the country, many who are hurting). They could have put it in Detroit to help that ailing city, in Oklahoma, Mississippi, etc. BUT no, what did the dirty company do, the pit all these cities/states against each other to try to win the crown jewel, while these places spent millions and millions of dollars into their "pick me" contest, money which was taken away from those cities/states that could have been used for better purposes. AND in the meantime, Amazon knowing full way, they they would start a bidding war and a place like NYC, would jack up their price, even though NYC does not need Amazon here at all. AND if you want to look at a template at how these tech companies can destroy a city and bring NOTHING to the table, look at San Fran and Seattle. AND what is amazing that so many of our elected Dem officials did not call this bidding war out on what is was as well as the so-called liberal progressive New Yorkers, who brag how liberal and progressive they are, but see nothing wrong with one of the most despicable moves by an organization in the last several decades. Same with the AWFUL Facebook, that new that Russians were using the platform and did nothing about it. AND yet, people still use the platform that for the most part serves no real purpose except for people to post their boring seconds of their lives for everyone to see "like having a birthday part on the subway" or your cat doing a cat thing or your baby doing a baby thing. $25,000 jobs that may be created over ten years or may no bringing 25,000 more people to a crowded city is not the big issue or the failing infrastructure, which NYC has to own, BUT the dirty underhanded way Amazon did this as opposed to doing the right thing and saying, we will put this in Tulsa OK or Detroit, MI or even Baltimore, MD, and help the people, economy and communities there that need it. OR hell, if you are going to put it in NYC, put it in Jamaica to take over all that space by the poisonous Royal Waste Dump and all those shady auto repair shops. Bottom line, NYC did not need this and many other places did and Amazon play these cities/states like a three card monte dealer, screwing everyone in the process while taking home the big money. SHAMEFUL.
Nov. 17, 11:40 am
Truth from NYC says:
Amazon will hire locals for positions such as building maintenance or customer service. The high paying jobs will go to people who live on the other side of the East River.
Nov. 19, 10:31 pm

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