Amazon recently announced it will be sharing its second HQ between Crystal City in Virginia and Long Island City in NYC. A 50,000 square-foot retail development under JACX is on the rise, along with an influx of restaurants, and apartments.
New York state and city have aided the company some $3 billion in tax breaks and grants—in return, the tech giant has promised to offer 25,000 jobs to Queens at an average salary of $150,000, build a school, and take necessary steps to improve infrastructure and public parks come 2020.
Yet the real question lay on the 25,000 workers. The city is already home to more than 8 million, one of the most densest populations in the world, and with only one subway line that runs directly to Manhattan (7), which oftentimes run into delays, the future doesn’t look so bright for LIC’s residents.
Amazon will lease 1 million square feet at the Citigroup building on 1 Court Square. Yet they also plan on having a campus.
This could initiate further plans for the Brooklyn Queens Connector (BQX), a streetcar that was planned to run along the East River waterfront.
“Now is the moment to seize on this potential for equitable transit planning, to deliver the reliable option so many communities along the corridor have long lacked, and to move full steam ahead with the BQX,” Jessica Schumer, executive director of Friends of the BQX, said in a statement for Curbed.
It’s unquestionable Long Island City is undergoing a major gentrification period, where warehouses and factories are being converted to luxury condos and rental spaces.
Current LIC working class residents are pushed away according to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, incoming New York rep., warning “displacement is not community development.”
Yet the bigger picture does exist, where the multi-billion dollar tax cut isn’t an act of capitalism, but ultimately an act of philanthropy, as Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, announced he would donate 2 billion toward the education of poverty-stricken children and the homeless.
Yet there is a certain morbid feeling. Longstanding, history-rich mom and pop stores are indeed vanishing by the days elsewhere in the city, turning into soaring high-rise towers and corporations. But there is a purpose for every change. The rewards will emerge, hopefully, and what matters is how to use them. ()