I haven’t written on this subject for a variety of reasons. I do my best to provide readers with a non-biased, objective view of the situation. Most pieces I write are intended to provoke a deeper thought or offer a unique and different perspective. This story has proved especially difficult for me.
I live 2 miles away from the proposed location of Gantry Plaza in Long Island City. The news came as a shock to me, and most New Yorkers. It meant more than a simple headline to me, and my neighbors. Let me explain a little something to everyone regarding my community. Astoria is a bit of a hidden gem in Queens, bordering Long Island City. Long Island City has become relatively developed in recent years, and Astoria is slowly following. The majority of people who live in Astoria are individuals who wanted to escape the hustle and bustle of Manhattan, while avoiding the high rent costs as well. Most folks in Astoria also opted out of Brooklyn, too.
The news meant change, but not welcome change. Our rent rises. Our quaint and quiet community turns into Manhattan. The lives we intended to grow here in our carefully selected destination were uprooted with one headline. This wasn’t about anything more than that to us.
Media reports have since turned this into a partisan issue. Let me make something very clear. For Republicans, and Fox News viewers, the media decided to make this an Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was killing jobs with her evil socialist ways. This could not be further from the truth. First, and let me make something absolutely clear, AOC was the absolute last thing anyone in my community ever mentioned. We didn’t look to her as someone who could save us from the unwelcome change in her congressional district. Remember the timing. She was barely in office at that moment. She was the last person anyone here cared about.
The second right-wing talking point is that New York was throwing away the opportunity for new jobs. Again, this is just not appropriate. Most of the jobs were coming from out-of state folks entering New York City. We are almost 10,000,000 here. We have one the biggest economies in the USA in terms of a municipality next to the Bay Area and Seattle. We do not need new jobs. The tax revenue would help, but New York City will survive. It survived 9/11, the disastrous 70s and 80s, two World Wars, the Great Depression, and the Industrial Revolution. Anyone saying this was a bad break for New York has their head up their ass.
Now, for the left wing and their politicians. First, the poster child, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. This is your district, therefore, you are more than welcome to discuss it, but you’re late to the party. You were waiting tables at the bar you worked at while Governor Cuomo and Mayor De Blasio were brokering the deal with Jeff Bezos and his confidants. Let’s not act as if this has a thing to do with you.
For the left-wing media, can we please relax about the fact that on the whole, New York City shouldn’t be handing out benefits to the big, bad wolf that is Amazon. Amazon asked, and New York delivered. Don’t fault the corporation for trying. Corporations are not people, and they have one goal, which is to make a profit. They report to shareholders who demand more profit. Amazon was doing what every well-run company does. Let’s avoid the whole greedy corporation narrative.
That leads to my conclusion regarding this story. The root cause, and actual issue, was quite simple. The mayor and governor negotiated in the dark of night behind closed doors and shut out the municipality that would forever change with their decision. This wasn’t a taxation without representation issue, but it was an invasion without representation problem. Long Island City and Astoria were going to be forever altered with the decisions these few folks made. We, the people, had no voice. Our locally elected officials never even knew about this. That was the true problem. Give us a chance. It’s not a Democrat or Republican issue. It’s an issue as old as our Republic. Let the voters know what we are getting and give us the chance to approve or deny the option on the table. It’s as American as apple pie.
UPDATE: Since writing this piece, it has become public knowledge that Governor Cuomo has been working behind the scenes trying to get Amazon to reconsider. While it is not known if the deal has been officially renegotiated, we are aware of this Hail Mary attempt from a now seemingly desperate man with egg on his face.