Amazon in LIC
The recent Amazon deal to move to Long Island City has been smashed by many prominent leaders. They are misguided. The promise of up to 40,000 jobs and billions in tax revenue is something we must embrace. While there are valid concerns that New York has not gotten enough in return, let’s marshal support for the deal, over time, by having Amazon help the community. Here are areas we can make progress on.
- Remember, this is not so much a tax giveaway but an important investment. Giving $2 billion in tax breaks is paltry compared to the estimated $9-plus billion in tax revenues anticipated in the coming two decades.
- Amazon can help make the LIC area better. Right now, it’s shabby. People cannot even reach riverfront that is blocked to the public in large swaths of the neighborhood. Let’s change that! As the area is redeveloped, let’s make sure all of us have access to some waterfront, as opposed to now: stretches of ugly warehouses and buildings blocking the river.
- Light rail should be promoted. Getting the influx of Amazon workers around should encourage Amazon to help create light rail that allows all of us to benefit. It’s far better to have clean, electric means for transportation, rather than an influx of yet more cars clogging the streets. Let’s plan well!
- Improving the 7 line and other stations should be part of the deal, including elevators and escalators for the elderly and handicapped.
- All new housing most require that at least 50 percent of housing units be allocated for affordable pricing for the middle class.
- Let’s remake the areas by planning the planting of 50,000 trees.
- Let’s require the building of a new “special” school designated for the technologies and software Amazon is renowned for. It also will create perhaps another 1,000 slot for worthy New York students.
- While at it, let’s zone some areas for parks and playgrounds for children to enjoy.
- Improved bus service should also be planned for.
The Amazon deal can be a wonderful change to improve life in Long Island City. Instead of attacking reflexively, let’s use this opportunity to recreate the neighborhood… and remain aware that more jobs and a huge corporation in New York is in everyone’s interest. Tax revenue is needed to fund social programs. Chasing away opportunity is not in anyone’s interest.