Opinion | Amazon’s HQ2 Plan Gets a Cool Reception

To the Editor:

Re “Amazon Announces New York and Virginia as HQ2 Picks” (nytimes.com, Nov. 13):

The decision by Amazon to place its second headquarters in Arlington, Va., and in Queens represents a blown opportunity to do something positive for the country. If it had chosen to place a second hub in one of the less stereotypically “coastal elite” options on its list (or split between two of them — say, Columbus and Raleigh), Amazon could inject new energy, diversity and opportunity into regions suffering the negative side effects of globalization.

Jeff Bezos could single-handedly do much to reverse the consolidation of America’s urban professional class into a few cities, and thus begin to soothe some of the cultural divides.

Placing a headquarters in the D.C. area will have a negative impact on American politics. Although politics has always been dominated by the wealthy, skyrocketing real estate prices in Washington have increasingly blocked young idealists willing to work long hours for low salaries. If the gentrification of Seattle is any indication, an Amazon headquarters in D.C. will result in more stories like the one this past week about Representative-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez being unable to afford an apartment in the nation’s capital.

Oliver Kendall

To the Editor:

My mind is plagued with disappointment and genuine concern now that it has been confirmed that Long Island City will be home to Amazon’s HQ2 — or is it HQ1.5? I lived in New York City for 22 years, several of which I spent in Astoria, Long Island City’s immediate neighbor. Over the years, I watched rents skyrocket, mom-and-pop shops convert into overpriced condos, and my town transform into a place that began to look like everywhere else.

Amazon will only add to the destruction of Long Island City’s and adjacent communities’ sense of place, exchanging vitality and diversity for unfettered accumulation of wealth. The last thing the economic center of the world needs is more rich people.

Amazon should have been honestly and openly vetted before it sinks its teeth into an already troubled culture of gentrification and inequality. I left New York City three years ago because my wife and I could no longer afford to raise our family there. I have no doubt that once Amazon is allowed to call New York its new home, I will soon be joined by thousands of other New Yorkers seeking refuge from one misguided company’s insatiable greed.

Jonathan Pelegano

To the Editor:

Although your article regarding Amazon’s opening a headquarters in Long Island City refers to investments that Amazon has promised, it is not clear what the city will actually get in return for the up to $1.2 billion in tax breaks the company will receive from New York State. For example, what about desperately needed infrastructure improvements?

Your article does mention that Amazon will “retain bargaining power” with New York for decades to come. When the Seattle City Council passed a tax on companies located there in order to fund solutions to a burgeoning homeless problem, Amazon successfully leaned on the council to reverse the law. Is this what’s in store for New York? One more corporation dictating government policy?

Daniele Gerard
New York

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