Nicole Gelinas joins Howard Husock to discuss the resolution of Amazon’s year-long “HQ2” competition. This week, the Internet giant announced that it would open new offices in Crystal City, Virginia—near Washington, D.C.—and New York’s own Long Island City, Queens.

Located just across the East River from midtown Manhattan, Long Island City had struggled for years as a post-industrial neighborhood until the early 2000s, when rezoning allowed the construction of dozens of luxury residential buildings and modern office towers. The neighborhood still faces challenges, however: it’s home to some of the city’s largest public housing projects, and its schools are poorly run.

New York State is offering Amazon more than $1.5 billion in tax breaks and grants to create 25,000 jobs in Long Island City. That comes out to about $48,000 per job. Since the announcement, community leaders and elected officials are already making demands on Amazon. They want to see funding for transit fixes, employment for local residents, unionization, and more. As more details emerge on the terms of the city and state’s agreement with the company (one example: Amazon’s private helipad will be limited to 120 landings a year), many New Yorkers are skeptical.

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  1. Jon1979 Inactive

    The ferries are going to be of marginal use for getting people to Long Island City because they’re not the size boats that are used on the runs to Staten Island from Manhattan; they’re far smaller boats that have the capacity of 2-3 subway cars.

    The city would be better off just maintaining the increased number of trains per hour on the M line, which stops at 23rd St.-Ely Ave., the closest station to Amazon’s new headquarters. The M will have its frequency increased sharply next year, to make up for the closure of the 14th Street tunnel on the L for Sandy-related repairs (doing that would require not scrapping some of the older railcars the MTA plans to junk when the 14th Street tunnel reopens in 2020 to allow for more trains through the 53rd Street tunnel to Long Island City, but odds are the MTA’s not foresighted enough to do that).

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