New Yorkers protest Amazon HQ2 location

Demonstrators gather in Long Island City to denounce the decision. (YouTube)

By Anandita Mehta
Staff Writer

Amazon ended its yearlong search for a location for its new headquarters — the corporation opted to split its headquarters into two locations –– Long Island City, New York and Crystal City, Virginia, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Crystal City is an attractive location because of its proximity to major transportation hubs like various metro stops and the Reagan National Airport, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Long Island City also has plenty of access to transportation, including the subway system, the Long Island Rail Road and two major airports –– JFK and LaGuardia.

Virginia officials, including Gov. Ralph Northam, agreed to give the company $819 million in return for the creation of the 25,000 jobs in the area at an average annual salary of more than $150,000, according to The Washington Post.

In New York, Amazon is set to receive a $1.2 billion tax break for creating another 25,000 jobs also with an average annual salary of more than $150,000, according to The New Yorker.

While most officials and businesses in the chosen states are looking forward to the economic benefits the headquarters will bring, Amazon’s announcement has not been so well-received by local residents and officials alike, according to The Washington Post.

In New York, representative-elect Alexandria Ocasio Cortez criticized Amazon’s choice.

She said that while the company will receive hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks, the state will continue to suffer from crumbling subway systems and other infrastructure, according to The New Yorker.

“‘We need more investment, not less,’” she said, according to The New Yorker.

While some community members saw the expansion of Amazon as a chance for people to enter the middle class when they otherwise would not have been able to, other residents of Long Island City protested against Amazon’s plans to expand into their city on Nov. 14, according to ABC.

The protests reflected residents’ concerns over a lack of the company’s investment in the city’s infrastructure. The protestors said that the money should instead be used to improve the transit system, affordable housing and public schools, according to ABC.

Economically, the arrival of the headquarters in both New York and Virginia will also likely raise rent costs and home prices, pushing low-income residents out of these areas, according to MarketWatch. 

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