Amazon’s HQ2 leaves Queens residents with mixed feelings

Popular e-commerce giant Amazon is planning to build a home for its innovations in Queens. The company wants to build a second headquarters in Long Island City, which is causing both lifted spirits and heartaches for residents.

According to a CNBC article, it would seem ideal for Amazon to choose Long Island City, an area undergoing a major transformation and making way for new infrastructure. However, according to retail data and review site Point2Homes, Amazon choosing Long Island City — a neighborhood home to 68,117 residents — as its second headquarters raises concerns for transportation.

The 25,000 potential Amazon workers could cause frustration along the 7 train. Because of how close Long Island City is to the melting pot of Manhattan, Amazon could capitalize on the convenience but would not be paying much attention to “the influx of new residents” in Long Island City, as stated by Steve Kovach, author of the CNBC article on Amazon’s Long Island City choice.

The mixed feelings for Amazon’s takeover in Queens have fueled the conversation to include topics that were not given much attention.

On Nov. 14, protesters gathered in the future location of Amazon’s headquarters in Long Island City, their signs and discourse covering the topics of “housing, rent and transportation,” according to NBC News.

New York City’s community health profiles published in 2015 reveal the major concerns depicted in Long Island City and Astoria. The maintenance defects for housing quality were lower than that of other areas in NYC. High levels of air pollution also brought down housing quality in both neighborhoods.

With protesters deeming that these issues are still prevalent in the current year, the question of if Long Island City is truly ready for a company like Amazon to set up a headquarters at its heart arises.

Nikhil Kumar, a Baruch College freshman who is pursuing a finance major, recounted how his upbringing in Queens and navigation of the subway system made him believe that there are both positive and negative effects to Amazon’s choice of location for its new headquarters.

“Having observed the lack of corporate presence in many parts of the borough, I think that the addition of thousands of individuals in the workforce to the neighborhood will drive revenue for local businesses,” Kumar stated.

“However, it is also important to acknowledge that Queens is largely a borough of middle-class immigrants, and the influx of high-earning individuals in the neighborhood will inevitably increase the cost of living there.”

For many, introducing Amazon to Long Island City will hinder the neighborhood’s originality and call for more infrastructural adjustments than originally planned. “But gone is the city’s vision of a mixed-use community filled with apartments, some of them for residents of more modest means,” The New York Times reported.

Although many residents are hesitant to embrace the major changes, some feel as though Amazon will fit right in to the lifestyle of Queens residents.

“NYC is always changing and Amazon will be the newest big company edition to Queens. The business will provide opportunity for new people to enter their job fields because Amazon will be looking for many people to hire including young people fresh in the field to provide new input,” Hunter College freshman and emerging media major Madison Chen said.

“I do not think the addition of Amazon’s employees’ commuting will change the hustle and bustle of the subways, because the subway is somewhere that is always busy and constantly moving.”

With the click of a button, consumers can surf to their heart’s desire on Amazon’s e-commerce site. Even though Amazon is gaining popularity for its ease of access and efficient nature, the opening of an Amazon headquarters in Long Island City is still raising doubts. It is now up to residents to decide what impact Amazon will have for them in the near future.

November 19, 2018

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Yasmeen Persaud

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