After what could only be described as an incredibly stupid process followed by an even stupider charade, Amazon has reportedly officially made up its mind about which cities it’s going to build its new headquarters in. The winners are: Crystal City, Virginia, and Long Island City, Queens, according to the Wall Street Journal, which spoke with people “familiar with the matter.” Which is to say, both Washington, D.C., and New York City are probably about to be destroyed.
Now we enter phase two of the madness–seeing how things will actually play out. If this were a reality TV dating show–which, let’s be honest, it pretty much is–we would be at the epilogue where everyone sees the gravity of the situation set in after the contestant made a decision.
The sad truth of the matter is that these new quasi-headquarters will probably hurt these cities more than they help. Politicians have bent over backwards to woo Amazon, offering copious tax breaks, shrubbery, and other enticing gifts. New York governor Andrew Cuomo even said he’d change his name to Amazon Cuomo, in a move that did not at all read as desperate and pitiful. Beyond the new jobs, all Amazon is really offering is more congestion and skyrocketing rents.
As Ron Kim and Zephyr Teachout write in the New York Times, “serfdom is the style of ‘partnership’ [New York City] should expect.” If we use Seattle as a compass, we see how Amazon completely uprooted a city–causing a spike in housing prices while resisting any sort of taxation. With New York City’s infrastructure buckling at its current state, Amazon’s impact on Queens will surely be profound–especially if it’s avoiding paying its fair share.
For now, we should supposedly expect an announcement from Amazon today. The question remains whether Amazon will take Cuomo up on his offer.