The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

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Amazon Moves to Queens


A few weeks ago, Amazon announced that it had selected New York City and Northern Virginia as the winners of the HQ2, or, Amazon’s second headquarters in North America. Their plan included a small hub in Nashville.

The New York City site will be in Long Island City, a residential and commercial neighborhood located on the western tip of Queens. Some students and faculty members are excited and looking forward to the economic growth that the move will bring, while others frown at the thought of overcrowded trains and potential rent hikes.

In a statement about the announcement, Amazon’s founder and CEO Jeff Bezos said, “we are excited to build new headquarters in New York City and Northern Virginia. These two locations will allow us to attract world-class talent that will help us to continue inventing for customers for years to come. The team did a great job selecting these sites, and we look forward to becoming an even bigger part of these communities.”

In addition, the statement references the 8 subway lines, 13 bus lines, commuter rail, bike-sharing service, and ferries serving the area, which will make a good means for employees’ transportation.

Dr. Robert Pecorella, St. John’s University’s director of the Institute for Core Studies and associate professor with the Department of Government and Politics, Told the Torch that the move was “a big get for New York City and for the community in Northern Virginia.”

Pecorella said that students can expect to benefit from the move, as it will bring economic opportunities.

“Amazon is one of the premiere corporations on the planet right now,” Pecorella said.

With a background particularly in public administration and urban governance, Pecorella said that moves like this happen all the time and that this one is getting so much attention because Amazon is such a big company.

“On the face of it, you’re placing a new burden on what can be called an aging infrastructure in the state and city. The subways are in disrepair. This is going to pressure them more. There are plans, however, from Amazon to build a primary or intermediary public school,” he said. “With all business moves, there are benefits and cons.”

Assemblyman David Weprin of the 24th Assembly District called the move a “unique opportunity to grow New York City’s employment base.”

“I am confident that with an expected 9:1 return on investment and $27.5 billion in tax revenue over 25 years that the City and the State will benefit from this project. New York must be a leader in the new tech economy and I look forward to working with local officials to ensure that Amazon follows through with its commitments to the public which include infrastructure improvements, job training, and job placement,” he said.

Marketing student, Timi Idowu, said he doesn’t think the move will benefit local residents.

“It’s definitely going to increase rent prices and I feel like people are already struggling to pay rent. Once rent goes up, people are going to have to start moving out,” Idowu said.

Government and politics student Rumman Rafsan also isn’t looking forward to the move.

“I don’t feel too good about it. Amazon has too much power and receives too much in corporate subsidies and they’ll be getting about $1.5 billion from New York,” Rafsan said. “I still use Amazon and its services, but I don’t like how they treat their employees and how much influence they have in government.”

Rafsan called Bezos’ relationship with the federal government “worrisome.”

Senior student Wil Turner echoed a similar sentiment

“I think that housing prices are going to rise, if you look at what happened in Seattle where Amazon is headquartered, the price of living jumped and it’s reflective of the massive inequality that’s been built in this country,” he said. “Jeff Bezos is the richest man in the world because he’s exploiting people, just like Long Island City will soon be exploited.”

Marketing student Emily Chun said most business students are more focused on corporate mergers.

“I don’t think most business majors are focused on this move because Amazon has been consistently expanding,” she said.

Business management student Jake Texeira is looking forward to the economic growth that the move will bring to the area.

“I think it’s good news that they’re coming because it’s a job opportunity for when I graduate,” Texeira said. “It’s probably going to put a strain on mass transit, but economically it’s going to be good for people.”

In a city as saturated in population as New York, Pecorella said “The city is 312 sq. miles and has roughly 8 million people, that’s sustainable if the city and state governments are working towards sustainability.”

Amazon is expected to begin hiring for HQ2 in 2019.

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About the Contributor
Beverly Danquah
Beverly Danquah, Features Editor
Beverly Danquah is a senior communications major with a minor in international studies, business, and legal studies. She joined the Torch in the sophomore year as a writer, and then became the features editor in her junior year. As features editor, Beverly hopes to acquaint readers with the student body, faculty and happenings. She hopes to tell stories and encourage writers to tell stories that evoke the essence of the little things that make the people and happenings of St. John’s so unique. Have any questions? Email Beverly at [email protected] 
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