An Amazon banner. Credit: Bloomberg / Chris Ratcliffe
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Amazon by the numbers
To understand the scale and potential impact of Amazon’s workforce in Long Island City — anywhere from 25,000 employees to as many as 40,000 — we thought it would be interesting to consider (with help from Newsday librarians Laura Mann and Judy Weinberg) the peak employment numbers posted by other employers in the region.
Grumman Corp., the aerospace giant that for years was considered the economic engine of Long Island, hit its high point in the 1960s with around 33,000 employees on the Island.
Northwell Health, the largest private employer in New York State, has some 66,000 employees, many of whom, but not all, work on Long Island.
The Brooklyn Navy Yard, just down the East River from Long Island City, employed as many as 70,000 people during World War II.
With Amazon apparently preparing to move into 1 Court Square, which currently houses Citibank and sports the highly visible “Citi” sign on top, and also planning to build a complex along the waterfront, we’re expecting to see a big Amazon sign atop an iconic headquarters building or two.
Which got us thinking about other iconic headquarters in New York City, like the Woolworth, Chrysler and Pan-Am buildings. But those companies never were the only occupants of their namesake structures. F.W. Woolworth, for example, occupied only one-and-a-half floors when the 60-story building opened in 1913.
One thing Amazon won’t be is a five-and-dime story.
Questions left unanswered
Two questions never came up in the almost one-hour news conference Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio held Tuesday afternoon to convey their excitement about Amazon’s decision to locate a new corporate hub in Long Island City.
First question? When will Cuomo file the necessary paperwork to legally change his given name from Andrew to Amazon if the company came to Queens? That was an offer Cuomo made during the final stages of wooing the Seattle-based company, a way to express his personal commitment to the project.
The governor also offered to rename Newtown Creek, the industrial waterway Superfund site that is part of the border between Queens and Brooklyn, the “Amazon River.” Does the governor have the power to rename an intrastate waterway through executive powers? Does he need to engage the State Legislature in such an effort?
Cuomo for president?
Meanwhile, as Andrew, still not Amazon Cuomo, gets national headlines for luring the company and its new jobs to New York, he’s starting to register, albeit slightly, on national polls, for the 2020 presidential race. Cuomo and a few other New Yorkers.
A new 733-person online national survey tracks the mood of Democrats on the direction of the country and the agenda for a new Congress. The survey also included a few horse-race questions for 2020. The survey, released Tuesday by Morning Consult/Politico, not unexpectedly had Joe Biden atop the leader board at 26 percent, followed by Bernie Sanders with 19 percent, and Beto O’Rourke third at 8 percent, fresh off his Senate defeat. Elizabeth Warren garnered 5 percent. There were about a dozen others in the low single digits, including Michael Bloomberg at 2 percent, and Cuomo and Kirsten Gillibrand each at 1 percent.
More interesting is the frequency of the mention of the candidates by the 733 respondents. Asked about their first choice, Bloomberg got 15 mentions, Cuomo got 11, and Gillibrand got six. When it came to their second choices, Bloomberg jumped to 25 respondents, or 3 percent; 19 named Gillibrand as second choice, also 3 percent of the total; and Cuomo got 17, or 2 percent.
But of Democrats surveyed, 31 percent had choices other than Biden and Sanders. With those two out of the picture, the Democratic presidential primary is pretty much wide open, with three New Yorkers right in the middle of the mix.