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OpinionEditorial

Amazon's 1,500 new jobs are no comparison to a new HQ

Amazon has signed a lease for a new

Amazon has signed a lease for a new office space in Manhattan that will house more than 1,500 employees. The company said the new office will be in a building near Hudson Yards, and is expected to open in 2021. Credit: AP/Mark Lennihan

Let's get the facts right on Amazon's new jobs in Manhattan. 

  • Leasing 335,000 square feet is not equivalent to developing 4 million square feet of new commercial and office space.
  • A one-time gain of 1,500 jobs on  Manhattan's West Side by 2021 is not the same as creating at least 25,000 jobs in Long Island City over time, 5,900 of which would have come by 2021.
  • Amazon's new plans won't transform the Queens waterfront. They won't improve infrastructure, transit or schools, or provide other community benefits. 
  • No one — not State Sen. Michael Gianaris, nor Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — saved taxpayers $3 billion when they destroyed Amazon's headquarters plans in February. Tax incentives aren't a blank check and wouldn't have been paid unless jobs and revenue promises came true.

The disregard for facts, and the cavalier way in which Gianaris, Ocasio-Cortez and others reacted to Amazon's announcement last week that it will add 1,500 jobs near Hudson Yards, is troubling. They're applauding what amount to a few pennies found in the street, compared with what could have been an enormous lottery win.

The new Amazon jobs won't produce $27 billion in tax revenue, and won't significantly ripple through  Queens or Long Island, which stood to gain tremendously from Amazon's headquarters.

Ocasio-Cortez has gotten facts wrong before. Earlier this year, she responded to critics, saying, "There’s a lot of people more concerned about being precisely, factually, and semantically correct than about being morally right."

But she and others have to stop trying to storm the barricades of capitalism. To really improve the region, especially Queens and Long Island, all involved, especially local political officials, must stick to the facts and be willing to build the economy in big, meaningful ways. — The editorial board

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