Queens lawmaker calls for boycott of Amazon at rally in Long Island City against HQ2 plan

The fight against Amazon has begun as residents, activists and elected officials gathered at Gordon Triangle in Long Island City on Wednesday morning to protest the subsidies the company will receive as part of its deal with the city to establish part of its HQ2 in the neighborhood.

“I canceled my Amazon membership and I call for a boycott of Amazon,” state Senator Michael Gianaris said.

Both the senator and Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer have publicly denounced the establishment of the one of two H2Q headquarters in Long Island City (the second H2Q will be in northern Virginia). Both are outraged that the trillion-dollar company will receive nearly billions in subsidies for setting up shop in the already highly developed area.

“Just this morning several residents contacted us to say that there is no heat in Queensbridge,” said Van Bramer to a sea of reporters. “But somehow, those who consider themselves progressive Democrats have seen fit to throw $3 billion dollars at the richest man in the world.”

An eruption of boos punctuated the councilman’s statement.

“That is wrong and we should all be outraged at what has happened here,” he said.

Councilman Van Bramer speaks to a crowd of community members, activists and reporters to express his outrage over Amazon subsidies.
Councilman Van Bramer speaks to a crowd of community members, activists and reporters to express his outrage over Amazon subsidies.

Van Bramer admonished Governor Andrew Cuomo, whom the councilman accused of making too easy of a deal with Amazon.

“Did the governor not say whatever it takes, no matter what it takes, you can even rename me after Amazon,” Van Bramer said. Governor Cuomo offered to change his name if it would make New York City a more appealing location for their H2Q. “Then they said we’re gonna fix the process so that they don’t have to worry about those pesky City Council members and those pesky community members who might have some problems with the deal, we’re gonna  make sure we create a GPP for you and we gonna grease the wheels for the richest man in the world.”

Assemblyman Ron Kim was another Queens representative outraged by Amazon subsidies. amazon_3

Van Bramer and Gianaris organized the protest along with other representatives of the area and the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), Alliance for a Greater New York (ALIGN), Make the Road New York (MTRNY), New York Communities for Change (NYCC). Other Queens elected officials such as Assemblywoman-elect Catalina Cruz, state Senator-elect Jessica Ramos, Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas, Councilman Costa Constantinides and Assemblyman Ron Kim.

Every elected official that spoke felt that the money that Amazon receive is money that could better used to serve their constituents by addressing transit, education, infrastructure and affordable housing improvements.


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