Business owners on one Long Island City strip still supportive of Amazon project in neighborhood

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In a QNS survey, 86 percent of employees and business owners along Vernon Boulevard in Long Island City remain supportive of Amazon’s new headquarters in Queens.

Announced last November, Amazon, the world’s largest retailer, announced their potential move to Long Island City. However, after backlash from several elected officials and community groups, the company has reassessed their decision, according to the Washington Post.

QNS interviewed 15 business owners and employees on Feb. 11 along Vernon Boulevard between 44th Drive and 51st Street, and 13 of them agreed with the new location. One remained open to the idea, while the other opposed the tech giant’s plan.

“Yes, I personally think it would be great for business,” said Chelsea Houston, an employee for NY Kids Club.

Some agreed due to the economic development that it could bring to the area.

“I don’t know if it would benefit the community, but it will provide jobs for a lot of people,” said Long Island native and MiMi and Mo employee Nyasia Smitt.  

Some remain skeptical on the impact it could have on under-resourced areas.

“I’m sure it will create employment, but they will be dead-end jobs. Long Island City will be fine. I’m not so sure about the low-income neighborhoods though,” European Wax Center employee, Marlenny Figaro said.

Some business owners are open to the idea, but they want more answers.

Carlos, the owner of Spokesman Cycles in Queens, wants to know how this will affect the community.

“Are they just hiring here or are they hiring abroad? Are they hiring 50 percent local and 50 percent imported? And rent is going to go up a lot. Ten years ago, it used to be $800, and now it’s $3,200,” the owner said.

According to Business Insider in 2018, Amazon makes up 43 percent of all online sales and employs over 400,000 people. There have been no official statements released about the status of the new headquarters in Long Island City.

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