The Anable Basin was controversial even before Amazon said it would show up. Less than a year ago, City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, other local pols and various LIC activists were there to protest a plan to turn the strip at 44th Drive at the waterfront into a development that would somehow involve residential and industrial uses altogether. Well — no one cares about that anymore, because Amazon is coming, which is apparently the biggest
business story in a while and it’s down the street from my apartment. A memorandum of understanding shows where Amazon plans to set up shop for part of it’s HQ2, and it’s the same area, just south of Con Edison. JVB and Senator Michael Gianaris were initially down with Amazon coming to LIC, but held a protest at the site today saying this was a huge $3 billion giveaway that won’t involve any public review. The mayor says the 25,000 jobs or more promised over a decade is unprecedented and the governor says the return on investment would be nine to one.
There is some talk over whether Queensbridge residents in particular will get any jobs at Amazon, and whether Long Island City will now suddenly become a tale of two cities, as though it weren’t already, because the site is pretty close to Queensbridge.
The questions about subway intake and other infrastructure were already pertinent here. Amazon accelerates that, as told by the condo-selling frenzy the deal provoked. Just like hypothetical streetcars on 21st Street or developments over railyards, the question is also how much will this impact rents, including in the less fancy and peripheral parts of LIC, Astoria and beyond. Unless I move, I’m going to be living down the street from Amazon. I will ride my bike past it on Vernon Boulevard. But like always, I will try to shop at the Astoria Bookshop and Book Culture and not from Amazon.