Amazon in Queens

Critics have objected to the use of subsidies to lure Amazon to New York City; the giant Internet retailer recently announced that it would locate a major corporate office in Long Island City, Queens. Indeed, corporate welfare of this sort is bad public policy. But given the promise of 25,000 well-paid jobs and development of an underused site, the deal is, on balance, a win for New York.

The Facts You Need to Know

  1. Welfare: The subsidies given to Amazon are minimal compared with the billions of economic-development dollars the state spends annually, to little effect. Read more.

  2. Unions: The state promised Amazon a half-billion-dollar capital grant–likely as compensation for the company having to pay area “prevailing wages,” which add 25% to construction costs. Read more.

  3. Subways: The city and state will have to upgrade local transit infrastructure, which is already severely overcrowded. Read more

“This is a big money-maker for us—costs us nothing, nada, niente. We make money doing this.”

Governor Andrew Cuomo

Twitter Take


Nicole Gelinas joins Howard Husock to discuss the resolution of Amazon’s year-long “HQ2” competition.

The Past is Present

Planning With Vision By Nathan Glazer (Spring 1992)

“New York’s planners need to think more about the quality of life.”

And in other news...

“Gov. Cuomo has urged a pay raise for state lawmakers because, he said, they ‘work very hard’ and ‘deserve’ more money.”