“Strap yourselves in and get ready,” said State Senator Michael Gianaris of Queens. “We are not giving up until we scuttle this deal: scrap it, throw it in the garbage, and start the conversation all over again.”
Gianaris was speaking to a crowd of roughly 150 New Yorkers earlier today in Long Island City’s Gordan Triangle. Under a bright blue sky and amid near-freezing temperatures, Gianaris was one of a long roster of politicians, activists, and labor leaders who had assembled to speak out against the new Amazon headquarters in Long Island City.
City Council Member Jimmy Van Bremer, whose district includes LIC, was another key figure in the protest. He introduced several of his council colleagues—“the same City Council [Cuomo and de Blasio] didn’t trust to be able to grease the wheels for Jeff Bezos.”
One of those colleagues was Stephen T. Levin of Brooklyn. “We need a better deal,” said Levin. “In the neighborhoods that I represent—right over the Pulaski Bridge, in Williamsburg and Greenpoint—every single day, I have somebody come into my office from one of those communities who’s losing their apartment because the landlords are jacking up the rent.
“We’re already fighting a housing crisis—this will make the housing crisis that much worse.”
Jonathan Westin, the executive director of New York Communities for Change, also addressed the effect Amazon may have in what’s left of working-class LIC and beyond…