C’mon, Amazon. Give NYC a break. You weren’t serious about setting up your much ballyhooed second headquarters in Long Island City in the first place.
Where was the due diligence during the nearly two-year hunt for a place deemed suitable for the honor of hosting you?
You really didn’t have a clue that New Yorkers are a cantankerous bunch, which is part of the lure of the Big Apple, who would object to dishing out $3B in incentives to a corporate monster with a current market cap of $800B, down from the all-time high of $1T first hit in September, in exchange for the promise of 25K jobs. That’s pie in the sky thinking.
And what about the demand for a private helipad on the East River for CEO Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world.” That was a little rich, don’t you think?
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who kiddingly offered to rename himself “Amazon” Cuomo, did his best to explain to New Yorkers that the $3B jackpot was contingent upon Amazon passing certain financial benchmarks.
He may be right, but he missed the point. NYC is the financial, media and cultural center of the US. It has a rapidly growing tech center and a talented workforce that is well qualified to work for Amazon.
Hard-core New Yorkers were offended that NYC entered the HQ2 beauty contest in the first place. They feel the City should stand on its own merits.
More than 235 cities groveled before Amazon. Twenty candidates were found to be somewhat worthy. Other cities coughed up much more than NYC promised to land HQ2. Newark, for instance, dangled $7B in incentives before Bezos and his gang. Yet Amazon chose NYC.
But did Amazon expect New Yorkers to roll out the red carpet? Fuhgeddaboudit! The red carpet treatment is reserved for the Pope, NY Mets World Series championship teams and perhaps president Donald Trump’s Democratic successor.
New York is a rough and tumble place. If Amazon is too thin-skinned to take some heat for its opposition to unions (NYC is still considered a union town) and accusations that its proposed HQ2 would destroy the fabric of neighborhoods in Queens, it doesn’t belong here.
Amazon may have hired SKDKnickerbocker, a plugged-in NYC firm to make its case, but it never fully engaged in the PR battle.
A somewhat frustrated Cuomo admitted as much, telling WNYC’s Brian Lehrer on Feb. 5, “Look I think Amazon has not done a great job communicating. There is a symbolism to Amazon and Bezos you just were talking about it on the last session, you know, everybody loves to hate Jeff Bezos.”
Understandably, Bezos is very busy these days with his divorce and the battle with the National Enquirer over publication of sexts that he sent to his girlfriend.
But at the very least, couldn’t Jeff have swung by to make a pitch about Amazon’s plan to grow in and with NYC? That would have been a nice touch, especially if Bezos didn’t arrive on his own personal helicopter.
NYC will thrive without Amazon.
After all, Google announced plans to invest $1B in NYC to more than double its current 7,000 headcount in the city over the next decade.
Google didn’t feel the need to shake down the City for the investment. How about that, Jeff?