Nothing can make New Yorkers happy: first, they demand that Amazon abandon its plans for a Long Island City HQ2, and now that Jeff Bezos has complied with their demands, they are threatening to boycott the online retailer.
An angry Long Island City apartment building owner of the type profiled here yesterday, called for a nationwide boycott of Amazon and its products after the tech giant pulled out of its plan to build part of its second headquarters in Queens.
Sam Musovic had invested over a $1 million in his property, anticipating overnight riches from the economic boost that HQ2 was expected to bring, according to a statement released Friday. Amazon said it would have created 25,000 jobs in the area, paying an average of $150,000 a year.
However, as the tragicomic statement continues, Musovic made the investment "only for Amazon to stand him up on Valentine’s day — and leave him with nothing but the bill and a broken heart", according to Fox News.
Having "lost" hundreds of thousands in unbooked real-estate "profits" that until Thursday were dancing merrily inside his head, Musovic, who in addition to being a landlord is also a restauranteur, started a petition to boycott Amazon that is being circulated among Queens residents and business owners. He also intends to take legal action against the tech giant, according to the statement. “Musovic and his fellow business and apartment building owners are weighing their legal options,” it said, although it was unclear why the object of his ire is Amazon and not, say, progressive New York politicians who made it clear to Bezos that his company would not be welcome in Long Island City.
A scheduled protest outside Amazon Books in Midtown Manhattan took place on Friday afternoon, and a handful of people showed up.
“Boycott @amazon” say protestors outside the company’s @amazonbooks store in Midtown after the trillion dollar company said its ditching plans for HQ2 in Queens NY @contessabrewer reports @PowerLunch pic.twitter.com/Wu3RCzMgL5— Harriet Taylor (@Harri8t) February 15, 2019
Several months after Amazon announced it planned to spend $2.5 billion building its LIE HQ2 building, spawning a project that NYC mayor Bill de Blasio said would pay for the $2.8 billion in tax rebates and incentives "many times over", the deal sparked intense opposition from vocal critics such as Democratic lawmaker Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who represents parts of Queens. In an interview with NBC News Thursday, Amazon’s Head of Policy Communications Jodi Seth slammed Ocasio-Cortez and other opponents of the deal. "If you talk to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, it's 'Never Amazon,'" she said.
Exasperated by the political pushback, Seth said explained that "looking at the opposition and the timeline we decided we don't want to work in this environment in the long term."
Meanwhile, willing to take full credit for the loss of some 25,000 jobs, Ocasio-Cortez took a victory lap on hearing of Amazon’s decision and targeted the company’s CEO Jeff Bezos, incidentally one of president Donald Trump's harshest critics. “Anything is possible: today was the day a group of dedicated, everyday New Yorkers & their neighbors defeated Amazon’s corporate greed, its worker exploitation, and the power of the richest man in the world,” she tweeted Thursday, unable or unwilling to realize that by owning this particular fiasco, she may have doomed her political career.
Anything is possible: today was the day a group of dedicated, everyday New Yorkers & their neighbors defeated Amazon’s corporate greed, its worker exploitation, and the power of the richest man in the world. https://t.co/nyvm5vtH9k— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) February 14, 2019
And just to make it clear who is truly responsible for the deal collapse, NY Governor Cuomo blasted Ocasio-Cortez and other lawmakers who opposed the deal. A small group of politicians “put their own narrow political interests above their community,” he said, in a statement released Thursday.
Cuomo added that “poll after poll showed overwhelmingly supported bringing Amazon to Long Island City - the state's economic future and the best interests of the people of this state.” He then lashed out at the New York State Senate, which "has done tremendous damage," and "should be held accountable for this lost economic opportunity."
However, as the liberal discord escalated, only chaos ensued, and Cuomo’s statement was at stark odds with mayor de Blasio’s initial response to the news, which criticized Amazon. “We gave Amazon the opportunity to be a good neighbor and do business in the greatest city in the world. Instead of working with the community, Amazon threw away that opportunity,” he said, in a statement released Thursday afternoon.
Then on Friday, speaking to WNYC public radio, de Blasio doubled down, saying "here’s Bezos and here’s Amazon, the definition of 1 percent. Look how little regard there was for everyday people. And it just dispels the notion that these big corporations are willing to be good citizens and good neighbors."
"It’s disrespectful to the people of NYC to get a call after months of attempting to build a productive partnership on behalf of this city, to get a call out of the blue saying, ‘See ya, we’re taking our ball and we’re going home,'" de Blasio added.
On Thursday evening, de Blasio told reporters that he was stunned by Amazon’s decision. The mayor said that 48 hours before the announcement, he spoke with a senior company executive who gave no indication that there was a problem with the deal. But Thursday morning, he got a call from an executive just as news started to come out that the deal was dead.
"I was flabbergasted," he told reporters in Boston, where he was taking part in a forum at Harvard's Kennedy School. "I said, 'Why on earth after all the effort we all put in would you simply walk away?'"
Yes, rejection is never, pleasant, even for a socialist like de Blasio.
Meanwhile, signaling much more trouble ahead for New York's tax incentives, opposition against the HQ2 tax breaks had been mounting since the deal was announced in November. In December, Amazon execs were grilled and jeered at a New York City Council meeting over the tech giant’s headquarters plan.
In pulling out, Amazon said it isn't looking for a replacement location "at this time." It said it plans to spread the technology jobs that were slated for New York to other offices around the U.S. and Canada, including Chicago, Toronto and Austin, Texas. It will also expand its existing New York offices, which already have about 5,000 employees.
As for Sam Musovic, whose dreams of overnight riches crumbled when some liberals wanted to virtue signal that they are even greater liberals than some other liberals, good luck in your lawsuit against the world's richest man and world's most valuable company.