Amazon has quickly become the world’s most used online shopping site, and for good reason. With the click of a few buttons, you can get anything from weird Halloween costumes to live insects. Amazon already has a headquarters in Seattle, however they have recently announced plans to open a new headquarters in Long Island City. Many people believe that this plan will benefit New York City, as it will bring more jobs. However, I believe the new Amazon headquarters will have more negative than positive impacts on New York City residents.
Rent prices in Long Island City have been steadily increasing over the past few years, which has already displaced many low-income residents. With the construction of the headquarters, more people will be moving into Queens pursuing jobs. As a result, rent prices will drastically increase, as landlords will see an opportunity to make more profit. Rent prices in Seattle have doubled since 2010, when Amazon opened its headquarters there. It is only logical to assume that same will happen in New York City.
A classmate of mine, Amira Shimin ‘21, lives close to where the headquarters is going to be built. Amira has stated that she has noticed that trains in that area, the 7, the G, and the E, been having more delays within the last two years. As more people will be using the MTA to travel to the headquarters for work, the train delays will most likely worsen, and the likelihood of the MTA putting more money towards preventing the delays is low. As a result, the commute time to work and school for New York City residents will increase, forcing people to spend their precious time stuck underground on the subway.
Shreya Raizada ‘21, a resident of Astoria, does not believe that current residents of Queens will benefit from the new headquarters, despite that it can bring thousands of jobs to NYC. Amazon is looking for highly qualified workers to work for their company, and offer high salaries, with a median annual salary of $106,000. This is obviously appealing and people will choose to relocate to Queens to apply for a job at Amazon. More qualified workers may move in, and as a result, they will get the job, while people that might have been less qualified and already living in Queens will not. The majority of the jobs may go to newcomers. This hurts the low income residents of Queens, as people that are moving in will cause rent prices to soar, and tens of thousands of residents may be displaced.
However, there has been speculation that Amazon may donate money to Queensbridge, a nearby public housing development, which would benefit the Queens community.
For the sake of our students living in Queens, and the low-income residents of NYC, let us hope that this business decision will benefit NYC, although it does not seem very likely.