Amazon Cuomo

Amazon Cancels Long Island City HQ2 Plans

Amazon’s Seattle HQ (courtesy of Joe Wolf)

After Governor “Amazon” Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio offered the trillion-dollar company, Amazon, upwards of $3 billion in tax subsidies to locate part of its HQ2 campus in Long Island City without public discourse, Amazon has canceled its plans for Queens. Read the full statement from Amazon:

After much thought and deliberation, we’ve decided not to move forward with our plans to build a headquarters for Amazon in Long Island City, Queens. For Amazon, the commitment to build a new headquarters requires positive, collaborative relationships with state and local elected officials who will be supportive over the long-term. While polls show that 70% of New Yorkers support our plans and investment, a number of state and local politicians have made it clear that they oppose our presence and will not work with us to build the type of relationships that are required to go forward with the project we and many others envisioned in Long Island City.

We are disappointed to have reached this conclusion—we love New York, its incomparable dynamism, people, and culture—and particularly the community of Long Island City, where we have gotten to know so many optimistic, forward-leaning community leaders, small business owners, and residents. There are currently over 5,000 Amazon employees in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Staten Island, and we plan to continue growing these teams.

We are deeply grateful to Governor Cuomo, Mayor de Blasio, and their staffs, who so enthusiastically and graciously invited us to build in New York City and supported us during the process. Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio have worked tirelessly on behalf of New Yorkers to encourage local investment and job creation, and we can’t speak positively enough about all their efforts. The steadfast commitment and dedication that these leaders have demonstrated to the communities they represent inspired us from the very beginning and is one of the big reasons our decision was so difficult.

We do not intend to reopen the HQ2 search at this time. We will proceed as planned in Northern Virginia and Nashville, and we will continue to hire and grow across our 17 corporate offices and tech hubs in the U.S. and Canada.

Thank you again to Governor Cuomo, Mayor de Blasio, and the many other community leaders and residents who welcomed our plans and supported us along the way. We hope to have future chances to collaborate as we continue to build our presence in New York over time.

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Weeknight and Weekend L Train Service Disruptions Start Tonight Through March 18

L train platform (courtesy of Roshan Vyas/Flickr)

Nighttime and weekend L train service will be suspended starting tonight through Mar. 18, for maintenance to the Canarsie Tunnel that was planned prior to Andrew ‘Amazon’ Cuomo’s intervention last month.

The L train will not operate on weeknights between Brooklyn’s Broadway Junction station and 8th Avenue in Manhattan between 10:45 p.m. – 5 a.m. from Mon., Jan. 28, – Mon., Mar. 18. Also no L train weekend service starting this Friday at 10:45 p.m. through 5 a.m. on Mon., Feb. 4. Here’s the MTA’s explanation:

What’s the work? As part of the revised L Project, we’re still moving forward on the long-term reliability improvement work we had originally planned. This includes installing brand new rail in the tunnel and along other critical sections of the L line, and preparing key switches and signals. For you, this means our track will be safer and trains will run faster and smoother, and that we’ll have the right signals to run the one-track operation come April.

This work requires full track access because of how the track installation and signal work is implemented, meaning that there will be no L service between 8 Av and Broadway Junction during these weeknights.

What should customers do? If you’re traveling between Brooklyn and Manhattan, you can take the A , F, J or M. For Manhattan L stations, you can take the M14 bus. In Brooklyn, we’re running shuttle buses along two routes:

Between Broadway Junction and Lorimer St, connecting with Marcy Av J subway
Loop between Marcy Av J, Hewes St J, Broadway G, Lorimer St-Metropolitan Av G, and Bedford Av.
These shuttle buses are free and will stop at L subway stations between Bedford Av and Broadway Junction. You can also use the MYmta app for the latest trip-planning information and check out these timetables for estimated last train departures, from key stations:

Manhattan/8 Av-bound
Station Departure Time
Broadway Junction 10:56 PM
Myrtle-Wyckoff Avs 11:02 PM
Lorimer St 11:13 PM
Bedford Av 11:14 PM
14 St-Union Sq 11:20 PM

Brooklyn/Rockaway Pkwy-bound
Station Departure Time
8 Ave 11:20 PM
14 St- Union Sq 11:24 PM
Bedford Av 11:30 PM
Lorimer St 11:33 PM
Myrtle-Wyckoff Avs 11:45 PM

Weekends
Feb 1-4, Feb 8-11, Feb 15-19 (extra day for Presidents’ Day), Feb 22-25, Mar 1-4, Mar 8-11, Mar 15-18, Appx. 10:45 PM Friday to 5 AM Monday
There will be no L trains between 8 Av and Broadway Junction

What’s the work? As part of the revised L Project, we’re still moving forward on the long-term reliability improvement work we had originally planned. This includes installing brand new rail in the tunnel and along other critical sections of the L line, and preparing key switches and signals. For you, this means our track will be safer and trains will run faster and smoother, and that we’ll have the right signals to run the one-track operation come April.

What should customers do? If you’re travelling between Manhattan and Brooklyn, you can take special weekend M service, A or C trains and free shuttle buses. M trains will operate to and from 96 St Q station in Manhattan. To connect with the A, C and M trains, as well as free shuttle buses for service in Brooklyn, you can use Myrtle-Wyckoff Avs and Broadway Junction stations.

If you’re traveling in Brooklyn, the L will operate between Broadway Junction and Canarsie Rockaway Pkwy. We’ll also be running three shuttle bus routes making stops at all L stations between Bedford Av and Myrtle-Wyckoff Avs:

Between Broadway Junction A, C, J and Myrtle-Wyckoff Avs M
Between Myrtle-Wyckoff Avs M and Lorimer St (Metropolitan Av G).
Loop bus stopping at Marcy Av JM, Hewes St JM, Broadway G, Lorimer St (Metropolitan Av G) and Bedford Av
In Manhattan, there will be additional M14A bus service.

Be sure to check back here as we work through the details of the revised L Project plan for any changes to service. Be sure to plan ahead using the MYmta app for the latest trip-planning information.

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L-Train Apocalypse Averted, Reconstruction to Take 15 – 20 Months

Gov. ‘Amazon’ Cuomo at Thursday’s press conference in Manhattan.

Governor ‘Amazon’ Cuomo held a surprise press conference in Manhattan on Thursday afternoon to announce last-minute changes in the two-year-old L train shutdown plan that was scheduled to start in April 2019. The plan for a full shutdown of the L train’s Canarsie tunnel has been scrapped in lieu of a new engineering plan (PDF) to keep the tunnel in operation during reconstruction. The announcement has a profound impact on Brooklyn residents working in Manhattan and the real estate developers with local interests, who are some of Cuomo’s largest donors.

Without offering many specific details, Cuomo said that L train commuters can expect service disruptions on some nights and weekends during the coming 15-to-20-months of construction on the Canarsie tunnel.

Cuomo didn’t talk about the MTA’s former plans to create express bus lanes on the Williamsburg Bridge and across 14th Street in Manhattan. Cuomo also continued to deny his control over the MTA: “No, I am not in charge of the MTA…Yes, I did ask this group, I convened this group, I got them access, I facilitated their research, they came up with their conclusion, they presented it to the MTA, and the MTA said it’s a better way to do it.”

The flooded Canarsie tunnel in the aftermath of 2012’s Hurricane Sandy

The Canarsie tunnel was damaged way back in 2012 from the salty, corrosive floodwaters of Hurricane Sandy. The MTA announced its mitigation plan in 2016, and since then dozens of meetings in North Brooklyn have been held by local activist groups such as the L train Coalition and NYC Council Members Stephen Levin and Antonio Reynoso.

Cuomo’s team of Ivy League engineers drafted a new engineering design “never used in the United States” to supplement the full shutdown, Cuomo explained during Thursday’s press conference:

To make a long story short: They have proposed a new design to use in the tunnel. It is a design that has not been used in the united states before to the best of our knowledge. It has been implemented in Europe. It has never been implemented in a tunnel restoration project. They came up with that design suggestion that uses many new innovations that are new to, frankly, the rail industry in this country. But the MTA has gone through their recommendations and gone through the new design, and the MTA believes that it is feasible, it’s highly innovative but that it is feasible. Long story short, with this design, it would not be necessary to close the L train tunnel at all, which would be a phenomenal benefit to the people of New York City. There would need to be some night and weekend closures of only one tube, so service would still work because there are two tunnels, but it would be a major, major breakthrough, and that’s what we want to discuss with you today.

Watch the full press conference:

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31-Story Tower to Join Greenpoint Landing Waterfront Development

One Blue Slip at Greenpoint Landing (Handel Architects)

The newest addition to the 22-acre Greenpoint Landing waterfront development located at the northwestern corner of Greenpoint, named One Bell Slip, will be a 31-story residential tower according to pre-filings by Brookfield Property Partners with the Dept. of Buildings, The Real Deal reports.

The One Blue Slip tower opened last summer for leasing and at $3,023 per month currently offers the most expensive studio apartments for rent in Greenpoint, according to StreetEasy.

One Blue Slip at Greenpoint Landing (Handel Architects)

The new residential building will have 380,000 square feet and 408 apartments, part of the total 5,500 total apartments planned at Greenpoint Landing which is adjacent to the soon-to-be cleaned Nuhart Plastics Superfund site. 

Last summer, Brookfield announced a deal with Park Tower Group to buy into 1,240 units at Eagle and Commercial streets in two new towers financed with an $89 million loan from the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China.

Toronto-based Brookfield, who has for years been one of Governor ‘Amazon’ Cuomo’s largest donors, is also behind one of the current largest private residential developments in the Bronx and is one of the largest real estate developers in the world.

 

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Surprise! Amazon Cuomo Doesn’t Fix L Train Tunnel During Midnight Visit

Governor Cuomo Flickr

Corporate America’s valiant Governor, ‘Amazon’ Cuomo, tried his hardest last night to fix the Canarsie Tunnel during a 1.5 hour midnight visit with a team of “national and international experts,” but in the end, no miracles were made and the tunnel will close as scheduled for an estimated 15 months of repairs starting in April 2019.

Cuomo did bless us with a photo shoot providing images of the subterranean finger pointing and deep reflection we all wanted.

Amazon Cuomo held a press conference following the tunnel tour in which he revealed nothing new while name-dropping his photo-op team of global experts from Cornell, Columbia University, and the MTA. Watch the press conference here:

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L Train Tunnel to Get Hard Look From Amazon Cuomo Tonight

Amazon Cuomo (courtesy of Zak Seward)

Governor ‘Amazon’ Cuomo is set to tour the L train’s Canarsie tunnel on Thursday night ahead of the subway line’s 15-month shutdown between Manhattan and Brooklyn that is scheduled to start in April 2019.

While not exactly an eleventh-hour visit (pun intended), Cuomo will descend into the hurricane-ravaged tunnel flanked by ‘national and international experts’ for a photo-op around midnight.

This means some late night schedule changes on the L train tonight: the overnight schedule will begin at 12 a.m. instead of 1:30 a.m., when trains will run every 20 minutes. Regular service will resume at 1:30 a.m.

Amazon Cuomo called into WNYC’s “The Brian Lehrer Show” on Monday to dish on an array of issues facing the Empire State, including the impending L train shutdown. Read Cuomo’s meandering take on his L train visit:

“I am this week going to take a look myself at the L train. And as a project to close the tunnel that carries the L train, it would be highly disruptive for many people, of course. You want to make sure the tunnel is safe, and the train is safe. But this Thursday night, midnight, I’m gonna take a tour to make sure we are doing everything we can and explore every option to reduce any possible disruption.

I did the same thing with the 2nd Avenue subway to make sure that the bureaucracy is being flexible and open and creative. Because these are vital services; you close down the L train, they’re talking about 15 months, it creates a major problem.

The city’s worked very hard, the MTA has worked hard to come up with alternatives. But the functionality of this agency is key, and when it becomes a major situation that I can get involved in directly, like the 2nd Avenue subway…But the MTA day-to-day having the funding, to buy new trains, put in that new signal system, do the construction on time, that is vital. Remebering that the whole system is, has been neglected for decades, it’s a 100 year old system, and the volume is multiple times what it was designed to handle.”

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North Brooklyn Snubbed From Amazon Community Advisory Committee

(Image courtesy of Tony Webster)

Governor Andrew Amazon Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio Bezos announced on Tuesday a community advisory committee “to share information and solicit ongoing community input about Amazon’s planned headquarters project in Long Island City.” North Brooklyn is not represented on the committee despite the effects that the neighboring area will face with housing and infrastructure.

“Amazon’s new headquarters will bring more than 25,000 jobs benefitting all New Yorkers from NYCHA residents to CUNY students,” the Mayor said in a statement. “The Community Advisory Committee will bring together stakeholders of all backgrounds to help shape this important plan.”

After signing non-disclosure agreements with Amazon, brokering a $3 billion tax subsidy in private, along with a promises for eminent domain, the Mayor and Governor have now graced their lowly constituents with “three subcommittees to develop plans for the headquarters and onsite public amenities, investments in neighborhood infrastructure to benefit the surrounding communities, and training and hiring programs to ensure that homegrown talent fills the 25,000 to 40,000 new jobs at the headquarters.”

Greenpoint, which is walking distance to the Anable Basin Amazon HQ2 site, and the greater North Brooklyn community are unrepresented on the committee, according to the committee member list on the press statement:

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Amazon HQ2 Is Coming to Long Island City

Amazon’s HQ 2 is coming to LIC.

After over 200 U.S. city governments vetted the world’s richest man, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, to plop his tech goliath’s HQ2 in their territory, Bezos picks Long Island City, Queens and Crystal City, Virginia as the two “winners.”

His Excellency, Andrew ‘Amazon’ Cuomo is offering state subsidies to the tune of $1.5 billion to gain what is promised to be 25,000 new jobs paying $150,000 per year on average.

Mayor Bill de Blasio, now in his lame duck era, has been cheerleading the Amazon search since last year, coming full circle from his days as NYC public advocate when he led the effort to keep Wal-Mart’s attempted NYC expansion at bay. Continue reading

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