Amazon cancels New York City headquarters
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo once joked that he would change his name to "Amazon Cuomo" to win its HQ2 and the 25,000 jobs the company would bring along with it.
On Thursday, Cuomo, who steered New York's winning bid for Amazon, blamed New York State Senate leaders for pushing Amazon (AMZN) away.
The New York State Senate has done tremendous damage. They should be held accountable for this lost economic opportunity," he said in a statement.
Cuomo said "a small group politicians put their own narrow political interests above their community."
Cuomo took a different tack that New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who blasted Amazon earlier on Thursday for reneging on its commitment.
"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," de Blasio said.
New York City public officials have criticized Amazon (AMZN) for refusing to negotiate with local opponents over HQ2.
New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson chimed in on Thursday, saying he is eager to work with companies that are "willing to engage with New Yorkers and work through challenging issues."
Johnson said he hoped Amazon's reversal would start a "conversation about vulture capitalism and where our tax dollars are best spent," a reference to the subsidies Amazon would have received for coming to New York.
"I know I'd choose mass transit over helipads every day," he said.
The chair of the Arlington County Board says it's business as usual in Northern Virginia, which was supposed to split Amazon's HQ2 with Long Island City in Queens.
That means Crystal City can still expect 25,000 Amazon workers over time, as planned.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a public face of the opposition to Amazon's planned move to New York City, celebrated the company's reversal on Twitter.
"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 said.
Amazon said there are no plans to "reopen the HQ2 search at this time" after dropping New York.
But that isn't stopping New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy from pushing Amazon to give Newark — one of the 20 finalists for the company's second headquarters — another look.
"New Jersey is open for business, and now more than ever, Newark is the clear choice as the next presence for Amazon corporate offices," Murphy said in a statement through his press secretary.
"Amazon now has the opportunity to join in Newark’s story of a city on the rise.”
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio took a swipe at Amazon in his first comments since the company scrapped plans to build its second headquarters in the city.
"You have to be tough to make it in New York City," de Blasio said in a statement.
"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 added.
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...."
City Council member Brad Lander, a Brooklyn progressive who opposed subsidies for Amazon's HQ2, told me that Amazon (AMZN) showed no interest in engaging on local issues.
"It has a very 'my way or the highway' approach," Lander said.
He also explained why Google's NYC expansion has faced less backlash.
"It’s not that we like Google better than Amazon," he said. "Google has grown here by the rules that we’ve democratically set, and Amazon doesn’t want the rules we’ve democratically set. They want a monopolistic version."
And he had a reminder for cities in similar positions:
Maybe this is a sign that cities have more power in this process than they think they do."
Grassroots progressive groups rallied opposition to Amazon's second headquarters in New York. On Thursday, critics claimed victory.
“The news that Amazon is pulling out of its plans to build HQ2 is a testament to the power of our communities," said Maritza Silva-Farrell, Executive Director of The Alliance for a Greater New York.
"I don’t know if we were expecting it, but having them not force their empire building on Queens neighborhoods is exactly what we want," said Deborah Axt, co-executive director of the non-profit community group Make the Road New York.