New York is a metropolis. It has been capable of face up to centuries’ value of threats to civic concord, from the 5 Factors gangs to the administration of Rudy Giuliani. We’ve efficiently absorbed striving immigrants from around the globe, weekend partiers from Jersey, and post-college seekers from the midwest. However one factor that New York Metropolis has by no means really needed to battle is a large inflow of wealthy techies. Let’s not begin now.
For a full 12 months, Amazon – a trillion-dollar firm led by the richest man on earth – has been busily extracting subsidies from cities throughout the nation, all of them determined to lure a promised 50,000 jobs and $5bn funding for Amazon’s second headquarters. The “HQ2” grew to become crucial after Amazon stuffed metropolitan Seattle edge-to-edge with glass towers stuffed with Amazon staff.
This week, finally, it was reported that Amazon had determined to divide its new headquarters bounty between the suburbs of Washington DC and the Queens riverfront. Having bored with the amusement of watching second-tier cities debase themselves in a determined bid for one thing they have been by no means going to get, the corporate has apparently settled on “the 2 most evident main cities on the east coast”.
This engineered airdrop of tech folks threatens to destroy America’s delicate distribution of undesirable rich demographic teams. Silicon Valley and Seattle get to cope with the techies. Los Angeles will get the Hollywood folks. Washington will get the politics nerds, and New York will get finance varieties. We’ve every tailored to our personal explicit crosses to bear. Sure, thousands and thousands of New Yorkers should share a metropolis with tens of hundreds of Wall Road folks, however we’ve developed a posh system of cultural processes that largely segregate them in simply avoidable areas of Manhattan, and shunt huge numbers of them off to the Jersey suburbs at night time. It’s a system that works. Forcing us to soak up a flood of wealthy younger tech folks on high of that is like giving the flu to somebody who already has persistent however manageable diabetes. It’s simply not honest.
Washington, fueled by lobbyist cash and proximity to energy, has lengthy since left behind its Chocolate Metropolis standing and gentrified right into a bland, low-slung panorama of gastropubs. In New York, although, our sheer measurement has allowed us to extra simply course of waves of cash that will destroy lesser cities. Lengthy Island Metropolis, the place Amazon reportedly desires to maneuver, is already a forest of newish glass towers, a neighborhood constructed particularly for individuals who like luxurious with out character. However including 25,000 Amazon staff there would obliterate the final vestiges of coolness in neighboring hoods like Greenpoint, as soon as a quiet Polish neighborhood that now teeters on the sting of moneyed oblivion. An enormous focus of tech wealth is sort of a bomb that can ripple out in concentric circles of cultural destruction.
Much more importantly: Amazon is unhealthy. It’s monopolistic. It really works its blue-collar and white-collar staff to the bone, prompting frequent exposés of its terrible working circumstances. New York Metropolis is a union city; Amazon is an anti-union firm. Its proprietor ought to have his immoral hoard of wealth forcibly expropriated by the state earlier than his energy grows so nice that every one of society is warped by it. Jeff Bezos’s cash ought to instantly be put to make use of serving to the general public; as an alternative, he cackles from inside his cartoonishly giant mansion as cities and states desperately compete to bathe his firm with the utmost quantity of public subsidies, with the intention to safe a glorified satellite tv for pc workplace.
The Amazon HQ2 charade is an impeccable demonstration of why these kinds of public subsidies for company relocations must be unlawful. If everybody agreed to not provide something, corporations would nonetheless have to construct. They only wouldn’t receives a commission by the general public for it. It is among the most enraging and pointless company handouts in America, and we don’t have to be part of it.
If Amazon actually desires to plop itself down in our metropolis, it ought to abide by a number of circumstances. No taxpayer cash ought to go to subsidize one of many wealthiest corporations on earth; Amazon ought to stop union-busting, earlier than it finds itself inundated by inflatable rats; and Jeff Bezos ought to pay to construct housing for all 63,000 homeless folks in New York, an expense that will not have an effect on his way of life within the least. In return for these concessions, NYC residents will agree to not spit in your espresso or spray communist graffiti in your headquarters for the primary month.
We’ll even agree to present your staff instructions on tips on how to get residence: hop on the practice at Penn Station, and get off on the cease referred to as “Newark”. You’ll be welcomed there.