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Amazon's new neighbor: The nation's largest housing project

November 13, 2018 Business 1 Views Until recently, it was most important to know about Amazon for the residents of…

Until recently, it was most important to know about Amazon for the residents of Queensbridge Houses, the country’s largest public housing project, that all packages left in a lobby would probably be stolen.

But Amazon may soon be a much greater presence in their neighborhood in New York.

The company owned by Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world, is expected to announce on Tuesday that it will set up a headquarters in Long Island City, Queens, where Queensbridge 26 aging buildings are home to a mostly black and Latin American population with a median household income at $ 1

5,843, well below the federal poverty line for a family of four.

Here livings are eased out on mild paychecks or social assistance assistance, with nearly 60 percent of their households based on food stamps, the new neighbor will be one of the world’s most profitable high-tech companies, giving a workforce of 25,000 people which makes wages upwa rd of $ 100,000.

The strong contrast reinforces some of the social and economic tensions that go through American society – an increasing income gap, the lack of access to high paying jobs for many minorities and a technology sector struggling to diversify. [19659006] The planned location of the new headquarters is still unclear, as if Amazon will provide some benefits to the approximately 6,000 people living in Queensbridge Houses and other disadvantaged areas of the neighborhood.

“What should they do for society? Will they guarantee us employment opportunities,” said April Simpson, chairman of the Queensbridge Tenants Association. “I’m worried about when they come, they will not have opportunities for people. Not just people from Queensbridge – but other low and middle income people in this area.”

“That’s why we’re lying about those who come in” .

As New York City tries to challenge Silicon Valley dominance as a tech hub – Google recently announced plans for a significant expansion in New York – the explosion of jobs has helped drive the local economy. But it has not mitigated the “story of two cities “The story of economic difference that mayor Bill de Blasio has promised to deal with in a city where the poverty rate in 2016 was 19.5 percent, significantly higher than the national tax rate.

The stratification feels sharp in Queensbridge, a gruesome complex just across the East River from the East Side of Manhattan and some of the richest neighborhoods and properties in the country.

Hard at Queensboro Bridge, Queensbridge Houses have plagued me d crimes and drugs. These problems have facilitated the past few years, said Simpson, and community programs have improved the quality of life. Last year, the housing project did not record a single shooting, something that had not happened for more than a decade and was a source of pride.

But the neglect that affects many public housing developments and has led to a tough criticism of the Blasio administration, remains here, said residents and other local leaders. “There are still a lot of problems with the apartments – the lack of heat and hot water, non-functioning lifts, mold and broken exterior doors,” says Jimmy Van Bramer, the city council whose district contains Queensbridge Houses.

Tyshema Basnight, 42, said she had tried to return to the labor force after having raised a family. She has an Associate Degree in Computer Science and a technical job at Amazon would be a dream job, she said.

“At the moment, I’m just looking for secretarial work,” said Mrs Basnight, who was among several residents lined up for one of the few aging computers found in tenants’ union office for residents who do not have their own computers.

The office is not located at the edge of the digital border. And all the e-commerce thunder that transforms Long Island City into a sparkling technological focal point for the new economy, met with skepticism, if not complete hostility.

Many companies – including travel and financial companies and hotel chains – have opened in recent years in the area, but Mrs Simpson said they have not been employed.

“They did not rent here – they brought in their own people,” she said. “My thing is: If you are building here, rent here.”

An Amazon spokesman, Sam Kennedy, declined to comment on his plans in New York, but said the company has proven record of funding and creating programs for the needy in Seattle, where Amazon has its headquarters. This includes donating tens of millions of dollars, creating affordable housing, opening a shelter in their homeless family office complex, and creating a training program for food service and culinary industry for less-favored residents.

In Queens, the new companies that have come to Long Island City have helped transform the semi-industrial water neighborhood into a haven for money providers. Since 2010, more multi-family houses have been built in Long Island City than in any other neighborhood in the city. Apartments in the more than 40 new buildings sell on average over $ 1 million.

But past the shining horizon of high-rise buildings, many residents are afraid that Amazonian arrival will only intensify the gentrification that makes the neighborhood cheaper for people of limited funds.

It is still unknown what financial incentives city and state officials may have offered Amazon or what, if any concessions, they have withdrawn from the company to help the neighborhood.

City officials noted that Queensbridge Houses had already been aware of projects to replace all 26 buildings and install almost 900 new safety lights and 360 surveillance cameras.

Mr. De Blasio seizes a scandal of a scandal at the city’s public housing agency and accusations that officials had abandoned the number of young children in public housing with elevated levels of lead in their blood.

Amazone’s arrival, city officials insisted would give concrete gains for residents in the area.

They said they were considering setting up programs similar to a city-funded employment center in Brooklyn Navy Yard.

“Safe training and good work for locals – especially those living in Nycha – are central to how we create major economic development initiatives,” said Jane Meyer, a spokesman for Mr. de Blasio, with reference to the New York City Housing Authority.

“This is a huge opportunity to take tens of thousands of good jobs to our city and open up good paying careers in New Yorkers.”

But, Van Bramer still questioned the city and the state’s eager hope of the Amazon a take time when the residential complex still needs funding for basic repairs.

“If we help a headquarters with 25,000 employees moving in, a stone’s throw from the largest housing development in the US, we need more than a lip service for the Queensbridge people,” he said. “Before wasting corporate welfare at the richest man in the world, we should think about the Nycha crisis and meet the needs of society, including training Queensbridge residents for technical jobs – or they will look through the glass from the outside

. cluster of stores in the center of Queensbridge Houses, Piif Jones, 29, said he has Amazon packages delivered to a safe locker at a nearby local collection center to avoid stolen them from their lobby. [19659022] Mr. Jones is an upcoming rapper trying to follow the famous tradition of hip hop artists – Nas, Mobb Deep, Marley Marl and others – who have come out of the housing project and have violated their difficult conditions in verses.

He talked about belonging to the Queensbridge “family” and proud of his success stories. Mr. Jones said he was training on computers in high school and if his rap career fizzles he would love to take one bb on Amazon. “If Amazon does not rent from this community, we should boycott them,” he said.

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