The Long Island City Mr. Ed Riecks of Howard Beach described in his December 13th letter bears no resemblance to the Long Island City where I have lived my long life or to the stories I heard from my family, which moved here more than 100 years ago.
The part of Long Island City to which he refers is a warehouse district, not a factory district. The worst air pollution comes from a Con Ed facility, which is not included in the Amazon land grab.
We would gladly see it go.
Long Island City includes the Hunters Point Historic District (designated for its architectural significance), the Queens Supreme Court (housed in a stately, 110-year-old Beaux Arts building), numerous parks along the waterfront (including Gantry Plaza State Park and the Long Island City beach), MoMA/PS1 (one of many cultural locations, so many in fact that they are connected by a dedicated bus loop), neighborhoods, stores, and businesses.
People live and work in Long Island City, as they have since the 17th century.
It is an old area. The streets are narrow, the sewage and transportation systems are antiquated, the police force is insufficient for the number of people already there.
We have not gotten much official help, although Long Island City regularly turns up on the city’s radar as ripe for picking.
To accommodate the Amazon campus and the ensuing sprawl, much of Long Island City will need to be razed, and those of us who call it home will be forced out.
The nearly $3 billion cost of the Amazon deal, however, will be borne throughout the city, including in Howard Beach.
To set the record straight, Amazon is not bringing in 25,000 high-paying jobs. It is bringing in 25,000 people with high-paying jobs. That means more cars (and air pollution), more garbage, more use of water and utilities.
It means luxury condos instead of the affordable housing we’ve been promised. It means restaurants and services too expensive for the people currently living here.
It means the loss of our view of the sun setting over the Manhattan skyline. And it means a helipad for people too rich to take a limousine to the airport, thereby disturbing our peace and putting our lives in danger from the inevitable accidents.
We are still waiting for the improvements promised by Citicorp when it constructed its tower nearly 40 years ago. The secret negotiations that led to the Amazon invasion do not give us any hope that it will be a more responsible neighbor.
Amazon treats its customers well. It does not do the same for its working-class employees.
It refused to help address the homeless situation in Seattle. It supplies unreliable facial recognition to ICE, an insult to our multicultural neighborhoods.
Mr. Riecks spoke of breaking eggs to make an omelette. Amazon is not making an omelette, it is raping a community and it is being paid to do it.
Mr. Riecks is correct. There are strip joints in Long Island City. They are clustered along the Queensboro Bridge. That’s what happens around single-function monoliths in cities.
As for drugs, we suffer from the same addictions that plague the entire country, including Howard Beach.
And yes, parts of Long Island City are scruffy. I, for one, prefer that to the bigotry and racial violence that is part of the Howard Beach legacy. People who live in glass houses...
Long Island City