People attend an anti-Amazon rally in Long Island City of New York, the United States, Nov. 26, 2018. Hundreds of New Yorkers braved heavy rains and gathered in a Long Island City neighborhood on Monday evening to protest e-commerce giant Amazon's recent announcement of locating a second headquarters (HQ2) here. (Xinhua/Wang Ying)
NEW YORK, Nov. 27 (Xinhua) -- Hundreds of New Yorkers braved heavy rains and gathered in a Long Island City neighborhood on Monday evening to protest e-commerce giant Amazon's recent announcement of locating a second headquarters (HQ2) here.
In raincoats or holding umbrellas, the protesters took over Court Square Park, a block away from Amazon's proposed site, and chanted slogans like "We say no!" for about an hour, before marching toward other parts of the area at around 6 p.m. (2300 GMT).
The Seattle-based Amazon announced earlier this month a plan to split its second headquarters in the New York City borough of Queens on Long Island and Crystal City area of Arlington, Virginia. It has promised to host around 25,000 jobs in the New York offices, with an average salary of 150,000 U.S. dollars a year.
Both New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio welcomed the deal, offering a total of 2.8 billion dollars of incentives, including tax credits and grants from the state, and another two big tax breaks from the city if the company meets the 25,000 jobs target.
"I'm very upset that we're giving away taxpayer's money and tax credits and tax abatements to the richest man on earth," Jeremy Rosenberg, a 26-year-old attorney who lives in the neighborhood, told Xinhua, referring to Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.
"We have other things that we can spend the money on, and it's time to bring real people who live in the community to the table," he added.
Many protesters, including Rosenberg, think the city should use taxpayers' money to fix chronic issues that has plagued the waterfront neighborhood, such as poor infrastructure and a crumbling subway system that suffers constant breakdowns and delays.
"When it rains, storm water and waste water flow back into the river, into people's basements, into the old loft building I live in," complained Ernie Brooks, a local resident in the protesting crowd. "There's no real planning for the neighborhood by the city. They are supposed to care about sustainability."
Some also doesn't buy Amazon's promise of creating local jobs. "They will try to find any reason to say we are not qualified for it," said Rachel Rivera, a 39-year-old jobless single mother. "They could say 'Oh you don't have a high school diploma so you don't qualify'...There's always a way for finding a loophole to not hire you from locally."
The protest took place on "Cyber Monday," a day promoted by online retailers for exceptional bargains after the Thanksgiving holiday and traditional Black Friday sales. Amazon was among the top winners of last year's Cyber Monday with record-breaking one-day sales.
The company has said it will invest some 2.5 billion dollars in New York as part of the deal. It has also promised to participate in job fairs and personal resume workshops at the nearby Queensbridge Houses, the largest public housing project in the country with over 3,100 units for low-income groups.