NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Community leaders held a rally Wednesday in Queens, protesting Amazon’s decision to bring part of its second headquarters to Long Island City. While the move could bring billions in investments and more than 25,000 jobs, many are worried about what it will mean for housing and commuting in the area.
“We want to make sure that we send a message loud and clear to Amazon… Any funding that we have at the state level should be invested in our infrastructure and our communities, rather than giving it to this billion (dollar) company,” Maritza Silva-Farrell, of the Alliance for a Greater New York, said during the rally.
WATCH: City Council Speaker Corey Johnson On Amazon Deal
Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio shook hands Tuesday, very much in support of the mega-deal.
“A smart government says we’re here to bargain for the people, we need to get a lot back for the people,” the mayor said in an interview Wednesday. “There’s not a question in my mind that that’s what we’re going to achieve here.”
WEB EXTRA: Read The Complete Agreement (.pdf)
The state and city are giving nearly $3 billion in various tax breaks to Amazon. In return, the company has promised to bring 25,000 to 40,000 new jobs to the area, with an average salary of $150,000, plus $27.5 billion in state and city tax revenue.
“You want to be ahead of the economic curve. Who is attracting the businesses of tomorrow today? And that is the city, the state, the region that will flourish,” Cuomo said.
WATCH: Gov. Cuomo, Mayor De Blasio Discuss Amazon’s Decision
But some community leaders and lawmakers fear the city is conceding too much to the tech giant.
“Close to $3 billion in tax breaks and subsidies and giveaways to the wealthiest man in the world – that was not on the table when we talked about this,” said City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who was one of the organizers behind the “Say No to HQ2” rally.
One business owner told CBS2 the move is “changing the face of Long Island City.”
“If you want to come to our community, give to the community. And the best thing you can do is give some people jobs,” said Linda Larrymore, who lives in Queensbridge – the largest public housing complex in the country that’s located nearby.
While many are on board with the jobs, they’re wondering how all those people will get on board the already struggling subway system.
“They’re building a helipad for Amazon, while we’re all struggling with the 7 train,” one man said.
“Amazon’s investment in transit infrastructure in this neighborhood would be good evidence they want to be good neighbors,” said MTA rider advocate Lisa Daglian.
De Blasio said Tuesday he will “look at every kind of option,” including the potential of adding an additional Long Island Rail Road stop or “something like a shuttle bus from our ferry around the bigger community.”
So who will hold the new neighbor responsible for the promises made?
“We struck a binding agreement. If they don’t stick to the agreement, it’s all off,” the mayor said.
City Council Speaker Corey Johnson expressed his concern about the decision to bring Amazon to New York City, saying the City Council was not included in the negotiating process and there was no community input.