NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Dozens of New York politicians and business leaders are desperate for a deal to win back Amazon.
They wrote an open letter in today’s New York Times to convince the online retail giant that New York City is still the prime choice.
The letter, addressed to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, reads in part, “A clear majority of New Yorkers support this project and were disappointed by your decision not to proceed… We urge you to reconsider so that we can move forward together.”
Web Extra: Click here to read the complete letter.
Amazon officials decided to walk away from the deal last month, saying the opposition of some state and local lawmakers would make it difficult to proceed with a second headquarters in Long Island City, Queens.
State Senator Todd Kaminsky On NYC Congestion Pricing, Amazon HQ Deal
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he’s been in talks with multiple high-level Amazon executives by phone.
“I’ve had many conversations with Amazon,” he said. “I hope that they reconsider.”
Josh Bowen, who owns a restaurant in LIC, was banking on Amazon as a neighbor and the prospect of the 25,000 jobs it was supposed to bring.
“Is this stupidity and madness actually even possible?” he said Thursday. “This is a tragedy for Long Island City.”
Eager to change the company’s mind, he flew to Seattle himself, somehow landing a meeting with John Schoettler, Amazon’s vice president for global real estate and facilities.
“Never say never is the words that were spoke to me,” Bowen said. “That’s not a confirmation, but for a New Yorker, that means we got work to do.”
The issue even came during an economic conference Friday at Hofstra University.
“I don’t want to sound over dramatic, but it felt like a stake in the heart,” said Nassau County Executive Laura Curran.
But if Cuomo manages to seal the deal, can local residents count on it happening?
“Well if they bail again, that’s on them, that’s not on us, because we tried our hardest to say, ‘hey, we made a mistake, whatever you want, come back here,'” one resident said.
Not everyone is on board with the plan to sweet talk Amazon. On Friday, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, one of several lawmakers who lead the Amazon opposition said “If the elected officials spent half as much time talking to the community as they do Jeff Bezos, we might have come to an agreement.”
Local artist Noah Nagi also voiced his opposition.
“This is one of the spots where you can still do something, and if Amazon comes here, that could potentially be a problem,” he said.
Make the Road New York, an organization that represents low-income New Yorkers, issued a statement about the governor’s continued pursuit, saying, “Andrew Cuomo needs to stop groveling at the feet of corporations and billionaires and start listening to our communities, who overwhelmingly reject this deal.”