Yesterday Amazon announced its decision on where to locate its new “second headquarters”; and as you no doubt already know, it chose to divide between two locations, one just outside Washington, DC, and the other in a part of Queens, NY, known as Long Island City. Each is to become the site for some 25,000 future jobs.
For those unfamiliar with New York geography, Long Island City is the neighborhood that you see over there on the opposite shore when you look across the East River from Midtown Manhattan. When I moved to New York in the 1970s, LIC was a very dreary and forgotten industrial area, known for small factories and a lot of truck traffic. But over the last 20 or so years it has gained traction as a location for residences and offices that are (somewhat) cheaper than Manhattan but very close and accessible. Four different subway tunnels connect LIC to Midtown. Most of the former industrial sites have by now been replaced with multiple dozen new large apartment towers.
Also in Long Island City, toward the northern end of it, is something called the Queensbridge Houses. According to the New York Times, Queensbridge Houses is “the country’s largest public housing project.” About 7000 people live there. Also according to the Times, most of the residents of Queensbridge Houses are either African American or Hispanic, and the median household income is “well below the federal poverty level.” This project is approximately one-half mile north — easy walking distance — from the spot where Amazon is proposing to build its new complex. Here is a picture of the housing project:
So, perhaps your first reaction is, the Queensbridge residents and other New York locals should view these new jobs are the best possible thing that could happen to the people of this enormous project. What better route could there be for them to improve their lives than to go out and get hired by Amazon? You’re not yet qualified? Get out and take some courses — you have a few years before the big hiring will take place. But if that’s what you are thinking, you just don’t understand the progressive brain. In fact, the progressive New Yorker views the residents of these projects as helpless children who have no agency of their own and no ability to do anything but sit around and wait for government handouts. To this way of thinking, tens of thousands of new high-paying jobs will not improve the Queensbridge residents’ lives at all, but will only serve to deepen the divide between the poor and the rich in New York.
Do you not believe that progressives really could think that way? Let me give you several quotes from the New York Times piece from yesterday . . .Read More