This week, residents in several neighborhoods in New York’s Queens borough got a New Year’s greeting from a new neighbor — Amazon.
Over-sized postcard mailers were delivered to residents in Long Island City, where Amazon.com Inc. is planning to open part of its second headquarters. They also popped up in mailboxes in Astoria and Sunnyside, adjacent neighborhoods where residents are bracing for rising rents and even more overcrowded subways.
The mailers prompted a flurry of social media commentary, including a tweet from New York City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who represents the district that includes Long Island City and has criticized the deal between Amazon and New York.
The cards are very bright — orange– and make benevolent promises: Jobs! Career training for locals! Tax revenue! Investments in education! Many of the details underscore the scale of Amazon’s looming presence. The mailer touts “tens of thousands of indirect jobs” in industries from construction and food service to retail and hospitality, as well as new patrons for local businesses.
“Amazon is investing in Long Island City,” the mailer says, over an image of the Ed Koch Queensboro bridge spanning the Amazon logo in place of a river. The company is clearly also investing in its public image. New York politicians have expressed outrage over the $3 billion in incentives — negotiated secretly — that the e-commerce giant will receive for selecting the city, and wary residents got a visit this week from two Seattle politicians warning about the potential housing and transportation issues that Amazon’s expansion may bring.
The letter, which was also posted online, invites recipients to provide feedback to the New York City Council, which is holding a second public hearing on Jan. 30.