Thanks to the efforts and hyperactive interest of Governor Andrew "Amazon" Cuomo, the Internet's largest retail platform may soon set up shop (or, one half of shop?) in Queens—so goes a rumor that began circulating earlier this week, anyway. Now, we have also received reports (from the Wall Street Journal) that Google will vastly expand its New York City presence to make room for some 20,000 workers in Manhattan. Now we just need Facebook to turn Governors Island into its new corporate campus (with private employee gondolas to Brooklyn Bridge Park).
Google will reportedly lay siege to St. John's Terminal in the West Village, rehabbing the site into a 12-plus story structure that threatens to block out the sun (maybe), by 2022. At the same time, it may also be building out its Chelsea Market space, i.e., the city could soon be consumed by a flashy open floor plan concept beloved of the tech set. Mandatory green juice at the matcha bar every morning at 7 a.m. Deal with it.
On Monday, the NY Times reported that Amazon had set its beady Bezos eyes on Long Island City and Crystal City, Virginia as the two probable sites across which it would split its forthcoming East Coast headquarters. LIC offers a lot of empty apartment and office space, plus proximity to the Cornell Tech campus on Roosevelt Island, plus a robust population of tech types, according to the Daily Intelligencer. Crystal City, meanwhile, contributes easy access to our nation's capitol, a solid public transportation system (imagine!), and a lot of highly educated potential hires, per the Times.
The possibility of an LIC outpost excites Cuomo, who actually gave the following real quote to reporters (emphasis mine):
"I am doing everything I can. We have a great incentive package. ...I'll change my name to Amazon Cuomo if that's what it takes, because it would be a great economic boost." Please let's hold him to that.
It does not, however, excite NY Senator Mike Gianaris, who has expressed concerns over what an influx of as many as 25,000 workers might do to LIC (not to mention Queens writ large) and the people who already live there.
Gianaris wants to see less focus on "how much can we do for Amazon," and more on "what they are going to do to make the neighborhood they want to join better."
"Part of the problem is how precious little information we have about what's being negotiated," Gianaris told Gothamist. "People are alarmed. Long Island City is already stretched to its limits. And they're very scared about what it would mean to change the entire identity of this neighborhood by dropping this massive development right in the middle of their already gentrifying community."
Meanwhile, the West Village already feels outlandishly luxe for most New Yorkers, in terms of renting livable space, but let us pause for a moment to consider the pedestrian implications of injecting an extra 8,500 people into an already overcrowded neighborhood. It pains me to think of the strain this will place on the subway, but can you imagine what it will be like just to walk on the sidewalks in a future where Google lives in the West Village? They'll have to build elevated walkways strictly for Google employees and their scooters.
While you marinate in that nightmare, let me just add that the Chelsea operation includes 300,000 extra square feet at Chelsea Market. Then, Google plans to add 250,000 square feet at Pier 57. All told, that's enough room for 3,500 new Googlers. And! While we're talking additions, the Pier 57 expansion includes "a community space, winter garden and water taxi landing open to the public," according to the Journal. Such amenities, wow. I'm cutting out early so I can teach myself to code.