> “I am doing everything I can,” Governor Cuomo told reporters when asked Monday about the state’s efforts to lure the company. “We have a great incentive package,” he said.
> “I’ll change my name to Amazon Cuomo if that’s what it takes,” Governor Cuomo said. “Because it would be a great economic boost.”
If these quotes are truly representative of Cuomo's attitude towards Amazon, that's an incredible amount of pandering for the governor of the state containing New York City to be doing. Isn't large amounts of incentives for Amazon essentially a trickle-down economics policy? Interesting to see that Cuomo, ostensibly a progressive, would be for such a thing.
Pandering is free.
I imagine infrastructure-based incentives will be popular in New York. Large tenants make big infrastructure possible. That enables further density, which means more jobs, more municipal budget and more demand for local commerce. Turning Amazon's HQ2 into the catalyst for building out Western Brooklyn and LIC infrastructure isn't a bad trade for the city. (Tax credits would be tone deaf, but if done in a budget-neutral manner could be okay.)
New York City is a commercial centre. Pragmatism wins votes.
What infrastructure is that exactly?
Long Island City and Greenpoint/Williamsburg have already been absurdly built up by developers over the last two decades.
It's hard to believe an influx of new tens of thousands of individuals to fill vacancies at Amazon is going to produce new train tunnels under the East River or new bridges over it. NYC already has large tenants - Google, JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Verizon etc, and the city's infrastructure woes have worsened despite their presence.
I would also imagine that much of the gain in the local tax coffers by the additional work force will be offset by whatever tax deals the city and states extends to Amazon.
- The G train can be elongated and run more often. Signal work can allow it to run more frequently with the F.
- The East Side LIRR extension can be expedited.
- The circumferential freight line can be restored to create a new transit line between Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx.
- The L train restoration can be expedited.
All these project are cheap and would increase the livibility of NYC outside of Manhattan, while also shortening commute time to LIC.
It's ironic that you have chosen to call my comment glib when you offer nothing but "___ can be expedited." You can't get any more hand-wavey than that. Your comment is the very epitome of glib.
No they can not be "expedited." The highest priority for the MTA right now is upgrading the depression-era signaling, which even under the aggressive rollout that Andrew Byford is advocating will take 10 years. The L train shutdown is already being "expedited" the line will be completely shutdown for almost a year a half starting in a couple of months. You can't really "expedite" much more than that now can you? And even after the repairs its still the same single track tunnel it was before.
My comment was actually thought out and based on decades of observing growth and change in the city. Maybe you don't understand the meaning of the word "glib"?
It's almost impossible to overstate how important the L train is. It is the main artery into the city for absolutely enormous swaths of Brooklyn.
I took njtransit every day for the last 3 years. It has massive delays, cancellations, derailments, manpower shortages, etc, all the time. Probably at least twice a week you should expect a major delay. (an extra hour kind of delay)
The Subway also has major problems. It's falling apart, chronically late and costs a fortune. But there's no money for fixing it.
They're shutting down the L-Train next year, the main train you take from the most popular places in Brooklyn.
Commuting in NYC sucks and you shoud expect it to get worse.
The secret is to move to Jersey and take the NY Waterway ferry. $272/month, including bus transit on both sides if you need it. While your boat may occasionally be 5 minutes late (like every other mass transit option), they almost never shut down.
I can't speak to the East River Ferry.
They fraudulently overbilled the government for ferry services they provided after the 9/11 attacks. Really profoundly sick behavior.  
More recently, they've sold their Weehawken depot to a developer -- and then used their lack of a depot as an excuse to shadily land-grab space in Hoboken. They're threatening to put an industrial refueling depot in a spot surrounded entirely by parks, housing, and a university.  
Union Dry Dock has been courting buyers since at least 2000 when the Stevens Institute planned to buy it. If it was so important to the city of Hoboken, why didn’t they just buy the land in the intervening decade and a half?
Seems to me that the residents ought to be taking their own local government to task here. It’s like they were holding off indefinitely, under the assumption that they could avoid spending the money, then swoop in when someone else tries to buy it. And then their plan bit them in the ass.
Meanwhile in 2017, when Union Dry Dock announced they were winding down their business, Hoboken tried to buy the land, but they could not come to an agreement. Ditto for multiple previous attempts by Stevens, private developers, etc over the years. The value of some of these offers exceeded the amount eventually paid by NY Waterway!
And now the only reason Hoboken can't use eminent domain is that NY Waterway convinced NJ Transit to swoop in and buy the land from them. As a state agency NJ Transit is immune to municipal eminent domain. Yet, NJ Transit does not operate ferries, and never has, to my knowledge. And NY Waterway's execs have state lobbyists and make extensive political donations . This smells corrupt.
From a legal and due process perspective, I'm ambivalent as to how the situation shakes out. There's been enough foolish, lazy and/or shady behavior on both sides that neither has much ground to stand on.
As far as my personal feelings go, I'd rather not see a refueling station built there, but nobody asked me.
Seriously, Amazon, kindly fuck off somewhere.
I don't necessarily disagree with them, and if it was up to me, I'd rather Amazon land in Dallas that probably needs the jobs more.
However, this will be an objectively good thing for NYC as a center of commerce, and help establish it as a tech hub at a time its local job market isn't doing all too well.
Moreover, I doubt Amazon will game the system so excessively that it won't end up paying in taxes and investment and influx of business and salaries much more than it will receive in tax breaks.
It's unlikely they'll game the system so badly because it's not wise to screw the municipal authorities that can make your life miserable.
NYC is already a tech hub and has been for the last decade at least - Google, FB, Spotify, MongoDB, Pinterest, Bloomberg, Etsy, Salesforce, Seamless, Twitter, MLBAM, Square etc are all in NYC.
NYC's economy isn't doing too well? It grew by 2.7% for the second consecutive quarter in 2018. It's expanding, how is that "not doing too well" exactly?
Out of the companies you mentioned I think only Etsy , MongoDB, Seamless are NYC based, all the larger employers such as Google,FB,SalesForce ,Twitter are valley based.
And the point is that 50K people is not some magic tipping point that is going to fix NYC infrastructure issues.
JP Morgan chase has 15K employees in it new building on 270 Park Ave and guess what, NYC infrastructure woes didn't disappear.
NYC is way too big for any material impact either way by Amazon on infra, however the tech scene could use the boost, while as you point out there is already significant presence from some major folks, this could be potentially be the start of something much larger
The economy has been growing at 3.5-4% during this time nationally, so a 2.7% is actually training the national growth by a significant margin.
I don't have have the article handy, but hiring in NYC has been down this year by 3% or so. My unscientific observation is that finance employment in NYC has been in a slow but steady decline since 2008, and unlikely to recover.
Having lived there, disincentivizing jobs and thereby incentivizing emmigration is the best outcome for most people in the DFW area. What a hellhole. "I want to die in Dallas" said noone ever.
Our neighbors in California let us stay in their house for 3 weeks. For free.
> a lot of the suburbs around there are _really_ nice
If you think suburban sprawl is a selling point for a city, you may want to visit some other places.
> fastest growing communities in the nation
When land is cheaper than free, you're sort of incentivized to build.
> lower taxes
> the economy is booming in Texas
Who gets that money? Texas has a fairly regressive system of taxation: http://www.burntorangereport.com/diary/29392/texas-third-reg...
> family friendly
* Texas is in the bottom quartile of social welfare spending: https://www.urban.org/policy-centers/cross-center-initiative...
* The climate is brutal (at certain times in the summer it's actually cooler further south).
* The distance to anywhere else is unreal.
I absolutely agree many of the people are absolutely wonderful. I have also been to plenty of high school football games where a lot of racial slurs were muttered in the stands.
Also, news media's love of simplification has really twisted people's view of states other than their own. Georgia is about as "blue" as California or New York, but most of it is concentrated in a few counties in Metro Atlanta amid 159 state-wide. People mistake resolution for politics.
If an alleged "blue" state had as many counties as Georgia, those county election maps would look awfully red too. But since they don't, the counties that lean D take up more space, and the extremes on both ends are attenuated in a larger pool so red doesn't look as red.
The south in particular is notorious for having lots of counties. It was a way to get more money during Reconstruction. There's a reason the most prosperous former Confederate states have more counties even if you exclude those formed post-Reconstruction.
And also living in a small liberal eclave isn't that appealing.
So not really a small liberal enclave.
Nah, jobs are definitely not needed and there is already an influx of large out of state companies moving in. I will say with the rapidly expanding suburbs coupled with the lack of culture or protectionist policies due to everyone around being transplants anyways, it could absorb it (assuming we're not talking about Dallas proper but outside of the city which is where most companies reside).
Cuomo literally engineered a Republican majority in the state senate, even though the Democrats had been elected to the majority, so that he wouldn't be pressured to sign overly-progressive legislation before his 2020 run.
I think we should tease all politicians offering tax breaks to corporations that they might as well say their first name is "Amazon".
I think we should have a federal legislation, (allowed under the interstate commerce clause), banning the current race to the bottom for states and municipalities to offer tax breaks to corporations. Sure we'd have to still deal with companies leaving the US but the leverage is different there and it'd be a start. Am I wrong?
"This will be New York or it will be DC - Prof. Galloway, Feb 2018
Consider that if Microsoft had put an office in the DC area in the mid 1990s we would all be shopping at some e-commerce behemoth owned by Microsoft.
The reality is that for a company like Amazon, regulatory risk is the biggest existential threat to the company's future, and the only way to fight regulatory risk is through extensive lobbying and various legal forms of bribery that involve lots of face time with powerful officials.
Yes, employing lobbyists is one way to flex your muscle in DC. But owning a newspaper and employing lots of people in the area is another way.
Imagine you're a mid-level bureaucrat facing a routine decision that could help or hurt Amazon. Now imagine that your spouse works at The Washington Post, your college-aged daughter is an intern at Amazon, and a local non-profit you care about just got a donation from Bezos. You can imagine how that could perhaps sway your decision.
From my perspective, Amazon wants a piece of government IT. Which is expensive due to regulations but also lucrative.
Maybe that's partly why Northern Virginia is a leading candidate, but it seems like there might have been even stronger options.
Having a workforce in a low population swing state could have disproportionate impact on national politics. It could elect Dems, or turn against them if they move to break Amazon up.
(I'm not saying this because I know which party would favor Amazon more, but just because polling suggests tech workers are mostly blue, so I think that's the direction you'd start.)
This is if politics were the only consideration, though I'd wager the main considerations are far more mundane, something actuarial.
How so? If you turn a state purple or blue you're now at risk of being regulated by the state in addition to federally. Red states are generally hands off when it comes to business.
If you give a state to green, with the power to turn it back purple any time green threatens your workers, you have the policy leadership in a bit of a hostage crisis.
Ideology is flexible in big tents, and everyone is a pragmatist with respect to their constituency. Ds in hunting states are more circumspect on guns and Rs near DC go much easier on federal employees.
* Proximity to low latency backbone connections (originally located there due to government agencies)
* Tax incentives by VA
* Low risk area for disasters
* Cheap power
* Available land
My take on Amazon's political ambition was always that one main goal of HQ2 was to get 2 more US senators on their side. If they now are adding 4 instead, I don't exactly feel disproven :)
You can lobby from pretty much anywhere with a budget and a hotel ballroom rental.
They certainly don't need to be near the upper management or big engineering teams of HQ2.
I think this trumps proximity to the federal apparatus.
While stuff takes time to build, at the end of the day there is a lot more land to build buildings than there are people who want to live there. And unlike in SF, if there is new demand then those buildings will actually get built.
edit: Was referring to the LIC location, not VA.
I can only think of four spots in the city that are better served by transit: Times Square, Grand Central, Fulton Street, and Atlantic Avenue.
You have another thing coming if you think a) self driving cars will be here in five years or b) that they will make NYC traffic a dream to navigate when they do.
Self-driving cars don't magically make other cars, self-driving or not, vanish from the roads and they certainly can't match the raw throughput of moving thousands of people in a single train on a dedicated right of way.
I mean that's what they're supposed to do, if they can all drive one behind another at a constant speed without crashing or creating traffic jams. But more importantly, if you can be doing work while your car is driving itself then your effective commute is zero. And if your car can park itself in the suburbs, then that creates yet more space in the city that can be used to create housing. Self-driving cars, if they actually work, should radically reduce housing costs -- both by making formerly unlivable places suitable for residential buildings, and by freeing up significant amounts of land.
That’s a big if. I’ve commuted in an Uber pool many times and hardly ever see any of the other passengers working. Most of them seem to be going to/from the office like me.
Working on a rail commute seems more common. The smoother ride lends itself better to laptop work.
On a person-kilometre-minute basis, cars are absurdly inefficient. Stupendously so.
A typical subway train typically runs to about 157 metres. A 2018 Camry runs to about 5 metres. That gives about 31 car lengths for the subway car.
Assume that every Camry is fully loaded with 5 passengers. That's 155 people. In the ideal condition, driving bumper-to-bumper with no other cars, 155 people in 157 metres -- about a person per linear metre.
Here's the fun bit: the passenger capacity of an R142A carriage is 176.
Not the whole train.
One subway car.
One subway car, approximately 16 metres long, holds more people than an entire train's length of self-driving Camrys driving with zero tolerance.
Now add the fact that the trains have dedicated rights of way and note that even with the profound multi-decadal mess made of the MTA you simply cannot replace the subway with any other mode of transportation, not now, not ever. Self-driving cars don't repeal the laws of physics and they don't override Little's Law either.
The problem is the subway comes maybe once every 11 minutes when it's working properly, and if someone tries to kill themselves by jumping in front of a train in south Brooklyn (or trips or gets pushed) then trains stop working all the way up through The Bronx. And potentially on both the east and west sides of both Manhattan and The Bronx if it happens at one of the stations where the 2/3 and 4/5 overlap. And this isn't an unusual occurrence, it happens once or twice per week during rush hour alone. Every time some minor thing goes wrong ('sick passenger', signal malfunction, track fire, etc.) then the entire city's transportation basically gets shut down. I agree that cars are absurdly inefficient, but at least they're somewhat more resilient. If we could use self-driving technology to at the very least increase the bus coverage then that would be a pretty good outcome.
The problems of the MTA aren't solved by switching to something that won't fix the problems of the MTA. They're solved by fixing the MTA. And even its currently-degraded state it can't be replaced by any other mode at rush hour. There is literally no physical way to fit enough vehicles on the road to replace even shitty subway service.
You have forgotten about the human actually getting to the subway station in the first place. You need to include the distance from every person to the subway station they want in your length calculation.
You also need to include how long it takes the person to get there in your minute calculations.
Your point is an argument in favour of extending subway coverage and doesn't change the basic physics of how cars and trains utilise space.
For my own self, everywhere I want to go is served by the subway system. Often poorly, but that's a rip on the political history of the MTA, not on the nature of subways in general.
If you closed the subways, New York would seize up and die. In fact we're going to get a taste of what a minor arterial clot is like when the L shuts down next year.
You do that by not going there in the first place.
A properly-designed network of self-driving cars would be a train. One that is always there when you need it, one that inherits the vast scale of existing infrastructure, and one that isn't vulnerable to paralysis through single points of failure.
But as the posts on here tend to emphasize over and over again, no one has the vision to make this happen. HN's love affair with fixed rail is nothing less than one of history's great irrational obsessions.
Public transportation is the one engineering discipline where solutions based on technology are "pedantic nonsense," while literally binding and constraining entire cities with hardware straight out of the Civil War era is considered the height of progress.
No, it wouldn't, for the reason I describe. Cars occupy too much space per person by a factor of about 11x times on the figures I gave further up. Self-driving cars will be part of the mix but they physically cannot replace the subway.
Useful mental exercise: next time you're out of the house, imagine that every automobile parking spot, parking lot, and parking garage you see is actually a transit depot. That's what optimal engineering and regulation of self-driving cars would buy us. Of course, being Americans, I'm sure we'll try everything else first.
Hell, this is probably as it should be. NYC would be better off with fewer cars and further prioritization of other modes of transport.
There are general issues with transportation efficacy in NYC right now (subway reliability etc.) but none of them are LIC specific.
People complain about Manhattan, but attempts to build out Brooklyn, Jersey City, Long Island City and Stamford always end up falling short of the original goals, because of the commute.
People from Long Island, Connecticut, Westchester and New Jersey can get to Manhattan with a single mode of public transportation (because they only have to cross one river.) When you move to any of those other locations, you eliminate a large chunk of potential employees, because their commute effectively goes up by >50%.
Also, Crystal City has two metro lines so not entirely a transportation despert.
If NYC is indeed confirmed, then rents for Queens are going to be absolutely fucked.
While Astoria is high, Sunnyside, Woodside, and Jackson Heights will likely see never-seen-before rent increases.
This would be greatly concerning because Eastern Asians from Flushing are already moving west towards Manhattan and are already encroaching on Hispanic minorities in Elmhurst and Corona.
(Source: was native NYCer for 24 years)
All that said, it's hard enough to compete with Google and Facebook and Spotify for local talent...this will only make it worse.
Add in the fact that potentially many people might room, and not everyone who will work there will be from outside the city, and many may want to live in other parts of the city, it looks like absorbing 10k new employees isn’t gonna be much of an issue at all.
Why is it better for Hispanic people to live in an area than Eastern Asian people?
I don't know how much of these are true, but I've heard anecdotes/stereotypes like this a few times in New York. Just haven't seen (or looked for) any confirmed studies about it.
I can speak for other areas. To a first and second approximation, all Chinese, regardless of what country they live in, believe very strongly in owning property and will go to what you might consider ridiculous lengths to do so.
There's a reason the rhetorical enemy of Maoism was the "landlord".
Encroaching is such a strong word. Are they occupying property illegally or are they buying it at market price?
In general, yes, seeing trends in ethnic groups moving because they can no longer afford what was their home, even if to make way for another ethnic minority, is probably a bad thing.
And yes, it's perfectly valid for market price to decrease over time if an area becomes less desirable.
Anyway, I agree with you that the market is just what people are willing to pay.
My old neighborhood in Maspeth and Woodside isn’t Italian, Irish and Polish anymore. I remember the old timers freaking out when Koreans started appearing in the 80s... people are people and life goes on. That’s the cycle of the city.
No matter what anyone says, eventually the business cycle will swing and everything will crash again. This is especially true of commercial development where things like depreciation and offsetting tax obligations drive profitabilty, but only for the first few years of a buildings existence.
Jeez, things haven't been this bad since the Huns forced the Ostrogoths into Lombardy.
For those unfamiliar, Long Island City is across the East River directly east of Upper East Side in Manhattan.
This doesn't really help if you're not familiar with NYC geography...
I had to check Google Maps. It's across the river southeast of all the famous stuff in movies.
A day of happiness for those owning property along the 7 train and LIRR.
You also seem to be confusing Long Island with LIC, which is the downtown neighborhood of Queens.
There are 20 million people in the NY Metro area, and NYC is a true global city. I know it will be some political coup for Cuomo who has sights on national office bringing Amazon here, but to win the Willy Wonka like contest by giving Amazon a lot of freebies is disapointing.
It's not so simple and I'm not quite so naive... but it would be interesting if high paying jobs went to places with decent weather and reasonable land prices.
I wish it did, but it doesn't.
Personally, I find Amazon's decision disappointing, and I regret getting caught up in the hype. I was hoping that they'd do something bold and interesting, not open a couple of satellite offices in obvious places.
Raleigh/Durham would have made for a fine urban or suburban campus and would've capitalized on the presence of tech talent already drawn to the area; Austin would have been another obvious choice for pre-existing tech talent. A pick like Nashville or Columbus would have been bold, picking a rising star midsize metro with diverse strengths and no strong background in tech and lifting it further. Instead, it's looking to be NYC and DC. Much ado about nothing.
They aren't looking to build up a city. It's a foolish business decision to put something with the needs of HQ2 in a place with no transit. Sure, you can build transit, but A - it's expensive, and B - it's not your job or expertise.
Instead of lamenting the jobs they missed out on with HQ2, a forward thinking city would get to work building out its transit system. Many cities are doing just that. Houston for instance.
If places like Columbus or Nashville have a better strategy than building attractive infrastructure for competing with places like Houston and NYC for such jobs, then let them pursue that strategy. The market will settle the issue in the end.
Was this all a ploy to test how far local governments be willing to bend over for Amazon? A PR spectacle to show how important and influential Amazon is to warrant that kind of kowtowing from mayors and governors? If you're going to claim that Amazon earnestly pursued the search for HQ2, only to decide that NYC and D.C. were the best choices at the end, then their strategists must have done a poor job in not figuring that out before the city talent show.
And for us HN commentators: these picks are just boring. So much for innovation, imagination, and daring. Ho-hum.
Maybe you shouldn't have ascribed those qualities to Amazon's search for a new HQ?
I share this sentiment. I feel sort of silly about thinking that the outcome would justify the groveling and begging that Amazon invited. But at the end of the day it is the same as it ever was.
Amazon cannot replicate NYC in the middle of nowhere, or even the middle of somewhere. The confluence of geography, history, commerce, culture and sheer verve can't be bought.
They want to attract talent and the way to do that is to go where the talent is or wants to be. The bay area is such a place. Seattle is such a place. New York is such a place. But they couldn't turn Mt Tinroof Springs into a world centre no matter what they did.
Two big differences:
1. The talent crunch for Exxon and FedEx isn't nearly as bad as the crunch for engineering talent that Amazon is facing. Simply put, engineers that can get offers from Amazon have many options, and moving to Buttfuck, Nowhere won't be the best of them.
2. Exxon and FedEx employees, especially the senior, harder-to-secure talent, tend to be older folks with families. The talent Amazon would typically go after is much younger, often recent graduates.
Not accurate (IMO).
1. ExxonMobil is now, and has been for years, hurting for petroleum engineers. It's a discipline that isn't taught at many universities, so the supply is rather constrained. In recent years new grad petroleum and chemical engineers have been pulling in offers that rival FANG offers.
2. If Amazon, or any other FANG, was really hurting for talent they would do something about their false negative problem in interviews. That they aren't indicates to me that they are either passing enough people or just being choosing beggars.
Amazon on the other hand is opening a new campus, so they are more flexible to locate it in the most advantageous area.
Moreover, not sure how many petroleum engineers Exxon is hiring, but guessing it's far fewer than the amount of software engineers Amazon is looking to hire, which is in the tens of thousands.
Recruitment is a much bigger factor for Amazon. The article says basically the entire reason for opening not one but two new big offices is to tap into more talent.
2. FAANGs don't agree that they have a "false negative" problem. They think they are accepting and rejecting the right people. Right or wrong, this is their position.
Houston is still a crucial area for an oil company, and will continue to be so until the Gulf Coast fields stop producing. Their "huge, now-misplaced campus it won't relocate" is their headquarters in Irving/Las Colinas (since Dallas is no longer very important to the industry). In fact, Chevron is moving their headquarters operations to Houston.
Also, the original point was about the perceived difficulty of getting highly-paid, highly-educated people to move to "uncool" places. This is only relevant if you think ExxonMobil would have chosen a different location if they got a free do-over again today.
> Moreover, not sure how many petroleum engineers Exxon is hiring,
As many as UT, TA&M, OU, and the few other schools that graduate them can pump out. I'd have to bug my wife for numbers, but I think it is in the thousands (if they can get them).
> guessing it's far fewer than the amount of software engineers Amazon is looking to hire, which is in the tens of thousands
You think Amazon is looking to increase their SWE head count by 50% or more in a short period of time? I question the "tens of thousands" assertion, as that is a fair description of the entire size of Google's software engineering population, and larger than Facebook's. Are you actually claiming Amazon is looking to hire multiple Facebooks worth of software engineers in a short period of time?
> FAANGs don't agree that they have a "false negative" problem. They think they are accepting and rejecting the right people. Right or wrong, this is their position.
Assuming your statement is correct, I would classify them as choosing beggars.
FWIW, the party line I hear from their engineers is that they know they have a problem with false negatives, but that it is OK because it is worth it to keep out the false positives. They also (sometimes) claim they have more qualified applicants than they have head count.
Every article about the HQ2 project says it's an effort to recruit tech talent. Amazon is hiring 50K new employees for these offices. Assuming a very conservative 25% of them are going to be engineers, that's already over 10,000 engineers.
> Assuming your statement is correct, I would classify them as choosing beggars.
If FAANGs thought their recruiting practices are broken, they would fix them.
Also, while we're all aware of how much bargaining power top software engineers have in this market, it doesn't seem right to call a bunch of companies worth the better part of a trillion dollar each "beggars".
You felt nothing in Perth because Perth is just... there. :)
That's true. Although I'm not sure you can build a campus on this scale that doesn't need to function as an urban core in at least some respects. I'm not sure how you plop something like this down on a prairie someplace and expect it to function. (Especially given that employees may not want to live in an urban core but don't necessarily want to live in a company town in the middle of nowhere.)
I agree that, if something like this is as reported, it's sort of a boring outcome in that it was entirely expected and safe.
You can probably bribe enough people enough to work just about anywhere but it's going to be an uphill battle.
given their history of labor violations in their warehouses, I don't see any reason to think that Amazon creating a city would be "nice".
Besides, weather, why has California been so successful. An outstanding UC educational system. The same is true of the NorthEast with several excellent colleges spread throughout the region.
Of course, Boston would have been a strong candidate just because of that, but NYC gives you access to a bunch of ivy leagues, and a bunch of some of the best colleges in the country, while also giving you access to large successful public institutions like Rutgers, CUNY and SUNY.
In addition to that NYC is also an easier gateway to Europe and pretty much the rest of the US.
If Amazon is offering a job to a kid out of college in a place that is not considered exciting, and Google is offering the same kid a job in a place that is, why would they take the Amazon one.
FAANG companies want top talent. Top talent has many options. Most top talented engineers, in this market, get multiple offers and can basically choose where they want to live.
Not to mention that all FAANG companies have offices in attractive locations. So the office in Buttfuck Nowhere would be competing against offices in cool cities like LA and NYC, for the same position with the same FAANG. Good luck with that.
How many candidates are already in or willing to relocate to NYC versus Houston.
That's all Amazon really cares about: the absolute numbers.
They're looking to hire tens of thousands of engineers and that's pretty much the only reason they're going through with this huge investment in new campuses.
Regardless of my personal preference, I think it's pretty obvious that the numbers work in NYC's favor.
they're moving existing employees there. People don't want to live in the middle of nowhere. People don't want to be moved without their consent to start a new society.
This is painfully, ridiculously obvious if you stop thinking about people as numbers and start thinking about them as actual humans living full lives.
There are plenty of people who do want to live in the middle of nowhere. I know a number of techies who have taken advantage of remote opportunities to finally live where they want, and at a much better price. And one could reasonably describe the whole trend of suburbanization as people moving to the middle of nowhere, so I suspect Amazon could find plenty of people who'd like a reasonably priced, new-built home in an up-and-coming area.
Statistically, we are as a society, drifting closer to urban cores. I too dream of buying 50 acres in the midwest for about 100k or so - so don't get me wrong I get the appeal. It's just more or less not what is happening.
> And one could reasonably describe the whole trend of suburbanization as people moving to the middle of nowhere,
I disagree with this. Suburbanization is a way for people to live close to urban centers with the employment prospects (although with a commute, contributing to congestion, emissions), without the benefits (and negatives) of living in an urban core. I have never been to a suburb that is in the middle of nowhere...if it was it wouldn't be sub-urban.
My employer is planning on moving several hundred people about ten miles from their current location. The only reason aren't quitting is because there isn't enough competition in the tech sector this city.
It would just be nice if there were cities with livable housing costs AND a competitive tech sector.
Newark is maybe 30 minutes from Manhattan by train, has cheaper real estate, and contains a stop on the Amtrak NE Regional Line, which would allow access to their VA HQ in between 2-3 hours.
I'm probably biased because I'm NJ based and I want Newark to become a more attractive location to companies other than Prudential, but Newark was up for consideration and I'd argue the cheap real estate + proximity to NY combo is workable.
Very similar to CDD fees (one time or annually [paying off bonds]) in the case of residential real estate development.
Municipalities tend to pursue growth intentionally. Facilitating business activity is often the explicit purpose of an infrastructure investment.
Is today special? Must there be a special day when better decisions are made?
There is no reason whatsoever for Amazon to be provided any sort of subsidy or tax benefits at their size and scale, most especially from existing residents who were not involved in the selection process.
Every year or so, you can call them up and say:
"Hey NY, we're thinking of expanding in VA, but maybe you could convince us otherwise."
"Hey VA, we're thinking of expanding in NY, but maybe you could convince us otherwise."
Crystal City already has a strong tech presence - it's government, not industry, but still - no shortage of technology around. 25K new workers is about a second Pentagon in the area, but nothing more than that. Office rental rate pressure will slightly go up, but Amazon's a drop in the bucket compared to federal government buying power for office space.
Queens, though, is a dramatic change to the general landscape of that area. I can't even imagine an Amazon-style campus in the middle of Jamaica.
"Sources" that aren't specified or provide any evidence tend to have a poor track record.
Speculation. Amazon is also talking heavily with Dallas according to CNN.
I see a bubble here. It’s gonna get ugly soon.
You can get single family homes within city limits for $450-$750k. If you can't figure out how to afford a home like that on a six figure salary (let alone with 2 income earners in family situations), what you probably really need is a financial adviser. If you don't want to live in the city, Jersey City is swimming in sub-million dollars single family homes.
The D.C. area is actually more expensive in many cases, but you can haul out to a suburb 30 miles away and get more affordable housing on an engineer's salary and metro/commuter train in. It's not the end of the world.
Your commute may not be a 10 minute walk door-to-door, but...well...welcome to living in a large U.S. city where the jobs are.
The problem these companies are facing is availability of qualified staff. It'll take years to build out the facilities, and cheap places just will never attract the talent pool.
That might as well be the end of the world. The commute from that distance can easily crack two hours; I'd have a shorter commute driving from DC to literally the capital of the confederacy (105 miles, 1.7 hours reverse commute) than I'd have driving from Dumfries, VA into DC (30 miles, 2+ hours traffic).
Source: lived/ing inside the beltway for decades until present. Also, I've made that DC-RVA drive more times than I'd care to admit, and it was less self-harm-inducing than my standard commute from inside the beltway into DC itself.
In 2020, would I want to be living in Vienna or Chantilly and commuting to Crystal City? No way.
Manhattan is great, if you’re a millionaire and can put your kids in great private schools and hire private drivers or are single and don’t mind small living quarters and can walk to work. But for those with families, I don’t see how the commute time and lack of access to uncrowded and well maintained public facilities is worth it.
It’s crazy to me that people commute for 60 to 90 min each way on unreliable public transit from NJ and CT and NY, all to give their kids a decent school district or yard. Wasting their entire Mon to Fri slaving at work in exchange for the job market and pay of NYC. Personally, if you don’t make it big (at least $250k+) in your 20s and early 30s in NYC, and you want to or already have a family, I would get out and live somewhere where I can have access to all 7 days of my week for something other than work, dinner, and sleep.
good luck. Only the rich can afford to live in NYC and the surrounding boroughs. I used to live in Queens Village, Moves out 20+ years ago. Even in the late 90's and early 2k, queens village was becoming expensive the Neighborhood was getting worse. houses are old and they're asking too much for them, even then.. forget about today.. astronomical..
Since we are talking about Amazon highly paid engineers, could be 2x 200-500k.
This is what I always thought was problematic about putting a Google campus in a place like Boulder, a smallish college town with geographic constraints to new housing. Adding over 1,000 Googlers with $200-$500K total comp might as well be a tsunami for a town that size.
You choose Detroit, or Cleveland, or Birmingham, or whatever and you completely distort their local economy.
Because there's a fine line where it has to stop otherwise it becomes a disruptive machine like the Bay Area and NYC.
One of the obnoxious things about Google's NY campus is that it's on the west side of Manhattan, which means that to get a cheapish rent and a 40-60 minute commute, you have to live on the expensive edges of BK or Jersey. Doesn't really seem worth it imho.
I don't think this is true. 60 minutes on the A/C/E lines gets you all the way to Jamaica. 45 Minutes gets you all the way to Inwood.
It's not convenient to every location, but it is convenient to some cheap locations.
Inwood, Washington Heights, and the western half of Harlem are still pretty reasonable, and on super convenient train lines to Google.
Tech talent doesn't want to live in the sticks. Especially young tech talent.
I understand them because I am one of them. What good is a nice compensation package if I have to live in the middle of nowhere?
Young folks are looking for the fame that’s what it is. The google’s, facebook’s etc. Yes there’s always san francisco but these are just extensions of the headquarters just to make sure they get hold of everyone.
If the fame was in the middle of nowhere people wouldn’t hesitate a second to move to that place. If it’s not you, someone else will.
I completely agree that SV isn't a very attractive place nowadays, especially not for young talent.
Young talented folks came en mass. It does work to open a campus in the middle of nowhere. Why Tech giants still go to large and expensive cities? It doesn't make any sense but to satisfy a few folks who for the most part share an apartment with roommates or rent a studio in downtowns making 6 figures.
Facebook now has an NYC office too. My uneducated guess is that their candidates now have far more options than they did 10 years ago, and more people would rather not live in SV.
My comment referred to the first proper Facebook campus was going to be very close to Palo Alto since that's where their first offices were. Just like has been the case for Google and a bunch of other SV employers.
SF is not a normal city anymore. Oakland isn't much of a city.
I'd focus elsewhere.
New York metro area is much more nowhere than Tokyo metro if you want to go buy sheer population in a continuous urban conglomeration.
And to me, personally, NYC is just as nowhere as Boise, Idaho. Just a bunch of people living in groups doing things they find interesting, or can't leave due to financial/family/personal reasons. You can do lots of stuff in and around Boise that the same people can't do in NYC and visa versa, depending on individual preferences.
Many folks I know get bored quickly in NYC and SF. I do. I still love NYC and SF, though. I suffer from a bit of Stockholm Syndrome ;)
I am having difficulty thinking of any group of humans living anywhere that doesn't meet this definition. The same could be said for a mining town in Siberia, or an uncontacted tribe living in the Amazon, or prisoners in a prison.
> You can do lots of stuff in and around Boise that the same people can't do in NYC and [vice] versa, depending on individual preferences.
The list of things you can do in Boise that you can't do in NYC is effectively zero if you exclude "the outdoors" as a category. For people who don't prioritize the outdoors as highly as other things in life, this makes Boise effectively nowhere by comparison.
Technology wise I have heard of decent activity (including in a few of these cities some startup ventures) in places like Austin, the North Carolina research triangle, Miami, Boulder, Phoenix, Portland, Boston, etc. (Internationally, I'm sure there's some other markets people can add.) I have heard of housing costs creeping up in a few of these locations, but as far as I know, most of these still have pretty affordable housing compared to the Silicon Valley as a whole currently. Yes, the culture varies considerably between all these cities, but none of them I would describe as "middle of nowhere".
The latter have varying degrees of "melting pot"-ness.
I'd suspect the parts of LA you'd like to live in - Santa Monica, for example - are far more expensive than the livable parts of San Diego.
I live in SF but was down in SJ recently and honestly... it's just nice suburbia with the same strip malls and everything that's copy-pasted across the US?
Am I missing something there that makes it... unique?
I also dislike the strip malls everywhere; I was serious about the orchards part too. I wish that I could rewind to having fewer houses and strip malls and more orchards.
But for people who like suburbia but also want to work for technology companies, it works out pretty nicely. If you take the "everything that's copy pasted across the US" and splash in world class semiconductor company HQs (in San Jose and surrounding areas, like Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, etc), you get San Jose. Seems sorta unique to me, but I won't try too hard to sell it to anyone else who disagrees.
I would almost live in San Jose for La Victoria Taqueria... almost. Their orange burritos are so damn good.
Apricots are simply divine. For this alone, bulldozing would be justified.
Less sarcastically, how is that an advantage?
I guess if you move to SJ from some hamlet 3 hours outside of Cheyenne, it's probably exciting. When I got there from Chicago, I couldn't believe that people actually might think it is a great place to live. Other than some career considerations, it's really a bland suburbia with nothing exciting about it.
Queens or Brooklyn are obvious alternatives to Manhattan but, with the right long-term planning and development, Bronx or Staten Island could make great options.
Staten Island has transportation headaches (no subway) but the Bronx is well connected to Manhattan. It's also close to northern suburbs like Westchester County and Connecticut where many people might want to live and commute from.
If you find yourself hoping that successful companies and successful people don't move to your area, that's a sign that you are doing something seriously wrong.
Which is already a big chunk of NYC. Adding 25K tech folks into the current mass of financiers, hedge fund managers, and tech peeps in a city of 8.5 million isn't going to change much.