New York can’t let go of HQ2

Amazon.
Amazon.
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Amazon.

New York can’t let go of HQ2

It's been two months since Amazon pulled out of its HQ2 deal in Long Island City but New Yorkers are still pining for the tech giant's unlikely return.
April 3, 2019

In the nearly two months since Amazon walked away from plans to build a second corporate headquarters in Long Island City, New Yorkers of all stripes have been engaged in a mourning process. While HQ2’s harshest critics haven’t expressed much regret over the death of the deal, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and other supporters went so far as to beg for a second chance with Amazon’s Jeff Bezos in a full-page open letter in The New York Times.

There’s likely no realistic shot at winning Amazon back, but that hasn’t stopped pollsters and pundits from weighing in on the question. In a Quinnipiac University poll released on Tuesday, respondents said they would want Amazon to come back, by a margin of 61-32. And while much of the HQ2 opposition came from local officials worried about the negative effects of having a neighbor like Amazon, respondents to the poll in Queens also said they want the company to come back, by a 58-34 margin. In Staten Island, where Amazon has a fulfillment center, most respondents (79-18) were also in favor of the company’s return.

These polls, however, don’t change the fact that the question of Amazon’s return is likely moot. While proponents of HQ2 could point to the polls to quell criticism of the next big economic development project in New York City, it’s not clear that HQ2’s opponents will be any less effective in shooting down the next similarly sized entity trying to open shop in New York. But public opinion was shown to be in favor of the deal even before Amazon left.

Until three key parties – Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, progressive leaders, and the companies themselves – do a better job of negotiating a deal, public opinion may not have much of a say in which company, if any, gets to be more successful than Amazon in that regard.

For the rest of today's tech news, head over to First Read Tech.

Annie McDonough
is a tech and policy reporter at City & State.
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