The Amazon CEO got billions in city and state financial support for a new corporate satellite office in Long Island City, Queens. This comes after playing more than 200 cities off of each other in the HQ2 contest that ended with a split decision between New York and Washington, D.C. Though Mayor Bill de Blasio said he drove a hard bargain, it appears that Bezos got much of what he wanted, whether it was riverfront real estate, a helipad or the relocation of a pesky distribution center for school lunches. Maybe Bezos could have eked out a few more billion dollars in financial support elsewhere, but that is chump change compared to the more than $100 billion in net worth he already has.
Who's up and who's down this week?
Who's up and who's down this week?
New York City has long been home to heroic leaders – you know, like Spider-Man, the Avengers and the Fantastic Four. And behind all those larger-than-life figures is another New York City native – Stan Lee, the Marvel Comics visionary who died this week. While we mourn Lee’s passing, we honor his memory this week by recognizing the real-life heroes (or villains) who are winning the fight, and the villains (or heroes) who are suffering the consequences.
What does Gov. Andrew Cuomo really like more than a big development project like Amazon HQ2? For starters, it lets him be the center of attention at the press conference announcing it, with the high chair no less! Though there’s been backlash over the subsidies, it’s de Blasio who may bear the brunt of it considering the growing friction with the City Council over the deal. So let’s see … a big development project where Cuomo gets lots of attention and he gets to look like he’s working well with de Blasio … yet the mayor is still getting criticism? Sounds like a fun day for Cuomo.
Homeless animals in the Bronx, rejoice! At long last, the borough has gotten its first full-service animal shelter in decades. The massive, $60 million plan faced staunch opposition initially, with local lawmakers saying Co-Op City, where the shelter will be located, would be better served by a community center. But thanks King’s negotiations, the community got added benefits – and now our furry Bronxite friends on the streets will have a place to receive care.
Not many soft-bellied state senators could stare Cuomo in his face and say “Talk is cheap, blood is expensive.” But the 90-year-old Larkin could, and that steely reserve got $10 million in state funds sent to his beloved National Purple Heart Hall of Honor. It was a fitting retirement package for Larkin, who has at least seven pieces of Purple Heart memorabilia in his office. Plus, the funding could help ease the pain of watching his long-red seat flip blue.
Some progressives aren’t so sure that he’s the right guy to lead the Senate Democrats these days, but he nonetheless was re-elected as the conference’s minority leader this week. And in a positive turn of events for New York’s senior senator, the party’s losses in the U.S. Senate are turning out to be less grave than had been feared, with Kyrsten Sinema flipping the Arizona seat being vacated by U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake while Democrats still have a chance (however slim) in Florida and Mississippi.
The mayor caught a case of Amazon Fever. It’s the only explanation for how a progressive who ran on “a tale of two cities” was heard this week glowing about the “extraordinary” “synergy” of having the multibillion-dollar tech giant built next to the Queensbridge Houses. As a test case, the mayor should let Amazon’s talented dealmakers assist NYCHA’s lawyers, after a federal judge rejected the housing authority’s first pass at a legal settlement. Now the front door is open to a federal takeover of de Blasio’s long-troubled, mismanaged housing authority.
“The guy doesn’t have a criminal bone in his body,” argued the attorney for the mayor of Gloversville last year when his client was charged with official misconduct for allegedly revealing, during a radio broadcast, the personnel file of his political opponent. And yet, Dayton King is in trouble again – this time accused of using a City Hall postage meter for his personal mail, then falsifying the ledger.
He hasn’t won the election, and he may still be behind in the ballot count, but darn it, that didn’t stop McMurray from taking the trip from Western New York all the way to Washington D.C. to attend freshman orientation for new members of Congress. But Republicans, who still have a majority until January, didn’t let him take part in the freshman photo and denied him entry to other events as well. If McMurray is right, and the absentee ballots swing the election his way, he can always Photoshop himself into the image, even if the moment itself was robbed from him forever.
Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz was dealt two heavy blows on Tuesday. First, the confirmation that Amazon is coming to Long Island City meant that Buffalo and Rochester’s joint bid for HQ2 failed to seduce the internet retailer, an outcome most probably could have predicted. Then came the more crushing news that the New Era Cap Company will close its longstanding plant in Derby, leaving Poloncarz blindsided.
There’s perhaps no power that a New York City Council member cherishes more than the ability to dictate land use decisions in his or her district. So now that Amazon is about to massively reshape City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer’s Long Island City district without his input, he’s infuriated about the deal the giant online retailer secured and he’s trying to block it – even though he publicly asked Amazon to come here.