Last week, Amazon set off a cluster-scrum among cities across the country when the mega-corporation announced it is seeking to build a second headquarters. According to published reports, the winning city gets a $5 billion investment and 50,000 new jobs over the next two decades.
The two main qualities Amazon wants in its new suitor is it must be in North America and it must boast at least a million people. And while Long Island is not a “city,” it is indeed in North America and why yes, it does have more than 1 million residents—and, bonus, Long Island just so happens to be less than an hour from New York City (aka the greatest city in the world) with plenty of highways and two major airports just over the border in Queens.
In Amazon’s RFP (request for proposals), the company said it needs “states, provinces and metro areas to coordinate with relevant jurisdictions to submit one [proposal] for your metropolitan statistical area” and that the new headquarters site must be significant enough to support an 8 million square-foot expansion.
Sure, that sounds like an awful lot of expansion, but the amount of jobs this brings into the area makes it well worth the effort. And the jobs coming in would be modern, forward-looking employment opportunities that could very well be the key to Long Island’s age-old conundrum of “how do we keep young people from leaving the Island?”
Officials with the power to say either “yes” or “no” to development projects are quick to build senior housing in both counties. This housing, while absolutely necessary, only serves a portion of the Island’s population. On top of that, Long Island gladly wastes an untold number of acres on golf courses—land that could and should be used to serve all the residents, not just the ones swinging a crooked stick while wearing cute golf pants.
And if traffic is the argument against Amazon’s headquarters—there will always be traffic on this island regardless of who builds what and where. Traffic concerns should not impede progress.
Long Islanders need jobs. But more than that, we need jobs that will help all of us thrive into the next American century.