Bishop Mitchell Taylor and Queensbridge residents rallied on Monday to support employment opportunities that the online retail giant could possibly provide to Long Island City and beyond.
Taylor told reporters that negativity from opponents of the proposal does not represent the wants or needs of NYCHA residents or the involvement of their leaders in discussions about Amazon coming to their community. But more than anything, they spoke out against perceived outsiders stoking discontent within the confines of the housing complex.
“I’m incensed when I see people from Connecticut, from other boroughs, from other places, convene upon Queensbridge, knocking on doors telling people because of Amazon, because of this, you’re going to lose your apartment,” Taylor said. “Let me tell you something: if you’re concerned about gentrification, that happened 15 years ago … You cannot speak for us. You haven’t lived here.”
Taylor’s roots in Queensbridge go deep with his father, also a pastor, first serving a northwest Queens congregation in 1960 and Taylor himself leading worship for 28 years. He is a founder of Urban Upbound, an organization which works to break cycles that keep families in poverty and serves on the Community Advisory Committee for the implementation of Amazon.
“We are negotiating. We are talking. We are trying to figure out what is the best possible outcome for the residents of northwestern Queens and New York City,” Taylor said. “Twenty-five thousand jobs, possibly 40,000 jobs coming to this neighborhood and we want to know how that’s going to happen, how that’s going to benefit our residents. Nobody is cutting any deals here.”
NY Daily News
Supporters of Amazon’s plan to bring a new hub to Queens gathered Monday in front of the Queensbridge North Houses to counter critics who say the deal has little to no grassroots backing.
Their event attracted a diverse — and unlikely — mix of about a dozen people to the Long Island City public housing complex and included tenant leaders, a representative from the pro-business Association for a Better New York and Rep. Carolyn Maloney.
April Simpson, president of the Queensbridge Houses Tenant Association, was front and center. She contends that, unlike other new arrivals to the area, Amazon has been talking with the group since “Day One” and believes the Seattle-based company will hire people living in the NYCHA complex.
“You know why? Because we have a voice,” she said. “We’re at the table. That’s the blessing.”
If Amazon has been meeting with these people and there is so much alleged support for the HQ2 deal, why would they keep it such a secret?
"Day One" is Jeff Bezo's credo for running his empire.