‘Betrayal!’ – Community Opposition to Amazon Deal Grows

Doris Hernández (Photo by Mariela Lombard via El Diario)

[The arrival of flyers in thousands of Queens homes touting the benefits for the community of Amazon’s planned new Long Island City offices has generated a new wave of opposition to the company. While City Council members such as Jimmy Van Bramer expressed opposition to the Amazon deal at hearings on Jan. 30, El Diario’s José Martínez interviewed some community leaders and residents protesting in front of City Hall.]


Sonia Medrano, a recognized community leader who divides her time between helping NYCHA residents with heating problems and creating programs to help new immigrants, has a new worry today.

For her, the announcement of Amazon’s arrival is “basically a betrayal.”

“It is not fair that the city and the state are giving so many thousands of millions of dollars to such a wealthy company, when we need this money to provide affordable housing for our community,” said the Dominican woman, adding that “this is going to be very complicated for the Long Island City community because there is not a specific plan.”

Medrano has traveled to the Queens area where Amazon plans to build its second headquarters, vowing to create more than 25,000 jobs in the next 10 years, and has registered the worries, doubts and fears of her community. The area was once the home of several factories and bakeries, and today is undergoing a gentrification process that has increased rents, forcing many residents to move to other places in Queens.

“We went to Albany to tell [lawmakers] that they should not give all that money to a company that we don’t really know if they are going to give jobs to our people,” said the 57-year-old.

Protesting beside her was Doris Hernández, from Mexico, who moved to New York more than 17 years ago, and is “hugely” worried that the city is considering such a deal.

“It is incredible that our government is giving out $3 billion when we need our trains fixed, and better health and education services,” said the mother of two children. “We need real things, not these kinds of fairytales that we know will not improve things. On the contrary, they will drive the rents up and the trains will get worse, and in the end we will have to move because there will be no space for our community.”

However, on the other side of the protest there were construction workers like José Trinidad, a Dominican who has lived in New York for more than 45 years, who welcomes Amazon to the Big Apple.

“We are here to welcome them because they are going to bring jobs. We need jobs. We came here to work,” said Trinidad.

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