- Title: A changing New York neighborhood wonders how Amazon would fit
- Date: 8th November 2018
- Summary: NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES (NOVEMBER 7, 2018) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF SIGN IN LONG ISLAND CITY, QUEENS, READING (English): 'LONG ISLAND' EXTERIOR OF COURT SQUARE DINER WORKERS WAITING TO PICK UP CUSTOMERS FOOD INSIDE DINER (SOUNDBITE) (English) COURT SQUARE DINER CO-OWNER, NICK KANELLOS, SAYING: "You're talking about 25,000 people, it's a whole stadium. It's a whole soccer stadium one shot through 8 o'clock coming in." WORKERS INSIDE DINER (SOUNDBITE) (English) COURT SQUARE DINER CO-OWNER, NICK KANELLOS, SAYING: "The infrastructure is not ready for something like this." CUSTOMERS INSIDE DINER EXTERIOR OF DINER (SOUNDBITE) (English) COURT SQUARE DINER CO-OWNER, NICK KANELLOS, SAYING: "We are very successful, you know what I'm saying. The place is good, the neighborhood is good, you know what I'm saying. It's changing. Now, only time gonna say if it's for the better or for the worse." VARIOUS OF WORKER AT ESPRESSO MACHINE IN LIC CORNER CAFE (SOUNDBITE) (English) LIC CORNER CAFE CO-OWNER, TERRI GLOYD, SAYING: "It's overwhelming and a little bit...it feels very saturated now." EAST RIVER, QUEENSBORO BRIDGE AND A PEPSI-COLA SIGN AT GANTRY PLAZA STATE PARK (SOUNDBITE) (English) MANDUCATIS OWNER, VINCENZO CERBONE, SAYING: "To me, the Amazon is the new way of life." PERSON CROSSING STREET (SOUNDBITE) (English) MANDUCATIS OWNER, VINCENZO CERBONE, SAYING: "These days, everything is new." SCHOOL BUS DRIVING ON STREET WITH NEW APARTMENT BUILDINGS IN BACKGROUND (SOUNDBITE) (English) MANDUCATIS OWNER, VINCENZO CERBONE, SAYING: "I don't know if it's an upgrade or a downgrade." PEOPLE WALKING ON FOOTBRIDGE OVER EAST RIVER DOCKED BOAT CRANE AND CONSTRUCTION WORKERS SIGN IN LONG ISLAND CITY, QUEENS, READING (English): 'LONG ISLAND' WIDE OF EAST RIVER WITH QUEENSBORO BRIDGE
- Embargoed: 22nd November 2018 17:37
- Keywords: Long Island City New York Amazon HQ2
- Location: NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES
- City: NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES
- Country: USA
- Topics: Company News Markets,Economic Events
- Reuters ID: LVA00195NB0W7
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: SOUND QUALITY AS INCOMING
It was the lunch-hour rush at the Court Square Diner in New York's Long Island City on Wednesday (November 7), and co-owner Nick Kanellos pointed to the elevated subway tracks that rattle overhead as he fretted over the news that Amazon may build a major outpost in the neighborhood.
Like many long-time inhabitants, he worries how this once-sleepy enclave in Queens would absorb the up to 25,000 people the online retail giant may employ here as it expands outside its Seattle home base.
"It's a whole soccer stadium at 8 a.m. each day coming in," Kanellos said, gesturing at the narrow metal staircases leading from the subway platform to the street, already crowded with commuters at rush hour.
Amazon announced in September last year that it was seeking a site for a second corporate headquarters that would eventually employ up to 50,000 people. But it now plans to split its new headquarters between two sites, including Long Island City, according to a New York Times report.
Amazon again declined on Wednesday to comment on its selection process.
Kanellos' apprehension was shared by other long-time residents interviewed on Wednesday on their home turf, a rapidly gentrifying area that sits just across the East River from Midtown Manhattan.
Few, if any, objected to Amazon.com itself: Many conceded they were happy customers of the world's largest online retailer, some paying for its Prime membership service. They just fear that their neighborhood is already bursting at the seams, with scores of glass apartment towers transforming an area long characterized by a mismatched jumble of low-rise buildings.
The cost of this rapid development, residents say, is that local hardware stores and pharmacies have been priced out and an aging sewer system is often overwhelmed by the more than 10,000 new apartments and 1.5 million square feet of office space built in recent years, according to city data.
Kanellos, 50, took over the Court Square Diner in 1991, when it was one of the few places where the artists then using old factory buildings as studios could sit down for a cheap meal.
The neighborhood's cinematic views of Manhattan only heightened the sense it was a quiet village overlooked by the rest of New York City.
The reports this week that Amazon had decided to build part of its "second" headquarters here, along with an outpost in northern Virginia's Crystal City, feels to some residents like the death knell for a neighborhood they love.
Terri Gloyd is the co-owner of the LIC Corner Cafe and sells coffee, cookies and pastries.
Some of the residents who moved into the new apartment towers have become welcome regulars, even while some artist friends have been priced out of the area, she said. But construction and the ubiquitous film and television shoots, thanks to the proximity of Silvercup Studios, sometimes make the streets barely navigable to pedestrians.
"It already feels so oversaturated," said Gloyd, who moved here in 1987.
If there is one constant in the crane-filled neighborhood these days, it is Manducatis, a white-tablecloth, Italian restaurant that Vincenzo Cerbone, 88, has presided over since 1974, after moving to the area in the 1950s. Cerbone has shrugged at the Amazon news: New York City has always been changing.
"These days, everything is new," he said. "I don't know if it's an upgrade or a downgrade."
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Copyright Notice: (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2018. Open For Restrictions - http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None