Ruben Diaz Jr. and others to Amazon: Come to the Bronx!

Stephon Johnson | 9/21/2017, midnight
A letter signed by Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and other elected officials advocates that the company Amazon make ...
Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. Bronx Borough President Office/Flickr

A letter signed by Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and other elected officials advocates that the company Amazon make the Bronx the place for their next headquarters.

Signed by New York State Senators Jamaal Bailey, Gusatov Rivera and the Rev. Ruben Diaz; New York City Council members Vanessa Gibson and Andy King; and other elected officials, the letter highlights the location of the Bronx and its recent track of development as reasons to make it Amazon’s new home.

“The Bronx offers more advantages to Amazon than any other municipality,” reads the letter. “We are 6 miles from LaGuardia Airport, 20 minutes from Kennedy Airport, and Manhattan is just a quick train ride away. The Bronx is the only borough attached to the mainland United States, and we offer easy connections to Westchester, Connecticut and New Jersey by car. In addition, we are in the midst of constructing a new Metro North commuter rail spur in the East Bronx.”

The letter cites $3.27 billion in total development in the Bronx in 2016, the highest since 2009. Diaz and company also mention that the Bronx has seen almost $13 billion and 70 million square feet of total development. According to the letter, more than 110,000 more Bronx resident have jobs today than they did in May 2009, and unemployment in the borough has been cut by more than half.

“Companies from all over the world are not just taking a fresh look at the Bronx since 2009, they have actually been coming,” read the letter. “Since that period of time we have added an additional 117,000 Bronx residents to the labor pool. One company is currently finishing their new home here in the Bronx and will be bringing approximately 3,800 workers with them later.”

But not all are happy with the push the bring Amazon to New York. Metropolitan Transit Authority Board Member Veronica Vanterpool wrote a column for the New York Daily News Sunday pushing for congestion pricing. She advocated that New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who also supports Amazon coming to New York, work with New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo on reducing traffic in Manhattan. Only then, said Vanterpool, would the city be worthy of Amazon’s presence.

“Among Amazon’s ‘core preferences’ for its ideal site, the company lists ‘proximity to major highways and arterial roads’ and “access to mass transit,’” wrote Vanterpool. “New York has traffic-choked streets and an imploding transit network—both of which will remain that way until we make a long-overdue fix.”

But the push continues. Diaz and company want the corporate giant in New York and, in Diaz’s case, the Bronx.

“Amazon belongs in New York,” the letter continued. “While other states may boast about how their educational institutions train your talent pool, the fact remains that those same students typically make New York their home after graduating.”

According to the letter, several potential sites for Amazon’s future headquarters have been identified.