In the wake of Amazon’s decision to abandon its plans for a second North American headquarters in New York City, Gov. Andrew “Amazon” Cuomo has taken it upon himself to personally plead with the tech company’s billionaire CEO, Jeff Bezos, in an effort to bring Amazon back.
The New York Times reports that Cuomo has spoken to Amazon execs, including Bezos, in “multiple phone conversations” since the company reneged on its plans to bring a new corporate campus to Long Island City. Since that announcement, which was influenced by the fierce pushback—both from the public and elected officials—to the Amazon deal, Cuomo has made clear that he was unhappy with how the whole thing went down.
“I do believe Amazon should’ve stayed and fought the opposition,” he said on the Brian Lehrer Show earlier this week. “It was a vocal minority opposition.” A Siena College poll conducted in early February showed that 56 percent of registered New York voters supported the Amazon deal.
Per the Times, part of the campaign to woo Amazon back to New York City also includes an open letter, which was due to be published as a full-page ad in that newspaper on Friday, asking the company to reconsider its decision to leave New York. The letter, paid for by the Partnership for New York City (a nonprofit that “represents the city’s business leadership and its largest private sector employers,” per its website), says that the anger of a vocal minority shouldn’t stop the company from doing business with New York City.
“We know the public debate that followed the announcement of the Long Island City project was rough and not very welcoming,” the letter reads. “Opinions are strong in New York—sometimes strident. We consider it part of the New York charm! But when we commit to a project as important as this, we figure out how to get it done in a way that works for everyone.”
The letter was signed by a number of corporate CEOs, civic leaders (including former NYC mayor David Dinkins), union leaders, and representatives from NYCHA housing in Long Island City, among others. It also guarantees that Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio will do whatever they can to move the process along at both the state and city level. (It’s unclear how de Blasio, who penned a Times op-ed blasting Amazon for its unwillingness to work with NYC, feels about this.)
Additionally, Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the majority leader of the state Senate, withdrew her nomination of vocal Amazon critic Sen. Mike Gianaris to the Public Authorities Control Board, which would have to approve the Amazon deal. Instead, she nominated Leroy Comrie, another Queens state senator,
Alas, despite all of these efforts, “Amazon executives gave no sense that it would reconsider,” according to the Times.