The New York City subway’s system has been falling apart for years now, with regular evening commutes turning on a dime into hellish nightmares. So it’s no surprise New Yorkers are up in arms Tuesday, after the city unveiled a $1.7 billion tax break for Amazon to build its new headquarters in Queens. Part of that effort includes an offer to help build Amazon a helipad. Nice.
Tucked away on page three of the memorandum of understanding signed between the New York State Urban Development Corporation, New York City’s Economic Development Corporation, and Amazon, is this beautiful nugget under a section titled: “Public Parties Commitments.”
Provision B reads (our emphasis):
(b) The Public Parties recognize that the Company needs access to the Development Sites and agree to assist in securing access to a helipad on the Development Sites, as part of the Development Plan and subject to FAA approval. If the Public Parties and the Company mutually agree that an onsite helipad is not feasible, the Public Parties will assist the Company in securing access to a helipad in an alternative location in reasonable proximity to the Development Sites. Any new construction would be at the Company’s sole expense, and, in order to minimize disruption to the surrounding communities, the Company agrees to: (i) limit flights and landings to corporate use by the Company; (ii) cooperate with the Public Parties in selecting the least disruptive feasible location on the Development Sites; (iii) restrict landings to no more than 120 per year; and (iv) require that all flights be exclusively over water or the Development Sites, to the extent consistent with applicable laws, rules and regulations.
Yes, Amazon has to pay for new helipad construction here, but it’s wild this is included in the deal—a deal wouldn’t even happen without a massive taxpayer gift to the company.
It’s jarring enough that state and city officials miraculously found $1.7 billion lying around—including $325 million in cash—to give to the richest man in the world, simply because he decided to open up shop in Long Island City. Nothing in the deal addresses questions about the impact this will have on housing in the city, nor the issues it presents for the struggling subway system.
But at least Jeff Bezos might get help for a new helipad. Stop this shit.