AOC Takes Victory Lap on Amazon + More State Senate Republicans to Retire

A note to our readers: The Thorn has switched from Mailchimp to Substack so we can keep delivering you local New York politics news from a socialist perspective with fewer administrative costs. Starting in January 2022 our new issues can be at along with how to subscribe. This website will serve as an archive of our past issues.

Local News

  • Amazon announced plans to lease office space for 1,500 employees in Hudson Yards, prompting AOC and State Senator Michael Gianaris (District 12, Astoria) to take a victory lap, citing that Amazon had committed to more than twice as many jobs than their year-one projections for their proposed headquarters in Long Island City, even without the $3 billion in incentives on offer from the Governor and Mayor. Earlier in the week, the Times revisited the Amazon HQ fight while examining a year of political defeats for the real estate industry.
  • Multiple NYPD officers who patrolled the subway from 2011-2015 have testified that they were explicitly told by superiors to target black and Latino New Yorkers, while easing enforcement of white and Asian people.
  • The Department of Transportation announced a pilot program to introduce cargo ebikes for local deliveries in place of trucks and vans. Under the program, 100 pedal-assisted cargo e-bikes operated by Amazon, UPS, and DHL will be permitted to use commercial loading zones, previously reserved for vehicles. While response from safe streets advocates has been largely positive, some note that while the City rubber stamped an ebike program for corporations, food delivery workers that rely on e-bikes remain criminalized by the NYPD, as Governor Cuomo has yet to sign a bill that would legalize ebike use.
  • The inpatient detox units at all 11 city-run hospitals are about to close, likely forcing individuals suffering from drug or alcohol withdrawal into already overcrowded ERs. Health + Hospitals, the public benefit corporation that runs the City’s public hospitals, is facing a significant budget shortfall, in part because public hospitals treat a disproportionately high amount of uninsured patients.
  • Legislators have introduced an updated bill to divest State pension funds from from fossil fuels; the new version of the legislation is intended to reduce financial risks and make sure the measure is constitutional.
  • Newark, New Jersey filed a lawsuit against New York City for transporting members of its homeless population there and setting them up in substandard housing. The practice is part of the City’s Special One-Time Assistance Program, which pays for a year’s worth of rent as well as relocation services within the state, to other states or to Puerto Rico.
  • The union representing CUNY faculty and staff has voted in favor of a new contract that would raise pay for all members, particularly adjuncts who will see an average pay increase of 45%.
  • The US Supreme Court will hear a case about gun regulations in New York City. Interestingly, the law in question, a prohibition on carrying a licensed handgun outside the city limits, is no longer in effect.
  • Roughly 300 students walked out of Beacon High School to protest its high-stakes admissions process, which they said has exacerbated segregation in the nation’s largest school system.
  • Mayor De Blasio’s appointee to head the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT) is an NYPD official with a history of working on surveillance technology programs.
  • Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie has said that the only way to address the States $6.1 billion budget deficit is to raise taxes.


  • After experiencing their first session in a generation firmly in the minority, at least five of the State Senate’s 23 Republicans have announced their retirement, leaving New York Democrats an opportunity to further extend their majority in the chamber in 2020.
  • Queens DSA organizer Zohran Mamdani has launched a primary challenge against Assembly Member Aravella Simotas (District 36, Astoria), who notably refused to endorse Tiffany Cabán in a district that supported Cabán with 74% of the vote in June’s primary.
  • Council Member Brad Lander (District 39, Park Slope) has announced that he will remain neutral in the race for his seat in 2021. Four candidates have already declared themselves for the seat, which Lander is term-limited out of in 2021.

Contribute to The Thorn

We welcome submissions of in-depth articles, comics and illustrations from anyone in DSA. Whether you want to write for us or just know of stories we should be covering, please get in touch.

Subscribe to The Thorn

The Thorn is a weekly update on what's happening in local New York politics from a socialist perspective. Please sign up with us to receive an email every Monday morning.