Cuomo & De Blasio Give Amazon Billions to Settle in Long Island City

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

  • Governor Cuomo and Mayor De Blasio are giving away $2.8 billion in tax incentives and grants to Amazon to build a second headquarters in Long Island City, Queens. The City, State, and Amazon – a corporation valued at $1 trillion – are pledging $15 million in local workforce development, less than one percent of the subsidy being given. Among the most immediate displacements of Amazon’s new footprint will be at least 1,500 units of previously planned affordable housing and the offices of 1,000 public school employees.
  • A coalition of community groups, unions and some elected officials quickly assembled a protest in Long Island City condemning the deal. The City Council’s Progressive Caucus issued a statement focusing on the deal circumventing the City’s usual land review process. Other advocates demand that Amazon fund transit improvements needed to offset the increased traffic it will bring to the already stressed subway network.
  • Public transit advocates, as well as some State and City lawmakers, are calling on the MTA to cancel the upcoming fare increases, in light of the subway’s declining. The MTA also announced a new “Fair Fares” program, which would offer reduced price MetroCards, but only to people buying unlimited tickets.
  • A federal judge threw out the consent decree the City had reached with federal prosecutors over the mishandling of NYCHA capital repairs, ruling that it was too vague and did not have enough teeth to actually trigger reform. In his decision, the judge criticized HUD for abandoning its role in overseeing public housing.
  • An eighth NYC taxi driver has committed suicide, reportedly as a result of financial struggles brought on by the unregulated incursion of Uber and Lyft on the City’s taxi industry.
  • Given new Democratic control in Albany, New York City public defenders are pushing a slate of criminal justice reforms, including endings solitary confinement of more than 15 days, protecting undocumented immigrant from deportation for misdemeanors, and requiring the release of NYPD disciplinary records.
  • Although Governor Cuomo has not announced his support for such a plan, sponsors of the New York Health Act are feeling optimistic about the prospects for single-payer healthcare in New York State, and there is a good chance that the legislation will at least reach the Governor’s desk in 2019.


  • State Senator John Flanagan (District 2 - Long Island), will remain the head of the Republican conference in the State Senate, even after the Republicans lost their majority in the chamber. Flanagan had faced a challenge from Cathy Young (District 57 - Western New York).
  • The Board of Elections has still not certified Democrat Andrew Gounardes’ apparent win over Republican State Senator Marty Golden (District 22 - Bay Ridge) due to an inability to count absentee ballots on time.
  • While the election for a new Public Advocate has still not been officially scheduled, seven candidates for the position debated at the New York Law School. All candidates insisted the position needs a bigger budget and more power. Meanwhile, a group of City Council Members are preparing to introduce legislation that would eliminate the position altogether.
  • In Queens, two candidates have already announced for the 2019 DA’s race: City Council Member Rory Lancman (District 24 - Kew Gardens Hills) and retired Judge Gregory Lasak. Criminal justice reform advocates are targeting the race as an opportunity to reverse the trends in the office under current District Attorney Richard Brown.

Illustration by James Thacher

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.