- Amazon has chosenLong Island City, Queens, as one of the locations of its second headquarters, known as HQ2.
- As the community braces for an influx of 25,000 employees, neighbouring areas must also prepare for rising housing prices and increased congestion on subways and streets.
- While many Amazon residents could choose to settle in Queens, others may seek an address in Brooklyn or Manhattan.
New York City is abuzz with the news that Amazon will house half of its second headquarters in Long Island City – a Queens neighbourhood that’s teeming with growth. In recent years, the area has seen an influx of young professionals and new development, including high-rise condos and rental towers.
Soon, Long Island City could become home to 25,000 Amazon employees, who would bring more economic development – and a new set of challenges.
Since the news of Amazon’s arrival was first reported by the New York Times, Long Island City residents have shared their concerns about overcrowded schools, congested subways, and failing infrastructure. These effects could spill over into adjacent neighbourhoods, including those on the other side of the East River.
While many Amazon employees may look for real estate in Long Island City, others could be drawn to cheaper neighbourhoods like Elmhurst, Queens, or Jackson Heights, Queens. Many more may cling to the cultural vibrancy of Brooklyn and Manhattan, which are just a subway trip away.
Here are the neighbourhoods that could start swelling with HQ2 employees.
Hudson Yards, Manhattan
As one of the largest real-estate developments in US history, Hudson Yards could soon become a hub for high-earning tech workers – including those just a mile away at the Google office in Chelsea.
The development’s direct access to the 7 line could also make it a popular spot among Amazon workers. If the company does house half of HQ2 in Long Island City, it would take employees less than 30 minutes to commute from Hudson Yards.
Once an immigrant neighbourhood, Astoria, Queens, has become a catch-all community for those unable to afford Manhattan.
Although it’s adjacent to Long Island City, the neighbourhood has the advantage of slightly lower real-estate prices. The median rent in Astoria is around $US2,200, compared to around $US2,450 in Long Island City, and $US3,400 in Manhattan. These prices could be attractive to young Amazon employees looking to save money and commute within their borough.
Employees with families could soon gravitate toward Sunnyside, Queens, a quaint, middle-class neighbourhood with easy access to Long Island City.
In May, New York City announced its plan to start developing on the Sunnyside land, bringing roughly 11,000 and 15,000 new homes to the area, along with 3,300 to 4,500 affordable units. The reported $US10 billion investment – which includes building new schools and retail stores – could arrive just in time for Amazon employees.
Williamsburg, Brooklyn, may be oversaturated, but it’s also just a few stops away from Long Island City (20 minutes by subway and 25-35 minutes by bus).
With its trendy restaurants, hip art galleries, and eclectic music scene, the neighbourhood is bound to attract young Amazon employees.
Small families will also appreciate the quietness – though prices aren’t much better than in Manhattan.
Roosevelt Island, Manhattan
As the home of the new Cornell Tech Campus, Roosevelt Island (technically part of Manhattan, though unattached geographically) is slowly filling up with tech workers and high-rise buildings, which have replaced the old prisons and hospitals that once scattered the neighbourhood.
While it may feel isolated from the New York boroughs, the island offers a quaint alternative to Manhattan and rents slightly below the citywide average. It’s also directly linked to Long Island City via the F train and a brand-new ferry service.
Employees could be attracted to the island’s co-ops and community gardens, but real estate is limited, and prices are beginning to rise.
Murray Hill, Manhattan
Assuming no delays on the 7 line, residents of Murray Hill, Manhattan, have about an 18-minute commute to Long Island City.
For Amazon employees who crave a Manhattan address, the neighbourhood could soon become the most popular.