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OP-ED: If Amazon Won't Gentrify Queens, I Will


Photo by John Gillespie / CC BY-SA 2.0

Amazon recently announced that they would no longer be building a new headquarters in Long Island City, a neighborhood in Queens just across the East River from Midtown in Manhattan. For fans of gentrification, this is terrible news.

If Amazon doesn't push its way into Queens and drive up property values, bringing in thousands of high-paid workers and forcing poorer residents to move further east or simply out of the borough of Queens, who will?

I will.

I'm not going to squander my Ivy League education and social position to live in a clean, quiet neighborhood full of expensive sit-down restaurants and people with little dogs. That's for 30-plus year olds. No, I must fulfill my destiny. It is my duty to move to a neighborhood with fast-casual dining options, some warehouses for art or music performances, and streets that are dirty enough to be interesting but not dirty enough that I mess up my Common Projects.

I shirked my responsibilities when I went to the College instead of Wharton and didn't even study Econ. I won't let my peers down again. I will go to Queens and do what Amazon couldn't. 

Some would say that parts of Queens have already been gentrified. Astoria and Long Island City are already cool, certainly. But the fight isn't over, I say. There are too many pockets of Queens where you can't see a single Patagonia garment. The battle isn't done until every bodega in Queens has a yoga studio above it, and some of them have dog yoga studios (those are studios where the dogs do yoga with you).

I'll offer to pay twice the rent that my landlord wants, and I'll call the police every time I hear noise. I will write letters to my senators asking them to bring a Wholefoods to my neighborhood. I'll tell all my friends about how charmingly ethnic the area is.

Don't call me a hero. I'm just doing what's right.