Long Island City restaurant owner traveled to Seattle in an attempt to revive Amazon deal

February 28, 2019

John Brown Smokehouse on 44th Drive in LIC via Flickr

The owner of a Long Island City barbecue restaurant flew to Seattle on Monday in an attempt to revive the city’s deal with Amazon. Josh Bowen, who owns neighborhood joint John Brown Smokehouse, met with executives from the company for two hours, according to Qns.com. Earlier this month, Amazon announced it would no longer open a headquarters at the proposed waterfront location in Queens after facing resistance from local politicians and activist groups. During the meeting, the businessman asked if they would reconsider their decision to pull out of the project. Their response? “Never say never,” the executives told him, according to Bowen.

“I gave it my best shot,” Bowen told Qns. “I gave them the whole song and dance and I could tell, this guy really wanted to be in Long Island City but they were seriously grossed out by the actions of our elected officials.”

“If Mike and Jimmy had just talked to these guys it would have been a whole different story,” Bowen continued, referring to State Sen. Michael Gianaris and Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, both vocal opponents of the Amazon deal.

Although a majority of New York voters supported Amazon’s move to Queens, the tech giant abandoned its plan after facing tough questions from the City Council about the $3 billion incentives package offered and its well-documented anti-union policies.

“While polls show that 70 percent of New Yorkers support our plans and investment, a number of state and local politicians have made it clear that they oppose our presence and will not work with us to build the type of relationships that are required to go forward with the project we and many others envisioned in Long Island City,” Amazon’s statement on their decision to pull out reads.

Last November, Amazon selected LIC for a massive campus in an area known as Anable Basin. The site would be bordered by Vernon Boulevard, 44th Road, 46th Avenue, and the East River, located near Bowen’s restaurant.

[Via Qns]


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