Friday, November 16, 2018

2020 Feelin' Groovy

No one (except me) calls the Ed Koch Bridge the Ed Koch Bridge. No one calls it by its original name, the Queensborough Bridge.  Everyone calls it what it sort of really is, the 59th Street Bridge, which is somewhat inaccurate because it fills and empties between 59th and 60th on the Manhattan side.

If -- heaven forbid -- they start charging tolls, one can at least hope you can get through the gate with one click on your mobile site.

The new Amazon mini headquarters will be located near the Queens exits in Long Island City which has an industrial area of more than a century’s standing but which is a shadow of its former self.  And because it is Queens the Amazon zone is not getting a universally royal welcome, if you don’t count the billions in tax breaks from the city and state and two strange conditions from Amazon’s Bezos:
1.  You must build me a helipad. And
2.  Mayor Bill and Governor Andy have to remain on speaking terms, which they aren’t always despite similar ideas and membership in the same political party.

Oh, and there was the part about being no more than 45 minute drive from a major airport.  Driving to any of the three major airports in greater New York is 45 minutes away from Long Island City only at 3 o’clock in the morning when there’s no snow and no construction…  conditions that rarely co-exist.

Amazon’s beauty contest winners were Long Island City and Arlington Virginia’s Crystal City which has a history of being cracked and ugly.  We’ll ignore that Crystal City one because who cares?  And the mini one scheduled for Nashville TN because country music goes there to die, as evidenced by Keith Urban winning the CMA Award as Entertainer of the year.

Bezos is no dummy.  Business conditions in his home base, Seattle, are getting iffy and overtaxing is a competitive sport. So if he needs to move the whole shebang, he’s got the places staked out.

About that beauty contest:  Bezos and Co. had about 200 other cities kissing his ring, his feet and his… um… well, you know.  Places that don’t ordinarily look stupid -- Boston, Chicago and Philadelphia for examples -- look pretty stupid. And cities that were always stupid now will look not only stupid but stupid and embarrassed.

So at some point, Amazon will build it’s “second headquarters” in sight of the Ed Koch Bridge, immortalized by Paul Simon for his inside joke of a song, "Feelin' Groovy" which referred to the grooved surface of the bridge’s original level.

Welcome to Queens, Amazon.  Your subway awaits. Any day now.

--While on the topic of corporate headquarters, there’s Gillette and its decision to remain in Boston despite some pushing from owner Proctor and Gamble’s dreams of Cincinnati.  But Gillette has competition from all sides today and a 12% price cut for blades isn’t enough.  And neither is millennial-izing its once Macho Man ads.

--King C. Gillette was the first major company hotshot to implement one of the most clever customer traps.  For 100 years, they’ve been selling razors for near-nothing.  Then, you’re locked into using their overpriced blades.

I’m Wes Richards.  My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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© WJR 2018

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