Obviously, being in New York City wasn’t as important to Jeff Bezos as some thought if all it took to scare him away was a couple of local elected officials beating a drum.
As technology shrinks the world, it’s no longer imperative that companies set up shop in major urban centers. In a way, it’s analogous to the chatter that used to surround free agents in the NBA.
The old way of thinking was that if you wanted to be a big star, you had to play in either New York or Los Angeles. But with nearly every game televised somewhere and 24-hour sports networks covering the sport nonstop, you can be a big star playing in Oklahoma City or Portland if you have the talent and charisma.
Likewise, Jeff Bezos and Amazon don’t need a second headquarters, or “HQ2” as we all came to know it, in New York City to be (even more) successful. The company will do just fine in Nashville or Virginia or wherever else they decided to set up shop.
In fact, they will probably do better in a place where real estate, taxes, cost of living and just about everything else is cheaper. A lot cheaper.
So why did Amazon even choose New York City in the first place? Because despite all of the hurdles and difficulties, New York City still has panache.
Tourists continue to flock to the city. It seems like every year, a new report shows that more visitors came to the city than the year before.
And imagine all of those tourists at the top of the Freedom Tower or the Empire State Building looking across the East River at a big glowing Amazon sign. Imagine all of those tourists landing at LaGuardia Airport and looking out the airplane window and down at a huge Amazon logo on top of a warehouse on the waterfront.
Imagine a low-flying helicopter emblazoned with the Amazon logo buzzing past the Statue of Liberty and a young child from Kentucky asking their parent, “Who is that?” “Honey, that is just one of the richest men in the world commuting to work.”
Despite what some might have you believe, Amazon didn’t need our “talented workforce” or exorbitant rents or failing mass transit system or whatever else they say attracted the tech giant to New York City; Bezos and his company wanted its eyeballs.
And he wanted all of them looking at a giant Amazon sign on the Long Island City waterfront. And for that reason, we’re not so sure that you won’t still see some iteration of Amazon in New York City.