Tech and the City

Manhattan President Trumpets Twitter, Tumblr; Announces Uptown Incubator

The borough president becomes the latest politician to tout New York's tech industry.
scott stringer Manhattan President Trumpets Twitter, Tumblr; Announces Uptown Incubator

Mr. Stringer. (wikimedia.org)

Brooklyn borough president Marty Markowitz wants an Apple factory in Brownsville; Mayor Mike Bloomberg keeps saying New York’s Silicon Alley will rival Silicon Valley. Now Manhattan borough president Scott Stringer is the latest New York pol to pay homage to the city’s budding tech sector—although he’ll be careful to plug Wall Street first.

“The financial industry will always be a key driver of New York’s economy,” begins the text for tonight’s State of the Borough address, an early copy of which was provided to press. “We can never take that for granted—not when it generates 20 percent of all wages in the city. But we need to diversify our economy by pursuing industries that we know will power the marketplace for years to come. That begins with high-tech.”

We could have given Mr. Stringer and his speech writing team a few tips on New York tech. He goes on to plug Twitter, Google, Foursquare and Facebook who have all “opened major offices here.” (Tip! Dear Mr. Stringer, Foursquare is an East Village native, so to say they “opened” an office is a bit odd.) “And I marveled at what Tumblr’s CEO David Karp told me last year—they added a new job every week in 2011,” he says.

New York tech is more than the sum of its social media parts. Mr. Stringer gives a shoutout to 3D printing and Brooklyn’s Makerbot, correctly identifying a very cool new industry that does seem to be growing rapidly here. But he overlooks Shapeways, another 3D printing startup that is actually based in his borough.

The Manhattan borough president’s office is sponsoring a new incubator in upper Manhattan, he says, called the Center for Engineering Entrepreneurship, citing a success story from CUNY called In Your Class that has “already signed some contracts” and is “ready to expand beyond the Queens apartment that has been its only home.” And move to Manhattan, perhaps?

“The problem is: all the offers of money and space are coming from Silicon Valley,” Mr. Stringer says, and the investors want In Your Class to go West. “We can’t allow other cities to steal our best and brightest after we’ve educated them. We have to hold onto our talent. This is an exodus we must stop! And this new center will help us to that!” Another day, another incubator.

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