Back in February, Betabeat introduced you to The Yard, a freshly-opened coworking space in Williamsburg that we minted the “General Assembly of Brooklyn.” Turns out we’re psychic, because today The Yard announced that–just like its Manhattan competitor, GA–it will be offering continuing education courses in subjects like programming and biz dev, beginning this fall. All at “Brooklyn prices,” no less!
“We really want to cultivate a culture here that is cutting edge and innovative and collaborative,” Andy Smith, The Yard’s PR and curriculum coordinator, told Betabeat by phone. “It seems like now that we’re at a point where we are full, we can sort of branch out and extend our efforts to other aspects to cultivate that culture. Educational initiatives seemed like the next natural step.”
Internet vigilantes, you’ve done it again! After a video of person after person tripping at the 36th St. subway station in Sunset Park, Brooklyn went viral yesterday, Betabeat–and tons of other reporters, apparently–called the MTA to ask if they had any intention of fixing the offending step. The MTA told us, “We will send someone out to take a look and take corrective measures,” and apparently they’re making good on their word.
According to NBC News, “Crews went to the station Wednesday to block off the staircase in preparation for repairs.”
We did it, Internet! Give yourselves a pat on the back–if you can bear to take your hands off the keyboard, that is.
The only downside is that NBC News reports that the MTA is unsure how long the fix will take, which means it probably won’t be done for years. Sorry, Sunset Park.
A Brooklyn filmmaker named Dean Peterson noticed something curious about his subway station at 36th St. in Sunset Park. One of the steps near the top of the staircase appeared to be just slightly taller than the other stairs, but the difference is so miniscule that it’s not noticeably visible. In fact, Mr. Peterson only noticed it when he realized that everyone trips on the step. And of course, being a cinephile, he decided to film it.
The Vimeo video, entitled “New York City Subway Stairs,” hit the front page of Reddit this afternoon, and as of this writing had accrued over 2,000 upvotes.
Founders & Dragons
Though he reportedly hasn’t played Dungeons and Dragons since high school, Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian tweeted today that he will be interviewed for a documentary about the fan favorite role-playing game. Mr. Ohanian, who lives in Brooklyn Heights, will have his apartment temporarily turned into a set for Dungeons & Dragons: The Documentary. As he put it, “Wee!”
Airbnb and Me
If you’re looking to make some extra cash, Airbnb can be an easy alternative to finding another weird Craigslist roommate or moonlighting as a rich dude’s arm candy. But if you’re going to go the room rental route, you probably want to make sure that doing so doesn’t violate your lease–or else you might just find yourself kicked to the curb (or at least served with a restraining order).
Consider the case of Chris Dannen, a Brooklyn resident who claims to have made upwards of $20,000 in nine months from renting out his two spare bedrooms on Airbnb. According to a missive he penned for Fast Company:
Movin On Up
One Metrotech’s name is now a little more apropos: 3-D printer-maker MakerBot is relocating from Boerum Hill to take over the building’s entire 21st floor, confirms the Wall Street Journal. ”We’re going to put the tech in Metrotech, literally,” said Bre Pettis. (Get it?)
As the article points out, downtown Brooklyn is currently being heralded as one point of the borough’s “tech triangle” (the others being Dumbo and the Brooklyn Navy Yard). But that name involves just a tiiiny bit of wishful thinking at the moment. MakerBot, for example, is One Metrotech’s first tech tenant, and it’ll take a while for NYU’s 370 Jay Street tech campus to get up and running. And officials are pretty upfront about the fact that the area lacks a certain something at the moment:
With Dumbo’s star rising, it’s time for the inevitable inter-borough smack-talking to begin. And, as often happens when boosters for Manhattan and Brooklyn go toe-to-toe, things are starting to look a little heated.
Crain’s is just the latest to notice all the fuss across the river. Etsy has long been a neighborhood fixture; digital consulting firm Takeout just relocated; Loosecubes and Docracy are homegrown efforts. Why are startups flocking to a neighborhood with a mere 3 percent commercial vacancy rate? Surely there are roomier (and therefore cheaper) environs. Turns out, Manhattan lacks a certain spark. (Manhattan, are you just going to let them talk about you like that?)
A week after we wondered whether Dumbo has hit maximum capacity–cobblestone streets, now in limited supply!–venture capitalists have arrived to big ups the borough.
Will Porteous, general partner at Manhattan-based RRE Ventures, tells peHUB that Brooklyn may just be the best place to launch, pointing out that eight RRE portfolio companies call Brooklyn home. Err, make that “were.” Drop.io and Hot Potato were acquired (or acqui-hired, depending on who you ask) by Facebook in 2010, but that still leaves HowAboutWe, MakerBot, Pontiflex, and more for serious street cred.
Brooklyn Bridge Ventures founder Charlie O’Donnell, formerly of First Round Capital, does Mr. Porteous one better, wondering if Facebook will even be able to make devs happy from its stodgy Midtown perch. Estimating that “50 percent of people who work at venture-backed startups live in Brooklyn,” Mr. O’Donnell thinks the exodus has already begun.
On his blog this morning, New York City tech stalwart Charlie O’Donnell announced the creation of a new seed investment fund called Brooklyn Bridge Ventures. Mr. O’Donnell, who used to bike the 9.2 miles from his home in Bay Ridge to his last job—principal at First Round Capital in Union Square—says his is the first venture capital fund based in Brooklyn and that the borough “has the potential to be the very best place in the world to start a technology business.”
Business Insider‘s sources say Mr. O’Donnell’s fund will be $10 million. Betabeat has heard somewhere in the range of $10 million to $20 million and that Quotidian Ventures might be his first big LP, although Mr. O’Donnell would not return earlier calls to confirm. We have reached out to Quotidian and will update the post when we hear back.
Silicon Alley U
As we expected, with RFPs due tomorrow, this week has turned into something of a PR blitzkrieg to win a chance to build on an applied sciences mecca on city-owned land. After all, once the proposals are in, the competing schools are forbidden to speak publicly about their proposals. Until when? we asked Cornell’s PR wrangler Dan Levitan. “Forever!” he said ominously.
Hence yesterday afternoon brought some specs from “StanfordNYC” and NYU’s plan transform the MTA’s former headquarters at 370 Jay St. into a Center for Urban Science and Progress that will “make Brooklyn the urban center of the universe,” as NYU senior vice provost for research Paul Horn told the Daily News.