Silicon Alley U
Silicon Alley U
Throughout the drawn-out process to build an engineering mecca to rival Silicon Valley on city-owned land, the NYC Economic Development Corporation has maintained that there was no front-runner. The reason for that, EDC president Seth Pinsky has said repeatedly, is because the committee of government officials, city elders, and entrepreneurs have yet to see the proposals.
It didn’t matter that the Mayor seemed to have a sweet spot for Stanford, because it all depends, said Mr. Pinsky, on what the schools submit to the requests for proposals (RFP).
In the New York Times today, however, the paper reports that, “the decision as to who gets to build what, and where, will ultimately rest with one man“: Mayor Bloomberg. At the half-way marker of his third term which has been marred by cutbacks and managerial missteps, the campus is a potential crown jewel for his legacy. It’s not mere conjecture, even deputy mayor Howard Wolfson tells the Times, “This is going to be a mayoral call, because this is something that is incredibly important to him.”
Betabeat talked to a source familiar with the selection process for clarification.
“One of the things that infuriates me personally is we always seem to get left out of the conversation,” said Queens Civic Congress president Patricia Dolan. “Every time the mayor of the City of New York thinks about doing something wonderful, he should be thinking about Queens!”
It was a mild Monday evening in Flushing, a 15-minute walk from the last stop on the 7 line. Ms. Dolan, a “gritty, determined, old Irish biddy,” according to a recent comment on the local blog Queens Crap, was hosting an economic development forum to discuss, in part, Mayor Bloomberg’s plan to build a graduate engineering and applied sciences campus to rival Stanford’s program on the West Coast.
If replicating the talent engine that fuels Silicon Valley sounds ambitious, City Hall’s underlying vision is even more enterprising. New York City’s Economic Development Corporation has offered universities around the world a chance to compete for city-owned land in the hopes of besting the Valley, wresting the title of innovation capital from global competitors and remaking New York’s industrial landscape. So long Goldman Sachs, hello start-ups—if it comes to that, of course.
In a chilly, temperature-controlled auditorium at Time Warner headquarters, insulated from steam gathering outside, the top representatives of the New York City’s efforts to make good on that Road Map to a Digital City gathered to discuss the recently-released plans. How often do Chief Digital Officer Rachel Sterne, NYC EDC President Seth Pinsky, and DoITT Commissioner Carole Post really get together—when not on stage to demonstrate city’s newly-streamlined approach to tech? Actually, all the time, assured Ms. Post.
In a nod to Sterne’s emphasis on social media as the first steps in digitizing New York, Twitter’s Adam Sharp, who was just celebrating his “halfaversary” as manager of government and political partnerships, was also on stage. The conversation naturally dovetailed into other Internet Week memes, like the suddenly-ubiquitous “Made in NYC” label.