Silicon Alley U

Silicon Alley U

Mayor Bloomberg Announces a Second Tech Campus: NYU’s Applied Sciences Center in Downtown Brooklyn

NYU's initial proposal for a tech campus at 370 Jay St.

UPDATE: Read our liveblog of the Mayor’s press conference about the NYU’s new Brooklyn campus here.

Well that was well-timed! Hours after The New Yorker posted a profile of Stanford that tore at old wounds about the innovation engine’s decision to drop out of building an engineering campus in NYC–blame sour grapes or Seth Pinsky, depending on who you ask–the city is finally ready to make an announcement about a secondary initiative.

According to Mayor Bloomberg’s schedule, it looks like the second-place winner is a bid from NYU and the Polytechnic Institute of New York University (NYU-Poly). In its initial proposal, NYU wanted to transform the derelict former MTA headquarters at 370 Jay Street into a Center for Urban Science and Progress. At 1pm this afternoon, the Mayor will be joining NYU President John Sexton to announce a partnership to create a new “applied sciences center in Downtown Brooklyn.”  Read More

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New Yorker Reveals More Details About NYC’s Botched Tech Campus Deal With Stanford

Stanford's proposal for Roosevelt Island

In this week’s issue of The New Yorker, the illustrious Ken Auletta, who recently profiled Sheryl Sandberg’s attempts to “upend Silicon Valley’s male-dominated culture,” looks at the Bay Area from a different perspective. This time, he analyzes how Stanford became “the farm system for Silicon Valley,” and whether the “gold-rush mentality” among both Stanford’s students and faculty is good for the university.

Tucked inside the story are also a number of details about why Stanford, which was widely considered a frontrunner to open a its first-ever second campus on Roosevelt Island, abruptly dropped its bid at the last minute. Read More

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Cornell Announces Mentorship Program for Grad Students at NYCTech Campus

Artist's rendering. (Image: Cornell University)

Cornell is revolutionizing education in more ways than one at the new Roosevelt Island tech campus. Grad students will pioneer a new method of “learning by doing” as they’re paired with what Cornell is calling “industry mentors.”

In an effort to make the transition from classroom to workforce as seamless as possible, Cornell’s yet-to-be-built NYCTech will match graduate students with Silicon Alley entrepreneurs. While no formal curriculum has been created, the mentor program is designed to help students integrate into the tech and business communities and build relationships before graduation.

Prof. Lance Collins, dean of Cornell’s College of Engineering told The Cornell Daily Sun how vital experience outside of the classroom is. “We feel that connectivity to the business community is really an important part of this whole commercialization focus in New York City. There’s a certain ‘learning by doing’ aspect to commercialization,” he said. “It plugs people into others who are really knowledgeable about how to succeed as an entrepreneur.” Read More

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At Tumblr HQ, Mayor Bloomberg Announces Daniel Huttenlocher as the Founding Dean of New Tech Campus

Mr. Huttenlocher

A source tells Betabeat that Mayor Bloomberg has a “big announcement” about the city’s tech campus slated for his 11.30am appearance at Tumblr’s 21st Street offices today.

Does that mean the New York City Economic Development Corporation is finally revealing a second-place winner for the campus competition? Nope! Although a decision was expected in January, city officials say they may have underestimated the time frame based on the ease of its negotiations with Cornell-Technion. (Stanford dropping out of the race probably streamlined the process as well, we imagine.) While the Roosevelt Island campus nabbed the city’s entire $100 million grant, the EDC is optimistic that some kind of financing negotiations can be worked out to support one (or all!) of the remaining proposals: NYU in Downtown Brooklyn, Carnegie Mellon at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, or Columbia in Manhattanville.

In the meantime, we did get the early word on one big personnel decision as far as Cornell and Technion’s $2 billion Roosevelt Island applied sciences extravaganza. Professor Daniel P. Huttenlocher, Cornell University’s Dean of Computing and Information Sciences, has been named Cornell Vice Provost and founding Dean of the new campus. Read More

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Cornell Plans on Partnering with Other International Universities, Besides Technion, For Roosevelt Island Tech Campus


In an interview with the Cornell Daily Sun, Provost Ken Fuchs revealed plans to make the tech campus on Roosevelt Island, a 50-50 partnership between Cornell University and Israel’s Technion, even more of a “global institute.”

Over the next six months, he said, Cornell plans to start a search to find “at least one university from Europe and as many as two from Asia” to boost the applied sciences program’s prestige abroad. Read More

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Cornell Gets a Jump Start on Recruiting Tech Talent to NYC


Cornell isn’t wasting any time laying the ground work for its new avuncular role in the New York tech ecosystem. Tomorrow afternoon, the university is hosting a startup career panel in Ithaca called the “NYC Tech Talent Draft,” featuring founders, CEOs, and CTOs from Made In NYC() startups like ZocDoc, TechStars’ ChatID, Yipit, Birchbox, Pivotal Labs, Squarespace, and more. Read More

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NYU’s Brooklyn Tech Campus Is a Top Contender, But MTA’s Jay St. Asking Price Has Grown [UPDATED]

NYU's proposed campus at 370 Jay St.

For months, Mayor Bloomberg has dangled the possibility of picking two winners for the city’s tech campus competition. He even left the possibility open while announcing that the New York City Economic Development Corporation would give the full $100 million grant to Cornell-Technion to build an applied sciences campus on Roosevelt Island. Now Crain’s is reporting that between the remaining contestants, NYU’s Downtown Brooklyn proposal may have “taken center stage” over Carnegie Mellon’s Navy Yard campus and Columbia’s Manhattanville proposal.

Hey, if the Fulton St. Mall can have its own Shake Shack, why shouldn’t the M.T.A’s derelict former headquarters on nearby 370 Jay St. be transformed into a Center for Urban Science and Progress?

Although Crain’s says NYU, the M.T.A., and E.D.C. all want to make a deal to help revitalize Downtown Brooklyn, “but money is the sticking point.” Read More

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Stanford Was ‘Inherently Conflicted From Day One’ on NYC Tech Campus


Wired has another post-mortem on the city’s decision to award the New York applied sciences campus grant to Cornell and Technion over other contenders including Stanford. NextJump founder Charles Kim was on the board that reviewed proposals. “Stanford was inherently conflicted from day one,” Mr. Kim told Wired. “If you want to be number one, Silicon Valley has to be number two.” Read More

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PC-U: Computer Science Increasingly Popular at NYC Schools

data via the Wall Street Journal

There has been a lot of drama around the new engineering campus that Cornell and Technion will be be building on Roosevelt Island. But in the meantime New York’s exisiting universities have been seeing strong growth in the number of students interested in studying computer science.

Columbia, NYU, Queens College and the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken all reported increases in enrolment for CS classes between 30-50 percent, and a increase in computer sciences majors of 10 and 12 percent at NYU and Columbia. The best part is that students, at least the one quoted in this article, are already beginning to gravitate to New York as a place to study because they see it as a springboard to a startup hub.

“When I was thinking about schools, I wanted to go somewhere that had a start-up ecosystem—in and around cities—but I wanted a place that wasn’t unilaterally focused on technology as an engineering problem,” Arvind Srinivasan, a Columbia sophomore from Fremont, California studying computer science. “New York is really the up-and-coming place because people who don’t have traditional technology backgrounds are starting companies in completely different sectors and utilizing technology.” Read More

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Interior Fly Through of Cornell-Technion Campus Makes It Look Like Magic, Basically [VIDEO]


In case the aerial fly over video of what Cornell and the Technion’s gleaming campus on Roosevelt Island will look like from the outside wasn’t enough real estate porn for you, the architecture firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) has released an interior fly over spot today as well.

The description of the animation, which was done by the digital production house AJSNY, is as epic as the images: “In 2012, in the year of the Technion’s cornestone centenary, a third millennium cornerstone is to be laid.”

But before the futuristic beauty inspires you to cryogenically freeze yourself until 2037 (the estimated date of completion for the full 2 million sq. ft. build-out), here’s a dash of realism from Mike Caprio at Startup-o-Rama, “I hearby cynically predict it will be very late, very over budget, & less than 1/2 as green as it appears in the video.” He was talking about the exterior shots, but the point still stands. As the commenters over at Hacker News pointed out about our campus confidential feature, just because you promise more, doesn’t mean it can be delivered, especially not in New York City’s thorny development regulations. Read More