“Facebook’s decision to come to New York and tap into our tremendous wealth of tech talent,” said Mayor Bloomberg at a press conference Friday, announcing the company’s expansion of its New York office, “I think, is conclusive proof that we’re well on our way to achieving our goal, and that is to become the world’s number-one hub for information technology and social media.”
Also present, Senator Chuck Schumer likewise praised Facebook’s Big Apple expansion as evidence that New York is winning a battle for tech supremacy against Silicon Valley.
Near the end of the presser, a reporter tried to see whether Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg concurred with the mayor’s assessment. Senator Schumer cut her off before she had a chance to answer. “Bloomberg and I think so,” he said.
Ms. Sandberg and the rest of the tech establishment may or may not agree with Mayor Bloomberg and Senator Schumer’s rather optimistic take on New York’s tech scene’s surpassing Silicon Valley, but there’s no question the industry has made great strides in this city and there has been a big political push toward making that happen.
Seth Pinsky, president of the New York Economic Development Corporation, told The Observer that the growth of the city’s tech community is directly attributable to the Bloomberg administration’s efforts to attract business. “In just the last five years, the number of people in the technology sector has grown by nearly 30 percent,” Mr. Pinsky said. “For the vast majority of cases, the reason companies have grown is because this mayor and this city have put into place the conditions that make it in the interest of these businesses to expand here.”
The mayor’s encouragement of tech companies coming to New York has even included a personal touch. In the past few months, he has made personal appearances, including visits to New York Tech Meetup to announce his 10-man advisory council on tech, to Demo Day for the TechStars New York accelerator program, and to the opening of the New York offices of Yelp and Twitter. In addition, he taped a greeting for the fund-raiser Raise Cache, to benefit hackNY, a program to encourage the city’s computer science students toward start-ups and away from Wall Street. On April 16, he appeared at the East Village headquarters of the social media check-in site Foursquare, where he issued an official proclamation announcing “Foursquare Day” in New York City.
“We are proud to join Foursquare’s founders and fans in celebrating the first global social media holiday. Today, April 16th—4/16, the fourth sixteenth of the year—is Foursquare Day in New York City and around the world,” the mayor’s proclamation read.