New York City Throws Down Gauntlet Against the Valley?




Google is “teaming up” with Ivy League school Cornell. Teaming up may overplay things a bit but Google will provide 22,000 square feet of its New York City headquarters to a new venture that the school is undertaking.

The Wall Street Journal reports

Officials at Google estimated the market value of the space— which will be provided free to CornellNYC Tech, a joint venture between Cornell University and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology—at between $10 million and $12 million. That estimate includes the value of an option the school has to expand to 58,000 square feet during the next 5½ years while work on its permanent campus is completed.

Very generous, wouldn’t you say? Of course that kind of money is small stuff to Google but its effort to boost the presence of New York City vs. the Silicon Valley is an interesting play indeed.

New York City’s mayor, Michael Bloomberg, has taken the event as an opportunity to give a New York style announcement regarding the city and its space in the tech landscape.

In December, Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration selected the joint bid from Cornell and Technion to build the Roosevelt Island campus following an international competition. The city will contribute $100 million toward the campus and 11 acres of public land.

“Today we’re second only to [California's] Silicon Valley as a tech center, and we don’t like to be second to anybody,” Mr. Bloomberg said at the news conference.

Of course, this makes for great copy but should the Silicon Valley be concerned about its position as the top of the tech food chain? That kind of exploration is well above my pay grade but it is an interesting idea to consider. With the Valley’s touch with reality seemingly growing more and more distant maybe it’s time to truly look elsewhere for some other big ideas. New York City has never been short of those and the chutzpah to try to take them from idea to reality.

How do you view the Silicon Valley? Is it the true nerve center of the tech world or do you think there is there something more somewhere else?