For a man whose campaign billed itself as defiantly anti-Bloomberg, Mayor Bill de Blasio isn't afraid to build upon his predecessor's achievements, today appearing in DUMBO to tout the city's latest step toward establishing NYC's reputation as a tech hub.
The freshly launched Digital.NYC is the product of a public-private partnership that, according to a beaming de Blasio, will serve as a central hub for everyone from start-up innovators and grad students to angel investors and venture capitalists, helping disparate interests connect to the people and services they need. "I'm tempted to play the song 'Matchmaker' from Fiddler on the Roof," de Blasio quipped.
Many of his remarks echoed those that Bloomberg made just a few short blocks away last year during the debut of the Made in NY Media Center, which he lauded then as a crucial step to securing New York's place as "the global media capital of the digital age."
De Blasio did, in fact, give credit to the former administration for its efforts to foster the tech industry, adding that "we want to build on those efforts because we have a lot more to do."
"This industry can grow a lot more in this city, it can be even more intrinsic to the future of the city," he said.
He was also clear in his desire to ensure the city's burgeoning tech force is not a rarefied community, that it will encompass all five boroughs and be made accessible to everyone. "This is not a site that uses mystical and complex language," he said. "There is straightforward phrases like "Get funding," or my personal favorite, "Find A Job."
Indeed, the site is visually straightforward and devoid of clutter, with tabs for startups, events, jobs, courses and workspaces, in addition to being emblazoned with interactive maps and various filtering options. Kyle Kimball, President of the NYC Economic Development Corporation, assured reporters that the site is not financially driven. "There's no paying to have a job listed higher, and there will be no banner ads," he said.
De Blasio seems confident that New York's compactness as a city and fecundity of innovation across various sectors means it will overtake California's Silicon Valley in short order.
"As New Yorkers we sometimes forget, because we're so used to everything being around us, but that there's no major corporation on Earth that doesn't have a presence here," he said. "It's all so accessible. It was only a matter of time before that all gelled."