The Real Deal New York

Push for technology sector is NYC’s second “Erie Canal moment”

January 05, 2012 03:00PM

New York City’s emphasis on the technology sector is an “Erie Canal moment,” according to Seth Pinsky, head of New York’s Economic Development Corporation, the Economist magazine wrote. Just 15 years after the Erie Canal opened, New York City was transformed, outpacing Baltimore, Boston and New Orleans in terms of trade. Creating an “eco-system” for technology start-ups — a network of companies and investors — will have the same effect, the magazine argued.

The growing technology world in New York City is also in so small part due to help from City Hall. Since 2002, the city has set up more than 40 projects to help the bio-tech sector and pledged $22 million in funds. It also contributed $100 million in real estate and construction loans to the tech campus on Roosevelt Island, which it was recently announced Cornell University will helm, in a partnership with Technion-Israel Institute of Technology.

Bloomberg’s dedication of funds for tech amounts to a challenge: “Look out, Silicon Valley,” the Economist said. Over the next 30 years the new campus will generate more than $7.5 billion in economic activity, helping to grow 600 companies and 30,000 jobs, according to figures from the city. [Economist]

  • Mark Markarian

    The plan to open an applied sciences university campus in New York City maybe a great idea and it may payoff in tremendous ways in the years to come, but, it will never be an “Erie Canal moment”.

    It was not the building of the Erie Canal that made New York State the Empire State or New York City, America’s premier port.

    It was the use of the Erie Canal that catapulted our state and city to these tremendous heights.

    And the reason the Erie Canal was used and used and used for 134 years, was because it was a monopoly on the cheap transportation of bulk goods between the Mid-West and the rest of the world.

    And unlike the majority of American canals which had short lives and closed under the weight of competition from railroads, the Erie Canal continued to power New York’s economy until the Saint Lawrence Seaway opened in 1959.

    The applied sciences university campus will not be a monopoly and will have to compete with similar campus’s across the world and while it may provide New York with a great return on investment, it is not an “Erie Canal moment”, that moment was lost when New York and every other state had the opportunity to build our own ‘Large Hadron Collider’ and didn’t.