|Electronic Hollywood / Jaime Levy Press From 1990 - 2000|
POST FOCUS ON A REVOLUTION
By Katherine Cavanaugh
They call it Silicon Alley—Manhattan’s techie-type corridor which expands from trendy TriBeCa, through SoHo to neighborhoods in corporate Midtown.
Whether you’re talking about online giant Prodigy—which just announced it is quitting staid White plains in Westchester for SoHo—or its rival Delphi (which like the Post is owned by News Corp and soon to be based at 1211 Sixth Ave) one thing’s for certain: New York is the center of the new media universe.
No one has written a song yet to sing the praises of New York City’s expanding Silicon Alley district.
But corporate, creative, academic and government types all have positive things to say about the fact that it may overcome many obstacles to emerge, is creating jobs and is expected to grow for many months to come.
The most visible signs of growth have been announcements from online service companies such as Prodigy and Delphi about relocating their operations to New York City to take advantage of the city’s vast pool of multimedia talent. The Big Apple is home to countless software designers, technical experts, film-makers, multimedia producers, artists and writers.
Many of New York’s multimedia entrepeneurships like Tom Nicholson Associates and Crossover Technologies can be found in the so-called Silicon Alley area stretching from 23rd St to SoHo, with a clustering near the New York University Center for Digital Multimedia along lower Broadway and Lafayette Streets.
In fact, NYU has become a nationally known center for training new media professionals such as Jaime Levy, the creative genius behind IconNet, a publishing company that plans to publish a web-based magazine this month. The company already produces Word Magazine on the web, edited by Marissa Bowe. Multimedia pioneers in New York such as Tom Nicholson Associates and Crossover Technologies say they have seen a significant increase in business in the last 6 to 12 months, with new assignments from major publishing houses, entertainment corporations and online services firms.
"New York is fast becoming the center for one part of the multimedia industry," said Tom Nicholson, the company’s president.
Tom Nicholson Associates is an 8-year-old multimedia services firm that has received assignments from Advance Publications, Delphi Internet Services and Viking/Penguin.
"The last year has been one of the most exciting and, by next year, we will be a full-fledged new media community," said Eric Goldberg, president of Crossover Technologies.
Crossover, founded six years ago, is a consumer entertainment multimedia firm. It just finished the "Behind the Mask," CD-ROM for New Line Cinema/Turner Interactive and a floppy disk for Tom Peter’s "Business School in a Box." It also recently signed an agreement with a major publishing corporation.
Silicon Alley outposts include the area in and around the TriBeCa Film Center, pockets of Chelsea and Wall Street and sections of Midtown where corporate entities such as Time Warner, Sony, Viacom and Bertelsman are ensconced in their own corporate towers.
A concurrent phenomenon in and around Silicon Alley has been the burst of business activity related to the Internet’s World Wide Web, with independent web developers such as agency.com, Spyder World Wide Web at the New York Internet Center, Overall Knowledge and outlets like the Internet Business Center popping up every week and joining firms such as Panix (Public Access Networks Corp) and Interport to help traditional New York City businesses establish a presence on the web and to take advantage of the emergence of commerce and secure credit card transactions over the Internet.
Observers of the city’s Silicon Alley scene are quick to point that while it is much easier to raise money for multimedia and Internet ventures to be based on the West Coast, nevertheless the entrepreneurial spirit is very strong here and has overcome this West Coast bias and other factors.
Similarly, local business leaders say they eagerly anticipate the opening of the New York Information Technology Center, a project of the NYC Partnership along with entities such as IBM, Con Edison and the Alliance for Downtown New York. The tech center is expected to be located in SoHo.