“I’ll be honest with you,” Gregg Weisser said. “It caught me by surprise.”
Mr. Weisser, the senior vice president and director of commercial real estate at the Moinian Group, was discussing the dramatic rise of Midtown South as a real estate, tech, media and fashion powerhouse. But he likens the fast-paced big-city success story to a leisurely drive upstate.
“It’s like when you’re up in the country, driving in your car with your wife,” Mr. Weisser said. “It’s the middle of October. All of a sudden the trees are yellow and red and—holy shit!—it’s fall! It’s like 10 minutes ago, you were swimming in the Atlantic, and you turn around to autumn. No one can figure out what the hell happened.”
Returning to Midtown South, a confederacy of disparate neighborhoods that he defines as 31st Street south to Canal Street from river to river, Mr. Weisser said, “It was always there. But it wasn’t until there was some critical mass achieved that it took off. I don’t want to say it was Google at 111 Eighth Avenue [that started the boom]; it was before that.”
After a decade and a half of the Internet wreaking havoc on the way we live our lives, the literary world has decided it’s time to tackle its influence. Hard on the heels of Bleeding Edge, Thomas Pynchon’s take on Silicon Alley’s first tech boom, we have The Circle, a patched-together dystopian fantasy by Dave Eggers, who is quite clearly very worried about the pernicious influence of Facebook and its ilk.
Many, many words have already been devoted to the ways Mr. Eggers misunderstands Silicon Valley, and they’re justified. The novel reads like it’s cobbled together from what Mr. Eggers has overheard in the bars, coffee shops and parks of San Francisco. He’s nailed the sound of the tech world’s delusions of grandeur, but he doesn’t see them for the delusions they usually are.
Justine Tunney is a New York-based software engineer at Google, but she’s also a prolific activist who was and continues to be instrumental to the Occupy Wall Street movement. A “transgender anarchist,” she founded OccupyWallStreet.org and continues to maintain the @OccupyWallSt Twitter handle; her Github account has an Occupy Wall Street specific repository that boasts the tagline, “Stomping out capitalism, one line of code at a time.” And she also has an interesting new approach to crowdfunding.
The morning that Aol CEO Tim Armstrong announced the $315 million acquisition of the Huffington Post, he stood beside a beaming Arianna Huffington in the company’s Broadway headquarters.
Watching from the back of the room, I remember Huffington proudly declaring that her sister, Agapi Stassinopoulos, whom she had brought with her, still used an Aol e-mail address.
The couple hundred assembled Aol workers, already disoriented by the surprise merger, greeted this with a tentative cheer that seemed to trail off into a question mark. Even employees found it hard to reconcile the company’s ambitions as a world-beating tech giant with the unfashionable reality of having Aol e-mail.
As a lifelong Hotmail user, smirking at the hipster apocalypse that was yesterday’s Gmail outage, I beg to differ.
Forget fighting off the Grim Reaper with devout attendance at the local New York Sports Club and endless self-quantifying. That’s not moonshotty enough for Larry Page. Luckily, he’s got the resources of an enormous American corporation at his disposal, which is how Calico, Google’s new anti-aging initiative, came about.
This isn’t like living through the prologue of a singularitarian novel, nope, not at all.
Yesterday evening AllThingsD broke the news that one of Google’s top VPs was departing the search giant for Xiaomi, a company widely regarded as China’s answer to Apple. It seemed a strange and sudden move until this piece of news surfaced in tandem: Mr. Barra was reportedly involved with a fellow Googler, and that Googler is now dating 40-year-old married Google cofounder Sergey Brin.
Google Ideas Director Jared Cohen once gave a speech titled “Don’t pursue ideas with obvious conclusions.”
The obvious conclusion might be that the 32-year-old Mr. Cohen and his wife, Rebecca Zubaty, would buy a home in a hip downtown neighborhood like Tribeca or the East Village.
In a move that will likely make no difference to politicians embroiled in as-yet-unreported sex scandals, Google has pretty much flat-out stated that it has a right to go through your email.
A motion filed on July 13 by Google’s attorneys “says Gmail users should assume that any electronic correspondence that’s passed through Google’s servers can be accessed and sued for an array of options, such as selling ads to customers,” RT reports.
Despite the ball pit and proximity to the High Line, it seems not everything is happiness and light at 111 Eight Avenue, Google’s home in New York. The New York Post reports that the NYPD is currently seeking a man caught on tape last Thursday, drawing a swastika in the building’s elevator.
What’s that? You’ve developed a pair of computerized glasses that allow you to take pictures, record video, pull up directions, send messages and make calls all with a few simple voice commands? Well, that sounds lame.
Freelance tech journalist Ron Miller was excited to sign up for the Google Glass Explorers program, which delivers a beta version of the device to users at the steep price of $1,500. But when he finally got a chance to try out Glass, he wasn’t blown away the way he thought he might be. Toggling through a carousel menu was tiresome, and its functionality is pretty limited at the moment. So, Mr. Miller decided to return the device.