The Anchor Tenant

Malls need anchor tenants. These are the stores that bring the folks to the mall so that they can discover all of the other amazing places to shop that sit between the big tenants.

Cities need the same. Particularly cities that are trying to develop new industries.

NYC’s tech sector has had an anchor tenant since the early 2000s in Google. I wrote a bit about this a few years ago and cited my partner Albert’s line that 111 8th Avenue (Google’s NYC HQ) is the “gift that Google gave NYC.

Big anchor tenants to a tech ecosystem provide all sorts of benefits but the biggest impacts are that they are both talent magnets (they attract people to relocate to the region) and talent sources (you can recruit from them).

Rumor has it that NYC is going to get a second anchor tenant as Long Island City is apparently a strong candidate to be one of two locations for Amazon’s HQ2. This would result in something like 25,000 new jobs for the NYC tech sector.

And another rumor is that Google is going to purchase the massive St John’s Terminal in the West Village and take its NYC workforce up to 20,000 over the next few years.

If both of these things happen, and that is still a big if, then NYC’s tech sector would have two large and well known anchor tenants. Together they would speak for about 10% of the jobs of the entire NYC tech sector.

I have had a front row seat to watch the emergence of the NYC tech sector over the last thirty years. It started as a trickle, then a stream, then a river, and it’s feeling more and more like an ocean.

NYC has responded well to the challenges of supporting a rapidly growing new industry with investments in infrastructure (real estate, connectivity, etc) and talent/education (CS4All, Cornell Tech, NYU Tandon, etc). Some areas have been lacking like transportation where we need better subways, better airports, and better regional rail systems.

I am hopeful that the continued growth of the NYC tech sector and the overall regional economy will give our elected officials and permanent bureaucracy the will and the resources to address these deficiencies and allow the NYC region to continue to develop into one of the most important tech sectors in the world. 


Comments (Archived):

  1. jason wright

    The residents of the Kreuzberg district of Berlin (Germany) didn’t quite see it that way when Google decided it wanted to move in. A clash of interests between big tech and social justice.The conventional shopping mall business model is dying in the UK. The traditional retail anchor tenants are in sharp decline. It’s looking terminal.”the permanent bureaucracy” – elected officials come and go, but the institutional bureaucracy keeps grinding along. The US has to have the worst public infrastructure of any advanced western nation. All that wealth, and yet so little of it is put to commons use. Something is very wrong there.

    1. fredwilson

      I think our large and influential auto industry has lobbied very effectively against public investment in transportation infrastructure . fortunately NYC bull much of it’s infrastructure before the auto industry became massive

      1. Pointsandfigures

        That was probably true back in the 40s and 50s (see Detroit and LA) Probably not true today since they have bigger forms of competition.

        1. fredwilson


      2. Mike Cautillo

        By the sounds of it (most recent 60 Minutes piece), your subway system is going to finally get a that much needed MAJOR overhaul….sounds like some pain to come short term but long overdue.

      3. jason wright

        the auto industry is the devil. the idea that an industry is knowingly allowed to build a product that by design pollutes our air and our environment and damages our health is beyond rational comprehension. it’s absurd to infinity. that industry is deeply malevolent.NYC today sounds like London was before it started spending huge sums of public money upgrading its rail infrastructure (the Crossrail project (not yet finished), station upgrades, and more). Investment in old cities has to be made or they will collapses under their own weight, like a once bright star now dying. living in a black hole would be challenging.

        1. Pointsandfigures

          Some cities like NYC and Chicago should spend a lot to move people around conveniently without cars. Other cities, not so much. They don’t have the density to make it worthwhile, or they are so spread out that different forms of surface transportation (Lyft, Uber, car) are much more efficient.I would love to see Chicago extend a lot of it’s underground subway system with various spurs (like to Hyde Park for example or an express to O Hare, or United Center) but the cost to do it is super prohibitive along with the mandates/regulations put in place by state/county/local government that also drives up the cost.

          1. sigmaalgebra

            As you so well documented with a link to a video, for nearly any project, especially a publicly funded one, Chicago and Illinois have some unique cost considerations!

          2. awaldstein

            Disagree.Listen to the mayor of LA talk transportation. He is all about public trans and is working to make LA the model, the antithesis of congestion.

          3. jason wright

            yes. it’s a devilish jigsaw puzzle.

        2. sigmaalgebra

          For over 100 years, Detroit and the auto industry were crucial to much of the growth of the US. E.g., for the Model T, it was eagerly accepted if only because it was MUCH better than the alternatives, even if it leaked oil and belched smoke. Cars were how to get to the county seat instead of hitching up the team. They were how to get to work, how to deliver the milk. They permitted long distance travel and, thus, put the passenger railroads out of business. They enabled trucks from 4 wheels to 18 and more and moved a LOT of freight.The Interstate highway system was no doubt one of the most profitable infrastructure investments in all of US history.At this point, with electronic engine controls, lead free fuel, and catalytic converters, in 90+% of US land area, cars and trucks are plenty clean. Actually, for that 90+%, the catalytic converters are not really needed.

  2. William Mougayar

    Same for anchor/lead investors. They are key.

  3. Mike Zamansky

    I don’t really know the ins and outs of all of this but I wonder if NYC really needs another anchor tenant. Particularly with housing and transportation in issues that we’re currently having.We’ve got Google and let’s assume for the time being that the expansion goes through, Facebook has a big presence here, I don’t think Microsoft is doing any dev in NYC but hey, they have a building. Amazon already has some development going on here as do so many other major players.I’m wondering if other communities around the country would benefit more from having Amazon as their first and for the time being only anchor tenant to help that community’s tech sector gain traction.I’m also not a fan of government incentives to lure companies (nor for stadiums or Olympic games). The WSJ said that Google hasn’t asked for any for their NY projects. I’m guessing Amazon is looking for handouts.

    1. jason wright

      handouts = subsidy? are there no limits to their rapaciousness?

    2. fredwilson

      Grow or die. There is no middle ground. I believe that as much as I believe anything. you can’t stop. You just have to fix things as you grow

      1. Salt Shaker

        Did you think the Jets’ stadium idea by the west side yards was a good idea? That bit the dust cause of infrastructure/traffic concerns. Amazon in LIC will be like having a Jets’ game everyday, except that team wins.

      2. LE

        You say that perhaps because you don’t personally have to deal with the aggravation to the extent that others might.This is a classic example of why (as one example) Joanne got so frustrated (on her blog) about dealing with a big company. The CEO does not feel the pain like the front line people do. If he did he wouldn’t be so quick to allow bad service and non responsiveness.That said it’s always a balance between empathy and some other good. So in a sense it’s actually ok and not entirely bad that not everyone is personally impacted by something.On the other hand take your subway system. How it operates means zero to me. I don’t use it and it’s not a problem at all. I am not on the front lines of the aggravation, delays and crowded conditions.. Would you want me deciding things surrounding the subway?

      3. jason wright

        Darwinista.Richard Dawkins fan?

      4. Matt A. Myers

        Becoming “one” is a pretty solid middle ground; those who aren’t planning for that are going to not know what hit them – or rather, they’re likely going to fight and resist the change as their bets aren’t aligned with reality.”Grow or die” is quite a fear loaded statement, whether that’s acknowledged or even sensed; regardless if it’s intended it still is inherent to the language and perpetuated.I do agree you can build and “fix things” or refine as you go, however that is often used as justification for doing things wrong or badly – which usually stems from people, organizations, not working together; it’s the organizations, people, who work together the best who last the longest, who scale the largest – Apple, Google, etc. Whether they understood how they got there or learn that and then how to steer their ship before they run aground and have to abandon ship – that’s the exciting and addictive part of stock market and other bets I suppose.

    3. LE

      I’m also not a fan of government incentives to lure companies (nor for stadiums or Olympic games). This is yet another case of ‘you can only be as honest as the competition’.Take Amazon (potentially) splitting the original estimates among two cities. As a city/region you can drive a harder bargain and require all sorts of guarantees (as a city) when negotiating, but in the end you are faced with your competitors (other cities and regions) not thinking the same way. And it’s not like you can collude with them either. So it’s one of those classic situations whenever there are alternatives. Only takes two people bidding to drive up the auction price.I’m wondering if other communities around the country would benefit more from having Amazon as their first and for the time being only anchor tenant to help that community’s tech sector gain traction.It’s business so that is not even a factor. A business should not and will not make a decision based on whether a community will benefit or not. Not the way it works.One thing that might help (that will never happen) might be to simply require all bidders (by legislation) to after the fact release documents so the negotiating process can’t include factors that are essentially bluffs. In other words the companies playing cities off of each other by claiming terms and details that don’t actually exist.

    4. Drew Meyers

      “I’m wondering if other communities around the country would benefit more from having Amazon as their first and for the time being only anchor tenant to help that community’s tech sector gain traction.”I’m certain, beyond certain in fact, the answer is yes another city/community would benefit more. But this decision is being made in Amazon’s best interests, not the collective communities that exist in the world.

      1. Matt A. Myers

        All of this conversation is somewhat funny too. Once automated systems have removed all human jobs (for X area), society as a whole will actively be able to decide how much profit they will allow the system builders to be rewarded with; save censorship and tactics of bad actors to silence those who are capturing and controlling how much profit, how much value they extract from society from these automated systems, this change will happen and society will decide. The sooner efficiencies are found and built for, the better for everyone – in a free society.

    5. sigmaalgebra

      Yup. Details in my post here at…

  4. Thomas Olszewski

    Google recently dropped its plan to open offices in Berlin as a result of local protests. It is unfortunate! Would have been good for the ecosystem.

  5. Pointsandfigures

    Hearing similar rumors about places in Chicago and Crystal City DC. No matter what, when Amazon picks your city there will be a tremendous strain on local tech resources. That’s going to drive up competition and prices for talent in the short run. Long run, it’s a very good benefit to the ecosystem.

    1. awaldstein

      This is all goodness.Sure there are issues. Huge capital improvement in transportation pushed by big dollars can fix this.

    2. sigmaalgebra

      Virginia Crystal City? My parents lived there as Dad worked in Naval logistics at the Pentagon. It has a good location for the Pentagon. Otherwise to be near there, I’d locate farther south in Virginia, maybe even in the Shenandoah Valley or even on the west side of those mountains.One summer there in my parents’ apartment I studied some math. One of the results I learned is that the uniform limit of continuous functions is continuous. So, I got it on my Ph.D. qualifying exam — maybe one of the reasons I did the best on that exam. So, right, the continuous functions with the L-infinity (uniform convergence) norm form a Banach space, i.e., a complete, normed, linear space. That’s S. Banach, IIRC, with student S. Ulam on the left of the picture I included in…That area, e.g., Tyson’s Corner, IIRC, was the location of MAE East, crucial for the Internet — maybe it is not crucial now.For software development “talent”, that’s a lot of nonsense down to a scam: E.g., see my earlier post here at…

    3. Tommy

      There aren’t rumors about Chicago it’s a done deal that Chicago is out of the running

  6. TeddyBeingTeddy

    Surprised AMZN is going with such expensive and congested areas… But happy for those cities if they win. Vibrancy is compelling.

    1. Susan Rubinsky

      I’m not. I was on the Amazon HQ2 team here in CT. When you look at the key priorities in Amazon’s request documentation there is a deep emphasis on talent and education. Only a few places in the U.S. have the density of talent and education that NYC has.

      1. sigmaalgebra

        “Talent”? Has Bezos been bamboozled by the tech recruiting people? What the heck is needed in software design and development talent that can’t be handled easily as in my post here earlier today at…”Education”? What the heck education is significant and relevant to software design and development???? Not at Harvard, Princeton, Brown, Yale, MIT, CMU, Stanford, Cal Tech, Berkeley, Cornell, in Ithaca or on Roosevelt Island, or anywhere in Connecticut. Bluntly research university computer science is aimed at computer science research, e.g., total dreams of end of the rainbow solutions to P versus NP, real artificial intelligence, other far out stuff. Research is the best long term stuff, but bluntly there’s been next to nothing from computer science research in the last 20 years of significant importance for business software development — for practice now, that research is a big nothing burger.Bluntly, what’s in Knuth’s The Art of Computer Programming, Microsoft’s .NET Framework, and the Microsoft Visual Basic .NET is 99 44/100% of everything business, especially Amazon, software developers need, and from Knuth’s volumes need less than 10% of the pages — get the rest as needed from books, video clips, or best of all consultants. Besides, .NET is likely not taught at all at Harvard, …, Berkeley.Cornell? There’s been some really good stuff at Cornell I like a lot — from E. Dynkin, G. Nemhauser, and more, but no doubt they don’t know even zero about software objects, object instance de/serialization, key-value stores, SQL, TCP/IP, especially ipv6, etc. Why not? Those subjects have nothing to do with leading edge research and, besides, are just dirt simple to learn and use.

        1. Captainda

          Amazon is MUCH more than a just tech company. It needs talents in fashion, retail/merchandising, media/entertainment, finance, publishing, etc. to power its next phase of growth. Moving to another “tech” centered city makes no sense when it already has a lot of tech talent already in Seattle. NYC makes a lot of sense when you think about what Amazon actually is.

          1. sigmaalgebra

            Yup. If Bezos wants one stop shopping for all of getting suppliers, especially fashion, finance, legal, advertising, video production, and more, then he is about stuck with NYC.But the implicit or explicit assumption here seemed to be tech, i.e., software design and development, were the main interest. As I wrote, in one word, going to NYC for software development is just silly. For two words, silly and foolish.If this one stop shopping assumption is correct, then Bezos looking at northern Virginia, Columbus, Ohio, Connecticut, etc. was just a “head fake” to negotiate a better deal with NYC??If NYC wants to get another few tens of thousands of people in the five boroughs and spend $ billions on more infrastructure — transportation, people and products, on foot, scooters, bicycles, subways, taxis, limos, helicopters, ferries, airports, etc., schools, hospitals, parking, police and fire, water, electric power, trash, sewer, phone, Internet, approve additional office, apartment buildings, etc., all fine with me.

  7. awaldstein

    Yup been thinking about this.And hopeful that these companies are both investing and forcing the city to fix stuff they don’t have the moxie to do on their own.LIC would be great. It will be a transportation nightmare and there are lots of ways to fix it with the dollars we are talking about.

  8. PhilipSugar

    I call them Lighthouses because they are companies that people can see from a far distance.BtoB companies need them as clients as well.I see two sides to MikeZ’s handout point.One side is why do we want to directly subsidize one set of companies. Doesn’t seem right. And seems the Federal Government should say your state can have whatever laws but they need to apply equally to everyone.But put in infrastructure that everyone benefits hell yes.As an aside this is what gutted detroit other states subsidies to move, that and very powerful unions. Which does have two sides because the reason you want to keep those big employers they support many others not working there.

    1. LE

      And seems the Federal Government should say your state can have whatever laws but they need to apply equally to everyone.My suggestion (in other comment) is some kind of legislation that also makes the process public so there is less chance of gaming things by the companies playing regions off each other.I’ll tell you what doesn’t make a great deal of sense. Why a company, in particular Amazon, would want to locate in a congested area period. (Or even that Crystal City). They are a destination employer. People will come to them. Every cost of operation is way way higher in NY Metro.Disney located in Orlando and everything came to them and the region grew around Disney.There are plenty of places that can easily adapt to Amazon and provide a decent enough working environment for employees. And they will get good employees. I am not seeing where Amazon needs to attract 25k of the most talented of anything. That makes no sense. [1] And they can easily have people in NYC if that is a specific benefit for certain employees.In what universe do people (other than young single millennials or the wealthy) want to live in New York metro? Anywhere in NY Metro?[1] Even the movie business adapted and does a great deal of work outside of Hollywood even though I would assume most talent would rather be there.

      1. sigmaalgebra

        “NYC, nice place to visit; wouldn’t want to live there.”E.g., since Bezos is worth ~$100 billion, maybe even he could afford an NYC area walk-up efficiency apartment! Parking? TOO expensive even for Bezos!!!If my startup becomes wildly successful — and it should since it provides a new, unique, difficult to duplicate or equal, much better and the first good solution to a problem pressing for nearly everyone in the world with a basic Web browser — I’d pick a place people would like to LIVE and do well in FAMILY FORMATION.Sand Hill Road and the rest of Silicon Valley would never be able to figure out what that problem and my solution would be; it would no more occur to them than GPS, a microprocessor, atomic energy, or the Internet would occur to Edison, Rockefeller, Tesla, Morgan, etc.; none of them would understand it even if I explained it to them; same for Sand Hill Road.The two guys on the ends in the picture below, the guy in the middle was just a physicist, would understand right away:…People with good families REALLY value their families, like living where the kids can play safely with green grass and trees, have pets of dogs and cats, and only a tiny fraction would do less than scream bloody murder at moving to any dense city, especially NYC, Boston, DC, Chicago, SF, LA.Uh, FAMILY FORMATION as in, say,…Now THAT’S how to keep the valuable employees from running away AND how to hire nearly anyone from NYC.Yes, yes, I know; I know: People in NYC, SF, etc. f’get about families, but normal people value families above all else.So, I’d pick a place with cheap land, low taxes, low density in people per square mile, plenty of wildlife, clean air and water, low crime rate, nice people, good schools, churches, and medical care, good rates on high school graduation and college degrees, four distinct seasons of mild weather, near an Interstate highway, near the Internet backbone, good electric power, etc.So might pick any of many places in the Midwest — western Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Kansas, Nebraska, North/South Dakota, and maybe a few more. Being close to the Great Lakes would be nice.I’d get options on some number of square miles of farm land, lay out what the HQ would look like after a lot more growth, build a house, build the first office, build 50 more houses for employees, hire people, move in, get back to work.Stepford, CT??? TERRIFIC!!!For the work, first step, set up a lecture hall with good audio-video facilities and design the technical training program. In fact, nearly all the technical employees, who know basic arithmetic and how to read, write, and type, need no more than a two month technical training program; for practical computer technology, that’s ALL it takes. Bluntly:The main difficulty and bottleneck in software development and “technical talent” recruiting now is just the simple fact that quite generally the practical computing community is so close to being functionally illiterate and otherwise brain dead that they are unable at all effectively or productively to do good technical writing or conceptualize, formulate, or explain their work. But a few people are quite good at these things, and remarkably little time from those people can remove the difficulty and bottleneck.Quite bluntly, there’s not much to learn: Can do quite well in nearly all of software development for current business oriented computing with just Microsoft’s .NET Framework and their Visual Basic .NET. The syntax and semantics of Visual Basic are traditional and simple to teach, learn, and use and better on all these three criteria and much less error prone than languages with syntax based on Kernighan and Ritchie, C — out of date, e.g., PL/I and Algol were already far ahead, and a silly effort to begin with, really done just to fit in a little DEC computer with just 8 KB of main memory, obsolete when Bell Labs conceived of C.The learning can be really fast: E.g., my wife’s field was mathematical sociology, not computing. IBM’s artificial language KnowledgeTool, I helped develop, is much more difficult than Visual Basic .NET in every respect. But after one 15 minute lecture from me and a 3 x 5″ card of editor commands (no interactive development environment needed), in a week she had a nice, first program running. After a second 5 minute lecture and another week, she had an excellent first program running. At that point she was past nearly everything important that is commonly taught about software development in universities or anywhere else. E.g., for NYC, to heck with Cornell, Roosevelt Island, etc.Reality Check: For the technical knowledge needed in software now, mostly it amounts just to explaining obscure jargon and acronyms, having access to good documentation and consultants, e.g., how to do big things with SQL, and simple lessons in a few dozen simple principles and concepts. There is a LOT more content and difficulty in a basic calculus sequence. The old idea, from F. Brooks, The Mythical Man-Month of “chief programmer teams” remains solid.For the rest of the technical knowledge and skills, have an experienced CIO and occasionally some consultants. For the top level technical stuff, CTO, Director of Research, those are among my hats to wear.Net, moving to a location because of its existing pool of practical computing technical talent is just absurd. Moving to a dense city for such “talent” is much worse than absurd.For NYC, did I mention: “NYC, nice place to visit; wouldn’t want to live there.”

      2. PhilipSugar

        Orlando was directly because Walt Disney was incensed about Anaheim and Disneyland and everybody that made money off of that. So he literally bought up all of the land and because he had such a strong brand it worked. Celebrity Disney look up that Stepford Neighborhood, was a result. People like me hate it.I’d love tons of young people to move to Newark and they do, but I know I can’t have an office in New Castle Corporate Commons (last one was there because of the “vibe”) but I can’t get tons.Now I’d argue, what do all of these people do? Maybe I’m stupid (and that could be) but why do you need 20k tech employees?That is starting to become like the government care website. If it was me I would say how do you spend 4 days a week programming, at 6 hrs a day, 2 for meetings and screw off and then a fifth for what you want.

        1. LE

          Another famous saying that I have, truly original of course (hah), is ‘if something doesn’t make sense there is probably something that you don’t know about it’. (A cousin of ‘fool at the table’ perhaps but with a different twist because there is no room and no table).1) So of course it makes no sense that Amazon has a need for 20k tech people unless of course there is something that Amazon plans to do that we don’t know about in which they are projecting they will need 20k tech people. It’s also possible that they will acquihire and/or rollup other companies and in particular companies that are in NY Metro. In that case it does make sense that they need the space. Now I wonder if in part of the negotiations it was ever discussed if a ‘job’ included acquiring and moving another company or just a completely new job. Does it even matter? They already have put a ton of people out of work. Maybe they have not really created very much (net) when you think about it. They have just displaced other people from other jobs. This is the big farce with business writers and politicians. They talk about job creation but it’s really just musical chairs.That is in a sense what many of these startups are doing in a major way. They are feeding at the edges of a large market and siphoning off a small part from the ‘host’. (Or something like that you get the point).Now if you are acquiring companies in NYC then it becomes a big issue to actually move them to Newark DE or Newark NJ (easier to Newark NJ though..)2) I say there is way more than meets the idea with the locations Amazon is choosing. Makes little sense. Relocate to a very expensive, crowded area?3) Here is another angle try this one on for size (new thought and I think a good one). (Fred should read this as well):You know the theory about the seats and McDonalds? They don’t want people to loiter so the seats are uncomfortable. And they don’t want employees to stay either. They want them to leave so they don’t have to pay them more. Diminishing returns as your staff ages. Especially in tech I say.What if the Amazon strategy is to locate in an expensive place just so people don’t become lifers? A lifer not only requires more money down the line but they also loose the ump that young people have. If you put people in Delaware they grow roots and become lifers. (Look at you as only one example or me even. I’d leave but my wife will not).Put the same people in a high priced place and they are forced to leave. Even Fred and Joanne left the city and couldn’t return until Fred hit it big. So maybe that is part of what might be going on?

    2. Matt A. Myers

      I like that! Lighthouse, beacon of light.

  9. PradipCloud

    Very exciting time to be living in NYC right now.

  10. Salt Shaker

    Sorry, I think LIC is truly a bad idea. Look at the traffic that already exists heading east to west most mornings and late afternoons. Traffic around the 59th St Bridge (or whatever it’s called these days) is presently horrific. Same w/ the 495 (or LI Expressway). Adding 25K jobs, housing, coupled w/ the service industries to address this growth will only burden areas already bursting at the seams.The problem in Seattle is that infrastructure, large capital improvements that take years to fund and build, could never possibly keep pace w/ Amazon’s enormously fast growth cycle. Seattle’s traffic and transportation issues are currently pretty bad. Infrastructure is already bad in nyc. (Ever travel the 7 subway line, it makes the 6 train look empty.) This add-on will only make travel and transportation horrendously worse, including trips to JFK/LaGuardia. Lastly, LIC currently provides somewhat affordable housing, relatively speaking. You can kiss yet another area goodbye in nyc w/ affordable housing, like a lot of BK.There are much better (and needier) site alternatives than LIC.

    1. Susan Rubinsky

      The East River Ferry is going to alleviate some of that is my guess. It’s a perfect location for mass transit commuters.

      1. Salt Shaker

        Yes, could be a good solution. Presume AMZN will build near the water.

      2. fredwilson

        I’ve been saying thia for years to anyone in and around city govt who will listen .ferries are awesome. I use them all the time Google with Pier 40 and Peir 57 and Amazon with the two existing LIC ferry stops have the potential to drive ridership way up and make ferries sustainably economical in NYC. We need a better connection between Ferries and subway/rail than Citibike which is what I use .we can do better

        1. awaldstein

          Ferries are truly the best.Lot’s of gaps (can’t get from ferry terminal at World Financial Center to Williamsburg for example) but easy to fix.

    2. awaldstein

      It can be fixed. In fact this could spur to fix the transportation and housing problems that are here already.By water is the best choice. I simply love the ferries and use them whenever possible.

      1. Salt Shaker

        Upper east side RE, which is on the low side per sf relative to other areas in NYC, will see a resurgence if LIC is indeed selected. Proximity to ferries and east river crossing. They ran ferries to Yankee Stadium a few years back on the east river. Was fun, and really nice on a summer eve, but slow. I tell visitors all the time to take the Staten Island Ferry. Great views of Statue of L and downtown skyline…..and it’s free!

        1. awaldstein

          We are just at the beginning of what can be done on the water.

        2. LE

          Everything will increase because a large part of the mentality with NY real estate is this idea that there is a large demand and you need to act quickly before someone else does. Some of that is partly true but a large part is just the mentality they is successfully imparted on buyers. At a certain demand point it works very well. Especially when all people buy into it.

    3. Tommy

      88% of New York commuters don’t have cars let alone drive them who cares about traffic? Are you serious?

      1. Salt Shaker

        New to nyc are we Tommy Boy? That’s why the past two Mayors have advocated congestion pricing during peak hours “cause NY commuters don’t drive” and nobody “cares about traffic.”

  11. Adam Parish

    NYC is a great place, but surely some tech works with FAGA companies want to work in the South where there is more room and great food.

  12. Tom Labus

    There used to be a ferry from LIC to east side. Maybe still running and service could be expanded

    1. Susan Rubinsky

      I am assuming that the East River Ferry was a key factor in the LIC location. Very easy for commuters. GCS>UN>ERF>LIC. I’m sure there will be an investment in ferry improvements, including frequency.

  13. Richard

    It looks like Jeff Bezos is not “on board” the rising sea level hypothesis. Between Crystal City and Long Island City, he will, if the hypothesis is correct, be literally swimming in money in 25 years.

    1. jason wright

      Gondolas are go.

  14. Rob Underwood

    @fredwilson:disqus – you’ve had a “front row seat” in much the same way that Captain Kirk had a “front row seat” on the bridge when the USS Enterprise was battling the Romulans.

    1. fredwilson


  15. Erik Berg

    Great post! Do you have any fear that as Google and Amazon ramp up more jobs in the area, startups could have a harder time competing for talent? That was something that was definitely discussed a lot at my firm when Columbus was in the running for HQ2.

    1. Drew Meyers

      The flip side of that is a lot of talent would never be in the city in the first place without said anchor tenant.

  16. LE

    Summary of my point made elsewhere here: If Amazon is moving to NYC area it could also be because:a) They want to acquire (or acquihire) companies in NY Metro in most likely industries they are not in now (ditto for DC). In this case they vacate existing space and move everyone to the new mother ship. I am sure the incentives did not consider that type of situation.b) They specifically want an area that is expensive and crowded so that people do not become lifers. They relocate and leave and Amazon hires new people and/or is able to take advantage of not having to get rid of anyone (unless they provide so much value (which they probably don’t)).Let’s look at it this way. Who wants to work in NYC? It’s not people with families and roots somewhere. It’s younger people w/o families. Or newly married who just think it will all work out.I would love some data but for some reason I would imagine the amount of people who are taking jobs in NYC that have existing families pales in comparison to the younger recently out of college crowd (exception of course being high paid positions).My wife could easily get a job in NYC with what she does. But the pay would be less than where we live now (about 90 m away) and the cost of living would be vastly higher for a net loss.

    1. Salt Shaker

      Amazon doesn’t pay very well. Salaries are relatively low. Skilled programmers get pilfered all the time w/ high compensation packages, not just back end options loaded stuff. It’s a problem. That’s their model. NYC will represent all kinds of compensation probs for AMZN given competition for good talent and high cost of living. They’re gonna need to anti-up, even though the company is a lure as a high quality resume builder.

      1. LE

        Agree. This is why I say (in my other comment) that there is a missing piece to the puzzle. Not a visible explanation for why they would be in NYC given the mentality of the company.And if you are not buying a great deal of ‘walk on water’ talent why do you need to be in a place like NYC anyway? I find it super hard to believe (per others comments here) that it takes ‘create iphone level talent’ to do what Amazon currently needs actually.There is a missing piece to this for sure.

  17. David Albrecht

    Bay Area resident here…I’m happy for the competition.The attitude of Bay Area governments toward big tech companies is a sort of “manifest destiny”…they’ll be here forever, we (city governments) will do whatever we damn please. They have this amazing engine of job and wealth creation, and rather than creating productive partnerships between tech firms and schools/vocational training centers/municipal governments/citizens, they demonize and villify them using everything from Prop C to absurd corporate cafeteria bans. Even as they’re happy for they payroll and gross receipts tax income, spillover effects in local purchasing, and even property tax revenue from these companies.I doubt this will stop until the firms can credibly threaten to go somewhere else. Having a base in NY is a great start.

  18. @mikeriddell62

    NYC is welcome to them. We’re just getting rid of some of London’s parasites (thanks to Brexit). NYC and London are probably two of the most unequal cities in the world.The new anchor tenants should be focused in the future – how to redistribute health, wealth and happiness – and that isn’t a tech solution, it’s a business model solution.

  19. Erin

    Isn’t that kind of like celebrating Wal-Mart coming to your town? From what I hear, HR practices in Amazon warehouses are so reprehensible, they border on the illegal. For the life of me, I can’t figure out why people get excited about Amazon coming to their city.Edit: oh their headquarters. Hopefully that is more ethically run.

  20. Tommy

    The only bull case for the LIC Amazon HQ2 is the tech companies constantly threatening to leave if the NYC government doesn’t improve the buses and subways. Nothing else about it is particularly good.