The NYC Tech Ecosystem

Tech creates high-paying jobs, promotes innovation, and strengthens the economy. In the past few years, the New York City tech ecosystem has experienced a rapid expansion of activity, recently becoming the number two city in the U.S. for venture capital deals and fundraising. According to the “The New York City Tech Ecosystem” study conducted by Association for a Better New York (ABNY), Citi, Google, NY Tech Meetup, and HR&A, the New York City tech sector generates approximately 541,000 jobs and over $124.7 billion in annual output. The same study also cites tech’s incredible multiplier effect: for every one tech job, an additional 4.3 non-tech jobs are created, making it the highest rate of any industry.

This recent growth has not merely been isolated to Silicon Alley in Manhattan, but has expanded beyond what has traditionally understood as the main tech corridor in New York City. There is a nascent tech community emerging in Queens, particularly in Western Queens along the waterfront. Tech companies such as Shapeways, Lyft, and WorldNow and emerging startups like Vengo are located in Long Island City.

The Potential of Queens

  • Population of 2.3 Million

  • Most Diverse Community in the World

  • 48% Foreign-born

In addition to being home to a growing number of high-growth startups, digital agencies, and tech companies, Queens is uniquely positioned to become a model for an innovation-driven and inclusive tech sector. The world’s most diverse community, Queens has over 2.3 million residents, nearly half of whom are immigrants. 

At the same time, the largest public housing projects in America—Queensbridge and Ravenswood—are located in the area where the Queens tech sector is currently growing and will continue to expand as the future Cornell NYC Tech campus at neighboring Roosevelt Island is built. This incredible diversity of backgrounds and experiences has the potential to create a new pipeline of talent into the tech industry and create a community that is reflective of New York City.

Moving forward, the tech industry faces several critical challenges, including a significant lack of computer programmer talent and a lack of commercial space for tech companies and startups. These, as well as other issues that inhibit future growth, are challenges that Queens can tackle. Ultimately, the goal of the Queens Tech Strategic Plan is to develop a comprehensive development strategy with concrete proposals and initiatives that build the conditions for long-term growth of tech in Queens. 

The Study Area

The physical Strategic Plan study area encompasses Astoria down to the Newtown Creek region, between the East River waterfront and Sunnyside. The Plan will consider how to complement other tech communities including the future Cornell NYC Tech campus at Roosevelt Island, the Brooklyn Tech Triangle, Silicon Alley, and northern Brooklyn.