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How New York City became a technology hub

Recently in New York, as in other cities, the coronavirus pandemic has spurred an urgent shift from working in offices to working at home and given a massive boost to digital platforms for telecommuting, teleconferencing, and online teaching. Yet the tech industry has also generated some of the most significant spaces for face-to-face interaction of recent years. These are the hackathons, meetups, startup accelerators, and innovation districts that make up a globally hegemonic innovation complex.

As the second-largest startup ecosystem in the world and a superstar city of jobs using digital technology, New York hosts many of these spaces. Numbers vary according to who is counting, but both city government officials and organizations that represent the tech “community” claim the city has more than 9,000 startups and between 150,000 and 300,000 tech workers, half of whom work in non-tech companies. There are 70 tech accelerators, some specializing in fields like health or finance, 44 coding schools, and more than 500 programs for tech training and education. While Big Tech titans like Amazon, Google and Facebook are expanding their footprint in Manhattan, each by one million square feet, a recent study showed the Brooklyn waterfront to be the second fastest-growing “innovation economy” in the United States.

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