** It's a bird! It's a plane! No! It's a new technology island! **
It's a sculpture garden! An amusement park! A resort! No! It's the Information Island! At least that's what Bill Tucker of TheElevator.com thinks about Governors Island and the City's offer to give up the island to the best proposal. Dubbed the unofficial, unpaid spokesman who's doing this as an Eagle Scout public service project, this man has drummed up the support of NYSIA and is gaining momentum. He sees it as a technology nucleus where the main tenants could be the information-science departments of five engineering schools: Brooklyn Polytechnic, City University, Columbia, Cooper Union and New York University. A small hotel and conference center could also be attractions for small firms (to be incubated) and other support for this idyllic island five-minutes by ferry from Manhattan. And when the technology and firms have gotten funded, they could simply hop back over the river and set up bigger shops in Brooklyn or Manhattan.
The July 12th meeting at Pace University's Shimmel Theater drew a respectable number of attendees with interests piqued by this topic. Nancy Ploeger of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce and David Leffler (attorney) came to hear what this man envisioned for the island and told me about some interesting upcoming events they are conducting (see TCS Calendar of Events). Thomas Liscomb and Kathy Wylde of HT Incubator (in the BMCC) and president and CEO of the NYC Investment Fund came out to hear more as well. Some wylie characters in plaid shirts and coke-bottle glasses also came out, and filled up on the thick ham sandwiches, terra chips and cookies. I would've found out who they were but they were engrossed in talking to Madrid Tennant of the NYU CAT program. Marta Goldsmith of the Urban Land Institute (based in Washington, DC) was a speaker on the panel, moderated by NYSIA's president Bruce Bernstein.
Other panelists who came to debate and mull over this controversial topic were Rod Nichols, CEO, NY Academy of Sciences; Eleanor Baum, Dean of Engineering, Cooper Union; and Alice O'Rourke, NYNMA, who was scheduled to speak, but never made it. There was no word from her nor NYNMA--I assume they're swamped with putting on and publicizing so many of their own events. Jonathan Gilbert of the City's Economic Development Corporation was in attendance and chatting beforehand with Jonathan Rudes of Newmark and Lauren Giglio of the Downtown Alliance. Just before the panel I chatted with Mr. Tucker, Bill Murphy, the man who "scooped" the domain name www.governersisland.com, was introduced to him. They chatted a bit about the series of events surrounding the capture of such name and then I escaped to the next affair! (see also: www.governors-island.org)