Back in the day - it was known as New York's Silicon Alley.
But if Internet Week '09 taught us one thing - the "Alley" is a thing of the past.
Starting Monday Night, when New York kicked off the 143+ events with a celebrity event and proclamation on Broadway, the week was a daily sprint from lower Manhattan to Columbia University - from the New York Times Center to Webster Hall. Uptown and down, east side and west, New York's digital domain is no longer limited to an "alley" or a district - it's spread its entrepreneurial wings across the island of Manhattan.
While it wasn't physically possible to go to ALL the events that made their way on to the Internet Week schedule, a sampling of panels, presentations, and parties was enough to leave one winded and a bit giddy.
At the Tech Meetup Digital Mosh-pit that was held in the Great Hall at FIT - the 900 members of the largest meet up in the nation filled the bar bones hall with the kind of start-up juice that had been the staple of the west coast Start-Up scene. Bug Labs was showing 'made in nyc' plug and play robots. Pond 5 was wowing visitors with a fast growing footage archive. And Angel Investor and Presentation Guru David Rose was roaming the halls looking for start ups that he'd had a hand in mentoring. The buzz was - this is a 'west coast' vibe, and whatever that means it was a good thing.
The party scene was triple booked - giving TechSet revelers the tough choice of staying at the Bubble Lounge and watching the Ghost Buster firehouse race off lights and siren blazing while the YouTube/NY Observer party at the Puck Building was packed with New Yorks tech community.
At every venue - there was seemingly an 'a' list gathering of CEO's and Entrepreneurs - and a hall full of attentive audience members twittering out quotes bits of wisdom. MediaBistro's 2 day long Circus brought newspaper, magazine, and media folks together under the roof of the New York Times.
Meanwhile, up at Columbia University, the Business School gathered folks from internet, television, and academia to explore and investigate the fast moving future of Internet Video. And then - by Thursday night - if you thought three nights of parties would have tired out the revelers, the wall-to-wall crowd at Diggnation Live at Webster Hall would have proved you wrong.
David-Michel Davies is the chairman of Internet Week which is a production of the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences and The Mayor's Office of Film, Theatre & Broadcasting, Internet Week is a unique opportunity for people working in the industry and the public at large to share ideas, network, and enjoy New York's Internet culture," said Davies of the weeks events. This year Internet Week launched InternetWeek.TV - a site that aggregated coverage, twitter feeds, and photo's from across the sprawling event.
Whenever the free beer and the free flowing schwag comes out - you know that things are on the move.
My experience over the week was a jam-packed schedule that was hard to manage, let alone process. The energy was more of a SXSW vibe than a finance driven NY conference. Internet Week 2009 will be remembered as the start of the new boom - with a a city full of ideas and energy. Companies are hiring, teams are writing groundbreaking code, and even some of the slower moving media companies are starting to get with the program. The future of digital development is alive and well in the Big Apple.
Laurel Touby and Shira Lazar at Media Circus at the New York Times Center:
Steve Rosenbaum, CEO of Magnify.net (ME) and Katherine Oliver - Commissioner of Film and TV for the City of New York.
Jim Louderback, CEO of Revision3, and Gary Vaynerchuk CEO of WineLibrary.TV