I don’t agree with the sentiment that Google employees work online (WestView, January 2019) and on the phone and therefore don’t need a large office space—that is totally out of touch. Google is a premier global employer and offers jobs to thousands of people in New York that leave an impressive and lasting impression on their resumes, fueling their future career growth. They use huge engineering teams that work in collaborative environments. I’ve been to their office in Chelsea Market many times. It is a dream workplace, bustling with activity, the latest in workplace ergonomics and technology, and offering high paying jobs with amazing benefits. They host thought leaders, advertisers and corporate executives from around the world, providing a lot of business education and driving innovation. Many of their visitors are people that run local advertising/marketing agencies across the country that help small businesses on Main Streets harness the power of Google to acquire customers and drive their bottom lines. My visits to Google have been both on the corporate and small business side, and always the same amazing experience.
In order to be a world class city, a city needs world class employers, job opportunities and workplaces. If New York doesn’t foster such projects how will it stay competitive on the global stage? I personally think New York has lost some of its luster, and needs projects like this. The onus should be on the city to do a better job of meeting community needs with regard to these types of developments and in general for quality of life for all New Yorkers. We simply do not have the type of innovation in New York that you see in other cities and it’s time to catch up. I realize we can’t depend on corporations to always be sympathetic to existing structures and neighborhoods, which is why it’s really important for the community and city powers that be to have an innovative, collaborative and forward thinking approach. New York will always be expensive, will always have a struggle with economic equality, and every development project brings some sort of controversy, so I don’t think the problem is Google. I’m happy to see them in New York!
The digital world cannot always replace the face to face. Of course I do look to them with all their smarts to be able to work with communities to meet the local needs that arise as a result of their expansion—not only good paying jobs and keeping NYC on the innovation map, but also to deal with gentrification, income inequality, and the every day lives of those left behind. I realize this sounds idealistic and it is, but it also needs to become realistic and be implemented.