Queens: NYC’s New Tech Hub? Certainly Looks Like It

It was a full house at the second installment of the Queens Tech Meetup on Thursday, held on the top floor of Hunter’s Point Plaza in Long Island City. Despite the overcast sky and storm warnings, more than a 100 people braved the winds and the rains to attend the event organized by the non-profit, Coalition for Queens.

Crowd at Queens Tech Meetup

The turnout was a clear indication of the development of Queens as a hub for creative and technical innovation. And if the ventures previewed at the event are any indication of what’s to follow, it seems the borough is well on its way to becoming a force to reckon with in New York City’s burgeoning tech scene.

“I think that we have tremendous talent here in Queens,” said Jukay Hsu, the founder of Coalition for Queens, who also hosted the event. “We know there are great companies here already, and we want to help other people become entrepreneurs as well.”

Jukay Hsu at Queens Tech Meetup

Charlie O’ Donnell, founder of DUMBO-based Brooklyn Bridge Ventures, spoke at the event lauding the efforts of Hsu and his team. But he also stressed on the need for tech enthusiasts in Queens to step up and take leadership and foster talent within their localities and neighborhoods, so as to keep the momentum of the tech community going.

Charlie O'Donnell at Queens Tech Meetup

The tech wizardry showcased at the event included Aereo, an application exclusive to New Yorkers, which allows live broadcast TV to be watched on Internet connected devices. Education for all was the focus of Skillshare, an online community dedicated to sharing and promoting learning within communities.

A fun social web application showcased was mycatandi.com, which, as its name suggests, takes a picture of you with your favorite feline. The site was the brainchild of the multi-faceted creative agency, OKFocus, who brought along actual cats to showcase a live demo of the application.

Besides innovation and a commitment to excellence, the common thread in all the enterprises at the event was simply their vibrant creativity. When a member of the audience asked Ryder Ripps, co-founder of OKFocus, on how he continues to sustain his creative impulses, his simple, yet profound, answer was:

“Well, you look at what sucks, and you fix it.”

And that, in effect, represents what start-up companies in Queens and elsewhere need to keep on top of their minds while thinking up their next best invention—solutions, not problems. What do you think of Queens as a tech hub in New York City—do you know of any start-ups here doing extraordinary work? Let us know in the comments.

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