Mayor Bill de Blasio had some fun touring Facebook’s growing offices in Greenwich Village Wednesday and encouraged the social media giant to promote local talent.
The self-proclaimed “old school” tech mayor watched in awe as Faceboook staff took him across their hip digs, showing off rows of programmers working on new features and more.
“This is where so much of our economy is going,” de Blasio said of the tech industry.
The mayor began by signing the office’s large white board wall, already covered in messages from employees and other visitors, with a note saying: “Keep growing in NYC. We will help you do it.”
The California-based tech giant moved into its office at Broadway and East 8th Street in January 2014. They currently have 850 employees, including programmers, sales representatives and marketing professionals, working on three floors in the building and will take up space on a fourth floor next year. The city’s tech industry accounts for nearly 300,000 jobs and $30 billion in annual wages, according to the mayor’s office.
The Facebook team showed the mayor projects focused on digital infrastructure improvements, helping Third World countries get online, constructing artificial intelligence apps, and the Oculus Rift virtual reality system. De Blasio played “Lucky’s Tale,” a cartoony, action platformer on Oculus Rift during a closed-door session, according to an Oculus representative who was in the room with him.
At the end of his visit, de Blasio urged employees to look toward local talent for new ideas and hires. He asked Facebook to seek out interns from the city’s public schools, noting the importance of hands-on education in building the tech industry.