Media is the message of Silicon Alley, centered in Manhattan's Flatiron Building but stretching from New Jersey to Connecticut.
The Alley is home to many of the world's major media companies - Time-Warner, The New York Times, Viacom - as well as possibly the highest concentration of the Internet's new power players: publishers and advertising agencies.
Some 4,800 communications-related companies in all are here, comprising an economy worth $2.7 billion, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
If one word sums up Silicon Alley, it's content. Razorfish and Agency.com, two of the largest online advertising and Web design firms, are based here. DoubleClick, a major online ad company, raised $62.5 million in February when it went public.
Other companies that have had successful public debuts in the last six months include Theglobe.com, iVillage and MiningCo.com.
"New York" remains a magic phrase, lending fledgling companies credibility. It is also a draw for talented, ambitious, overeducated-underemployed young people. The city government has added its own draws for new-media companies, offering tax breaks and rent subsidies.
On the negative side, New York lacks programming talent, in which Silicon Valley excels. Aging telecommunication infrastructure, heavy taxes and high rents make it hard to run a business.
Still, count on Silicon Alley for characters. Among them:
- Stacy Horn, who started the online bulletin board Echo, and is credited by many for launching New York's new media industry.
- Rufus Griscom and Genevieve Field, who created Nerve: Literate Smut, the highbrow Web 'zine about sex and sexuality.
- Courtney Pulitzer, of the famous family, who acts as a cyber-gossip columnist for the industry's infamous parties.
"This is great place for thinking people," said Tom Watson, editor of @NY, an electronic newsletter that covers the Alley.