New York's Silicon Alley makes do
New York's fast-paced technology scene, Silicon Alley, is trying not to lose step after Hurricane Sandy knocked out power lines, devastated the public transit system and left parts of the city flooded.
On Tuesday, companies from small start-ups to major players such as Google and Facebook, scrambled to balance employee safety with attempts to conduct business as usual.
With laptops, smartphones and a dash of the ingenuity, tech companies powered through the adverse conditions or at least tried to.
Silicon Alley is a booming part of New York City's economy. It is both a location - many technology start-ups are housed in the lower part of Manhattan- and a state of mind, since many companies have now sprouted across the East River in Brooklyn and elsewhere.
Like many New Yorkers, scads of technology workers have toiled from home or hunkered down with co-workers who still have electricity.
That was certainly the case among employees of trendy e-commerce site Fab.com on Tuesday. Its headquarters is in the West Village, which was flooded and without power.
At 6am (local time) on Tuesday, the company's 225 or so New York-based employees received an email titled "team together". It asked whether those with electricity might open their homes to co-workers without.
In a few hours, 114 people responded. By noon, 12 of them were working out of CEO Jason Goldberg's two-bedroom apartment on 42nd Street.
Other workers gathered in apartments in Manhattan's midtown Hell's Kitchen neighbourhood, in Brooklyn and other parts of the city.
Two people, who'd flown in from Germany and India before the storm hit in some unfortunate timing also joined Goldberg after they were evacuated from their hotel rooms.
"No one wants to be sitting around doing nothing," Goldberg said in a telephone interview from his apartment, where his dog barked in the background as more employees arrived.
"Everyone wants to keep things going."
Some 20 Fab.com employees planned to host co-workers in their homes overnight on Tuesday.
Google Inc. closed its sprawling New York City offices, located on 9th Avenue between 15th and 16th streets in Manhattan's Chelsea neighbourhood.
The company, which is headquartered in Mountain View, California, has about 2000 workers in its New York office.
Google said the safety of its employees is its focus. The premises will be closed until further notice.
The online search leader bought the 15-story building, which has more space than the Empire State Building, in 2010.
In addition to housing its own offices, Google leases out much of the space, hosting many data centres. Data centres house other companies' servers, which store the vast amounts of data found on websites.
Google did not say whether the building had power as of Tuesday afternoon.
One data centre flooded in Sandy's wake knocked popular New York blogs, including Gawker.com, off the net.
The gossip and media blog, and other Gawker Media sites, responded by creating alternate websites where readers could get the latest information, whether they wanted to read about Sandy or the Octomom.