Mayor De Blasio Hosts Prince William At Tech Center

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De Blasio with Prince William


Mayor Bill de Blasio: Well, I have to say, your Royal Highness, I want to welcome you on behalf of the people of New York City and I have to tell you in your Counsel General, Danny  Lopez, you have chosen someone energetic, assertive, creative – in fact, he has so many fine attributes, he could be a New Yorker.

And we relate to him and we appreciate the great work he and his team are doing in bringing New York City and the UK closer together economically. I want to thank you for that great partnership.

I also want to thank Penny Abeywardena, who is the head of our International Affairs office for this city, and her whole team. And we are really honored to have the presence of our Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, who does so much to keep this city safe. Thank you, Commissioner Bratton, for joining us as well.

I also must hasten add, Britain’s Ambassador to the United States is here, Peter Westmacott and Lady Westmacott, we welcome you – we thank you for your role in this wonderful trip.

And, of course, Shutterstock and its founder Jon Oringer. You’ve done something here that makes New Yorkers proud – you’ve created a company that answers a deep demand in business and so many sectors of our economy. You’ve found a way to do something better and make it more accessible, make it more fair, make it more inexpensive, and this company’s thriving – it’s a great example of the entrepreneurship we value in this city. And you have taken all of that to London as well, as an example of the kind of great ideas that are shared by both our societies.

Well, on that note, I want to just say to His Royal Highness that it means so much to us that you are here in New York City. You know, I think you may have noticed you’ve gotten a fairly warm reception.

And you need to understand that we are not the most innocent city – we are known as a somewhat jaded city. It takes a lot to impress New Yorkers, but the warmth and the energy I’ve seen in your presence today is really – makes me very proud as mayor of this city and I must say yesterday, when the Duchess and my wife, the First Lady, visited the Northside Center, it was moving to me because they both gave a spotlight to the issues and mental health needs of our children – not an issue that’s on the front pages every day. But it is so wonderful to see what the Duchess is doing and what it means in terms of helping our young people who often have challenges that go unaddressed to bringing these issues to light and showing us solutions can be achieved, so I want to thank you and your family for that as well.

I also want to thank you for having shown the entire country, the entire world, the glory of going to a Brooklyn Nets game – my home borough. So, that was a great advertisement for one of our new wonderful elements in this city.

Just to say quickly, something’s been happening here in New York City over the last few years with the development of the tech community – that is an extraordinary story. We have great respect for our friends in the Silicon Valley, but what we’ve seen develop here, we’re now – New York City is one of the great tech centers upon the earth – something that would have been unimaginable a few decades ago. The talent gathered around – the sense of innovation and possibility – all of the different sectors of the city connecting to make this tech sector so strong. This is really the future of this city and our economy. I also want to thank – so many people in the tech sector are such good citizens as well.

They care so deeply for the city, particularly our education system. There has been such a focus on helping to improve the lives of our young people and their possibilities ahead. The tech sector, right now, is 7 percent of all the jobs in New York City – it generates more than $50 billion in annual compensation and is , this is something I particularly love, becoming truly a five-borough industry, more and more, something that’s helping people in every walk of life, every kind of New Yorker, and that’s something powerful. We’re going to do a lot more to foster that and to make sure that our public schools provide this extraordinary community with the talent you need and want to be able to hire kids who come up from New York City and get the training they need so they can be a part of this sector – and that’s what we’re committed to.

So, I’ll finish by saying the famous phrase that Winston Churchill used long ago, he talked about the “special relationship” between the UK and the U.S. There is also a special relationship between New York City and the UK – a long and deep relationship – and today’s visit adds to it.

And I would like say to His Royal Highness, I hope this will be the first of many visits – we have many other amenities you have not yet seen. We would be very proud to show them to you and it’s a great honor to have you with us.

Thank you. 

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