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Genome center's location stuck in transit

Yankees-Mets. Giants-Jets. These are the sorts of things that usually divide New Yorkers. But beyond sports rivalries, a rift has formed among the founding members of the New York Genome Center (NYGC) about where to locate the new facility.

Three of the consortium's ten New York area members are on Long Island, including the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and Stony Brook University. But because the NYGC has mayoral funding, the center is required to break ground within city limits. This could include the outer boroughs, but “we're very interested in keeping this in Manhattan, because we think it's important to have the city institutions nearby,” says NYGC executive director Nancy Kelley.

Nearly all of the Manhattan-based members of the consortium are on the Upper East Side of the city, including Rockefeller University, Weill Cornell Medical College and Mount Sinai Medical Center. But, after looking at more than 100 sites across Manhattan and visiting more than 40 of them, the search did not turn up a potential site in this affluent neighborhood. Instead, the NYGC steering committee narrowed the search down to just two finalists: one in the Hell's Kitchen area west of Times Square, and the other down in TriBeCa just north of the financial district.

Ultimately, the decision might boil down to subway access, as navigating Manhattan east to west is notoriously difficult with public transit. “The ideal location, in my view, would be TriBeCa, because all of the subway lines converge there,” says Columbia University Medical Center's Tom Maniatis, who will chair the NYGC's scientific advisory board. “With the subway, you can imagine that even though the Genome Center is located in [Manhattan] for convenience, you could be connected to biotech parks in other boroughs.”

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Waters, H. Genome center's location stuck in transit. Nat Med 17, 1527 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1038/nm1211-1527b

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