Wikimania 2011/Bids/New York City

Wikimania 2011 candidate cities:

Haifa (Q)Montréal (Q)New York City (Q)Toronto (Q)
File:Wmnyc2011.png File:NYC Montage 11 by Jleon.jpg

"Remixing the World of Tomorrow"
Why NYCLogisticsLivin' LargeSupportTeam and BudgetAppendix



New York City is one of the world's great cities, and widely considered to be the leading global city. In addition to being the unofficial cultural and economic capital of the United States, this city of 8+ million (20+ million in the metro area) is also home to an incredibly diverse population of expatriates, immigrants, and their children. It is not unfitting that the United Nations also makes its home here.

New York is also the seat of a vibrant free culture community, comprised of students, academics, lawyers, artists, and others who have a stake in global collaborative projects like Wikipedia. Holding Wikimania 2011 in New York takes advantage of this community, strengthens this community, and results in a truly high-profile Wikimania before the eyes of the world. And so we want to present a dynamic and optimistic vision of the future of the project through the incorporation of some unconference elements as well as a unique program of broad public outreach to our city and the world. What better place to celebrate the 10th year of Wikipedia than in the Big Apple?

Wiki World's Fair

Inspired by the legendary 1939 New York World's Fair, the original World of Tomorrow

Wikimania in New York City would not only connect the global community of Wikimedians, but also celebrate the 10th anniversary of Wikipedia and the whole of the open knowledge movement with a Wiki World's Fair in the vein of the legendary 1939 New York World's Fair, as an open parkside street fair with dedicated Pavilions for cultural institutions and open knowledge groups in the city and from worldwide, each sharing their own particular contributions to the world of shared culture. Wikimedians and others from all over the world will convene in New York for a festival of learning, food, music, art, wonderful technology, and consider what's in store for the next 10 years of Wikipedia.

We will also invite participation at the Wiki World's Fair of all of the Wikimedia chapters and projects that wish to have a space there.

Locations we are looking at for the Wiki World's Fair include Union Square Park, which as free wi-fi access, as well as Brooklyn Borough Hall Plaza, which has hosted such events as the Brooklyn Book Festival.

Along with Wikimania itself, the Wiki World's Fair event will front the broader Wiki Week program of salons and unconferences by like-minded local organizations.

Wikimedia NYC

Doing the unconference thing at Wiki-Conference NYC in August 2009.

Wikimedia New York City is the non-profit chapter for NYC as well as the New York metropolitan area and surrounding regions, and is the only Wikimedia chapter in North America. It has held regular bimonthly meetings since 2007, and was recognized by the Wikimedia Foundation board and incorporated in 2009. Wikimedia NYC has pioneered a locally-driven community model of organization that it aspires to spread through a Wikimedia United States Chapters Council, and perhaps in other decentralized countries as well, and has developed a model that can also be adapted to sub-organizations of existing national chapters.

In addition to its regular bimonthly meetings, Wikimedia NYC has adopted a conscious strategy of engagement with its local community in the general public and with like-minded local organizations through a series of open conferences and joint initiatives. Wiki-Conference NYC in 2009 and Wikipedia Day NYC in 2010 have also given valuable experiences to apply to Wikimania, and we are now cementing general relationships not only through specific initiatives, but also through the nascent Free Culture Alliance NYC.

Doing the wiki photo scavenger hunt thing at Wikipedia Takes Manhattan 2 in October 2008.

Wikimedia NYC has engaged in a variety on projects with local partners, with a special emphasis on engagement with libraries, and on public-participation multimedia events. The Wikipedia at the Library project has has reached out to a number of academic and public libraries, including several workshops with librarians, as well as a class for the general public at the New York Public Library. The Wikipedia Takes Manhattan photo scavenger hunt has been held successfully 3 times, in Spring 2008, in Fall 2008, and in Fall 2009, and has inspired over a dozen other events worldwide on the Wikipedia Takes The City model. Wikimedia NYC also started the Wikipedia Loves Art museum photography events, which have since spread to new versions in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Lately, we have been focusing on the Lights Camera Wiki video project, on coordinating images releases with local United Nations agencies, and in helping to develop non-profit wiki-like communities for the new .NYC domain.

Free Culture Alliance NYC


Free Culture Alliance NYC is an informal umbrella group of organizations in the New York City area with an interest in the Free Culture movement and related developments, that held its first meeting in April 2010.

Our (15 and counting) partners with Free Culture Alliance NYC will form an important part in planning for the Wiki World's Fair and Wiki Week:

  • Inc.
  • Creative Commons Salon NYC
  • CUNY Academic Commons
  • Free Culture @ NYU
  • Internet Society of New York
  • New York Public Library
  • New York MediaWiki Meetup Group
  • OLPC-New York City

  • Open Video Alliance
  • OurMed
  • Participatory Culture Foundation
  • The Software Freedom Law Center
  • The Open Planning Project
  • Wikimedia New York City
  • Wireless Harlem



The Wikimania NYC planning team is comprised of experienced event planners, fundraisers and communicators with significant experience coordinating New York cultural events. New York is hospitable to large, complex events, and hosts a wealth of resources. Nonetheless, the team believes the cost of holding a Wikimania event in NYC can be minimized—similar-scale events like the Open Video Conference have been pulled off at a third of the cost of recent Wikimania events.

For context, please see the Wikimania NYC googlemap.


NYU buildings in the area of the proposed conference venue, just behind the Washington Square Arch

The top choice venue for Wikimania NYC is Vanderbilt Hall at the New York University School of Law. NYU Law was host to Wiki-Conference New York 2009 (100+ participants), and the Wikimedia NYC planning team are working to host another local Wiki-Conference in 2010 here before hosting Wikimania in 2011. NYU Law in 2009 also hosted the Open Video Conference a Wikimania-scale event (800+ participants), and the planning team includes many of the same organizers and volunteers who worked on that effort.

The Department of Media, Culture, and Communication at NYU has signed on as a co-sponsor to allow our booking there and to promote the conference. We are currently in discussions to formally book the space at NYU Law; normally they do not take reservations this far in advance (and so the calendar for this period is indeed clear), but they are considering an advanced booking in our case.

For keynotes, Tishman Auditorium can accommodate 450 people, and we can also set up a large overflow room with simulcast in Greenberg Lounge directly across the hall about 10 feet (3 meters) away, as was done with the Open Video Conference, which gives us space for 625-700 people for keynotes, depending on room arrangements. The entire Vanderbilt Hall can accommodate well over 1000 participants.

Another option is to host keynotes in the nearby NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts, which can host 860 participants in its theatre and is located just two short blocks from Vanderbilt Hall.

These are the spaces available in Vanderbilt Hall, the major building on site (though some spaces in neighboring buildings may also be used). These rooms can be booked at extremely low-cost and perhaps free:

Major Spaces and Lounges at NYU Law Vanderbilt
Room Capacity
Tishman Auditorium 450 people
Greenberg Lounge 350 people (reception); 250 people (round tables); 175 people (theatre)
Tishman + Greenberg
(for keynotes)
700 people (round tables in Greenberg); 625 people (theatre in Greenberg)
Golding Lounge 150 people (reception); 40 people in each wing (theatre)
Snow Dining Room 48 people (restaurant)
NYU Skirball Center
Room Capacity
Skirball Center for the Performing Arts 860 people
Classrooms and Seminar Rooms at NYU Law Vanderbilt
Room Capacity
Classroom 204 124 people
Classroom 206 112 people
Classroom 210 148 people
Classroom 214 104 people
Classroom 216 70 people
Classroom 218 112 people
Classroom 220 124 people
Seminar Room 201 24 people
Seminar Room 202 47 people
Seminar Room 208 25 people

To see some of these spaces in action, see video clips below.

Outside catering is allowed but carries a surcharge. For wireless, we will likely want to hire an outside contractor to boost the existing in-hall capacity.



Wikimania NYC qualifies for NYU Short-Term Conference Housing at $50 per night for shared occupancy or $75 per night for single occupancy for participants, due to our co-sponsorship by an NYU department.

The primary NYU housing location is Founders Hall, which is usually empty of students during the summer, and is located only a few blocks from the NYU Washington Square Campus area. We have been informed that there are no overlapping events planned, and that normally the reservation process does not even begin until January 2011, but we have discussed arranging early booking as soon as our bid is approved (which would put us very comfortably 8 months ahead of any other potential bookers).

New York City also has many conventional hotels that would be more suited to VIPs and also hostels. The conference planning team will report back shortly with a full list of available rooms and pricing.

[Insert Roger Smith details here] [Insert local hostels and hotels details here]


New York's Grand Central Terminal, connecting 3 regional railways

(Video produced as part of Wikimedia NYC's Lights Camera Wiki project)

Getting to New York


New York City is a hub for air traffic in the United States, and is particularly convenient from most European locations. The three major area airports are John F. Kennedy International Airport, Newark Liberty International Airport and LaGuardia Airport all of which offer easy public transportation into the city. New York City can also be reached easily from Long Island MacArthur Airport (home of budget carrier Southwest). New York is also accessible from the Philadelphia Airport by one of several budget bus carriers (1.45 hours and $10).

Selected roundtrip airfares to New york
Prices using last weekend in July 2010 (Arrive Wednesday July 28th Depart Monday August 2nd) and include taxes and fees .
From Airfare Airline Travel time Notes
San Francisco USD 395 (approx. ¥ 36,574 / € 295 / £ 265) Virgin America 5h40
Los Angeles USD 358 (approx. ¥ 33,148 / € 268 / £ 240) AirTran 7h38 stopover in Milwaukee
Toronto USD 234 (approx. ¥ 21,667 / € 175 / £ 157) LAN Airlines 1h55
Vancouver USD 555 (approx. ¥ 51,388 / € 415 / £ 372) Cathay Pacific 5h15
Mexico City USD 399 (approx. ¥ 36,944 / € 298 / £ 268) Aeromexico 5h05
Rio de Janeiro USD 1,068 (approx. ¥ 98,887 / € 798 / £ 716) Copa Airlines 15h50 stopover in Tocumen. Also $912 route with 2 stopovers and direct routes available.
London USD 845 (approx. ¥ 78,239 / € 631 / £ 567) British Airways 6h55
Paris USD 832 (approx. ¥ 77,035 / € 622 / £ 558) Finnair 14h10 Transfer in Helsinki
Brussels USD 988 (approx. ¥ 91,479 / € 738 / £ 662) Aer Lingus 22h5 Transfer in Dublin, 8h direct with Jet Airlines for $1119
Geneva USD 840 (approx. ¥ 77,776 / € 628 / £ 563) British Airways 10h Transfer in London
Berlin USD 1,025 (approx. ¥ 94,905 / € 766 / £ 687) Scandinavian Airlines 10h45 Transfer in Copenhagen
Athens USD 858 (approx. ¥ 79,443 / € 641 / £ 575) Turkish Airlines 14h Transfer in Istanbul
Moscow USD 932 (approx. ¥ 86,294 / € 696 / £ 625) United 13h41 Transfer in Washington DC
Tokyo USD 1,589 (approx. ¥ 147,126 / € 1,187 / £ 1,065) American Airlines 18h/14h Price for Transfer in Los Angeles on the way TO New York and direct on way back. $200 more for direct both directions.
Hong Kong USD 1,226 (approx. ¥ 113,516 / € 916 / £ 822) Air China 17h50 Transfer in Beijing, Direct flights available
Sydney USD 1,416 (approx. ¥ 131,108 / € 1,058 / £ 949) Delta 21h10 Transfer in Los Angeles

Pennsylvania Station serves as the hub of intercity train activity and offers frequent trips between New York, Boston and Washington D.C as well as direct trains to Toronto,Chicago,Cleveland and Miami among others. Amtrak also allows for connections to cities across the United States.

Getting around the city


The excellent New York City Subway carries more passengers than all other rail mass transit systems in the United States combined. Also, unlike other cities, public transport is available 24/7, so you will be able to safety (and cheaply) return to your hotel or hostel at any hour of the night. New York City is also considered to be among the most pedestrian-friendly cities in the country.

Livin' Large


Things to see in NYC


Empire State Building
Statue of Liberty
Grand Central Terminal
Rockefeller Center
Ellis Island
Staten Island Ferry
The Brooklyn Museum
Museum of Natural History
Central Park
The Met
Times Square
Chrysler Building
Carnegie Hall
United Nations
Bronx Zoo
Radio City Music Hall

VIP party


There are a number of small lounges that would be perfect for a smaller party.

All access party


We prefer Le Poisson Rouge, which can comfortably accommodate 500 in the downstairs language, with music and drinks.

Wiki Week


Together with the Wiki World's Fair, the Wiki Week program will be an opportunity to spread the Wikimania spirit to a broader audience through a series of salons and unconferences organized by like-minded local organizations in a week-long and city-wide celebration.



Letters of support




Bring Wikimania to NYC!

Team and Budget


Our team will be a collaboration between the Wikimedia New York City local chapter and Free Culture NYU (having previous experience working together on a number of projects such as Wikis Take Manhattan), as well as our Free Culture Alliance NYC friends and other partners, and also individual Wikimedia and free culture activists in the city and across the region.

The Personal Democracy Forum, organizers of the PdF Conference, have offered to provide fiscal sponsorship for Wikimania.

[Insert cost savings emphasis here]

Team composition

add yourself here!
Name Experience Role
Richard Knipel (Pharos) President of Wikimedia New York City; organizer of Wiki-Conference NYC 2009 general coordinator
Ben Moskowitz (TotallyNuts) General coordinator, Open Video Alliance; director of Open Video Conference NYC 2009; Students for Free Culture Board of Directors, 2009-present; co-organizer Free Culture 2008 and Free Culture X producer
Fred Benenson (Mecredis) Founder, Free Culture @ NYU; Students for Free Culture Board Member 2005-08; NYU Faculty; Creative Commons; Kickstarter; SFC 2008 Conference
John Britton (johndbritton) Lead Developer, Flat World Knowledge; Organizer, Open Everything NYC & Open Everything Hong Kong; Volunteer, Peer 2 Peer University; Co-organizer, CC Salon NYC;, unconference coordinator
Elizabeth Stark Yale Information Society Project, Co-founder of Open Video Alliance, Producer of Open Video Conference, Founder of Harvard Free Culture, Organizer of many free culture conferences Free Culture community advisor
Sandra Ordonez (Wikiblue) Helped organize Wikimania Taiwan Wikimania experience coordinator
Hannah Chen Free Culture @ NYU secretary
Anne Jonas Community Outreach Coordinator, Participatory Culture Foundation; Organizer, NYC Grassroots Media Coalition volunteers coordinator
Andrew Rasiej Founder Personal Democracy Forum and Chairman New York Tech Meet up
Peter Hess (Becksguy) One of the founding board members of Wikimedia New York City general volunteer
David Goodman (DGG) VP & founding board member of Wikimedia New York City, coordinator for academic institution relationshps

Detailed budget sheet



Service Description For Cost Additional information
Venue lecture halls, classrooms, common areas, and labor 3 days $10,000 USD possibly most cost-effective venue in NYC
Accomodation for VIPs $20,000 USD cut rates possible in partnership with Roger Smith hotel
Travel for VIPs $15,000 USD VIPs are primarily keynote speakers and community leaders
Scholarships $1000 stipend $25,000 USD
Discount lodging at NYU $50 / day reimbursement for each participant $25,000 USD We expect to bundle many of these beds as a registration option
Technical WiFi, A/V, laptops, projectors, etc. $10,000 USD
Insurance Accidents, liability insurance, medical care 800 participants $4,000 USD
Catering 2 lunches, 2 cocktail receptions 500 participants * 3 days $25,000 USD We expect to bundle these as a registration option
Promotional materials Banners, t-shirts, gifts, and badges 800 participants $10,000 USD Also prepared by sponsors
Participant swag Program and tote bag (may include sponsor pack-ins) 800 participants $3,000 USD
Conference planning team Food and gifts for volunteers, money for contractors $10,000 USD
Parties Party for attendees $10,000 USD Top-flight entertainer and 2hrs open bar at Le Poisson Rouge
VIP party 80-100 VIPs $5,000 USD champagne room
Wiki World's Fair Parkside street fair, open to public Permit and labor $15,000 USD Separate budget to be submitted; can be divorced from main budget line
Unforeseen expenses Includes inflation, waste disposal, etc. $10,000 USD
Total $197,000 USD

Sponsorship deck




Local media in NYC


A Wikimania in NYC would attract some local media attention, which could result in a higher-profile conference than in years past.

Videos from OVC


The Open Video Conference is a Wikimania-scale event previously hosted at NYU Law. Below you will find some videos of the various conference spaces at Vanderbilt while OVC was in progress. It should give a sense of how the venue feels during a Wikimania-scale event.

Alternate scenarios


The NYU Law Vanderbilt Hall space is ideal for several reasons:

  • it is centrally located;
  • it is likely the lowest-cost option in the city, freeing up budget resources for participant travel and additional conference features;
  • the conference planning team is very familiar with the space and staff, having organized several prior events there.

However, should the selection committee desire, the conference planning team can quickly draft up alternate budgets for the following spaces:

  • Fashion Institute of Technology

Pros | A number of elite spaces, including an auditorium that can seat 775. Relatively inexpensive.
Cons | The space is less configurable and we are bound to use house caterers, which are more expensive

There are a number of major spaces available at FIT:

Major Spaces at FIT
Room Capacity
Morris W. and Fannie B. Haft Auditorium 775 people
John E. Reeves Great Hall 600 people
Katie Murphy Amphitheatre 277 people
David Dubinsky Student Center 250 people, with breakout rooms of 35 and 45 people
Meeting Rooms Various meeting rooms are available through the campus with seating capacities ranging from 15 to 85 people
  • Alfred Lerner Hall, Columbia

Pros | Larger; auditorium space can seat perhaps 25% more.
Cons | This space is more expensive, and further uptown than many New Yorkers consider hip

  • Lincoln Center

Pros | This is a truly world-class space, with an elite auditorium to seat over 1000
Cons | The space comes with a correspondingly high price tag, which deflates the DIY spirit we hope to embody