Living in Europe, I have never encountered the usage myself, and neither Merriam-Webster nor Wiktionary even mention the mere possibility of "ask" being used as a noun.
That being said, Raymond Chen, a senior Microsoft programmer (Redmond, WA), blogged about the noun ask on January 7th, 2004, saying that it had gained momentum in the year before:
Ask (as a noun)
This has taken over Microsoft-speak in the past year or so and it drives me batty. "What are our key asks here?", you might hear in a meeting. Language tip: The thing you are asking for is called a "request". Plus, of course, the thing that is an "ask" is usually more of a "demand" or "requirement". But those are such unfriendly words, aren't they? Why not use a warm, fuzzy word like "ask" to take the edge off?
Answer: Because it's not a word.
I have yet to find any dictionary which sanctions this usage. Indeed, the only definition for "ask" as a noun is A water newt [Scot. & North of Eng.], and that was from 1913!
Answer 2: Because it's passive-aggressive.
These "asks" are really "demands". So don't guilt-trip me with "Oh, you didn't meet our ask. We had to cut half our features. But that's okay. We'll just suffer quietly, you go do your thing, don't mind us."
If we stop right here, whether you subscribe to Mr. Chen's prescriptive approach or prefer to just let languages evolve, your suspicions seem to be confirmed to some extent (rather recent trend, technology company, though not exactly East Coast).
However, digging deeper, here is a Language Log post from August 7th, 2004 (the plot thickens). And finally, the excellent follow-up from July 10th, 2008 (the plot takes an unexpected U-turn):
I opined that the noun ask was likely to be venerable, probably going back to Old English. And so it is and does, but the full story is more interesting than a simple survival of a lexical item from a millennium ago.
[...] A natural innovation in Old English would have been to create a noun directly from the verb ask (or its pre-OE forebear); that would have been a useful thing to have, and so it happened. Yes, a nouning of a verb. [...] The crucial point here is that the noun request wasn't around then. According to the OED, it appeared in Middle English, in the 14th century (when borrowings from Old French began swarming into the language), and, about 200 years later, we got the verb request (a verbing, either in English or in Old French, it's hard to tell). So a noun ask was a good thing to have while we were waiting for the French-based request to arrive.
The OED has three early cites, between roughly 1000 and 1230, and then a huge gap until these two cites:
1781 T. TWINING Let. 8 Dec. in Recreat. & Stud. (1882) 108, I am not so unreasonable as to desire you to..answer all my asks.
1886 ‘CAVENDISH’ Whist 127 When your three comes down in the next round, it is not an ask for trumps.
That post is chock-full of such revelations, which boil down to:
[The] noun ask seems to have been innovated on a number of different occasions.
Of which the current technology-company speak is just one. Highly recommended reading.