Manhattan Borough 50
The borough of Manhattan is home to some of the most powerful people in the world, which made crafting this list difficult at times. We didn’t want to recognize the most internationally influential people who happen to own property in Manhattan; we wanted to find the people whose work has the most impact on the borough’s economy, development, culture and the daily lives of the 1.6 million people who call Manhattan home.
The list includes powerful city officials, heads of nonprofits, leaders of some of the world’s best hospitals, political power players and others, all who live in Manhattan. We did not include elected officials. We instead focused on others in the community we felt have the most visible impact on the borough’s intricate environment. Of our five borough lists, we are sure this one will garner the most criticism, simply because we had to leave so many deserving people off, but we hope it provides our readers with an honest picture of the community power structure in Manhattan.
#1: Alicia Glen
Deputy Mayor, New York City
Many New Yorkers associate Manhattan with economic and real estate development, which just so happens to be Alicia Glen’s portfolio as one of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s top deputies. Any and every proposal for a residential or commercial building, or a company that wishes to open up shop in the city, comes across Glen’s desk at some point. And with so much of de Blasio’s legacy staked on the success of his comprehensive affordable housing plan, the pressure is on Glen to see that the administration reaches its 200,000-unit goal without a hitch. On the economic development front, Glen has been instrumental in promoting Manhattan as the next frontier for tech investments, launching the Urban Tech NYC initiative, which will offer space, equipment, pilot opportunities and shared resources to entrepreneurs looking to address the city’s most pressing challenges. The Made in NY initiative has also been a boon for the city’s arts, fashion and culture scene, encouraging film, TV, technology and fashion companies to make their projects in the city.
#2: Bill Rudin
Chairman, Association for a Better New York
There are few families that have had as much impact on the borough of Manhattan as the Rudins. The fingerprints of billionaire real estate mogul Bill Rudin are visible all over the city with massive development projects, but this is just a small part of his influence. As chairman of ABNY he is a leader when it comes to the planning of New York. The organization focuses primarily on development issues, but has also been an active advocate for combating homelessness and improving education. Each year, its breakfast events host the most prominent politicians in the city and state, where the topics often vary, though never stray from the overarching theme of how to improve New York. In the years after the 9/11 attacks, Rudin was also instrumental in the rebuilding of lower Manhattan, serving as a strong advocate for federal funding as well as a cheerleader for businesses to return to the area. Many people have become very wealthy doing business in Manhattan, but from that list there are far fewer dedicated to fiercely fighting to make the borough better. Of the latter, Rudin tops the list.
#3: Anthony Shorris
First Deputy Mayor, New York City
The power and influence that Anthony Shorris wields is fairly visible. As the first deputy mayor, he is responsible for keeping the city running. He coordinates with all the city’s commissioners and divisions, implements the mayor’s visions and policies, and is called on to be a public face of the administration whenever a new initiative is rolled out. The Manhattan resident got to this point after a distinguished career that included running the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, as well as serving as chief of staff at NYU Langone Medical Center and several roles in higher education, mostly focusing on health and transportation policy. His institutional knowledge and breadth of experience makes him one of the most valuable members of city government. There are few, if any, major decisions that don’t pass by his desk, giving him great say on a wide variety of policies that impact the whole city, as well as the borough of Manhattan.
#4: Rob Speyer
Chairman, Real Estate Board of New York
Real estate is king in New York. It is king in political influence in state politics. It’s even more influential in city politics. And when it comes to the borough of Manhattan, the industry wields even more power. The center of that influence is the Real Estate Board of New York, and the person who drives the powerful organization more than anyone else is Rob Speyer. He has close ties to people at all levels of government. He is smart not to make enemies of politicians, and advocates strongly for rules and regulations that will benefit his members, as well as his own booming business, which includes many properties, most prominently Rockefeller Center. Speyer often features on both our New York City and state power lists, but it was impossible not to include him on this list, where his power and influence clearly has the most visible impact – especially when you factor in his outside endeavors as a board trustee at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital and as co-chairman of the St. Patrick’s Cathedral Landmark Foundation’s construction committee.
#5: James Milliken
Chancellor, City University of New York
With 11 of its premier campuses in the borough as well as its headquarters, Manhattan is the heart of the CUNY system. The institution has by far the largest student body and is one of the biggest employers in the borough, as well as the city. But beyond that, CUNY is literally a feeder system for government power. Its Manhattan campuses include John Jay College, leading the way on criminal justice; Hunter College, a leader on urban policy, with a specific focus on health, the biggest part of the city and state budget; Baruch College, which has educated some of the city’s most prominent political leaders in their school of Public and International Affairs – and that’s just to name a few of the system’s remarkable facilities. As head of CUNY, Milliken has enormous influence over tens of thousands of the brightest up-and-coming minds in the city. He also has a say in the physical development of several neighborhoods in Manhattan, with the colleges’ campuses being powerful influences in smaller subcommunities in the borough.
#6: Shola Olatoye
Chairwoman and CEO, New York City Housing Authority
The New York City Housing Authority has long been plagued by mismanagement, but Shola Olatoye has restored a measure of credibility to the agency since taking over in 2014, slowly but surely whittling away the authority’s yawning budget deficit. Rather than throw up her hands at the agency’s $17 billion capital deficit, Olatoye and the de Blasio administration, with the help of the federal government, have outlined a new approach – dubbed NextGen NYCHA – to fix the city’s public housing, in part by leasing NYCHA land to developers to raise money to address capital needs. Manhattan has more public housing developments than any other borough, several of which will serve as potential test cases for the federal government’s Rental Assistance Demonstration program, pending NYCHA’s application. The RAD program converts buildings from public housing to the Section 8 rental-subsidy program, and turning partial control over to private operators in partnership with NYCHA. Any success Olatoye will have in helping to keep NYCHA solvent will largely hinge on the efficacy the NextGen plan.
#7: Carl Weisbrod
Chairman, New York City Planning Commission
You would be hard-pressed to find an individual more widely respected in government, business and real estate than Carl Weisbrod. His experience in those three sectors made him a natural fit to head the City Planning Commission, where he has a huge say in shepherding development projects through the government process. Having worked in real estate, Weisbrod proved valuable in winning support for Mayor Bill de Blasio’s affordable housing plan from the development community. In his role leading the real estate arm of Trinity Church, Weisbrod was renowned for his ability to bring together land-use planners, architects, economists, property owners and community boards in order to further development projects. The Midtown East rezoning, which has become a subject of much debate between the administration, City Council and Real Estate Board of New York, will be a major test for Weisbrod. In return for selling air rights to developers to rezone the area, Weisbrod has been trying to negotiate a commitment for necessary infrastructure upgrades in the area.
#8: Steven Corwin
President and CEO, NewYork-Presbyterian
Not only is NewYork-Presbyterian the biggest hospital in Manhattan, it is also arguably the best. Annually listed as the No. 1 hospital in New York, and one of the top 10 in the nation, the facility is definitely elite, and Steven Corwin is one of the main reasons. He’s come up through the ranks at the hospital since he joined in the late ’70s and played a large role in the hospital’s vast expansions in the past decade. Each year, the hospital provides care to more than 2 million patients, makes world-shaking advancements in medical research and provides tens of thousands of jobs in the borough of Manhattan. Recently, Corwin was also named president of the board of directors at the Greater New York Hospital Association – a politically powerful trade union that wields tremendous influence over city and state government.
#9: Timothy Dolan
Cardinal, Archdiocese of New York
According to a report by the Association of Religion Data, there are roughly 560,000 Catholics living in Manhattan. To put that in perspective, that’s almost the entire population of Milwaukee, which coincidentally is where Timothy Dolan was archbishop until 2009. As archbishop of New York, Dolan’s electric personality has made him a political force regionally, nationally and internationally. But, he also wields tremendous influence in Manhattan. Not only is he a thought leader to the more than half a million Catholics in the borough, he also oversees a massive operation of charitable works, and is responsible for nearly 100 churches in Manhattan, making difficult decisions about merging or closing facilities. When it comes to politics, Dolan is not shy to speak up and advocate for the church’s tenets, but he is also quick to collaborate with politicians and community leaders to champion a cause he feels is a worthy endeavor.
#10: Leecia Eve
Vice President of state government affairs for tri-state region, Verizon
Leecia Eve is no stranger to politics. She is the daughter of legendary Buffalo politician Arthur Eve, was once highly considered as a lieutenant governor candidate, and for several years served as the deputy secretary for economic development for Gov. Andrew Cuomo. She is also an accomplished attorney whose resume includes stints working for Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden. Now, in her role at Verizon, one of the biggest employers in the borough of Manhattan, she uses the lifetime of government knowledge she has accumulated to help the Fortune 500 company land contracts with the city and state, as well as navigate regulations. There are few people in the nexus of government, politics and business as connected and competent, and while the scope of her work extends far beyond Manhattan, her influence in the borough cannot be denied.
#11: Lee Bollinger
President, Columbia University
Many people have said Manhattan is a borough made up of villages and neighborhoods. Well, Columbia University is basically its own village. Over the years the campus has grown as the Ivy League school has increasingly become a leader in the borough. And the school is just getting started, with a $6 billion expansion under construction. Bollinger has been at the forefront of the school’s growth as the longest serving president of an Ivy League college. He was on the front lines dealing with the community and city officials to greenlight the school’s ambitious expansion.
#12: Emily Rafferty
President Emerita, Metropolitan Museum of Art; Chairwoman, Federal Reserve Bank of New York
For decades Emily Rafferty has been at the center of Manhattan’s vibrant community of arts, culture and tourism. She was the longtime president, and now president emerita, of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, easily the borough’s (and arguably the nation’s) preeminent art museum. If that wasn’t enough, she had her hands in many other activities, including serving as chairwoman of NYC & Company’s board of directors. She is also a member of the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and is a powerful voice in the debate over the future of Manhattan.
#13: Suri Kasirer
President, Kasirer Consulting
For a decade, Suri Kasirer has been one of the top lobbyists in the city, serving hundreds of clients, most of them based or focused in Manhattan. In the real estate industry, she has served as a go-to person for developers in the borough to navigate government and get clearance to build. In the nonprofit world, she has helped dozens of organizations secure contracts. And for other businesses operating in Manhattan, whether it be in tech, transportation, entertainment, unions or even media, her firm has been a successful force in getting things done.
#14: Stephen Ross
Chairman and Founder, Related Companies
With the portfolio of projects Related Companies has in Manhattan, it would be hard to keep their company off this list. Their signature development is at Hudson Yards, which is already getting praise even though it is still under construction. But Stephen Ross is also a powerful voice in the political debates surrounding real estate policy. He is the chairperson emeritus at the Real Estate Board of New York, and infamously got in a heated exchange with current chairman Rob Speyer earlier this year. Ross is also a trustee of Lincoln Center and of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital.
#15: Christine Quinn
President and CEO, Women In Need
After two successful terms as City Council speaker and an unsuccessful run for mayor, Christine Quinn is now doing important advocacy work as the president and CEO of WIN, the largest nonprofit serving homeless women and their families in the city. Shortly after being hired, Quinn put aside past differences with Mayor Bill de Blasio, teaming with the administration to help address over 12,000 code violations in the city’s shelter system. Her political future remains a hot topic, and she has dipped her toes back in the political waters as a highly visible surrogate for Hillary Clinton.
#16: James Capalino
CEO, Capalino + Company
James Capalino has benefitted from his close ties to and early support of Bill de Blasio by becoming the top lobbyist in the city. His company’s portfolio of work is vast, including helping dozens of developers with projects that are shaping the borough. He also represents some of the premier companies and institutions headquartered in Manhattan, spanning everything from tech to arts to nonprofits and other businesses. A veteran of the Koch administration, Capalino has been active in city government for decades, bringing loads of experience to his work.
#17: H. Carl McCall
Chairman, SUNY Board of Trustees
H. Carl McCall has worn many hats over the years in state government, but he got his start as a state senator representing upper Manhattan. His roots in the district have never weakened, even when he served as state comptroller, commissioner of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey or in his current role as chairman of the SUNY Board of Trustees. He is politically connected, has deep ties to corporate America, and is a fierce advocate for making the borough better, specifically when it comes to education.
#18: John Catsimatidis
CEO, Red Apple Group
The billionaire founder of the Gristedes supermarket franchise and 2013 mayoral candidate made our list for a host of reasons, the biggest of which is that he has been a mainstay of business and politics in the borough for more than four decades. His prolific fundraising for both Republicans and Democrats has made him friends with many of the most powerful people in the city, and his opinions on the direction of the borough often find their way to decision-makers. If that wasn’t enough, he also hosts a weekly radio show where he gets to weigh in on the week’s news.
#19: Jessica Lappin
President, Alliance for Downtown New York
Jessica Lappin took over at the Alliance for Downtown New York at a great time for lower Manhattan. The alliance reported a record 14 million tourists visited the area last year, which has helped drive $17 million in annual revenue for the city’s largest business improvement district. A former City Council member, Lappin has leveraged her legislative experience into an agreement to let landlords rent 110,000 square feet of designated public space to commercial retailers, which should help her achieve her goal of turning lower Manhattan into a shopping destination to rival Midtown.
#20: Eva Moskowitz
Founder and CEO, Success Academy Charter Schools
On the City Council, Eva Moskowitz chaired the Education Committee, but it was when she became CEO of Success Academy that her ambitions truly began to take shape. Her schools embed themselves in the city’s lowest-achieving neighborhoods, and, freed from district restrictions, implement unique approaches to learning that put her at odds with the mayor and teachers unions. Her schools are among the highest performing in the state and currently educate 14,000 students across the city.
#21: Kenneth Davis
President and CEO, Mount Sinai Health System
When Kenneth Davis took over as CEO of Mount Sinai Medical Center in 2003, the hospital was far from the gem of quality and efficiency that it is now. He is credited for improving the culture, implementing more accountability, and vastly improving the hospital’s research facilities. In 2016, it was named the 15th best hospital in the country by U.S. News and World Reports, with higher rankings for cardiology and heart surgery. As head of the entire Mount Sinai Health System since 2013, Davis is a true leader in the field of health care – one of the borough’s biggest industries.
#22: Henry Garrido
Executive Director, District Council 37
Since taking over as head of District Council 37 in 2014, Henry Garrido has made it his mission to build up his union membership. The union says its has added 4,000 employees to its already robust ranks that make it the largest public employees union in New York City. Most of those members work in Manhattan, and many are paid low wages, something Garrido has made a priority to address wherever possible. In addition to his role as union boss, Garrido sits on the board of the Dominican Day Parade and serves on the board of the New York City Employees Retirement System.
#23: Basil Smikle
Executive Director, New York State Democratic Party
The Harlem native is at the center of Democratic politics right now. He is a former aide to Hillary Clinton, and as executive director of the state party he works closely with Gov. Andrew Cuomo. While the scope of his work far exceeds what is happening in Manhattan, he is still a power broker in the borough, where he has been a fierce advocate for improving public education. In his spare time, he is an adjunct lecturer at Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs.
#24: Tony Marx
President and CEO, New York Public Library
One of the cultural jewels of Manhattan is the New York Public Library system. Since 2011, Marx has headed up the nearly 90 branches of the institution. In that time, he has made it his mission to provide more free services to all. He partners with the city Department of Education to expand learning outside of school hours, he advocates for more city funding, and has pushed to provide low-income children with more access to quality books.
#25: Dennis Mehiel
Chairman and CEO, Battery Park City Authority
Dennis Mehiel has been around New York politics for decades, including a run for lieutenant governor in 2002. Now the successful businessman and former manufacturing mogul heads up the BPCA, the public-private partnership that oversees development in the lower Manhattan neighborhood with a goal of making sure there is a well-balanced community. He is also a big fundraiser for city Democrats. Earlier this year he held a high-dollar fundraiser for Mayor Bill de Blasio at his Upper East Side home where attendees had to dish out $4,950.
#26: Bradley Tusk
CEO, Tusk Holdings
Recently, Bradley Tusk has been in the news for his not-so-subtle endeavor to find a mayoral candidate to challenge Bill de Blasio in 2017. But his influence and power was clear long before that. In his career he has worked in various roles in government and politics, as well as the corporate world. Now, his joint endeavours as venture capitalist and strategic planner for some of the nation’s top companies put him right in the nexus of New York City government and business, where he is uniquely placed to impact the future of the city.
#27: Andrew Hamilton
President, New York University
Andrew Hamilton is only in his first year as president of New York University, but he has already pledged to build upon the university’s commitment to being an urban partner and leader that is more part of Manhattan than just a campus in Greenwich Village. As part of that mission, he has made it a priority to make the school more affordable for students. He has also put a large focus on improving diversity at the school, creating a chief diversity officer position.
#28: Jessica Walker
President, Manhattan Chamber of Commerce
With a background working for nonprofits, government affairs and the corporate world, Jessica Walker brings unique talents and a diverse CV to her role as head of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce. With roughly 15,000 members in the borough, the chamber serves as one of the most prevalent voices for small and middle-sized businesses that traditionally have struggled to be heard in a city where so many Fortune 500 companies have an oversized presence. In Walker, MCC has a leader with vision and experience to get its message delivered.
#29: Marissa Shorenstein
President, AT&T New York
Marissa Shorenstein is a veteran of Democratic politics in New York, having worked for Andrew Cuomo, David Paterson and H. Carl McCall to name a few. But she also has experience translating her political background into the corporate world. In her current role, she is a driving force for AT&T’s efforts to make Manhattan more tech friendly through innovation, government partnerships and by advocating for regulatory changes. The borough is on the cusp of a potential tech boom, and Shorenstein is a key player in that movement.
#30: Craig Thompson
President and CEO, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
In a borough with some of the world’s best medical facilities, MSKCC stands out as an international leader in cancer treatment, research and prevention. If you live in Manhattan and are diagnosed, your first choice is MSKCC. Since taking over as CEO in 2010, Craig Thompson has pushed for improvements to the hospital, thanks in part to securing massive gifts from some of the city’s most prominent philanthropists. Under his watch, the hospital also entered into a collaboration with IBM utilizing its supercomputer Watson to work on cutting-edge tools to better diagnose patients.
#31: Sid Davidoff
Principal, Davidoff Hutcher & Citron LLP
The former staffer to Mayor John Lindsay (yes, Lindsay) has been a power broker in New York City politics for literally five decades, serving in various capacities. In his current role as a prominent attorney, consultant and lobbyist, he uses his vast experience in government to help clients navigate bureaucracy. He has a special focus on development projects, with the bulk of his work centered in Manhattan. Davidoff’s close ties to Mayor Bill de Blasio only add to his influence.
#32: Patricia Harris
CEO, Bloomberg Philanthropies
Patricia Harris, the former first deputy mayor to Michael Bloomberg, has in many ways continued the billionaire’s legacy by overseeing all of his charitable giving. While the cash flows all over the world to improve education, protect the environment and cultivate the arts, a significant amount stays in Manhattan, helping boost the nonprofit community. For anyone looking for support to promote an innovative new idea to make the borough better, Harris is someone you should know.
#33: Sheena Wright
President and CEO, United Way of New York City
In 2012, Sheena Wright became the first female president and CEO of United Way of New York City in its 75-year history. Her passion for the work is fueled by her personal experience of being raised by a young single mother whose sacrifices helped Sheena enter Columbia University at age 16. United Way of New York City counts over 670 corporate partners among its funders, makes grants to over 500 community-based organizations and provides invaluable infrastructure support through initiatives like BoardServeNYC.
#34: Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch
Senior Rabbi, Stephen Wise Free Synagogue
More than 300,000 Jews living in Manhattan, and while there isn’t a single spiritual leader for all of them, Senior Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch is the borough’s most influential voice for the faith. He speaks passionately about the trends of Jewish culture in America, focusing on the positive impact of Jews who have integrated into Western society. He also is a leading voice on the importance of the Israeli state, an issue of vital importance to many Jews living in Manhattan, offering a balanced and nuanced opinion that the debate is often missing.
#35: Elinor Tatum
Publisher and Editor in Chief, Amsterdam News
In the media capital of the world, there are surprisingly few publications that have true influence over the issues that matter on a local level in the borough of Manhattan. One exception is the Amsterdam News. It is one of the oldest publications in the country that focuses on the African-American population and the issues that matter to its core audience – the historically black communities in Harlem. Elinor Tatum has guided the publication for nearly 20 years, establishing herself as one of the most respected opinion makers in the borough, and the city.
#36: Alan Steel
President and CEO, Jacob K. Javits Convention Center
In the crowded borough, convention space is much sought after. That makes the efficient and functional operation of the 1.8 million-square-foot Javits Center all the more important – especially when it accounts for roughly $2 billion in business annually for the borough. Under Steel, the center has gone through massive renovations to make the facility more high-tech, so it can continue to compete with the world’s premiere centers. The facility is also a leader in sustainability with the recent installation of one of the nation’s largest green roofs.
#37: Rev. Michael Walrond Jr.
Senior Pastor, First Corinthian Baptist Church
In the heart of Harlem, the Rev. Michael Walrond Jr. has established himself as a leading voice for thousands of people seeking faith that fits into the modern world. In his more than a decade as the head of First Corinthian Baptist Church, membership has skyrocketed, and his voice on social justice issues and politics carries true power in the community. In 2014, Pastor Mike tested that power when he challenged Rep. Charles Rangel in a crowded field. He finished a distant third, but the foray into politics didn’t curtail his growing popularity and influence in the community.
#38: Brenda Rosen
President and CEO, Breaking Ground
Brenda Rosen works across the spectrum of homelessness to build a more affordable city for those who need it most. Breaking Ground, the city’s largest supportive housing provider, owns or operates more than 19 properties, six of them in Manhattan, with over 3,530 apartments. It is also the largest provider of street homeless outreach teams for the mayor’s Home-Stat initiative. Breaking Ground is at the forefront of the city’s shift to the “housing first” philosophy, and their flagship Times Square site is the nation’s largest permanent supportive housing development.
#39: Julie Menin
Commissioner, New York City Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment
In the 15 years since 9/11, one of the hardest-working advocates for rebuilding lower Manhattan has been Julie Menin. In that time she served as a nonprofit leader and chairwoman of Community Board 1 and ran for borough president, all the while speaking passionately about the need to help the community recover. Her work has shifted in recent years, serving as the head of the Department of Consumer Affairs and now as head of the office of Media and Entertainment. But her commitment to making the borough of Manhattan better is always at the forefront of her mind.
#40: David Saltzman
Executive Director, The Robin Hood Foundation
David Saltzman was one of The Robin Hood Foundation’s five founders in 1988 and helped build a charity known for using meticulously gathered data to identify the most promising anti-poverty initiatives in the city. Their board is a who’s who list of the rich and famous and the foundation’s gala is “Wall Street’s favorite charity event.” The board covers all of the organization’s administrative costs and has raised over $2.5 billion since the charity opened. Just last year the self-acclaimed “largest poverty-fighting organization in New York” gave away $132 million to 210 city programs.
#41: Kevin Sheekey
Chairman, Bloomberg Government
A veteran of government, Kevin Sheekey remains a power broker in Manhattan, even though his current job allows him wide influence over national and international affairs. As one of Michael Bloomberg’s closest and most respected aides, Sheekey is often quoted saying things one would expect to come from Bloomberg’s mouth, if the former mayor could say them without creating a media firestorm. It’s clear the Bloomberg team still cares deeply about the future of the city, and Sheekey is a leading and influential voice in any and all debates that impact its direction.
#42: David Jones
President and CEO, The Bowery Mission
Since 1879, the Bowery Mission has been one of New York City’s most effective nonprofits combatting homelessness and hunger, with much of its work focusing on the Manhattan neighborhoods near where the mission still resides on Bowery Street. Jones took over as head of the nonprofit in 2015, and immediately made efforts to provide more shelter to those in need. He has also expanded the nonprofit’s geographic reach, recently opening a new community resource center in East Harlem that provides free legal, medical and career services.
#43: Hank Sheinkopf
With decades of experience running campaigns and advising politicians, it is easy to see the influence that Hank Sheinkopf has over the political discourse in Manhattan and beyond. He’s a go-to person for members of the media looking for comment on pretty much anything related to New York City politics, not only because of his knowledge but also because he understands how to deliver a memorable quote or soundbite for TV crews. As a consultant, he is sought after by top clients, many with a focus on Manhattan, because of his record of success.
#44: George McDonald
Founder and President, The Doe Fund
McDonald’s winning formula moves homeless and formerly incarcerated men to lives of sobriety and gainful employment in social entrepreneurship ventures providing everything from catering services to pest management. His Doe Fund is named after a homeless woman he befriended in Grand Central Terminal who later died of exposure one winter night. Over 25 years later, his program’s bid to end homelessness and recidivism serves about 2,000 individuals a year and their “men in blue” can be seen cleaning over 170 miles of New York City streets each day.
#45: Adele Malpass
Chairwoman, Manhattan Republican Party
Manhattan is clearly a blue borough. But you’d be mistaken if you dismiss the influence of the Manhattan GOP. In her role as chairwoman of the party, Adele Malpass plays a key role in organizing fundraisers and events for some of the nation’s most important Republicans, as well as anyone seeking statewide office in New York, or looking for the GOP line in a run for mayor. She also provides a respected conservative perspective on what’s happening in Manhattan and New York City, which often reaches many lawmakers far outside the borough, shaping national perspective.
#46: Milton Tingling
New York County Clerk
Traditionally the office of county clerk doesn’t command tremendous power, but Milton Tingling is changing that. Since taking over as clerk in 2014 the former judge has been on a mission to diversify the jury pool, empowering communities of color to register to vote or take other steps that would make them eligible to sit on a jury. Tingling is also tasked with keeping one of the busiest legal systems in the world running efficiently, while understaffed. Delays at the clerk’s office can have a real impact on businesses and services, making his often overlooked job far more influential than it may seem.
#47: Barry Diller
Chairman, IAC, Expedia
There are plenty of wealthy businessmen in Manhattan, but few care as much about shaping the borough as Barry Diller. The business mogul and his wife, fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg, have donated millions to improving parks in New York City. They were a driving force behind the creation of the High Line, and now they have set their sights on a new project: the controversial Pier 55 development, a one-of-a-kind park and concert hall that floats on the Hudson River. Now that the project has cleared some court hurdles, it could be completed by as soon as 2019.
#48: Jane Rosenthal
Co-Founder, Tribeca Film Insitute
Actor Robert De Niro is often given credit for revitalizing the Tribeca neighborhood of Manhattan in the aftermath of 9/11, by being a spokesman and face of the Tribeca Film Festival, which launched in 2002. But the person who was pushing him to launch the endeavor and who has overseen its success for the past 15 years has been co-founder Jane Rosenthal. The successful film and television producer, along with the help of her husband, real estate investor Craig Hatkoff, have created an internationally famous event that has had a noticeable impact on the recovery of the borough.
#49: Henry Timms
Executive Director, 92nd Street Y
In 2014, Henry Timms rocked the boat when he became the first non-Jewish executive director of the 92nd Street Y community center in the organization’s 140-year history. But the goy was a smart pick. He’s continued to grow the nonprofit’s reach with over 300,000 annual visitors to its centers and millions more engaging online. All of this came after Timms cemented his influence over the nonprofit sector by helping to create #GivingTuesday, which galvanized the nation in support of charity organizations to the tune of over $45 million in donations last year.
#50: Ava Farkas
Executive Director, Metropolitan Council on Housing
Real estate and housing is issue No. 1 in Manhattan. For more than 50 years, the Metropolitan Council on Housing has been at the forefront of the fight for affordability, organizing tenants to stand up for their rights and to advocate for safe and clean dwellings. Ava Farkas took over as head of the council in 2015, bringing her experience as an organizer, advocate and political aide to the nonprofit. In her short time in charge, she has been a staunch fighter for strengthening rent regulations that impact hundreds of thousands of people in New York City.