For her evening gown made of raw meat alone, Lady Gaga earned her spot on this list. But nearly as weird and impressive was the keytar solo she played on SNL (a high point for the instrument) and beating Beyoncé at her own game in the video for "Telephone."
Former head of the Presidential Task Force on the Auto Industry
The "car czar" saved GM from liquidation, there's no two ways about it. What could have been a terrible failure--we were so skeptical of that rhyming title he was given--turned out to be one of the great turnarounds in recent financial history. His legacy would be secure, if it weren't for that pension scandal.
Director, Acquavella Gallery
Founded by Nicholas Acquavella in 1921 and specializing then in Italian Renaissance, this Upper East Side staple passed in 1960 to his son William, who pushed things forward a few centuries, to 19th- and 20th-century masterworks. Now with the help of Mr. Acquavella’s daughter, the gallery offers a representative sample of 20th-century art, from Cézanne to Rauschenberg.
P.S.1's confident and incredibly German director transformed the Long Island City museum from a place with a lot of potential into an experimental workshop of performance, photography, sculpture and painting, incessantly pushing genres and convention to the limit. When we asked him over the summer if his work as a performance-art curator had validated the art form, he answered, simply and sternly, "It did."
Commissioner, New York City Department of Transportation
Ms. Sadik-Khan actually made Times Square kind of pleasant, with all of those pedestrian walkways. She's also made the city safer for cyclers, with more bike lanes and improved bus lanes.
Fashion Director, Lincoln Center
She brought Fashion Week to Lincoln Center and turned the event into a party after several tepid years. We’d expect no less from the woman whose previous job was organizing the Met’s Costume Institute gala.
President, Greenlight Capital
This master of short selling, who started with $1 million in 1996 and has seen that number rise exponentially, is also one of the most candid investors in the city. When he says "sell," the market sells. A gambler by profession, Mr. Einhorn happens to be a world-class poker player.
President, Kerwin Communications
What do you do during a recession that's been going for almost three years? Start a magazine for the superrich and stock it only in private jets? In between sips of Champagne, people with a $9.2 million average salary who are making a Private Journey (see, that's the name of this private jet magazine) have a thirst for editorial content, too.
Editor, The Daily
The former managing editor of the Post was recently tapped by Rupert Murdoch to head up his much talked-about iPad app, The Daily. He's been poaching top journalistic talent from around the city and paying good wages to boot. Will the app be any good? The iPadless among us may never know.
President, National Action Network
He's always there to praise or admonish every New York politician's decision. He's created his own media company, ESH holdings, and as an orator he has few rivals in the nation.
Co-founder and co-chair, Weinstein Company
A staple of American cinema for decades, since co-founding Miramax (with brother Bob) in 1979, Mr. Weinstein has won an Oscar and a Tony and has been releasing films that are not only popular but boundary-breaking, from Sex, Lies, and Videotape to Inglorious Basterds. After a time in Hollywood banishment, he seems to be back.
Executive director, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
The Port Authority's slow and bureaucratic reputation is disintegrating in Mr. Ward's hands. He's actually pushing previously nightmarish projects forward. There is a financial agreement in place for the World Trade Center. Moynihan Station, meanwhile, has finally entered Phase I of construction.
His tech incubator spawned bit.ly, the handy link shortener that tweeters around the world rely on. His company is one to watch as the age of apps and the real-time Web dawns.
Mr. West sold half a million copies of his My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy in the first week. The album was one of the best reviewed of the year, but we still can't decide what we find more entertaining--his music or his Twitter. No one man should have all that power!
Barry Diller's successor is the former CEO of Match.com. It's good to know that as Newsweek and the Daily Beast merge, at least one of the guys in charge has experience pairing together two struggling, unhappy entities and forcing them to work together to achieve fulfillment.
Chairman and CEO, the M.T.A.
What could be better than paying $2 for the faint smell of pee and the glow of fluorescent lighting? What's that? You say the fare has been raised to $2.25? $2.50 in January? Mr. Walder, no matter how much you raise the subway rates, we'll keep paying.
Editor in chief, The New Yorker
Sick of those insufferable counter-counterintuitive Malcolm Gladwell think pieces? Mr. Remnick is still publishing legends like Ian Frazier and John McPhee, and he just added to his stable of foreign correspondents The Times' man in Iraq and Afghanistan, Dexter Filkins. Now if he could only find 20 young fiction writers ...
President and CEO, Edelman Public Relations
One of the truly good guys in an industry not known for them. Mr. Edelman's clients straddle politics, big business and do-gooder causes. He's also a regular at the pooh-bah roundup in Davos, Switzerland.
Editor, Bloomberg Businessweek
He single-handedly brought Time into the age of Internet journalism. When Bloomberg bought Businessweek, Mr. Tyrangiel was the man tapped to revamp it.
Editor in chief, New York magazine
Founder of the legendary Seven Days--anybody got any back issues?--Mr. Moss has led a charmed life in the magazine world, marching repeatedly to the stage every year at the ASMEs and performing his "What, me?" shrug. Where would that land on the Approval Matrix?
Editor, The New York Times Magazine
Mr. Lindgren, formerly the executive editor at Bloomberg Businessweek and before that Adam Moss' protégé, this year landed Mr. Moss' old job as the editor of The New York Times Magazine. No trufflegate controversies yet, but his tenure is young.
Labeled an "iconoclast, provocateur, capitalist," Mr. Koons has his critics. They chide him for creating work that is kitsch and self-merchandising (he did just design a line of creams for Kiehl's). But there's no question that the artist, who has set auction records for works by a living artist, and curator (Skin Fruit, anyone?) is one of New York's top art dogs--and not just the 43-foot topiary puppy variety.
The shade of Elaine Kaufman will always exert a certain amount of power wherever writers and editors gather in this town over bar food and too many drinks. Cheers.
For a generation of single white females, Ms. Parker defined what it meant to live in New York, but more importantly, she has gone from late-night cable cult queen to genuine movie star. Even the absurd failure that was Sex and the City 2--"Lawrence of my labia," anyone?--was box office gold.
President and CEO, Harlem Children's Zone
Heralded by Paul Tough, Ira Glass and Oprah Winfrey, Mr. Canada has
built a model for improving high-school education in Harlem that President Obama has seen fit to apply to 20 cities across the nation. Wonder if he was on anyone's list for schools chancellor?
Editor in chief, New York Post
So what if Dick Gephardt wasn't John Kerry's running mate? That happened six years ago, and in this game, this morning's headlines are already old news. With his heir apparent, Jesse Angelo, out the door and confined to the iPad ghetto, Mr. Allan, notoriously journalism's champion pub crawler north of Christopher Hitchens, remains the perfect poster boy for the rowdy tabloid tradition.
Principal, RFR Holding
The silver-crowned Mr. Rosen's penchant for real estate is rivaled only by his ever-expanding art collection--and oftentimes the two are one and the same. The owner of the Lever House just bought out Ian Schrager to take over the Grammercy Park Hotel, but he still can't shake the Hasidic protesters angry about a planned hotel in Jaffa, Israel.
Founder, Tory Burch
She has beaten out Marc Jacobs and Michael Kors as the accessory designer of the year, as chosen by the Council of Fashion Designers of America, building a fashion empire in just six years. Ms. Burch first came to prominence when her company, in only in its second year, was endorsed by Oprah Winfrey.
These two turned the neighborhood of Tribeca, where Mr. De Niro lives, into an artistic haven for the extremely wealthy thanks to the Tribeca Film Festival, which has only grown in size and reputation. And we're still kind of scared of Mr. De Niro because of that whole "You fuck my wife?" scene in Raging Bull.
Host, Charlie Rose
We've seen Mr. Rose hold his own against a disheveled Harold Bloom and ask the Coen brothers, "How far can the Coen brothers go?" (Get it? Far-go?) And it's always with a straight face and that classic staccato cadence that is his signature. Now you can watch him on Bloomberg Television.
Creative Director, Wired
The creator of the first successful digital app in publishing, Mr. Dadich dragged Condé Nast out of the Stone Age. His Wired app has sold more than 100,000 copies since it hit the market and has revolutionized the company's business model.
Co-owner, the Four Seasons Restaurant
Is there any better New York tradition than the power lunch? The Four Seasons restaurant practically created that stressful but delicious experience. Mr. Niccolini (an Observer contributor) is the arbiter of who sits where, the choreographer of the nuanced power waltz that is lunch at the Four Seasons.
Wall Street Analyst; CEO, Meredith Whitney Advisory Group
The incredibly prescient Ms. Whitney has been one of the country's leading analysts since 2007, when she predicted that Citigroup would have to clip its dividend. In 2010, she launched her own eponymous credit-rating agency that will compete with Standard & Poor's and Moody's.
Executive director, Public Theater
Last summer's Shakespeare in the Park productions of The Merchant of Venice and The Winter's Tale were among the most memorable in years. A bulldog of a fund-raiser, Mr. Hamingson will ensure that drama has a bright future in New York City. Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow, indeed.
Co-founder and ceo, Hunch
This young Web entrepreneur has personalized the Internet with his charming search engine, Hunch, and had the foresight to invest early in Skype. If Mr. Dixon has his way, New York City will be the next Silicon Valley.
President, Chairman and CEO, Duquesne Capital
He used to manage money for none other than George Soros. His hedge fund has more than $10 billion in assets. In August, he announced his plans to retire. Even billionaires need breaks.
President and CEO, Omnicom
The head of the world's largest advertising holding company has always kept up with changes in technology. How else to get the American public to buy things? Mr. Wren was one of the first advertisers to branch out to the Internet and one of the most innovative proponents of product placement, anticipating television audiences' indifference to commercial breaks.
Director of enforcement, S.E.C.
Under the guidance of Mr. Khuzami, the S.E.C. has seen its enforcement role swell. In April, he sued Goldman Sachs for fraud, and Goldman actually paid $550 million to settle the suit three months later.
Actor, Writer, etc.
Professional graduate student extraordinaire, Mr. Franco made his life into a piece of performance art this year by somehow acting full time, releasing a book of short stories and enrolling in three different schools' graduate programs. We hear he doesn't get much sleep.
Shortstop, New York Yankees
The humble boy from Michigan last season became the all-time Yankees hit leader. He tested free agency for the first time in 2010, but after an awkward dance in the press, the Yankees were able to keep him around with a three-year contract and an option for a fourth.
Founder, Apollo Management
Mr. Black, whose tenure includes a long stint at Drexel Burnham in its heyday, is one of the original buyout kings. While his fortune has shrunk during the bust, his crown remains intact.
Real estate developer; minority owner, New Jersey Nets
The saga over the Atlantic Yards, Mr. Ratner's baby, is fit for a long Russian novel, but this year he won his battle against landowners. Construction is under way at the multibillion-dollar arena and residential center. Now if he can only get the Nets to move to Brooklyn.
He bought a company that made wire baskets and turned it into the largest advertising business in the world employing 140,000 people. So what if his pay dropped from £3.5 million to £2.7 million this year?
Co-founder, Och-Ziff Capital Management
The Goldman alum enjoyed a $598 million windfall when he took his firm public in 2007. Och-Ziff is the only public hedge fund that reports its performance and assets in monthly S.E.C. filings. Why not, they have plenty to brag about; assets increased by $400 million in November alone.
CEO, president and trustee of the board, Vornado Realty Trust
Mr. Fascitelli is the man behind Steve Roth and the second-largest office landlord in New York. Vornado owns more than 50 properties in the city, including what might become its third-tallest office tower.
Owner, Gagosian Galleries
Last fall he put his private collection on view for the first time, in Abu Dhabi (72 Warhols!). Mr. Gagosian is one of the world's preeminent art dealers, with galleries scattered across New York City and the rest of the world.
Director, Metropolitan Museum of Art
More people attended the Met in this past fiscal year than visited Yankee Stadium, the White House or Graceland, and it's in no small part thanks to Mr. Campbell. Who didn't see the Picasso exhibit?
Chairman, Gilt Groupe
She started out as the fast-growing company's CEO, so you better believe its rapid expansion has a lot to do with her. Under her guidance, the company introduced a site for men, went from regional retailer to nationwide and grew its membership to three million.
North American Chairman and CEO of recored music, Warner Music Group
An early champion of hip-hop, he worked with such acts as the Beastie Boys, Nas and Run D.M.C. He is responsible for leading WMG's transition from a physical to a digital company.
Co-Founder, Zelnick Media
Mr. Zelnick has served as CEO of some of the country's most powerful entertainment companies, including Twentieth Century Fox and BMG. With his eponymous partnership of media executives, Mr. Zelnick owns a stake in all kinds of entertainment endeavors, from video games to television advertisements.