If choosing the most influential New Yorkers of the last 25 years was an inexact science, selecting future influencers was alchemy. If the past has taught us anything, it’s that ambition, talent and perseverance (along with luck and timing) are the raw ingredients that comprise influence even more than money, family or position. In each of the following 25 individuals, we see the potential to be more than the caretaker of an institution or a placeholder for a family name.
Some have already achieved great things. Jonathan Gray owns a chunk of Midtown. Aryeh Bourkoff just completed one of the biggest corporate deals in a decade. George Steel is transforming the New York City Opera. Nate Silver has reimagined political predictions.
For others, it is a cosmic hunch, albeit an informed one. One of the reasons we chose artist Dan Colen for this list is his place as the metaphoric child of married art critics Jerry Saltz and Roberta Smith, or at least the only thing in art upon which they have ever agreed. (They’re not fans, in case you were wondering.)
When A$AP Rocky, a rapper whose debut studio album dropped just a month before, tears up Fashion Week without saying a word—once by appearing on the runway, and a few other times just by sitting front-row center—we have to go with our gut and say he’ll make an impact.
We look forward to the next quarter-century of identifying and chronicling the most influential people in the world’s most influential city. This is where we’re already looking.