THE NEW YORK CITY 400
According to the Museum of the City of New York "The NYC400 is the first-ever list of New York City's ultimate movers and shakers since the City's founding - from politics, the arts, business, sports, science, and entertainment."
"In commemoration of Henry Hudson's epic 1609 voyage into New York Harbor, the Museum is celebrating our City's 400th birthday by recognizing the people who have had the greatest impact and influence on the world's greatest city."
"Our goal in creating the NYC 400 is to help educate the public about New York City's fascinating and dramatic history - its heritage of diversity, opportunity and perpetual transformation - by humanizing our amazing common story.
THOSE ON THE LIST AND HOW THEY ARE DESCRIBED IN
THE BOOK ARE . . .
Berenice Abbott (1898-1991)
Photographer best known for her "Changing New York" project for the WPA (1935-1939), which documented New York City's evolving built environment.
Alvin Ailey (1931-1989)
Dancer/choreographer who founded Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in 1958 to bring black dancers into the mainstream. Known for combining elements of ballet, jazz, and modern dance and drawing on elements of black culture.
Horatio Alger (1832-1899)
Writer, philanthropist, and Unitarian minister who supported such charities as the Newsboys' Lodging House and wrote moralistic novels about street boys who eventually became wealthy through luck and hard work.
Woody Allen (1935- )
Comedian, filmmaker, writer, and musician best known for chronicling New Yorkers' neuroses and foibles in films such as Annie Hall (1977) and Manhattan (1979).
Othmar H. Ammann (1879-1965)
Engineer of bridges linking Manhattan to the outer boroughs and beyond, including the George Washington Bridge (1931), the Triborough (now Robert F. Kennedy) Bridge (1936), and the Verrazzano Narrows Bridge (1964).
Diane Arbus (1923-1971)
Photographer whose 1960s images of eccentrics and other often ignored people explored issues of identity and appearance. Hubert’s Dime Museum and Flea Circus, a Times Square freak show, was one of her favorite places to photograph.
Harold Arlen (1905-1986)
Singer, pianist, and composer of jazz and blues songs and ballads for Broadway musicals and shows at Harlem's Cotton Club. Best known for composing such songs as "Get Happy" (1929) and "Over The Rainbow" (1939).
Louis Armstrong (1901-1971)
Trumpeter and singer who came to prominence in New York City as a major jazz influence in the 1920s. Known for hits like "What a Wonderful World" (1967) and his "Hot Fives" and "Hot Seven" recordings made between 1925-29.
Chester A. Arthur (1829-1886)
As a New York lawyer interested in civil rights cases, he represented a black woman in a successful suit against the Third Avenue Railway (1855), which helped end segregation on the city's passenger railroads. As President, he was the first since George Washington to take the oath of office in NYC.
Brooke Astor (1902-2007)
Socialite and philanthropist who from 1959-97 gave away the corpus of her late husband's foundation to New York City institutions, leading others in philanthropy. Known for her visits to each and every one of her grantees.
John Astor (1763-1848)
Immigrant fur trader who amassed a fortune in real estate and who, by the 1840s, was the country's wealthiest man. Astor Place and Astoria are named for him.
Brooks Atkinson (1894-1984)
Theater critic for The New York Times from 1925-60 and an influential voice in an era when American drama emerged as a serious art form.
Louis Auchincloss (1917- )
Attorney, essayist, and writer of historic fiction known for closely observed portraits of old, patrician New York society in such novels as Portrait in Brownstone (1962) and East Side Story (2004).
John James Audubon (1785-1851)
Ornithologist, naturalist, hunter, and painter who was celebrated for his cataloging, describing, and visualizing of North American birds in Birds of America (1826). Audubon Terrace in northern Manhattan is named for him.
Richard Avedon (1923-2004)
Photographer who was best known for his fashion work in Harper's Bazaar and Vogue (beginning in the 1940s), but also for his fine art portraiture. In 1992, he became the first staff photographer of The New Yorker magazine.
Oswald Avery (1877-1955)
Physician who spent most of his career at Rockefeller University Hospital. A pioneer in immunochemistry, he shared the 1944 discovery of DNA with two colleagues.
Herman Badillo (1929- )
First Puerto Rican to be borough president (Bronx, 1966-70) and a voting member of the House of Representatives. He ran unsuccessfully for mayor several times in the 70s and 80s, and served as deputy mayor under Ed Koch from 1977-79.
George Balanchine (1904-1983)
Choreographer known for his work with the New York City Ballet where he adapted European classical ballets, like The Nutcracker (1954) and Coppelia (1974), for American audiences, and created original works like Jewels (1967) and Vienna Waltzes (1977).
James Baldwin (1924-1987)
Harlem-born author and activist who explored racial and sexual identity in such books as Notes of a Native Son (1955) and The Fire Next Time (1963).
Roger Nash Baldwin (1884-1981)
Civil libertarian who joined the National Civil Liberties Bureau to defend conscientious objectors, freedom of speech, and freedom of the press during World War I and helped reorganize the CLB into the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in 1920.
P.T. (Phineas Taylor) Barnum (1810-1891)
Premier promoter and impresario of large-scale entertainments, he created the first three-ring circus in 1881, and opened the Barnum American Museum, the city's most successful dime museum, in 1841.
Alfred Barr, Jr. (1902-1981)
An art historian and the first director of the Museum of Modern Art (1929-43), he defined the history of modern art for a generation.
Charles M. Barras (1826-1873)
Actor-turned-playwright whose musical fantasy The Black Crook premiered at Niblo's Garden on Broadway in 1866 as the first modern musical.
John Barrymore (1882-1942)
Renowned stage and screen actor who first gained fame as a performer on Broadway in such classical works as Hamlet (1922) and Richard III (1920). A member of one of America's most famous theatrical dynasties.
Bernard Baruch (1870-1965)
He amassed a fortune as a stock market speculator, becoming a member of the governing committee of the New York Stock Exchange and one of Wall Street's best known financiers by 1910. Also served as an advisor to Presidents Woodrow Wilson and Harry S Truman.
Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988)
Known for his graffiti-inspired art of the 1980s, he began his career spray painting on SoHo buildings but quickly gained renown for his Neo-expressionist paintings that often included written words and explored themes of racism and identity.
Romare Bearden (1911-1988)
Best known as an artist for his experiments with collage and mixed media in the 1950s and 60s, which were inspired by jazz and urban street life, he was also a costume and set designer, a journalist, and a political cartoonist.
Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887)
Congregationalist minister, reformer, and abolitionist; the first minister of the Plymouth Congregational Church in Brooklyn. He was considered the most famous man in America in the mid-19th century.
Geoffrey Beene (1924-2004)
Fashion designer who worked for several fashion houses before opening his own 7th Avenue store in 1963. Known for his technical skills and clean cutting, he created simple, comfortable evening gowns and was also an innovator in women's sportswear.
David Belasco (1853-1931)
Playwright, director, and theatrical impresario who brought a high level of naturalism to the Broadway stage. He built the Belasco Theater on 44th Street in 1907.
George Bellows (1882-1925)
Artist and member of The Eight (sometimes called the “Ashcan School”), he studied at the New York School of Art in the early 1900s and was known for his bold, natural depictions of urban life.
August Belmont, Jr. (1853-1924)
Banker who founded (in 1902) and chaired (1907) the Interborough Rapid Transit Company to finance the construction and oversee operations of NYC's first subway line, the first segment of which ran between City Hall and 145th Street and opened in 1904.
James Gordon Bennett, Sr. (1795-1872)
Pioneer of American popular journalism. Launched the New York Herald in 1835, a successful "penny paper" which covered crime and scandal, was the first to publish a newspaper interview, and the first to require advertisers to pay in advance for space.
Henry Bergh (1811-1888)
Co-founder of the New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (1875) and an animal welfare activist who helped pass the first laws against animal cruelty and founded the ASPCA in 1866.
Irving Berlin (1888-1989)
Songwriter, Broadway composer, and Tin Pan Alley stalwart whose 1,000-plus songs
include "White Christmas" (1942) and "God Bless America" (1918), as well as NYC-themed hits
like "Puttin' on the Ritz" (1930) and "Harlem on My Mind" (1933).
Edward L. Bernays (1891-1995)
An executive and pioneer in the field of public relations, he started as a press agent on Broadway, opened his own agency in 1919, and taught the first course on public relations at New York University in 1923.
William Bernbach (1911-1982)
Revolutionized the advertising industry by combining copywriters and art directors into a single team. Co-founder of the agency Doyle Dane Bernbach in 1949, the creator of such innovative campaigns as 1960s "Think Small" for the Volkswagen Beetle.
Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990)
Musician who linked high and popular culture. Conductor of the New York City Symphony and co-conductor and musical director of the New York Philharmonic. Composer of operas, symphonies, and such Broadway musicals as West Side Story (1957).
Sherman Billingsley (1900-1966)
Gatekeeper and promoter of celebrity culture as the proprietor of the legendary Stork Club, which served as a symbol of café society from 1929 to 1965.
Eubie Blake (1887-1983)
Composer, lyricist, and pianist of ragtime, jazz, and popular music who, along with Noble Sissle, wrote Shuffle Along, the first hit musical on Broadway written by and about African Americans, in 1921.
Bill Blass (1922-2002)
Designer who brought the comfort and simplicity of sportswear into the realm of formal dressing and who is credited as one of the creators of a true "American style." He opened his own company, Bill Blass Limited, in New York City in 1970.
Michael R. Bloomberg (1942- )
Founder of Bloomberg L.P., philanthropist and Mayor since 2002, he is credited with leading the city's financial rebound after 9/11, and with programs to spark the city's continued growth, including sustainability, economic development, and fiscal management.
Nellie Bly (1864-1922)
Journalist for the New York World in the 1880s whose assignments included feigning insanity for an exposé of asylums, going undersea in a diving bell, ascending in a hot air balloon, and circling the globe in 72 days.
Franz Boas (1858-1942)
Pioneering anthropologist, curator, and Columbia University professor (1896-1936) credited with making New York City the center of American anthropology in the beginning of the 20th century.
James Bogardus (1800-1874)
Engineer and inventor known for pioneering cast-iron architecture in the US, a technique first used in Lower Manhattan in 1848-49. The innovation meant lighter-weight materials, standardized construction, and increased window size (which allowed businesses to display wares in storefront windows).
Margaret Bourke-White (1904-1971)
Pioneering photojournalist who became editor of Fortune magazine in 1929 and was the first female photographer to be hired by Life magazine in 1935.
Mathew Brady (1822-1896)
New York-based photographer noted for his portraits of celebrities and politicians, such as Abraham Lincoln, and Civil War images. In 1856 he created the first modern advertisement in the New York Herald by using a typeface distinct from the paper's text.
Fannie Brice (1891-1951)
First female Yiddish comedian to succeed in mainstream musical comedy and radio; best known for performances parodying high society in such Broadway revues as the Ziegfeld Follies (1910-30s). The subject of the stage and film musical Funny Girl.
Jonas Bronck (About 1600 -1643)
Scandinavian-born sailor who arrived in New Netherland as an employee of the Dutch West India Company in 1639 and later settled in the area (the Bronx) that is named after him.
Henry Sands Brooks (1839-1893)
Founder in 1818 of Brooks Brothers, one of the first men's clothing retailers to offer both custom and ready made clothes.
Mel Brooks (1926- )
Humorist who brought Borscht Belt comedy to early New York City-based television shows, such as
Your Show of Shows with Sid Caesar and Carl Reiner. Later career flowered into film and theater, most notably
The Producers (1968).
William Cullen Bryant (1794-1878)
Poet, journalist, and civic leader who, as editor of the New York Evening Post from 1828-78, advocated for abolition of slavery, public parks, and public health.
William F. Buckley, Jr. (1925-2008)
Author, editor, and columnist who helped elevate conservatism to the center of American political discourse. Founder of the National Review in 1955 and its editor-in-chief until 1990 and host of TV's Firing Line from 1966-99.
Gordon Bunshaft (1909-1990)
Architect of Park Avenue's metal and glass Lever House (1952), a pioneering example of post-World War II corporate modernism.
Aaron Burr (1756-1836)
NYS attorney general and Assemblyman and a US Senator and Vice President. A founder of the Bank of the Manhattan Company in 1799, the second bank in NYC. He shot and killed political rival Alexander Hamilton in a duel in 1804.
Stephen Burrows (1943- )
Fashion designer whose Stephen Burrows' World boutique at Henri Bendel and subsequent triumph at the 1973 fashion show in Versailles made him the first African-American designer to achieve international renown. Best known for unstructured designs and innovative use of color.
Ebenezer Butterick (1826-1903)
Manufacturer whose company was the first to produce dressmaking patterns in 1863 in a variety of sizes for well-fitting, fashionable clothes for a class of women who could not afford custom made clothing.
John Cage (1912-1992)
Avant garde composer whose music, including many scores for choreographer Merce Cunningham, was influenced by eastern philosophy and included nonstandard use of musical instruments. Known for 4'33" (1952), a completely silent work.
James Cagney (1899-1986)
Irish-American actor raised on the Upper East Side, he attended Stuyvesant High School and Columbia College before turning to Broadway, where he appeared in such shows as Penny Arcade (1929), and film. A consummate New Yorker, he even spoke Yiddish.
Abraham Cahan (1860-1951)
Editor, writer, and political leader who launched the Yiddish newspaper the Forverts (Jewish Daily Forward) in 1903, which soon became the largest Yiddish-language daily in the world. Also known for his immigrant novel The Rise of David Levinsky (1917).
Cab Calloway (1907-1994)
Singer and bandleader whose band, which premiered at Harlem's Cotton Club in 1931, was one of the most successful of the swing era. Known for songs like "Minnie the Moocher" (1931) that celebrate the nightlife and street culture of New
Truman Capote (1924-1984)
Author and social figure whose 1958 novella Breakfast at Tiffany's (and character Holly Golightly) epitomized New York as a place for self-invention.
Benjamin Cardozo (1870-1938)
Prominent NYC lawyer known for his influence on the development of common law in the 20th century and for balancing legal precedent with the need to adapt the law to social change. He served 18 years on the NY Court of Appeals (1914-32), as well as serving on the US Supreme Court.
Hugh L. Carey (1919- )
Served seven terms in Congress and two terms as Governor of NYS (1975-82). Credited with stepping in to solve the city's fiscal crisis in the late 1970s and known for such building development projects as Battery Park City and South Street
Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919)
Industrialist who formed the Carnegie Corporation in 1911 to endow or fund many philanthropic causes, including 39 public libraries in NYC and the Cooper-Hewitt (housed in his Fifth Avenue mansion since 1972). Built Carnegie Hall in 1891.
Willis Carrier (1876-1950)
Engineer and inventor of the first large-scale electrical air conditioning system in 1902, with the addition of a humidity control function. The Carrier Corporation was founded in 1915 and revolutionized productivity and comfort in the workplace.
Carrie Chapman Catt (1859-1947)
Activist who organized the New York City Women's Suffrage Party in 1909 and served as president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, which became, after passage of the 19th amendment, the League of Women Voters in 1920.
Bennett Cerf (1898-1971)
A writer and publisher who graduated from Columbia University, he founded the publishing houses Modern Library (1925) and Random House (1927), serving as director of both for the next forty years, as well as authoring 20 books.
Henry Chadwick (1824-1908)
Cricket and baseball editor for the Brooklyn Daily Eagle (1845-1900). Developed the box score method of keeping statistics. Edited baseball's rulebook, the Beadle Baseball Player (1860-81). Known to many as the "Father of Baseball."
William Merritt Chase (1849-1916)
Painter recognized as an exponent of American impressionism. Founder of the Chase School, now Parsons The New School for Design, in 1896.
John William Cheever (1912-1982)
Novelist and short story writer whose stories of the American middle class were often set in the Upper East Side. The Stories of John Cheever won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1979.
Shirley Chisholm (1924-2005)
Brooklyn-born politician, educator, and author. First African-American woman elected to Congress, where she served seven terms from 1969 to 1983, and the first woman to run for the Democratic presidential nomination (1972).
DeWitt Clinton (1769-1828)
Mayor who supported the Commissioners Plan of 1811--Manhattan's grid extending from 14th Street to Upper Manhattan. A promoter of the Erie Canal, who later served as Governor and presided over the opening of the Erie and Champlain canals in 1825.
George M. Cohan (1878-1942)
Singer, actor, composer, producer, and playwright who wrote and produced (and also often appeared in) Broadway plays and musicals in the 1920s. Known for the songs "Give My Regards to Broadway" (1904) and "I'm a Yankee Doodle Dandy" (1904).
John Coltrane (1926-1967)
Saxophonist and composer who was a key figure in the jazz avant garde of the 1960s. Known for his dissonant free jazz compositions and long solos performed on the soprano saxophone.
Sean "Diddy" Combs (1969- )
Rapper, producer, actor, fashion designer, and businessman who used his success in the music industry as a platform to launch Bad Boy Entertainment Worldwide in the 1990s, which oversees his other entrepreneurial ventures.
Betty Comden and Adolph Green (Comden 1917-2006; Green 1914-2002)
Musical comedy duo of the 1930s and 40s whose 60-year collaboration produced lyrics and screenplays for many Broadway and film musicals, including On the Town (1944), featuring the classic lyrics "New York, New York, it's a helluva town."
Anthony Comstock (1844-1915)
Formed the NY Society for the Suppression of Vice (1873) to regulate public morality. Advocated for the Comstock Law (1873), which outlawed postal delivery of "obscene" materials. Raided the Art Students League in 1906 to confiscate paintings of nudes.
Peter Cooper (1791-1883)
Inventor, politician, and philanthropist who built the country's first fully functional steam engine and founded the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art to provide free education to gifted students from the working class.
Aaron Copland (1900-1990)
Influential composer whose dissonant, jazz-infused works of the 1920s gave way to a focus on rural America and folklore in the 1930s-40s, including ballet scores for Rodeo (1942) and Appalachian Spring (1944), which was commissioned by Martha Graham.
Richard Croker (1843-1922)
Irish-born politician who served as a city alderman, coroner, and Fire Commissioner before becoming a Tammany Hall boss who controlled the Democratic Party in New York City from 1886 to 1901.
Xavier Cugat (1900-1990)
Bandleader and singer known as the "Rumba King" who helped popularize Latin music in America. His orchestra was the resident band at the Waldorf-Astoria (1930s-40s) and performed in several feature films and on the radio.
Countee Cullen (1903-1946)
Poet and novelist who won a Guggenheim fellowship to travel in France, where he wrote Black Christ and Other Poems (1929). Back in New York, he taught English at Frederick Douglass Junior High School.
Merce Cunningham (1919-2009)
Avant garde choreographer who danced in Martha Graham's company and later collaborated with composer John Cage. Formed the Merce Cunningham Dance Company (1953), which included painters, musicians, and members of other art disciplines.
Mario Cuomo (1932- )
Born and educated in Queens, he was first famous for his legal representation of citizens protesting public housing in Forest Hills. Later ran for Mayor and was elected Governor, where he was a proponent of social welfare and a foe of the death penalty.
Charles Anderson Dana (1819-1897)
Newspaper editor and publisher who joined the New York Tribune (1847) and later bought and became chief editor of the Sun (1868). His style of colorful human interest stories and eye-catching headlines prefigured the practice known as "yellow journalism."
Miles Davis (1926-1991)
Trumpeter and bandleader who played with Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie in Harlem nightclubs like Minton's Playhouse and Monroe's in the 1940s, before starting his own nine-member jazz group. An originator of the "hard bop" of the 1950s.
Stuart Davis (1892-1964)
Early modernist painter and member of the Ashcan School known for his jazz influenced, pre-pop art paintings of the 1940s and 50s. Under the Federal Art Project he painted murals for the Williamsburg Housing Project and WNYC radio station.
Benjamin Day (1810-1889)
Newspaper publisher and editor who launched the Sun (1833), which reached the highest circulation of any daily newspaper in the United States. Also established the practice of using newsboys to distribute the paper.
Dorothy Day (1897-1980)
Social activist who converted to Catholicism and founded the Catholic Worker, a monthly newspaper based in New York City, in 1933, which influenced generations of Catholic social activists.
Willem de Kooning (1904-1997)
Painter and leader of the New York City School of abstract expressionist artists in the mid 1950s.
Frank De Martini and Pablo Ortiz (1952-2001)
Port Authority workers who enabled at least fifty people to escape by prying open doors, clearing rubble, and providing direction in the North Tower of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. They perished and represent the many heroes of that horrific day.
Elsie de Wolfe (1865-1950)
First lady of American interior design whose projects included the decoration of J. Pierpont Morgan's box at the Metropolitan Opera and who counted prominent New Yorkers like Anne Vanderbilt and Henry Clay Frick among her clients.
Thomas E. Dewey (1902-1971)
As a District Attorney of NY County, earned national renown for prosecuting organized crime, including the notorious syndicate Murder, Inc. Served as Governor of NYS from 1943-54 and ran unsuccessfully for President in 1944 and 1948.
Joe DiMaggio (1914-1999)
Hall of Fame center fielder for the New York Yankees (1936-51). Career batting average of .325, with 361 home runs. Was selected for 13 All-Star Games and played in ten World Series. Known for his grace on the field and dignity off it.
Thomas Dongan (1634-1715)
Appointed Governor of New York by James, Duke of York in 1682. Encouraged religious toleration and approved a "Charter of Liberties" known as the Dongan Charter in 1686 to establish such rights as the freedom to worship, but which was soon nullified.
W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt) Du Bois (1868-1963)
Author, intellectual, and civil rights leader. Served as director of publicity and research in New York City for the newly formed National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (1910-48) and editor of its Crisis magazine.
David Dubinsky (1892-1982)
Labor leader who, as president of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union, secured a 35-hour work week, demanded action against organized racketeering in unions, and was a force behind the Liberal Party.
Douglas Durst (1944- )
Real estate developer and scion of a respected real estate family whose recent buildings, including 4 Times Square and One Bryant Park, have embraced the cause of sustainability.
Charles Ebbets (1859-1925)
President of the Brooklyn Dodgers (1898-1925) who built Ebbets Field, the team's home from 1913 to 1957.
Frederick Ecker (1867-1964)
Worked for Metropolitan Life Insurance for 80 years. While serving as chairman, he expanded the company into real estate development, building Parkchester, Stuyvesant Town, and Peter Cooper Village in the 1940s.
Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931)
Inventor of the incandescent electric light and power system (1878). Created the nation's first commercial electric-power generation and distribution station in Manhattan in 1882. Also pioneered motion picture and audio technology.
Duke Ellington (1899-1974)
Bandleader, composer, and pianist known for his "big band" sound, whose jazz band worked at venues like the Hollywood on West 49th Street and the Cotton Club in Harlem in the 1920s and 30s.
Ralph Ellison (1913-1994)
Scholar and writer about the universality of human experience who is best known for his novel Invisible Man (1952) about an unnamed black man’s search for identity in 1940s New York City.
Barbara Epstein (1928-2006)
Literary editor who rose to prominence at Doubleday as the editor of Anne Frank's Diary of a Young Girl and later was a founding co-editor of The New York Review of Books in 1963.
Ahmet Ertegun (1923-2006)
Music industry mogul who, in 1947, co-founded and served as executive of Atlantic Records in New York. Credited (with frequent partner Jerry Wexler) with bringing rhythm & blues to the center of American popular music and African-American artists into the mainstream.
James Reese Europe (1881-1919)
Jazz and ragtime bandleader, composer, and arranger who was a key figure on the African-American music scene of New York City in the 1910s. As a member of the World War I "Harlem Hellfighters" in France, helped introduce American jazz to Europe.
James Marston Fitch (1900-2000)
Architect, author, and educator. A key figure in launching the modern preservation movement of the 1950s and a founder of the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University (1964).
Ella Fitzgerald (1917-1996)
Jazz vocalist known as the "First Lady of Song" who got her start at the Harlem Opera House in 1934 and is known for her purity of tone and improvisational, or scat, singing and her 1950s and 60s recordings of the Great American Songbook.
Wong Chin Foo (1851-1892)
Newspaperman and civic leader who criticized American missionaries for making false claims about the plight of the Chinese in order to raise money and who launched Chinese language newspapers in New York and Chicago.
Edwin Forrest (1806-1872)
The first American-born actor to achieve international fame, he debuted in Othello in 1826 and performed often at the Park and Bowery theaters. His rivalry with an English actor led to the bloody Astor Place Riot in 1849.
Harry Fosdick (1878-1969)
Baptist minister and writer who, with financing from John D. Rockefeller Jr., founded the interdenominational Riverside Church in 1930 to provide a pulpit for his nonsectarian and interracial ideals.
Bob Fosse (1927-1987)
Choreographer and director of musical theater and film, including such productions as Chicago (stage, 1975) and Cabaret (film, 1972). Known for his jazz dance style, he won nine Tony awards for his Broadway work in choreography and direction.
Robert Frank (1924- )
Photographer and filmmaker who got his start as a fashion photographer and photojournalist in New York City. He is best known for his depictions of post-war American culture, which influenced several generations of artists.
Walt “Clyde” Frazier (1945- )
New York Knicks Hall of Fame point guard 1967-77, who scored an average of 19.3 points per game with the Knicks (career: 18.9) and led the team to its only NBA Championships in 1970 and 1973. Known for his stylish attire and for Puma Clydes (one of the first athlete-endorsed sneakers).
Alan Freed (1921-1965)
Disc jockey sometimes known as "Moondog," credited with popularizing the term "rock and roll." He worked at several New York radio stations in the 1950s but his career was ruined in a payola scandal in the early 1960s.
Henry Clay Frick (1849-1919)
Industrialist and art patron whose Fifth Avenue mansion, built in 1913, now serves as an art museum and houses the Frick Collection, one of the premier collections of European paintings in New York and America.
Betty Friedan (1921-2006)
Feminist crusader who wrote The Feminine Mystique in 1963 and shaped the 1960s women's movement. Helped found the National Organization for Women in 1966.
Robert Fulton (1765-1815)
Engineer and inventor who started the world's first commercially successful passenger steamboat line in 1807, running between New York City and Albany.
Marcus Garvey (1887-1940)
Black nationalist leader who advanced a Pan-African philosophy and founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association and the African Communities League in Jamaica in 1914, inaugurating the New York City Division in 1917.
Margot Gayle (1908-2008)
Author and preservationist whose determined efforts helped save the cast-iron architecture of SoHo and Tribeca in the 1960s and 70s.
Lou (Henry Louis) Gehrig (1903-1941)
Hall of Fame first baseman for the New York Yankees (1923-39) who led the team to six World Series championships. His retirement ended a streak of 2,130 consecutive games played.
Kitty (Catherine) Genovese (1935-1964)
A 28 year-old working woman. She was attacked and murdered on March 13, 1964 in Kew Gardens, Queens. Her death, reportedly witnessed by 38 people who did not come to her aid, galvanized attention as a symbol of the inhumanity of modern urban life.
George Gershwin (1898-1937)
Pianist and composer of vocal and theatrical works for Broadway and the classical concert hall.
Collaborated with his brother Ira as lyricist. Best known for such works as Porgy and
Bess (1935) and An American in Paris (1928).
Kahlil Gibran (1883-1931)
Poet and painter who wrote for the city's Syrian press in the early 20th century. In 1920, joined with other Syrian-Lebanese writers to form the literary circle al-Rabitah al-Qalamiyya (the Pen League). Best known as the author of The Prophet (1923).
Charles Dana Gibson (1867-1944)
Graphic artist who invented the Gibson Girl, an iconic representation of the independent and beautiful American woman at the turn of the 20th century.
Cass Gilbert (1859-1934)
Architect of the landmark Woolworth Building, the tallest building in the world upon its completion in 1913 and arguably New York's first skyscraper, as well as other New York landmarks.
Dizzy Gillespie (1917-1993)
Trumpeter, composer, and bandleader who was instrumental in the development of the "bop" style of big band music in the 1940s. Led small jazz bands in New York City from the 1940s to 1970s and composed several definitive bop themes.
Allen Ginsberg (1926-1997)
Central figure in the Beat movement, and of the anti-war, drug-oriented counterculture of the 1960s and 70s. Published Howl and Other Poems (1956), which shocked readers with depictions of homosexuality and drug use.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg (1933- )
Jurist, second female Associate Justice and the first Jewish woman to serve on the Supreme Court, appointed in 1993. An advocate for the equal citizenship status of women and men as a constitutional principle.
Rudolph Giuliani (1944- )
As US Attorney (1983-89) he prosecuted organized crime; as Mayor (1994-2001), he is credited with reducing crime in the city in the 1990s and gained national renown after the events of 9/11.
Jackie Gleason (1916-1987)
Tony Award-winning actor of the stage and screen. Best known for his comic role as Ralph Kramden on the 1950s hit television series The Honeymooners, set in a Brooklyn tenement.
E.L. (Edwin Lawrence) Godkin (1831-1902)
Editor of The Nation and then of the New York Evening Post who was known for his humorous writing style, opposition to Tammany Hall, and belief in laissez-faire economics. He may have invented the phrase "robber baron" in reference to Cornelius Vanderbilt.
Emma Goldman (1869-1940)
Lithuanian-born anarchist who dominated the radical movement in New York City from 1890 until she was deemed dangerous and deported in 1919. As a feminist, she advocated the emancipation of women, birth control, and sexual freedom.
Samuel Gompers (1850-1924)
Labor leader and founder of the American Federation of Labor (he served as its president from 1886-94 and 1895-1924). Influenced the development of collective bargaining procedures and contracts between workers and management that are still in use today.
Jay Gould (1836-1892)
Financier who, by 1880, controlled 10,000 miles of US railway, including NYC elevated railways. Speculator who caused the Panic (Black Friday) of 1869 and a colleague of Boss Tweed; provided one million dollars in bail for the Tammany leader.
Grandmaster Flash (Joseph Saddler) (1958- )
Founding father of hip hop who, building on the work of DJ Kool Herc, in the early 1970s was the first disc jockey to use the turntable as his instrument. His group Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five was among the first to add rap lyrics over these beats.
Martha Graham (1894-1991)
Modern dancer and choreographer who founded the Martha Graham Dance Company in 1926 and whose 181 works were stark, abstract, and often focused on serious issues such as the Spanish Civil War and the Great Depression.
Horace Greeley (1811-1872)
Editor who launched the New York Tribune (1841), the first daily Whig paper in the city. He advocated protectionism, abolition, and the Homestead Act, and endorsed workers' cooperatives, unions, and the ten-hour work day. Ran unsuccessfully for president on the Liberal Republican ticket in 1872.
Andrew Haswell Green (1820-1903)
City planner and urban leader who masterminded the 1898 consolidation of the five boroughs into Greater New York.
Hetty (Henrietta Howland Robinson) Green (1834-1916)
Shrewd and frugal investor known as the "Witch of Wall Street" who on several occasions came to the city's aid, as when she lent $1.1 million to keep the city afloat during the Panic of 1907.
Solomon R. Guggenheim (1861-1949)
Philanthropist and art collector who established the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation in 1937 to foster an appreciation of modern art. The Foundation has created a global network of museums including the Guggenheim museum in
New York (1959).
Woody Guthrie (1912-1967)
Singer, songwriter and activist who penned hundreds of political, traditional, and children's songs. Best known for "This Land Is Your Land" (1940).
Pete Hamill (1935- )
Brooklyn-born journalist and author. Began as a reporter for the New York Post, later became editor in chief for it and the Daily News. His work includes nine novels, short stories, nonfiction, and many articles. Journalism, he says, is history in a hurry.
Alexander Hamilton (1755-1804)
Served as a lieutenant colonel for George Washington, a delegate to the Continental Congress (1782-83) and the Constitutional Convention (1787), helped form the Bank of New York (1784) and became the first US Secretary of the Treasury
James Hamlet (c. 1822-?)
Slave who was captured in Brooklyn in 1850 and returned to Baltimore under the Fugitive Slave Act. The New York Vigilance Committee brought him back to New York for $800 and 5,000 people showed up at a rally celebrating his return.
Oscar Hammerstein II (1895-1960)
Lyricist of the Rodgers and Hammerstein duo whose golden-age Broadway musicals include Oklahoma!, South Pacific, and The Sound of Music.
Nathan Handwerker (1892-1974)
Restaurateur who with his wife Ida opened Nathan's hot dog stand on Surf Avenue in Coney Island in 1916, reportedly at the urging of Jimmy Durante and Eddie Cantor, and later developed the Nathan's Famous brand of hot dogs.
Keith Haring (1958-1990)
Artist and activist who was an important cultural figure of the 1980s, known for his graffiti-inspired art such as the anti-crack mural Crack Is Wack at 128th Street and Second Avenue.
James Harper (1795-1896)
Publisher and co-founder of Harper Brothers. Elected Mayor of New York in 1844 on an anti-immigrant platform. While in office, he formed the Municipal Police, or Night and Day Watch, one of the nation's first organized police forces.
William Randolph Hearst (1863-1951)
Media mogul who bought the Morning Journal (later the Journal-American) in 1896, beat all competition with “yellow journalism," and eventually built a publishing empire that included 20 daily newspapers and half a dozen
Harry Helmsley (1909-1997)
Real estate tycoon whose property holdings were among the largest in the US and included the Flatiron Building and the Empire State Building, invented the concept of syndication with his investment partner Lawrence Wein.
Sidney Hillman (1887-1946)
President of Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America 1914-46, he advocated for “constructive cooperation” between workers and employers and collective bargaining. He advised President Roosevelt on labor and social welfare legislation.
Billie Holiday (1915-1959)
Jazz singer who began her career in Harlem nightclubs in the 1930s, recorded and toured with the likes of Count Basie and Benny Goodman, and later performed at the Onyx Club and Carnegie Hall. Best known for the song "Lady Sings the Blues."
Clifford Millburn Holland (1883-1924)
First chief engineer of the Holland Tunnel, which was the longest underwater tunnel in the world when completed. Developed the ventilating system that made vehicular tunnels possible.
Philip Hone (1780-1851)
Merchant and diarist who served one term as mayor but who is best known for his diary of New York City political and social events, one of the most extensive and detailed personal records of his era.
Harry Hopkins (1890-1946)
Political adviser who headed New York State's Depression-era Temporary Emergency Relief Association (1931-33), providing work for thousands of unemployed New Yorkers and later led the Federal Emergency Relief and Works Progress Administrations.
Harry Howard (1822-1896)
As Chief Engineer of the New York City Volunteer Fire Department in 1857, established the bunk system requiring firemen to sleep in the station house and advocated for a paid Fire Department (organized in 1865).
Henry Hudson (D. 1611)
English explorer whose unsuccessful attempts to find a northwest passage to the Spice Islands led him to New York Harbor and the Hudson River in 1609 while sailing for the Dutch East India Company.
Charles Evans Hughes (1862-1948)
Lawyer and Reform Governor of NYS (1907-10) who helped pass important anti-corruption legislation in his efforts to stop corporate influence on the civil services. Ran unsuccessfully for president (1916) and also served as a Supreme Court Justice on two separate occasions.
John Cardinal Hughes (1797-1864)
Appointed the first Archbishop of New York in 1850, founded four Catholic colleges, fought anti-Catholicism, built St. Patrick's Cathedral, and was nicknamed “Dagger John” both for his style and for the cross he drew with his signature.
Langston Hughes (1902-1967)
Poet, novelist, playwright, short story writer and columnist who was one of the earliest innovators of jazz poetry and a key figure of the Harlem Renaissance. His work centers on working-class African-American life.
Richard Morris Hunt (1827-1895)
First American architect trained at the Ã‰cole des Beaux-Arts, Paris, designed 5th Avenue mansions, the base of the Statue of Liberty (1886), and key elements of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (1902), and founded the American Institute of Architects.
Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960)
Folklorist, novelist, and prominent figure of the Harlem Renaissance. Studied with Franz Boas at Barnard College. Best known work is Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937).
Ada Louise Huxtable (1921- )
The first and highly influential architecture critic of the New York Times who served from 1963-82. She championed high design standards and preservation and was the first winner, in 1970, of the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism.
Washington Irving (1783-1859)
Essayist and short story writer who gave the city the nickname Gotham and whose fictional character Diedrich Knickerbocker, a man of flamboyance and Dutch lineage, shaped the city's identity in the early 19th century.
Jane Jacobs (1916-2006)
Grass roots organizer based in Greenwich Village in the 1950s and 60s and author of The Death and Life of Great American Cities. An advocate for neighborhood preservation in planning for the future of New York and beyond.
Charles James (1906-1978)
Fashion designer who opened a custom-order shop in New York in 1940, his innovative designs attracted fashionable clientele such as Mrs. William Randolph Hearst, Jr. All original designs, his dresses and gowns were considered works of art.
John Jay (1745-1829)
A founding father of the nation and author of five articles in The Federalist Papers, he drafted NYS' first constitution, served as its first Chief Justice (and first US Supreme Court Chief) and was a popular Governor of NYS who retired from public life in 1801.
Jay-Z (Shawn Carter) (1969- )
Grammy-award winning rap and hip-hop artist and businessman. Founded Roc-A-Fella records (1996) and the clothing line Rocawear (1999). He is the first non-athlete to endorse a "signature" shoe: the S. Carter.
John Bloomfield Jervis (1795-1885)
Civil engineer and designer of railways, canals, and bridges, he masterminded NYC's first water supply system, building the Croton Aqueduct, the Croton Dam and the reservoir--an astonishing feat of city planning.
Philip Johnson (1906-2005)
Curator of an exhibition, The International Style at MoMA (1932), that introduced modernism to New York, and later an architect, he collaborated on the Seagram Building (1956), completed the Master Plan for Lincoln Center, and designed the NYS Theater.
Abraham Kazan (1889-1971)
Pioneered non-profit cooperative housing to ameliorate bad housing conditions. As President of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers, created Amalgamated Housing in the Bronx in 1927 and inspired many other affordable housing cooperatives in the city.
Elia Kazan (1909-2003)
Renowned stage and film director who created the Actors Studio, he cultivated both Tennessee Williams and Arthur Miller and actors Marlon Brando and James Dean. However, he "named names" before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1952.
Robert (Bobby) Kennedy (1925-1968)
One-term US Senator and civil rights champion, he was assassinated while campaigning for
President in 1968.
Willem Kieft (1597-1647)
Director of New Netherland (1638-47) whose attempts to tax, and eventually drive out, the Native Americans led to a bloody series of battles known as Kieft's War (1643-45), for which he was fired by the Dutch West India Company.
Lincoln Kirstein (1907-1996)
Writer, critic, curator, and arts promoter, most significantly of the New York City Ballet with choreographer George Balanchine.
Alfred A. Knopf, Sr. (1892-1984)
With his wife Blanche in 1915 founded what became one of New York's and America's premier book publishers, publishing fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and cookbooks.
Edward Koch (1924- )
Mayor who restored financial stability to the city after the economic crisis of the 1970s and who is known for his colorful personality and outspoken independence.
Larry Kramer (1935- )
Playwright, novelist, AIDS activist, and gay community leader who helped found the Gay Men's Health Crisis and the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ActUp) (1987). His collected speeches were published as Reports from the Holocaust (1989).
Fiorello H. LaGuardia (1882-1947)
Charismatic reformer, the irrepressible three-term mayor led the city out of the grips of Tammany Hall and out of the Great Depression. He marshalled federal funding to create jobs and new housing, and reformed the civil service.
John Lamb (1735-1800)
Member of the Sons of Liberty, who early in the American Revolution seized British military stores at Turtle Bay. Later was a prominent anti-federalist opposing the US Constitution.
Thomas William Lamont (1870-1948)
Banker renowned for solving international financial crises in the post-World War I era and partner in J.P. Morgan's bank. Established internationally accepted system of drafts known as travelers' checks.
Karl Landsteiner (1868-1943)
Winner of the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1930. Classified the blood of human beings into the now well-known A, B, AB, and O groups. At Rockefeller Institute, studied bleeding in newborns, leading to the discovery of the Rh-factor.
Meyer Lansky (1902-1983)
Powerful mobster in the first half of the 20th century who grew up on the Lower East Side and who, with Lucky Luciano and Bugsy Siegel, controlled the National Crime Syndicate, their gambling interests extending from Cuba to Las Vegas.
Estée Lauder (1908-2004)
Born in Corona, Queens, and recognized for her business acumen, she created within her lifetime a global cosmetic and perfume empire. Estée Lauder, the company, was created in 1935.
Ralph Lauren (1939- )
Bronx-born, a graduate of Talmudic High School and a Baruch College drop out, Lauren started out with a necktie store in 1967 and became a fashion designer of wealth and renown selling a lifestyle image of classic taste.
Emma Lazarus (1849-1887)
Poet and translator; her sonnet The New Colossus--"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free"-- is mounted inside the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty.
Fred Lebow (1932-1994)
Avid road runner and creator of the New York City Marathon. He transformed the marathon from a small race with 55 finishers in 1970 to one of the largest marathons in the world and a citywide celebration.
Spike (Shelton Jackson) Lee (1957- )
Director, writer, actor, and producer of such provocative films as Do the Right Thing (1989) and Malcolm X (1992), which explore race relations, crime, and poverty. His first feature film, shot for $175,000, grossed over $7 million at the box office.
Tsung-Dao Lee (1926- )
Columbia University professor and winner in 1957, at the age of 30, with C.N. Yang, of the Nobel Prize in Physics, the second youngest Nobel laureate for pioneering work on nuclear particles.
Abraham Lefcourt (1877-1932)
Prominent real estate developer of the 1920s. Prolific builder of commercial Art Deco buildings in Midtown. His Lefcourt Clothing Center became the anchor of the new Garment District, where he was a key developer.
Samuel J. Lefrak (1918-2003)
Brooklyn-born Lefrak started working in real estate with his father at the age of eight and later created an empire, developing Lefrak City in Queens, a project at Battery Park City and many more. His motto: Work conquers all.
Herbert Lehman (1878-1963)
The first Jewish governor of New York entered politics in the 1920s. He also served in the US Senate and fought for progressive social policies while challenging Senator Joseph McCarthy.
Henry, Emanuel, and Mayer Lehman
German immigrant brothers who traded dry goods and helped form the NY Cotton Exchange, the first exchange to trade commodity futures. Their commodity brokerage company would eventually become the investment bank Lehman Brothers.
Jacob Leisler (1640-1691)
German-born colonist who, as lieutenant governor of New York, led “Leisler’s Rebellion” supporting Protestant succession in England. Convened the first intercolonial congress. Executed for treason against William and Mary, his name was cleared in 1695.
Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe (Lerner 1918-86; Loewe 1901-88)
Tony Award-winning musical comedy writing team (Lerner as lyricist and librettist; Loewe as composer) who created the scores for such Broadway classics as My Fair Lady (1956) and Camelot (1960).
Frank Leslie (1821-1880)
Engraver, illustrator, and journalist who is best known for his illustrations of Civil War battlefields. In 1855 he created Frank Leslie's Illustrated News, which lasted until 1922, and a number of other well known illustrated family periodicals.
Helen Levitt (1913-2009)
A Bensonhurst, Brooklyn native and self-educated photographer whose work is much aligned with Walker Evans; her street photography are lyrical records of everyday New Yorkers.
Maya Lin (1959- )
Artist and architect, best known for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., the Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery, AL, and the new Museum of Chinese in America in New York City.
John V. Lindsay (1921-2000)
As US Congressman from 1959-65 and Mayor of NYC from 1966-73, Lindsay's tenure was during a time of social and political tumult. Credited with calming social tensions, he is also famous for lapses in snow cleanup in Queens and fiscal management.
Robert R. Livingston (1746-1813)
One of the five drafters of the Declaration of Independence. Administered the oath of office to George Washington on the steps of Federal Hall in NYC. Conducted negotiations for the Louisiana Purchase. Financed Fulton's experiments, which led to the first steam boat.
Seth Low (1850-1916)
Two term mayor of Brooklyn, second mayor of consolidated New York. As President of Columbia University, moved the school from midtown and expanded the school in Morningside Heights, realizing his vision of a fully integrated urban institution.
Josephine Shaw Lowell (1843-1905)
Raised in Staten Island, a social worker and reformer who created the New York Consumers League in 1890 to improve wages and working conditions for women. First woman appointee to the NY Charities Commission, she wrote broadly on welfare topics.
Henry R. Luce (1898-1967)
Publisher who created the modern news magazine, with pictorial reporting, including some of the most successful and widely read magazines in American history, including Time (1923), Fortune (1929), Life (1936), and Sports Illustrated (1954).
Edward A. MacDougall (1874-1944)
Developer who led the syndicate of bankers and realtors comprising the Queensboro Realty Corp., which developed Jackson Heights as a garden suburb.
R. H. (Rowland Hussey) Macy (1822-1877)
Founded retail giant R.H. Macy & Co. In 1858, the store was only 17 x 40 feet, but by the 1870s had expanded to 11 adjacent storefronts selling clothing, home furnishings and more. The store at 34th St., built in 1902, bills itself as the world's largest.
Norman Mailer (1923-2007)
Novelist and co-founder of the Village Voice (1955), his use of literary techniques in non-fiction writing was a precursor to New Journalism. He gained fame for his first novel, The Naked and the Dead (1948). The Armies of the Night (1968) won a Pulitzer.
Malcolm X (1925-1965)
Political and religious leader, who denounced non-violence and integration; his teachings and his 1965 book, The Autobiography of Malcolm X influenced the Black Power movement of the 1960s. He was assassinated at the Audubon Ballroom in 1965.
Mary "Typhoid Mary" Mallon (1870-1938)
The first identified healthy carrier of typhoid fever, she worked as a cook in New York City despite several forcible quarantines by public health officials and is known to have infected at least 53 people. Her case brought attention to the need for public policy guidelines on outbreaks of infection and disease.
Joseph François Mangin (1794-1818)
Architect who (with John McComb Jr.) won an 1802 competition to design New York's City Hall (constructed from 1803-1811). New York's City Hall is the nation's oldest City Hall that still houses its original governmental functions.
Reginald Marsh (1898-1954)
Social realist painter and illustrator, known for depictions of crowded street scenes. He became a cartoonist for the Daily News in 1922, and created murals for New York's Custom House in 1937 as part of the Treasury Relief Art Program (TARP).
José Marta (1853-1895)
Poet, revolutionary, and supporter of Cuban nationalism who lived and wrote in New York for nearly 30 years; edited La Patria Libre, the newspaper of the Cuban Revolutionary party and formed La Liga, to promote the rights of black Cubans and Puerto Ricans.
Ward Samuel McAllister (1827-1895)
Created the original list of "the 400" in the late 19th century, referring to the social elite of New York City society--the 400 people who really mattered, and supposedly the number of people who could fit in the ballroom of Mrs. Caroline Astor.
Alexander McDougall (c. 1731-1786)
Merchant and soldier, jailed for speaking out against the British and a major general in the Continental Army (1777). He served as a delegate to the Continental Congress (1781), as NYS Senator, and as the first president of the Bank of New York.
Claude McKay (1889-1948)
Poet and author who is often considered the "rebel sojourner" of the Harlem Renaissance because of his radical, Marxist-informed political views, known for the poem "If We Must Die" (1919) and his first novel Home to Harlem (1928).
Charles Follen McKim (1847-1909)
Beaux-Arts architect and partner in the firm McKim, Mead & White, designers of the Morningside Heights campus of Columbia University (1897), and Penn Station (1902-11), among many other important civic structures.
Margaret Mead (1901-1978)
Anthropologist and social critic, associated with the American Museum of Natural History throughout her career, known for expertise in subjects ranging from sexual theory, to tribal customs, to atomic politics, and for lecturing to standing room
Herman Melville (1819-1891)
Author, whose early novels, including Typee (1846), earned him fame, yet the critical failure of his later work led him to work as a customs inspector from 1866 to 1885. Moby Dick (1851) was only recognized as a literary masterpiece in the 20th century.
Ethel Merman (1908-1984)
Singer, actress, life-long New Yorker, whose voice needed no hidden microphones, her career began when she sang Gershwin's "I've Got Rhythm" (1930) and included such Broadway hits as Anything Goes (1934), Annie Get Your Gun (1946), and Gypsy (1959).
Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892-1950)
Poet and playwright, the first woman to receive the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry (1923), who embodied the bohemian spirit of Jazz Age Greenwich Village where she wrote her most famous line: "My candle burns at both ends" in 1918.
Arthur Miller (1915-2005)
Playwright, Death of a Salesman opened on Broaday in 1949, winning a Tony and a Pulitzer Prize. His work, including The Crucible (1953) and A View from the Bridge (1955) took on matters of social conscience and the ideal of the "American Dream."
Henry Miller (1891-1980)
Novelist, self-described "Brooklyn boy" whose Tropic of Capricorn (1938), written in Paris, took inspiration from his brief job at the Western Union Telegraph Company in Manhattan. Though commonly banned until 1964, it has become a classic of American literature.
Pieter Minuit (1580-1638)
Director of New Netherland who "purchased" Manhattan from the Native Americans for the equivalent of 60 guilders, and gathered the scattered colonists on Manhattan, where he founded the town of New Amsterdam.
Joseph Mitchell (1908-1996)
After arriving in New York in 1929, wrote for the Herald Tribune, the World-Telegram and, in 1938, The New Yorker, covering such oft-overlooked subjects as the patrons of McSorley's Old Ale House, and the workers of the Fulton Fish Market.
Samuel Mitchill (1764-1831)
Statesman, scholar and physician who published the first US medical journal, promoted sanitary reforms, helped found the Institute for the Deaf and Dumb and the College of Surgeons and Physicians, and served in the US Senate and the US Congress.
Marianne Moore (1887-1972)
Poet, key figure in the 1920s avant-garde literary movement in Greenwich Village, who edited and was published in The Dial, the modernist literary journal. She was an avid Dodger fan and penned "Hometown Piece for Messrs. Alston and Reese" for the team.
J. P. (John Pierpont) Morgan (1837-1913)
Financier who built the powerful banking house J.P. Morgan & Co., and who, as an equally powerful railroad magnate, reshaped American manufacturing. Also helped found the Metropolitan Museum of Art and built the Morgan Library.
Gouverneur Morris, Jr. (1813-1883)
Prominent entrepreneur in the 19th century Bronx who as vice president of the NY & Harlem Railroad built rail lines to the Bronx, then sold land along the lines to develop Morrisania.
Samuel F. B. Morse (1791-1872)
Inventor and artist, who moved to New York in 1823 as a portrait painter, designed a telegraph system in 1832, invented Morse Code, made the first sun photographs in the US, and helped lay the first transatlantic telegraph cable.
Willie Mosconi (1913-1993)
Pocket billiard player, won the world pocket billiards championship 15 times (1941-56), defeated longtime rival Minnesota Fats in a game broadcast on ABC’s Wide World of Sports with Howard Cosell as emcee, and established billiards as a reputable game.
Robert Moses (1888-1981)
Master builder; from 1934-68 he transformed the physical character of the city, modernizing and equipping it for the automobile age through countless public works, including highways, bridges, beaches, public pools, and public housing.
Daniel Patrick Moynihan (1927-2003)
Harvard professor and four-term US senator from New York who pushed to shift highway financing toward mass transit (1991-92), wrote books on race relations and poverty including Beyond the Melting Pot (1963).
Lewis Mumford (1895-1990)
Author, city planner and foe of Robert Moses’ development plans, known for his "Sky Line" column in The New Yorker (1930s-50s); co-founder of the Regional Planning Association of America (1923), who lived in the utopian Sunnyside Gardens, Queens.
Rupert Murdoch (1931- )
Global media magnate, chairman and controlling shareholder of News Corporation. News Corporation owns and operates such New York institutions as The Wall Street Journal and the New York Post, as well as the Fox Network and MySpace.
Edward R. Murrow (1908-1990)
Literate, hard-edged CBS broadcaster, who mistrusted television's tendency towards entertainment. He was known for his reports from World War II, and for challenging Senator Joseph McCarthy. His documentary series See It Now flourished in the 1950s.
Joe Namath (1943- )
Nicknamed “Broadway Joe,” this quarterback for the New York Jets from 1965 to 1976 led the team to a stunning 16-7 upset of the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III (1969).
Condé Nast (1873-1942)
Early on a successful advertising manager for Collier's, he bought Vogue and went on to own, through Condé Nast Publications, a stable of magazines including Vogue, Vanity Fair, House & Gardens, and Glamour.
Thomas Nast (1840-1902)
Caricaturist and editorial cartoonist who specialized in political illustration for Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper and Harper's Weekly. Known for cartoons on Boss Tweed and Tammany Hall and for his depiction of iconic characters like Santa Claus and Uncle Sam.
Louise Nevelson (1899-1988)
Leading post-World War II Abstract Expressionist sculptor who used found objects to create her assemblages. Was an iconic personality in the New York City art scene.
Samuel I. Newhouse, Sr. (1895-1979)
Self-made newspaper magnate who acquired the Staten Island Advance in 1922 and at his death controlled 31 US newspapers, seven US magazines, and five radio stations. Known for his keen business sense and for making his products profitable.
(Karl Paul) Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971)
Professor of Practical Theology at Union Theological Seminary from 1928-60 and editor of progressive Christian magazines, best known for relating the Christian faith to the realities of modern politics and diplomacy.
Mordecai Noah (1785-1851)
Born to a Portuguese Sephardic family, he was the first of his faith to achieve national prominence, serving as an ambassador, founding newspapers, and writing plays. She Would Be A Soldier (1819) is still included in anthologies.
Isamu Noguchi (1904-1988)
Japanese-American sculptor who opened his first studio in 1924 on University Place and went on to international prominence. The Noguchi Museum was opened in 1985 in properties he acquired near his last studio in Long Island City.
Norman Norell (1900-1972)
Designer who demonstrated that clothes created on Seventh Avenue could rival Paris couture. His workmanship was all the more remarkable because he made ready-to-wear, not couture, clothing.
Eugene O’Neill (1888-1953)
Nobel Prize-winning playwright known for his psychologically and sexually probing work, including Strange Interlude (1928) and Long Day's Journey into Night (1941).
Adolph Ochs (1858-1935)
Starting out as a typesetter at the age of 11, Ochs went on to purchase the money-losing New York Times in 1896, focusing on objective news coverage. He moved the paper into what became One Times Square, inaugurating New Year's Eve celebrations there.
Clifford Odets (1906-1963)
Raised in the Bronx and a high school drop-out, he was first an actor, helping to form the Group Theater, where he became its first playwright with Awake and Sing! (1935). Passionate about economic justice, he later went to Hollywood to write screenplays.
David Ogilvy (1911-1999)
Often called the "Father of Advertising." The English-born Ogilvy was a researcher for George Gallup before forming what became Ogilvy and Mather in 1948. He believed that the function of advertising was to sell products based on information about consumers.
Frank O’Hara (1926-1966)
Poet known for an unconstrained style characterized by spontaneous observations of everyday
life as in Lunch Poems (1964), which provides a poet's view of New York City at midday.
Frederick Law Olmsted (1822-1903)