by the Editors

That Brooklyn has an abundance of creatively minded and culturally significant residents is not really
news—this has long been the case. Now though, the borough feels more than ever like a cultural nexus,
wherein once marginalized voices and outsider perspectives are now a major part of our cultural
conversation. And so what better time to celebrate some of the many people who are shaping Brooklyn culture
today, those people responsible for the words we want to read, the films we want to
see, the music we want to hear, the art we want to experience, the spaces we want to inhabit. Everyone on this list creates, directs, or
provides a platform for the type of work that continues to make Brooklyn not just culturally relevant,
but culturally vital. And we thank them for it.


Named president of BAM in 2015, Clark (formerly president of Orchestra of St.
Luke’s) was an exciting choice to head one of Brooklyn’s seminal cultural institutions.
It’s a monumental job which involves coordinating a team of hundreds, and building
relationships with artists in Brooklyn and beyond, all facets of why BAM has
become a globally recognized destination for innovative productions in everything
from theater, music, dance, and more. Plus, as a musician herself, Clark is
particularly well-suited to understanding the importance of vibrant
performances—especially for local, culture-loving audiences.



Founder and Executive Artistic Director, UnionDocs

The work of Allen and others resists easy classification, but UnionDocs offers public programming in the form of nonfiction film screenings, multimedia performances and video lectures; workshops in everything from filmmaking to site-specific sound installations; and collaborative projects, like their multi-platform “Living Los Sures” project, using film, online media, and live events to document their own changing neighborhood. It’s an esoteric, experimental, community-focused space—and it’s working to keep Williamsburg that way, as well.




003 & 004 Nikil Saval and Dayna Tortorici
editors of n+1

Both Tortorici and Saval have spent years at n+1, where they’ve steadily risen up the ranks
due to their exceptional editing and writing skills. (Naturally!) It can be difficult
to keep any publication relevant a decade after its inception, but n+1 still consistently
publishes some of the most provocative critical work today, all while maintaining a sly
sense of humor (check out its most recent issue’s piece on astrology, “Stars: They’re Just
Like Us”), and we have Tortorici and Saval to thank for it.




booker, promoter

Though Baby’s All Right only recently celebrated their second birthday, it’s hard to imagine a time before the now iconic, pinkly lighted Williamsburg spot existed. The bar, venue, and restaurant–Jones’s co-venture with Zachary Mexico–has managed to provide a space for local bands, smaller touring acts and industry juggernauts (St. Lucia?! Beach House?! Fucking Hot Chip?!) in the modest 250 cap-space. Growing with Baby’s is also Porches–who are managed by Jones–celebrating their newly released LP via Domino Records, Pool. As if that weren’t enough, Jones also works with the new experimental space, National Sawdust.




Director of the Brooklyn Museum

Appointed director of the Brooklyn Museum just last year, Pasternak is the first woman
to head one of New York’s major art institutions, and is surrounded by other powerful
women on the museum’s board. Pasternak came to the Museum from public art
powerhouse Creative Time, where she oversaw some of the prolific company’s most
impactful installations, like Kara Walker’s “A Subtlety” which famously took over the
Domino Sugar Factory in 2014. Expect similarly big things for the Brooklyn Museum
under Pasternak’s tenure. We definitely do.




Label Manager of 4AD

New York native Nabil Ayers, knows, plays, and spreads good and up-and-coming music. A musician and drummer in his own right, Ayers runs album campaigns for the likes of the National, Grimes, Future Islands, and tUnE-yArDs. On the side, Ayers
created his own label, The Control Group, through which he’s unearthed beautiful gems like El Perro Del Mar, Cate Le Bon, and Alice Boman. Ayers seems to have an unlimited supply of musical tricks up his sleeve, so we look forward to hearing what he
has in store for us next.




008 Jenna WorthamJenna-Wortham
staff writer for the New York Times Magazine

Wortham started off as a tech writer at the
Times but has more recently been at the Times Magazine, wherein she writes about a wide range of topics, and has been
particularly notable on the topics of grieving in the age of social media (please don’t
even bother to try and get through this without crying) and Beyoncé’s “Formation”
video (which, honestly, don’t even bother to try and get through this without crying
either). Simply put: Wortham is who we want to read on everything, all the time.




Leslie-Schultz009 Leslie Schultz
President of BRIC

From mounting gargantuan group shows of hundreds of artists at once to more
intimately curated exhibitions and collaborative projects, BRIC President Leslie Schultz
and her curatorial colleagues, including standouts like Jenny Gerow, do quite a lot to
showcase the work of Brooklyn artists. They also do a lot to help any and all
interested parties to acquire new creative skill sets through their workshops and well
appointed facilities.




Park Slope Food Co-op member A.O. Scott wields the power to shape mainstream
consensus, to define for a large and varied nonspecialist readership what viewing
habits, and what attitudes, constitute enlightened moviegoing. This is not just down
to his platform at the Times, but also because Scott’s criticism—lucid, witty,
sensible—makes him the perfect ambassador. It’s not surprising that with his
high-profile new book, Better Living Through Criticism, he’s turned to advocating for
his entire profession.



Art Director at Lucky Peach

Devin Washburn is the Brooklyn-based Art Director of Lucky Peach, a food magazine that, since being created by Momofuku’s David Chang in 2011, has taken food art, photography, and journalism to an entirely new—and wholly unexpected—level. Since joining the team at Lucky Peach, Washburn has helped continue to push the envelope with LP’s signature zany style and helped share Brooklyn’s food scene with the world.





Once you hear a voice like Ashley Ford’s, you don’t forget it. An essential part of over 30,000 readers Twitter feeds and an essayist whose bravery, honesty, and generosity astound, she’s currently writing for Elle and Lenny Letter as well as working on a memoir. Her love for Kenny Loggins is unwavering.




producer, DJ

Aside from a successful solo career of his own as a musician, DJ, and producer, Atrak is one of the driving forces behind Brooklyn’s extremely influential rap and dance focused label Fool’s Gold. From Danny Brown to World’s Fair, we have Atrak and his team to thank for supporting fellow artists.




014, 015 & 016 ANTONIO CAMPOS (pictured), SEAN DURKIN,



Antonio Campos’s Christine, which recently premiered at Sundance, is another formally assured, jarring drama from the Borderline boys, three friends from film school who produce each other’s work, including Mond’s James White and Durkin’s Martha Marcy May Marlene. They’ve recently branched out into executive producing via their Borderline Presents label, which unveiled The Eyes of My Mother at Sundance—another beautifully shot shocker, a further extension of their singular sensibility.





Responsible for some of the most profound theatrical events in recent memory, Baker is a truly exceptional artist, whose work transports us to places—including the farthest reaches of our brains—where we didn’t know we could go. Watching her latest, John, was described by our theater critic, Dan Callahan, as being akin to “setting out to sea in a small craft with the scenes rising up like islands.” In a word: Transformative.




writer, editor

Jason Parham is the founder and editor-in-chief of Spook, a gorgeous literary magazine dedicated to furthering the cultural conversation by spotlighting alternative voices since 2012. He is also veteran writer and editor with experience at publications like Complex and Gawker, and is currently a senior editor at The Fader.





Author of the Bone Street Rumba series (most recently Midnight Taxi Tango) and the YA novel Shadowshaper, Daniel José Older melds a career of writing Brooklyn-based fantasy and noir with urgent and persuasive literary activism, as seen in his essays and his Twitter feed. He also worked as a New York City paramedic for decade—ask him for his medical license, he’ll show it to you.




As the critic-at-large for New York Magazine,
Browne continues to build on his legacy as a sharp-witted,
playful and incisive voice on everything from slapstick comedy to race relations.
He has established himself as one of the most important
and relatable critical voices in our generation,
with a sensibility that is incredibly welcome in
our frequently insensible times.



Executive Director of Brooklyn Poets

It’s no coincidence that Brooklyn Poets was founded by Koo on May 31, 2012—it’s Walt Whitman’s birthday. Through Brooklyn Poets, Koo has created a homegrown community of support for the sometimes marginalized literary art form through things like workshops, reading series, and the like.




Executive and Artistic Director at National Sawdust

Before coming on board at Williamsburg’s new experimental venue National Sawdust, Prestini had an illustrious career as a musician and composer (she was named one of the top 100 composers in the world under the age of 40 by NPR); now, though, Prestini is an a position to profoundly influence how we experience music and performance in a whole new way.




Culture Editor The New Republic

Since Michelle Legro took over culture at The New Republic, the magazine’s section has become a must-read: publishing writers like Michelle Dean on Robert Lowell and Alexander Chee on historical fiction and Maxwell Neely-Cohen on NBA Twitter. Formerly of Lapham’s Quarterly, every history and literature nerd’s favorite magazine, she also turned heads when she created My Daguerreotype Boyfriend, featuring hunks from former centuries.




Co-Executive Producer of VICE HBO

Clancy heads up the Emmy-winning international documentary series which investigates pressing global stories, including things like Taliban-supported child suicide bombers, the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, and the refugee trail in Europe from Syria. In short, Clancy leads the direction of some of the most intelligent international reporting produced to date.




founder of AdHoc

Right when we thought we’d seen enough of Ric–the Market Hotel announced they were opening their doors again after five long years. Ric and his events collective, AdHoc, are (of course) attached to the famed venue, ensuring it boasts a calendar worthy of it’s name. AdHoc is already everywhere–but now the AdHoc zine is back in print as well, with New Yorker cartoonists now contributing to it’s pages.




Crown Heights Tenant Union

Mossman is a founding member of the Crown Heights Tenant Union, Giron is a member and leader in the CHTU who started the Court Solidarity Committee. Working together they are fighting gentrification by educating tenants on their rights and organizing tenant associations building by building, block by block. CHTU is unique in that it unites new and old residents of Crown Heights to push back against harassment, illegal displacement and win tenant control over rental housing in the neighborhood.



writer, music critic

Winner of the 2016 American Society of Magazine Editors “Next Award” for journalist under 30, Lindsay Zoldaz can break down David Bowie with the best of them. Smart, thoughtful, curious, her work at New York Magazine embodies the best of cultural criticism.





As co-editor of the film section of the Brooklyn Rail, a curator of formally and politically radical art shows, and a curator whose highest-profile recent gig is the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s genre-defining-and-defying Art of the Real documentary showcase, Rakes is working to push the dialogue around the moving image into a more flexible, expansive place.




Editor-in-Chief The Fader

It’s unfortunately rare to see women at the very top of the masthead
in publications that aren’t specifically focused on “women’s issues”;
rarer still is to see a woman under the age of 30 reach
such heights. But, lucky for us, Zeichner is that rare case;
since becoming editor-in-chief of The Fader a little over a year ago (she’d previously been at BuzzFeed),
Zeichner has consistently published some of the most
interesting writing on music out there now,
and has assembled an enviable team of some of the best journalists—music and
otherwise—working today.


writer, critic

As a professor at NYU’s Gallatin School, a prominent critical voice in The New Yorker and Pitchfork, and the author of a book about rare records, Do Not Sell At Any Price, Amanda Petrusich is a towering force of grace and encouragement in New York music and criticism circles. Between mentoring emerging voices and writing with discernment about music’s most important figures, Petrusich is helping shape Brooklyn culture from the ground up.




gallerist, artist, curator

Artist, curator and all-around arts promoter Christopher Stout has created quite a community of enthusiastic creatives through Bushwick Art Crit Group, and he recently expanded and focused that network at once by opening his own art space, Christopher Stout Gallery NY—where the operative aesthetic in general might most simply be called ‘anything but easy.’ And that rules.



founder Bondfire Radio

Conscious Walker and his colleagues at Bondfire Radio flood the airwaves with a steady mix of musical programming, to be sure, but also with rich discussions pertaining to community pride and cultural awareness. The good work they do requires lots of energy and just as much love. Check them out, tune in, listen up.




writer, editor

Native Brooklynite Doreen St. Felix writes and edits for Lena Dunham’s Lenny Letter, the New Yorker, the New York Times, and Pitchfork, among others. Her essay, “The Prosperity Gospel of Rihanna,” is definitive; her Twitter is all fire tweets.




Executive Director of UrbanGlass

As head of UrbanGlass—the largest public glass studio in the United States, and the only of its kind in New York City—Maylone has led the organization through the final stages of renovating its building in the heart of Fort Greene. Today UrbanGlass is home to a gallery, store, and over 300 artists and designers, working in everything from glassblowing to neon. Maylone supports artists who push the boundaries of what is possible in glass, and challenges the public to think critically about the materials that are all around us.




writer, editor, party-thrower

Founder of Vol. 1 Brooklyn and co-creator (with BOMB Magazine’s Ryan Chapman) of the epic book world party, The Mingle, sometimes it seems that Jason Diamond is everywhere in literary Brooklyn—and that’s a good thing. Keep an eye out for his new book, Searching for John Hughes.




The Very Black Project

The celebration of being unapologetically black and proud is at the core of The Very Black Project, a social activism group (and T-shirt company!) headed up by Singleton and co-founder Justin Fulton. The duo’s pro-black initiative promotes self-love by reclaiming black culture, empowering a disenfranchised community, and starting a dialogue as to what exactly “blackness” means.




Executive Director, IFP

The Independent Filmmaker Project offers soup-to-nuts support for narrative, nonfiction and transmedia indie projects alike. It’s technically possible that a film could be nurtured through IFP’s array of project forums and conferences, markets, development labs and production grants; have a theatrical run at their Made in NY Media Center in DUMBO; receive coverage in their respected in-house publication Filmmaker magazine; and be celebrated at their annual Gotham Awards.





NPoet (he won the Yale Younger Poet award), essayist (his work has been featured in Best American Essays), lawyer (also ratified by a professional body), Ken Chen is a master of multitasking. In his role at the Asian American Writers’ Workshop, he works as a relentless advocate for writers of color in the book world.




Hughes first came on our radar a few years ago as a reliably smart and
funny Twitter presence whose writing we found engaging, thought-provoking, and
often hilarious. Before long, Hughes was an assistant editor at
the Hairpin, where it seemed like just about everything she wrote was immensely,
deservedly popular; a blink of an eye later, and she was off to the New York
Times Magazine,
where she’s making her mark writing about Danny Devito among other important things.
Beyond the fact that Hughes is doing great for herself at a
really young age (like, really young), she’s also a huge advocate to other young writers,
and is co-founder of Writers of Color, a group that makes it impossible for
editors to say they don’t hire writers of color because they
“don’t know where to find them.”



We’ve yet to read a single thing by Chew-Bose, from articles to tweets to emails, that doesn’t make us pause and consider what a gift she has with words. Here’s how you know something has been written by Durga: It’s eminently quotable; it makes you see things and people and places in ways that feel familiar even though the ideas are all Chew-Bose’s own; it stays with you long after you’ve read it—like, forever. Chew-Bose is also a co-founder of Writers of Color.


writer, co-founder Writers of Color

Writer and programmer Assar is one of the c-founders of Writers of Color; his work covers everything from sci-fi to technology


writer, co-founder Writers of Color

Another of the cofounders of Writers of Color, Bylander works to help create more visibility for writers who have frequently been denied a voice—can this be celebrated enough? Um, no.


founder of Femsplain

Shouldn’t it be possible to harness the community-building power of the internet as a force for good? That’s the question that drove Amber Gordon to quit her job at Tumblr and found Femsplain, a community determined to foster a safe, creative place for women to interact with each other online. The community she’s built over the last year or so speaks for itself: women needed this, and need each other. Gordon’s just the one who made them feel safe enough to admit that.



film outreach leads


In a relatively short span of time, Kickstarter has completed changed the way movies are funded—and thus made, exhibited, talked about. But it’s still an evolving model. Respectively specializing in narrative, nonfiction and genre films, Schoenbrun, Cook and Schmalz work with Kickstarter filmmakers on their campaigns, which means crafting an identity for a project, and building and sustaining an audience—and are branching out into a more public role, facilitating programs and mentorship opportunities to further democratize the whole damn project.



Covering startups at Tech Crunch and writing fiction (check his sci-fi chapbook Love Songs for Monsters), Anthony Ha is the go-to opinion source for tech and Star Trek news. He is also really good at karaoke.


artist, musician

British-born Genesis P-Orridge is a practitioner of experimental art exploring the occult, sex work, love and identity, P-Orridge is a living, breathing embodiment of artistic expression themselves. After their famed years fronting bands Psychic TV and Throbbing Gristle, P-Orridge and their late wife began the Pandrogeny Project–which asked for the recognition two entities existing as one (pandrogyne)–an effort they are dedicated to today.


The book world rose up in a chorus of celebration
when Lisa Lucas, formerly the publisher of Guernica, was appointed
executive director of the National Book Foundation.
At the helm of the 30-year-old organization, she plans to expand
its efforts towards inclusivity and advocacy.
“Readers are everything,” she recently told the New York Times,
“readers are everyone.”


writer, head of publishing at Kickstarter

Kickstarter’s lead on all things book-related, Kreizman has helped foster countless publishing projects from dream into reality. It’s really the perfect job for a natural advocate for other writers, which Kreizman has long been. She’s also a published author herself, with her Tumblr-turned-book, Slaughterhouse 90210, having come out late last year, which included prescient jokes about Donald Trump that have been noticed by no less than Bette Midler.


Co-Founder of Bklyn Boihood

We know you’ll agree that a desire to see yourself represented in the world is more than justifiable, and yet achieving such a thing is—for many people—no small feat. But that’s where Holmes and Bklyn Boihood come in. Bklyn Boihood is a collective that works to empower and make visible queer and transpeople of color, and is working to make bois of color in the community feel affirmed in their existence.



If you’ve ever guffawed at a tweet from the hilarious, mansplaining Guy In Your MFA parody account, or chuckled at one of Dystopian YA Novel’s over-the-top observations, then you have Schwartz to thank for that. When she’s not crafting award-winning tweets, Schwartz works at The New Yorker as a cartoon assistant and at Mental Floss as a staff writer.


Google Play Books editor

This fall Google brought Kevin Nguyen, and a substantial part of team from the recently acquired ebooks service Oyster, aboard to help recommend and sell ebooks. He’s a smart person to bring on, with time also spent at Grantland (as a critic) and Amazon (as an editor), Nguyen knows how books and technology and literary culture intersect.


writer, artist, #blackfolk

Peterson’s #blackfolk series is a collection of digital collages that incorporates black icons like Tupac and Grace Jones into famous classical artwork by artists like Matisse. Her collages provide often unrepresented communities an opportunity to see people who look like they do in what have traditionally and overwhelmingly been white spaces.

056 SARAH NICOLE PRICKETTsarahnicoleprickett2
writer, Editor-in-Chief Adult

It’s still sort of strange to think that there wasn’t a magazine named Adult before Prickett launched this “magazine of contemporary erotics and experience” just over a year ago. But we’re happy that she’s the one behind this (basically perfect) title, as her specifically smart sensibility is what Adult-readers—and adult readers, in general—deserve. Beyond that, Prickett’s writing in places like Hazlitt, BookForum, Artforum, T Magazine and more is some of the most compelling work we’ve come across anywhere; whether she’s writing criticism or personal essays, her style is quickly identifiable, and reveals her thoughts with a startling lucidity, without necessarily (or unnecessarily) exposing herself—a welcome rarity these days.



If we wanted to compile a reading list of the best journalism in the last couple of years, we’d begin with basically all the work of Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah. As her recent profile of New York City First Lady Chirlane McCray in the New York Times Magazine attests, Ghansah is able to reveal more about famously reticent subjects that just about anyone else working today. We look forward to each of her articles coming out with the same fevered anticipation as we do a Beyonce surprise video. Which, by the way, if you haven’t read Ghansah on the BeyHive, please do so. Like, now.


Editor-in-Chief of THUMP

As one of the founding editors of beloved underground music pub and events collective AdHoc, Friedlander has tons of Brooklyn music scene cred, further backed by her impressive journalism career which has taken her all the way to the top; she’s now Editor-in-Chief at VICE’s dance music vertical THUMP.


writer, librarian

While there are not many celebrity librarians out there, Rita Meade certainly counts as one. By day, an employee of the Brooklyn Public Library, by night a children’s book author, library-themed band (Lost in the Stacks) frontwoman, and host of the Book Riot podcast “Dear Book Nerd.” What’s not to like?


Longtime hip-hop journalist Markman joined the team at annotation powerhouse
Genius (formerly Rap Genius) not long ago and serves as the artist relations manager;
basically, this means that Markman now facilitates a better connection,
with clearer than ever before communication, between artist and audience, i.e.
we now get to know exactly what Pusha T was thinking when he wrote “Grindin.”


writer, comedian

Even if you haven’t personally experienced the aura of kindness that beams forth from Gondelman’s presence, you’ve probably read one of his hilarious tweets, or experienced his humor as one of the writers on John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight. The world of comedy has lately faced down specters of abuse, but Gondelman is a reminder that good guys exist even in the darkest places, and his determination to shine in word and deed has not gone unnoticed, or unappreciated.

co-founder of Bushwig

Best know for by their drag name, Horrorchata is the co-founder of Brooklyn’s drag extravaganza, Bushwig, in 2012. Exploding in huge popularity, Bushwig has grown year by year, boasting thousands that make the trek to Bushwick to celebrate drag. Horrorchata has helped keep Bushwig special by ensuring a place for all types of queens, ranging from a classic dance routine to macabre performance art.



As much as any other single person, Lipes is responsible for how Brooklyn looks on screen today: as the DP of Tiny Furniture and most of the first season of Girls, he gave millennial angst a sneaky polish, and it led to higher-profile work from Jay-Z’s “Picasso Baby” video to Trainwreck. His pretty pictures are an implicit advocacy for the continued relevance of 35mm to mainstream and indie directors alike, and his dance films, NY Export: Opus Jazz and Ballet 422 (made with his wife, former NYC Ballet dancer Ellen Bar) are simply lovely.



Nance’s 2012 feature debut An Oversimplification of Her Beauty, a diaristic love story told partly with handmade animation, announced him as a protean talent. His recent music videos and shorts (check out: Worry No. 473 of 1000 Worries That a Black Person Should Not Have to Worry About and You and I and You) reveal an engaged filmmaker capable of synthesizing contemporary pop-culture vernaculars at the speed of thought. People will be watching his stuff to get inspired for years to come.


Tumblr Outreach

“Wizard of community” Rachel Fershleiser is the queen of books on Tumblr and frankly most of the Internet. Rachel shapes the conversation through projects like Tumblr Book Club and her involvement with organizations like the National Book Foundation, the Brooklyn Book Festival, Lit Hub, and Housing Works.


writer, founder of Drunk TEDTalks

Everyone knows the best way to make a great thing superb is to add alcohol. Kudos to Eric Thurm for seizing upon the adaptable form of the TED Talk and getting the speakers sloshed before they embark on lectures about love, technology, culture and more. Thurm invented his own lecture series and enlisted some of the brightest minds in the borough to bestow their wisdom on us, all while promoting Brooklyn’s other favorite pastime: getting drunk.


hosts of Another Round

Nigatu and Clayton are the voices behind hit BuzzFeed podcast Another Round, where they are known for their frank talk, wicked sense of humor, and willingness to ask the most powerful people in the world (think: Hillary Clinton) the questions most of us wouldn’t even dare think, let alone ask.


Founder of Supercrush Studios

“We do shows” is an understatement when it comes to what Rodriguez accomplishes with Supercrush Studios, his independent production company; besides his work with showcases like Solo Dame Indie Pop! for the Latin Alternative Music Conference, Rodriguez’s work with The Project Collective and various charities has brought music and art to all corners of the borough.


Montana Simone has been pouring lots of time and energy into making Idio Gallery a bustling new Bushwick locus for art
exhibitions and happenings, and it’s really been paying off of late.
Certain basement performances have proven particularly indelible. Keep Montana and
Idio on your radar.


Director of the Brooklyn Historical Society

If the thought of Brooklyn history gets you excited, there’s one woman to thank: Deborah Schwartz. Under her watch the Brooklyn Historical Society has gone from sleepy institution to cultural force, and routinely presents some of the most exciting events and installations in the borough today.


Artist and Owner of The Living Gallery

Basically, if you can think of it, you can do it at The Living Gallery. Yoga sessions, birthday parties, jewelry classes, noise shows, art fairs, fashion shows, ad infinitum. Most importantly, everyone is invited to come, to collaborate, not compete, which is probably why it has been a fixture of the community since 2012.


writer, Editor-in-Chief of Electric Literature

Editor-in-chief of Brooklyn-born lit magazine Electric Literature, co-founder of Gigantic Magazine, and a Twitter user truly gifted at combining memes with archival imagery, Lincoln Michel is a master of where literary culture and the internet meet. His recent collection of funny, dark short stories, Upright Beasts, similarly blends worlds and bend rules.


Urban Homestead Assistance Board

Serving UHAB for five years and counting, Weaver is a pivotal voice and organizer within the housing rights movement in Brooklyn and NYC. UHAB, which strives to empower low income residents by creating tenant associations and co-ops city-wide, has seen countless successes stemmed from their community organizing efforts. Weaver is right in the center of it all, working with tenants to fight for affordable housing and fair treatment of renters. The glowing gem in her successes is the powerful Crown Heights Tenant Union, which Weaver helped build.


075, 76 & 77 Zach Morris, Tom Pearson, Jennine Willett,
Third Rail Project

Morris, Pearson, and Willett are the founders of Third Rail Projects, Brooklyn’s own immersive theater project. Their latest work, The Grand Paradise, allows theatergoers to feel like they’ve escaped to a hedonistic, tropical resort without ever leaving Bushwick. Paradise, indeed.


Head of BuzzFeed Audio

From her position at media powerhouse BuzzFeed, Weiss-Berman is responsible for all things podcast, i.e. she facilitates some of the most entertaining, provocative, challenging forms of the medium today, with a particular focus toward expanding beyond the traditional “radio audience,” i.e. wealthy white dudes.


head of music at Kickstarter

Having recently joined ultra-influential crowdfunding site Kickstarter as the company’s first ever head of music, Neuman is now singularly able to help un- and under-funded musicians find a way to get their music heard. Kickstarter has proven to be an essential advocate for creatives in fields like film and publishing, and there’s no reason the music world shouldn’t benefit as well.


As oral historian at the Brooklyn Historical Society,
Ali is in charge of recording those voices that might not otherwise have been heard.
It’s an essential part of the preservation of our past;
without Ali, and people like him,
it would be easy to imagine a future Brooklyn decontextualized from its start.


Features Editor for THUMP

As the features editor for VICE’s dance-music vertical, THUMP, and one of the programmers at the Lot Radio, Lhooq is a powerful as well as empowering voice for women in Brooklyn’s thriving electronic music scene—and beyond.



As a Knobler Fellow at The Nation Institute, Mychal Denzel Smith has become a crucial voice writing about politics, social justice and pop culture through the lens of black male identity. His highly-anticipated, forthcoming book Invisible Man: Got The Whole World Watching (Nation Books, 6/14) grapples with what it has meant for Smith, personally, to come of age as a black man during the presidency of Barack Obama.



DJ Jubilee brought her Miami beach-rave roots to Brooklyn and helped revamp the dancefloor by working with dancehall mastermind Dre Skull and signing to Mixpak. Whether it’s a warehouse party in Brooklyn or an international carnival, DJ Jubilee brings the heat.


Editor of BuzzFeed Books

Fitzgerald came to BuzzFeed Books from McSweeney’s. Before that he was at literary site the Rumpus, where he’d already proven himself to be a savvy identifier of excellent writers (think: Roxane Gay, Cheryl Strayed) and a strong editor. In his time at BuzzFeed, he’s proven this countless times over by consistently running some of the best essays on difficult topics (please read Jenny Zhang’s “They Pretend to Be Us While Pretending We Don’t Exist” and Saeed Jones’s “How Men Fight for Their Lives”), and is a tireless advocate for the writing and writers he believes in—exactly what an editor should be. Also? He’s really fun to drink with.


Assemblymember, Working Families Party

Richardson was elected in a special election and is the first person to be elected on solely the Working Families Party line to State office. Her election is a testament to the power of the grassroots and the pressing problem of affordable housing in Brooklyn: She refused to accept donations from the real estate industry and won her campaign thanks to small donors and working class residents who campaigned for her. She is currently working to form a woman of color caucus in the State Assembly.



As one of the founders of the influential, democratic online film magazine Reverse Shot, Koresky is part of an institution that’s helped a whole generation of cinephiles figure out how to take movies seriously, with open-minded rigor. Setting the conversation is part of the job in his work as a writer for the Criterion Collection, and on the staff of newly unveiled movie palace The Metrograph. Up next, his first film(!), a half-documentary, half-fiction project currently filming locally with documentary filmmaker and Reverse Shot co-editor Jeff Reichert.


Owner of Bossa Nova Civic Club and Juno

John Barclay is the owner of Bossa Nova Civic Club—Brooklyn’s unofficial, small-but-mighty dance music headquarters—and Juno, a very different but very adorable restaurant he recently opened right down the block. Barclay and Bossa Nova have played a large role in bolstering Brooklyn’s dance music scene since opening in 2013 by consistently booking the perfect combination of local talent and international names—all in a cozy, foggy unpretentious little bar in Bushwick.


Artistic Director The Annoyance Theater

Founder and artistic director of the Annoyance Theater, originally in Chicago, and now with a recently opened New York branch, Napier is fostering a UCB-type community of Brooklyn’s own. About time.


Head of A&R and Publishing at Mom + Pop Music

From her position at Mom + Pop Music, Willinger has signed such beloved acts as Courtney Barnett, Jagwar Ma, and Kindness. Now, having recently launched her own imprint with the label, the Coney-inflected Mermaid Avenue, Willinger can further advance the careers of bands like Hinds. With her impeccable taste, we can’t help but recommend that you follow what she does and listen up.


How do you end up writing all things music for Pitchfork, curating the same for
MoMA PS1, launching a music fest like Basilica Soundscape in Hudson, AND
collaborating with artists like Matthew Barney?
Start making zines when you’re young and then write tirelessly about music.
In sum, work hard and never forget where you came from. METAL.


President of Green-Wood Cemetery

Beginning his career at Green-Wood Cemetery as a grass-cutter, Moylan has risen in ranks to president of the borough institution and with his cultural programming efforts has brought new life to the historic grounds. (Pun totally intended!)



Telaroli’s online film writing, like her experimental shorts, is wide-ranging and exploratory, attentive as much to texture as to context, and open-ended in a thrillingly modern way. As a maker of micro-budget features (Traveling Light, a lightly structuralist document of a train trip; Here’s to the Future!, several amateur remakes of a single scene from a Michael Curtiz movie), she’s roped in many members of the NYC film community to participate in a collaborative, spontaneous filmmaking practice that stakes out something about blurred lines between loving art and making it, and collective and individual sensibilities, in the social-media age.


Co-Founder of Mayday Space

Nogueira started Mayday Space, a movement space (and bar!) in Bushwick in order to foster a feeling of community and has quickly become many in the neighborhood’s resource for workshops, classes, fundraisers, and research on issues like immigrant rights, food justice, and tenants protection. Together with her five-person collective, Nogueira is uniting the community by promoting justice and awareness to otherwise marginalized individuals and groups.


film critic, Village Voice

There is a Great Man history of the Voice film section—Mekas to Sarris to Hoberman—that doesn’t do justice to the plurality of, well, voices that have used their alt-press column inches to speak up for diverse (better not say “marginal”) subject matter, style, even ways of seeing and writing. Continuing that tradition, longtime contributor and recently appointed senior film critic Anderson keeps a gimlet eye on the sensory pleasures and sexual politics of cinema in her reader-friendly reviews, with a brief covering everything from Hollywood to repertory and experimental fare.


writer, editor

Michele Filgate has written for just about everywhere. A bookstore events coordinator of legend, Filgate now focuses on writing and teaching, which she does at Catapult and Sackett Street Writer’ Workshop. Her new reading series, the Lit Hub-sponsored Red Ink, looks stupendous.


Photographer and Admin of a Secret Online Feminist Group

Remy Holwick is a photographer and the lead admin in a secret online feminist group (even the name’s a secret!) that gives 3,000+ New York City women, most of whom are in Brooklyn, a safe place to discuss what’s on their minds. Stemming from an LA sister-group with 17,000+ members, the NYC chapter does everything from helping women better support each other through hard times to offering up jobs to discussing political issues to laughing at shitty Tinder dates—and Holwick has helped oversee it all.


Executive Editor of Eater

In late 2014, Helen Rosner launched Eater’s features department, where she introduced long-form, reported narrative, and personal essays to to the site. Just a little over a year later, Rosner’s efforts lead to a slew of media awards, including two James Beards and an ASME for the brilliant “The Eater Guide to Surviving Disney World.” In her new role, Rosner oversees an expanded features universe, and is changing the way we see food writing, making it into something other than, as Rosner describes it, “chef idolatry, crock-pot recipes, and maudlin essays about grandma’s cooking.”


founder of Urbane Development

Created in 2008, Urbane Development works with underserved communities across the country to promote internal wealth generation. Johnson-Piett launched it after realizing the importance of working directly with communities to understand and then tap into their natural resources by providing tailored support. Urbane Development was named co-lead on the redevelopment of the Flatbush Caton Market, where Johnson Piett’s team will focus on providing training, management, and business development skills to the market’s 47 vendors to help them flourish in their future space, and create a thriving Caribbean immigrant community; Urbane is also working with a consortium in Bed-Stuy to increase financial health for low-income residents.


musician, DIY pioneer

Being the frontman of A Place to Bury Strangers (or “the loudest band in New York”) and founder of the legendary Death By Audio–Ackermann certainly has made waves in the sphere of Brooklyn music. While DBA is now closed (RIP), it’s sudden shuttering ignited a conversation about shared spaces, live music, and how to preserve the DIY spirit of music in the ever expensive Brooklyn. Ackermann also still runs the pedal shop that Ackermann used to run within the space, and has relocated to a modest location in the Navy Yard, where you can still find the crew shaping up custom pedals.


Newly appointed as the head of influential art nonprofit Creative
Time, Hollander is sure to bring big things to the world of public art.
Hollander’s been at Creative Time for eight years, during which time CT has
staged work like Kara Walker’s now iconic “A Subtlety.”
Look for her first big project, Duke Riley’s “Fly by Night,”
which will comprise “a series of performances featuring a massive flock of pigeons
flying in elegant harmony in the evening sky above the East River,”
this May at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. We can’t wait.

photos by Jane Bruce, Daniel Dorsa, Darcy Rogers, Maggie Shannon, Nicole Fara Silver


  1. This list is *very* skewed toward writers and editors. There aren’t any designers (of any discipline) featured. This is by no means an attack on those featured as its well-deserved, but perhaps the headline is a bit misleading…

  2. Odd to have no mention of Eyebeam in here. As one of the most cultural influential organizations in art and technology, who is literally nursing the current and next generation of thought leaders in emerging tech, it’s probably the only org after BAM and Buzzfeed that has really national reach in terms of influence not just in terms of their internal leadership but their fellowship program. Very odd.

  3. You do these lists all the time. And then it changes again. It makes you dizzy. You should do another pointless list. It should feature 100 mediocre people in Brooklyn. Then do another list of 100 crap people in Brooklyn. That would be more fun I think.

  4. I agree with other comments that this list is not professionally diverse, full of writers and editors with a few token community organizers. Those compiling it should reach beyond this narrow definition of culture. With half of these organizations based in Manhattan. I also do not see how it is particularly grounded in Brooklyn either.

  5. Soooooo, the guy who books Baby’s All RIght is more influential culturally in BK than anyone at the Brooklyn Museum, PRATT or Brooklyn College? Interesting.

  6. Would love to see more people of note who do true community work (for instance, a Child Abuse Pediatrician) then a slew of writers and someone described as “filmmaker/cinephile”

  7. What about
    Bridget Murphy and Kay Vorderwubeckker? She an art procurer and he’s an architect. Both very talented individuals. I expect they will get on this list soon.

  8. Wow – not a single dancer or choreographer is included in the 100 most influential people in Brooklyn Culture?

  9. […] by the Editors That Brooklyn has an abundance of creatively minded and culturally significant residents is not really news—this has long been the case. Now though, the borough feels more than ever like a cultural nexus, wherein once marginalized voices and outsider perspectives are now a major part of our cultural conversation. And so what better time to celebrate some of the many people who are shaping Brooklyn culture today, those people responsible for the words we want to read, the films we want to see, the music we want to hear, the art we want to experience, the spaces we want to inhabit. Everyone on this list creates, directs, or provides a platform for the type of work that continues to make Brooklyn not just culturally relevant, but culturally vital. And we thank them for it.Brooklyn Magazine […]

  10. No mention of the guy at my local deli who always puts extra cherry peppers on my Italian Combo?!! Shame on you Brooklyn Magazine!!!

  11. Aghast that you did not even include Jamel Gaines, Founder of Creative Outlet Dance Theatre. For the last 20 years he has been training Brooklyn locals, most who could never afford to attend the swanky dance schools in Manhattan, and sending them off to compete in National T.V., and helping them secure employment with major national dance companies, and Broadway shows. Shame on you. Half your list never did anything for Brooklyn.

  12. It would have been interesting to see religious leaders on the list. Brooklyn has long been known as “The Borough of Churches,” and is the headquarters of several Chasidic Jewish movements with worldwide influence. Not everybody likes organized religion, but it plays a major role in the cultural lives of hundreds of thousands of Brooklyn residents.

  13. Nearly everyone on this list is in some way in entertainment/arts (writing, film, music, etc.), and do not represent the whole of culture. The editors may want to reevaluate their definition of culture before creating their next list.

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