Jul 13, 2021
Introducing Brooklyn’s 50 Most Fascinating People
Our inaugural list of 50 Brooklynites who captivate our attention
For our inaugural Brooklyn’s 50 Most Fascinating People list, Brooklyn Magazine is paying tribute to the most engrossing people in the borough right now, across multiple disciplines. These are the main characters of Brooklyn. They are also the compelling extras: the spice in the gumbo, the sand in the Vaseline. These are folks you think you know and the folks you need to know.
The media landscape is oversaturated with “Most Influential X” and “Y Under Z” lists. Boring. We chose “most fascinating” precisely because it’s slightly squishy. (Plus it was good enough for Barbara Walters, so.) You don’t have to like someone to find them fascinating, and a person can be fascinating at any age.
Our honorees include a gender queer Gen Z creative who is helping to shape the singer SZA’s brand, a hardcore punk city councilman, a sculptor and tattoo artist challenging society’s relationship to Black bodies, and a famous actor who helped feed thousands of first responders during the pandemic. The through-line here is that these are the people who are doing work that makes us feel, think, laugh and care. They each connect us to the borough in essential ways, especially as the borough itself digs out from a year of pandemic.
This might strike some readers as a weird, hodgepodge list. And maybe it is. But these are weird times and the people who we find compelling run the gamut of humanity. And they are all inextricably linked to the living organism that is this borough.
A note about how we landed on this list: We put a call out for nominees in March and were inundated with close to 1,000 submissions via email and social media. We know this is subjective. (That’s the fun part!) There is no ranking here and we decided to do away with categories. (Some of these folks entirely defy categorization anyway.) We anticipate your snarky takes and mean tweets. Bring it on. But just read it all before you let us know who we missed. And remember, there’s always next year.
Brooklyn’s 50 Most Fascinating were selected by a jury of Brooklynites comprising:
- Brooklyn Magazine staff
- Tayo Giwa and Cynthia Gordy Giwa, the husband-and-wife team behind Black-Owned Brooklyn
- Andrew Essex, media veteran and co-founder of creative marketing services company Plan A
- Nicolas Heller, better known as New York Nico, who unbeknownst to himself (until now) is also an honoree on this list
- Julie Reiner, author of The Craft Cocktail Party, co-founder Social Hour Cocktails, co-owner Clover Club & Leyenda
To borrow from the Human League: We’ll keep feeling fascination. And we hope you will, too. Click through to see the full list.
Finally, a big thanks to the design team at Group SJR who built the incredible interface for this package, specifically: Johnmichael Faustini, Joelle McKenna, Ryan Carlson, Catherine Choi, Sebastian Longhitano, Laura Beckerdite, and Jessica Ulman. And last, but certainly not least, a thanks to Simon Dumenco for editorial input throughout.
Have some feedback for us? Feel free to reach out here.
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