Like father, like son, at least when it comes to Steven Rubenstein’s commitment to New York City. Rubenstein manages the day-to-day operations of the agency made famous by his father, Howard. Steven Rubenstein has been on staff since 1992, and his reach extends to business, media, sports, real estate, health care and education. This year, he took on the high-profile role as chairman of the Association for a Better New York, which is a venue for discussing matters of great consequence.
The 2018 Manhattan Power 50; 11-50
The 2018 Manhattan Power 50; 11-50
Edward C. Wallace has become a mainstay on City & State’s power lists, and there are a number of reasons why. He’s mattered in Manhattan since making a name for himself as a key New York City government figure, serving as the chief of staff to then-New York City Council President Carol Bellamy during the late 1970s. Developers, corporations and nonprofits turn to Wallace, who is now co-chairman of the New York office of Greenberg Traurig, for advice on traversing the difficult world of city politics.
The Irish-born Michael J. Dowling is a key player in the health care realm, and not just for overseeing Northwell Health. The 66,000-employee behemoth has 23 hospitals and describes itself as New York state’s largest private sector employer. Dowling became president and CEO in 2002 and has become an influential figure in the 16 years since then. The 2017 grand marshall of the New York City St. Patrick’s Day parade, he’s a regular on health policy power lists for good reason.
One building at a time, Gary Barnett and Extell Development have become a part of the New York City landscape. He’s arguably one of the few key figures making the Wild West (Side) a residential, commercial and cultural destination for New Yorkers. But Extell has been known for other buildings heading skyward when other construction companies were not sure that the Manhattan of the future would likely be so tall. Barnett knows how to get things built, bureaucracy be damned.
Bradley Tusk came out this fall with a new book, “The Fixer: My Adventures Saving Startups from Death by Politics.” And it’s as a fixer that Tusk served a municipal master to Michael Bloomberg during his years as mayor. Tusk still understands power enough to be wary of returning to the partisan limelight, but he’s become a go-to consultant teaching big-name clients like Uber how to navigate New York’s corridors of power. Now he’s sharing what he knows with others.
He was Bloomberg’s brain and perhaps still would be – if the former mayor hadn’t been brainy enough himself. Today, Dan Doctoroff, a deputy mayor in the Bloomberg administration and former president and CEO of Bloomberg LP, is the chairman and CEO of Sidewalk Labs, a company that lives at the corner of technology and urban life. Sounds perfect for a key urban planner and someone who thinks big, such as when he predicted the far West Side would become a key building block for Manhattan.
In his day job as executive chairman and CEO of The Madison Square Garden Co., James Dolan can grab attention in a business story or a sports report. But he may increasingly find himself in the news section, as Madison Square Garden’s long-term viability – where it should be, whether it might be relocated and what the area around New York Penn Station should look like a few years from now – becomes even more of an issue in the New York City Council and in Albany.
From atop his perch at Rudin Management Co. and its premier properties, William Rudin has a commanding view of the city he loves. This pro-business force is known for a startling range of civic-minded roles. He is the new Real Estate Board of New York chairman, he used to chair the Association for a Better New York, and he serves on the Council on Foreign Relations – maintaining a global scope to his work without forgetting his hometown responsibilities.
At Tishman Speyer, Rob Speyer inherited the mantle from his father Jerry Speyer. The family tradition of both management success and political and cultural involvement continues. When it comes to real estate, Tishman Speyer continues to hold center stage, with Rob Speyer leading the company toward a new era of residential and commercial construction. He recently wrapped up an effective five-year run as chairman of the influential Real Estate Board of New York. Expect his reputation to grow with the city’s skyline.
As SL Green Realty Corp.’s CEO, Marc Holliday has established himself in New York City’s powerful real estate sector. SL Green is reportedly the city’s largest office landlord, making Holliday someone with instant authority. He knows how to weigh in on the subject that strikes close to home for New Yorkers – real estate – because it is home. As the city’s landscape changes with future development, more and more people on the power list will likely be making calls to Holliday.
As Google New York’s top external affairs official, William Floyd is a big deal at a company that’s a big deal – and is set to have an even bigger footprint in Manhattan. A link between Google and New York, Floyd helped the company gain a foothold in New York’s tech sector while increasing its stature as a notable neighbor on Eighth Avenue in Manhattan. All signs suggest Floyd and Google will rival Amazon as the city’s next-gen establishment.
Hunter College is routinely recognized as a great value for students, and it has a reputation as a first among equals in the CUNY system. Hunter’s president, Jennifer Raab, has earned kudos for her success in fundraising at Hunter while maintaining academic standards and continuing to be seen as a key New York City figure when it comes to educational policy. Like Hunter itself, she is viewed as a leader when it comes to CUNY politics and power.
When their dad got another gig, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump took over at The Trump Organization. The public never saw the president’s tax returns, and questions loom about what impact the Trump presidency is having on the family business. That issue will only continue to attract scrutiny in the years ahead, and courts will adjudicate the emoluments argument against the administration. In the meantime, the brothers Trump remain the most obvious manifestation of America’s #MAGA moment in their hometown.
In July 2011, Anthony Marx took on the culturally critical task of becoming the president and CEO at the New York Public Library. Since then he has helped library planners wrestle with whether and how to renovate the main branch on Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street, and has played a role in the increasing awareness of how libraries make a difference in communities. He also briefly emerged as a candidate for the CUNY chancellor post, but ultimately decided to stay put at the library.
Next year marks the 10th anniversary of Cardinal Timothy Dolan’s Manhattan-based tenure as archbishop of New York. He’s been a key player – and a barometer of how church philosophy shifts over time, or at least how the explanations of church policies do. Dolan’s in the New York media limelight, seems comfortable there and has earned his stripes as someone who can talk about topics large and small, from the church’s sex abuse crisis to the latest city government maneuvers.
In his Daily News column, Errol Louis gives his opinions and perspectives. But it’s his role as political anchor at NY1, especially his nightly political show “Inside City Hall,” that really gives him a platform. He’s the influential New Yorker regularly watched by other influential New Yorkers. With grace and warmth, and a sense that municipal matters play out in the lives of real people across five boroughs, Louis keeps us informed about what’s working at City Hall – and what’s not.
As the leader of Win, Christine Quinn remains involved in critical issues across New York City. In a sense, the former City Council speaker is back to her roots, advocating for change and assistance for the people who need it most. For the onetime mayoral front-runner, those who watch her work – and her ties to influential politicians like Gov. Andrew Cuomo – cannot help but wonder if she has another run for office in her, municipal or otherwise.
A former New York City councilwoman in an earlier era, Jessica Lappin of the Upper East Side has since settled a little further south at the Alliance for Downtown New York. She has made news in her new spot, and become an effective and outspoken advocate for the downtown district with her old colleagues at City Hall. Informed and articulate, Lappin knows how to generate buzz for her new neighborhoods and the people who live and work there.
He has gone from a precious spot on Richard Nixon’s enemies list to being one of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s trusted advisers and friends. Sid Davidoff is an old hand – he got his start working for another liberal mayor, John Lindsay – who seems to always be finding new respect, and people look to put his expertise to work for their ideas. Another influential ally is Keith Wright, the Manhattan Democratic Party boss who works for Davidoff’s firm.
John Catsimatidis’ radio show is a popular stop for political figures, making the unsuccessful mayoral candidate a bonafide media personality. If you miss the show, you’re still likely to read about the highlights elsewhere. The grocery store magnate has long aspired to turn his success into something a little more political. In 2018, his daughter Andrea Catsimatidis became almost as famous as he is – and her central role in Manhattan Republican politics means she could be a candidate herself someday.
As president of the Times Square Alliance since 2002, Tim Tompkins knows what it is like when a place like Times Square – the “crossroads of the world” – is at a crossroads itself. He is an expert in urban transformation and is frequently at the center of discussions about how New York City’s evolving urban landscape can draw tourists and satisfy New Yorkers at the same time. He currently teaches urban planning at New York University’s Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.
As president of the Ford Foundation, Darren Walker directs a $13 billion philanthropic endowment that draws attention from around the world and seeks positive long-term investments that can make a difference. Beginning his career in international law and finance, he changed course with posts at the Harlem-based Abyssinian Development Corp. and The Rockefeller Foundation. As the co-chairman of New York City’s panel on monuments, he has also thought about what’s worth celebrating and recognizing.
Being president of AT&T New York means that Marissa Shorenstein plays a key role in establishing community relations in the nation’s largest city. She has become rooted in the Manhattan power structure. New York City Council members and local leaders look to her when it comes to regulating the technology industry and establishing long-term policies. Expect Shorenstein to speak out even more in the years ahead – and for her words to matter to the people making decisions in Manhattan.
In the 1980s, Dan Biederman created the Bryant Park Corp., the 34th Street Partnership and the Grand Central Partnership, and won acclaim for cleaning up Bryant Park and the Grand Central Terminal area. By the 1990s he was described by The New York Times as creating “a sort of mini-empire” in midtown Manhattan. He no longer runs the Grand Central Partnership, but still manages the other two organizations and has opened Biederman Redevelopment Ventures, which exports his “Bryant Park model” to other cities.
Sheena Wright has garnered attention as the first woman to lead the United Way of New York City. The new job came at a challenging time. She began her United Way gig on the day that Superstorm Sandy hit New York City in 2012. Since her arrival, she has helped raise about $11 million in disaster relief, while also putting a new focus on literacy efforts and encouraging a self-sufficiency initiative for low-income New Yorkers.
As president of the New York Landmarks Conservancy, Peg Breen is fighting for more than simple recognition of the past. She wants it to be celebrated. At the conservancy, she has a high-profile gig and might have been expected by some New Yorkers to coast on earlier successes, but she’s pushed an agenda over the years that keeps landmarks at the forefront of the modern New York mindset. She has helped create a future where we revere our past.
When Eva Moskowitz left the New York City Council, she went from debating the merits of charter schools to running one. Since then, Success Academy Charter Schools has made her the frontwoman in the fight to give charters money, space and attention – while positioning her as a nemesis of Mayor Bill de Blasio and a focus for all kinds of players around educational policy. She has found success with Success, and critics and fans alike wonder what might be next.
Born in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, David Jones has never forgotten his roots. He arrived at the Community Service Society of New York back in 1986, and ever since, he has always remembered the mission of serving low-income New Yorkers. Advocating through columns in media outlets or in person with legislative leaders, Jones has kept his eyes on how policies championed at upper levels of government would play out on the streets of a city he loves and serves.
At New-York Presbyterian, Dr. Steven Corwin has served with a philosophy that puts patients first. “A sick human being is a sick human being,” he says – and as president and CEO at NewYork-Presbyterian he has increased awareness about an institution that touches the lives of so many New Yorkers. He has reinforced the hospital’s links to two academic institutions, Columbia University and Weill Cornell Medicine, while branding his own service with an omnipresent advertising campaign championing success stories.
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center was on the receiving end of some ugly headlines in late summer when a key administrator’s commercial links and payments were revealed. In response, President and CEO Craig Thompson resigned from two corporate boards and the world-class medical facility remains a place where Manhattan wages some of its most effective, life-altering and lifesaving battles again cancer. Look to the center to continue breaking new ground while putting the bad publicity behind it.
Nearly a year ago, Patrick Gaspard was named president of the Open Society Foundations, the philanthropic organization founded by George Soros that promotes democracy and civil society around the globe. Gaspard, who served as U.S. ambassador to South Africa, has strong ties to the Obamas. In New York City, it’s his stint as political director at 1199SEIU – and his more recent role as an informal adviser to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio – that make him influential.
B.J. Jones took the reins of the Battery Park City Authority earlier this year, amid newfound enthusiasm about what it means to live, work and play in lower Manhattan. He brings experience from a variety of governmental roles, including stints in Georgia, New Jersey and Virginia before joining the Bloomberg administration, where he worked his way up to deputy director of the Mayor’s Office of Operations. He’s now tasked with maintaining the thriving neighborhood of Battery Park City.
Central Park takes center stage for Manhattanites – and Elizabeth Smith aims to keep it that way. Smith, who had served on the Central Park Conservancy’s board since 2014, took the helm earlier this year and has continued a renaissance in a park that was already in top form. After a career in finance, she served as assistant parks commissioner in the Bloomberg administration. Her husband, Rick Cotton, is the executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
For 15 years, Kenneth Davis has led an institution where many Manhattanites see their family doctor in good times and bad. But Davis has made himself invaluable with his own research and passion in the battle against Alzheimer’s disease. His advances and optimistic approach – and ability to talk about both – make him a vital part of the city’s ongoing health care debate. He has been critical of a federal proposal that he says would discourage legal immigrants from seeking health care.
Leecia Eve finished fourth in the Democratic primary for state attorney general, but she knows how to play the long game. The daughter of a former assemblyman, her political background gives her credibility, and she has emerged with a higher profile and greater recognition for her legal background and smarts. Look for Eve to remain relevant, and to serve Verizon as a more prominent advocate. The company expected as much in 2013, when it named her vice president of government affairs for the tri-state region.
Park East Synagogue is a spiritual home to some of Manhattan’s most prominent Jewish residents. Senior Rabbi Arthur Schneier, the historic synagogue’s spiritual leader, is known around the world for his work promoting peace, tolerance and religious freedom. A Holocaust survivor who has served the synagogue since the 1960s, he also is someone who commands attention when he weighs in on local issues. “When Rabbi Schneier calls,” one knowledgeable insider said, “people listen.”
Being board chairwoman at Lincoln Center is not the easiest role in the best of times. Now, the center is wrestling with how to renovate key parts of its campus, as a plan to redo Alice Tully Hall proved problematic. So Katherine Farley will have to help find new proposals – and what she decides to do will be a big cultural story for the city next year and beyond. Farley is also the wife of the major Manhattan developer Jerry Speyer.
MoMA matters more than ever. Serving as the director of The Museum of Modern Art since 1995, Glenn Lowry is one of the most prominent and powerful figures in the city’s cultural landscape. At the helm of one of the biggest cultural attractions in Manhattan, Lowry gets his calls answered and helps set New York City’s artistic agenda, presiding over a staff of more than 750 people and a museum that draws millions of visitors each year.
As a senior vice president for TD Bank, Ralph Bumbaca has a view from which to see how power moves and shifts across Manhattan, where the bank has several dozen locations. Bumbaca has had a lengthy career in banking, including as a senior vice president at Banco Popular North America in New York City. The Brooklyn College graduate started out at TD Bank eight years ago handling commercial lending in Brooklyn, and has since been promoted to senior vice president.
As the president and chief contract administrator at the Velez Organization, Elizabeth Velez has earned a reputation as a knowledgeable construction management expert and someone who understands the always-difficult-in-New-York process of actually getting a project approved and built. Velez, who has more than two decades of experience in the industry, was also appointed earlier this year to serve on New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s advisory commission to tackle the city’s property tax code.