Who are the 100 most powerful people in New York City politics? Of course, the answer is both subjective and controversial. Still, in an audacious attempt to arrive at a ranking that reflects who really are the movers and shakers that drive New York City’s agenda, City & State has solicited the off-the-record opinions of many of the five borough’s most savvy political insiders, poured over dozens of reader nominations and incorporated the results of our online polls. It should be emphasized that the scope of this list has been limited strictly to city politics. It does not judge each individual’s place in history or standing on the statewide, national or global stage. If that had been our aim, we would have arrived at a very different list. Also, though our selectees come from different communities, genders, parties, sexual orientations and religious affiliations, we openly acknowledge that the list does not adequately represent the city’s rich diversity. We do believe, however, that it is an accurate portrait of the distribution of power in city politics at this moment in time—and thus an illustration of how far we still need to go for our government to mirror the demographics and dynamics of its people. With no further ado, we boldly present City & State‘s first-ever New York City Power 100 List. We hope it gets you talking.
100. Stuart Appelbaum President, Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union
Elected to his post in 1998, Appelbaum is among the city’s most politically active and well-known union leaders.
99. Stu Loeser Former Mayor Bloomberg Spokesman and Founder, Stu Loeser & Co.
Prior to leaving his longtime post at the mayor’s side, Loeser would have been much higher up on this list. Now a consultant in private practice, he is less in the public eye, but still a trusted counselor to Mayor Bloomberg, and now to other political powerhouses like Shelly Silver too.
98. Peter Vallone Jr. Chair, New York City Council Public Safety Committee
Following in his father’s famous footsteps as a councilman, Vallone is an outspoken representative of Queens and one of the foremost defenders of the NYPD.
|97. Jumaane Williams|
New York City Councilman
An outspoken advocate for police reform, Jumaane Williams has taken a leading role in challenging the Bloomberg administration over the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policy. The dreadlocked former community organizer from Brooklyn is a familiar sight at City Hall rallies and demonstrations all across the city, and his confrontations with police—being arrested unjustly at last year’s West Indian Day Parade and getting shoved by an officer at an Occupy Wall Street rally this September—have given him a platform to call for change. And despite only being in his first term, Williams has taken his case directly to top NYPD and administration officials, while at the same time championing reforms in the Council.
96. Daniel Donovan Staten Island District Attorney
The one-time Republican candidate for attorney general is one of the most respected and liked elected officials in Richmond County, and is now leading the high-profile Vito Lopez investigation.
95. Floyd Flake Senior Pastor, Greater Allen African Methodist Episcopal Cathedral
For generations, the former congressman has been the most powerful force in Southeast Queens, and cultivated many influential protégés, including Rep. Meeks and former Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith.
|94. Linda Gibbs|
Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services
Gibbs is the mayor’s point person on health initiatives, children’s services and the homeless.
|93. Diana Taylor|
Girlfriend of Mayor Bloomberg and Managing Director, Wolfensohn & Co.
Diana Taylor is the closest thing the city has to a First Lady. Since she and the mayor met in 2000, Taylor has frequently been at the side of—and towering over—the city’s most powerful politician. When the former state superintendent of banks, who now works at an investment firm and serves on an array of corporate and nonprofit boards, weighed a run against Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand a couple of years back, few questioned if she was up to the challenge. Whether she ultimately enters electoral politics after her beau exits the arena, she will continue to reign in elite circles.
92. Martin Golden State Senator
Golden is the city’s only Republican state senator and a close ally of Bloomberg and unions.
|91. Joel Rivera|
New York City Council Majority Leader
The Rivera family dynasty may be on the wane in the Bronx, but Rivera is still the majority leader of the City Council’s Democratic conference.
90. Nydia Velazquez U.S. Representative
The pioneering Puerto Rican politician convincingly beat back a strong challenge this year, and then extended her influence in Brooklyn as the power of her longtime rival, Vito Lopez, receded amid scandal.
|89. Al Sharpton|
Founder and President, National Action Network
Rev. Al Sharpton has for generations now been a leading voice of the African-American community, particularly in New York City, where he has long marched on the front lines of battles against racial injustice—from an attack on three black men in Howard Beach in the mid–1980s to the shooting deaths of Amadou Diallo and Sean Bell. As a civil rights leader, a radio and TV-show host, a former presidential candidate, a Baptist minister and the founder of National Action Network, Sharpton is one of the city’s most recognizable figures—and one of its most influential.
88. Edward Cox Chairman, New York Republican State Committee
The state Republican Party may be in tough straits, but Cox, the son-in-law of former President Nixon, is still its leader, and as the mayoral race heats up, his line, which the last two mayors have ridden to victory, is increasingly in demand.
87. Michael Gianaris Chair, State Democratic Senate Campaign Committee
The Queens state senator won the confidence of his conference by leading the Democrats’ strong performance in the recent state Senate elections.
86. Gary Labarbera President, The Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York
The head of the powerful construction union alliance, LaBarbera is an instrumental figure in many of the city’s most important labor negotiations.
85. Stanley Brezenoff President and Chief Executive Officer, Continuum Health Partners
The former deputy mayor for operations now runs the city’s largest nonprofit hospital system, including Beth Israel, St. Luke’s and Roosevelt hospitals.
84. Richard Anderson President, New York Building Congress
Since 1994, Anderson has led the influential association of building and construction companies and professionals.
83. Matthew Goldstein Chancellor, The City University of New York
The most recent charter revision chair, Goldstein has presided over an ambitious expansion of the city’s widely respected university system.
82. Mark Weprin New York City Councilman
Hailing from one of Queens’ most esteemed political family, Weprin is the borough’s leading contender to be the next Council speaker.
81. Inez Dickens New York City Councilwoman
A longtime force in Harlem politics, Dickens is considered a front-runner to replace Christine Quinn as the next Council speaker.
80. Melissa Mark-Viverito Co-Chair, New York City Council Progressive Caucus
Councilmember Mark-Viverito, who represents both Manhattan and the Bronx, is generally considered Inez Dickens’ principal rival for Council speaker.
|79. John Catsimatidis|
President, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Red Apple Group and Gristedes
Catsimatidis is the biggest financial supporter of the state Republican Party, and may very well end up its nominee for mayor.
|78. Frank Seddio|
Chair, Brooklyn Democratic Party
Seddio occupies a powerful post, but he is new to it and relatively untested.
|77. Robert Steel|
Deputy Mayor for Economic Development
The former Wachovia president oversees the mayor’s economic development agenda.
|76. John Sexton|
President, New York University
A former Federal Reserve banker, Sexton is now overseeing the school’s ambitious expansion plan in Manhattan and beyond.
75. Richard Ravitch Former Lieutenant Governor
Ravitch’s unmatched experience saving the MTA and trying to save the Paterson administration has made him one of the country’s most sought-after advisers and policy experts in dealing with municipal crises—a particularly important ability in the current economic climate.
|74. Michael Grimm|
Once a rising star and still a force on Staten Island, Grimm has been dogged for months by investigations into his 2010 fundraising. Nonetheless, Grimm remains the highest-ranking GOP elected official from the five boroughs, and if his troubles subside, his career could resume its rapid ascent.
73. William Rapfogel Executive Director and CEO, Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty
One of the city’s most well-known leaders in the Jewish and philanthropic communities, he is widely courted by elected officials, and very close to Shelly Silver through his wife, Judy, the Speaker’s longtime chief of staff.
|72. John Sampson|
State Senate Minority Leader
Rumor has it he is on his way out, but Sampson is still holding on as the Democrats’ leader in the state Senate.
71. Vito Lopez Assemblyman
Lopez lost his housing chairmanship and his position as boss of the Brooklyn Democrats amid accusations of sexual harassment, but he still has deep connections in Kings County, a seat in the Assembly, and one of the largest nonprofits in the city. The fact that the proposed City Council redistricting map was tinkered with to accommodate Lopez demonstrated that even wounded, Lopez is still a powerful force in city politics.
|70. Grace Meng|
Grace Meng made history last month when she became the first Asian-American from New York to be elected to Congress, but her victory was far more than symbolic. The Queens assemblywoman’s rapid assent to the highest rungs of New York’s political class has made her, along with New York City Comptroller John Liu, the most prominent representative of the Chinese-American community, a segment of the population that is rapidly growing larger and gaining more influence at the polls. The fact that Meng is one of the most well-liked politicians in the city will likely help her continue her meteoric rise.
|69. Adriano Espaillat|
Despite failing to upset Rep. Charlie Rangel, Espaillat solidified his standing in the Dominican community and established himself as one of the city’s leading Latino elected officials.
|68. Thomas Farley|
Commissioner, New York City Health Department
Farley is the man behind the much-debated soda-size restrictions, and the overseer of the mayor’s signature health initiatives.
|67. Charles Meara|
Chief of Staff to Council Speaker Quinn
The speaker’s longtime top aide was also chief of staff to Quinn’s predecessor.
|66. George Gresham|
President, 1199 SEIU
Gresham leads the union of health care workers and is a key player in a politically potent industry.
65. Bill Thompson Mayoral Candidate and Former City Comptroller
Thompson served as president of the Board of Education and city comptroller before coming surprisingly close to denying Mayor Bloomberg a third term. Though he currently trails Christine Quinn in the polls, he is still viewed as a leading contender for the city’s top job.
|64. Hakeem Jeffries|
Jeffries’ strong campaign prompted longtime Rep. Ed Towns to step aside this year to make way for the rising star from Brooklyn.
|63. Dov Hikind|
Hikind is an ardent advocate for and supporter of the city’s Orthodox Jewish population, one of the most important groups in city politics.
|62. Jeffrey Klein|
Leader, State Senate Independent Democratic Conference
The Bronx state senator has positioned himself as a pivotal centrist in the state Senate, where he and his conference could be the swing votes on a range of issues.
|61. Carolyn Maloney|
The proactive congresswoman has pushed successfully for health care and security funding after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and is a force on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, the greatest fount of campaign contributions in the country.
|60. Suri Kasirer|
President, Kasirer Consulting
Mega-lobbyist Kasirer’s consulting firm is one of the most successful in New York City, and she has sealed key deals, such as Cornell University’s selection in the competition for a campus on Roosevelt Island.
|59. Bruce Ratner|
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Forest City Ratner Companies
Ratner is a former city commissioner and one of the city’s leading developers, with a new arena in Brooklyn—now home of a professional sports team and another one coming soon—at his Atlantic Yards development.
|58. Robert Limandri|
Commissioner, New York City Buildings Department
LiMandri is a big player in a city defined by tall buildings, and he will be called on to play a major role as many city neighborhoods rebuild following Superstorm Sandy.
|57. Dennis Walcott|
Chancellor, New York City Department of Education
Dennis Walcott has not forged as high a profile as Joel Klein, but the former deputy mayor has proven an affable and competent caretaker of the city’s
$ 23 billion education system, the improvement of which Mayor Michael Bloomberg has aimed to make one of the signature achievements of his time in office. From mayoral control and rubber rooms to teacher evaluations and LIFO, New York City’s schools remain a critical and often divisive political arena, but Walcott’s elevation to chancellor smoothed the waters after the Cathie Black debacle and brought stability and a measure of openness to the Department of Education.
|56. Emily Giske|
Lobbyist, Bolton-St. Johns
Bolton-St. Johns is a potent lobbying firm, and Giske’s close friendship with Council Speaker Christine Quinn doesn’t hurt.
|55. Peter Ward|
President, New York Hotel and Motel Trades Council
The hotel union has been on the rise in recent years, boosting Ward’s power, as its endorsement has proven invaluable for candidates like Grace Meng.
|54. Steven Spinola|
President, Real Estate Board of New York
Spinola’s Real Estate Board of New York harnesses the collective power of the city’s real estate industry.
|53. Eleanor Randolph|
Editorial Board Member, The New York Times
The Times‘ endorsement is widely sought by candidates in the city, and Randolph presides over the process.
52. John Feinblatt Chief Advisor to Mayor Bloomberg for Policy and Strategic Planning
Chief Advisor to Mayor Bloomberg for Policy and Strategic Planning
Feinblatt is a key adviser on the mayor’s innovative policies, including the push for gun control and immigration reform.
|51. Rubén Díaz Jr.|
Bronx Borough President
Rubén Díaz Jr. opted to run for re-election as Bronx borough president, quelling speculation that he might try for public advocate or even mayor. However, in a political landscape with a large Hispanic population but relatively few prominent Latinos in elected office, he may just be waiting for the right time—and a bigger campaign war chest—before trying to move up the ranks. Díaz’s record includes opposing a development at Kingsbridge Armory over the living wage issue, which earned him friends among unions and enemies in the business world.
|50. Scott Stringer|
Manhattan Borough President
Stringer dropped out of the race for the top spot in city government, but he stands to be a formidable contender for comptroller, an office that would bolster his chances of taking another shot at the mayoralty in coming years. The office of borough president is often derided for its relative weakness, but Stringer has taken full advantage of his position, attending countless hearings, establishing a strong rapport with the media, and issuing thought-provoking policy papers that are often ahead of the curve.
|49. Janette Sadik-Khan|
Commissioner, New York City Department of Transportation
Sadik-Khan, the hard-charging, innovative commissioner of the city’s Department of Transportation, has reshaped the streetscape with pedestrian plazas, bike lanes and the elimination of parking spots. In her push to make New York City a more pedestrian-friendly place, Sadik-Khan has won the praise of many for cutting through red tape, while at the same time drawing the ire of critics who say she acts autocratically and with little oversight.
|48. Bob Master|
Political Director, Communications Workers of America
Master was in the thick of it as the CWA flexed its muscle in taking on Verizon this year, and he also plays a key role with the influential Working Families Party.
|47. Kevin Burke|
Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Consolidated Edison
Burke had a rough year, enduring a bitter labor dispute and the governor’s wrath following Superstorm Sandy, but his company has plenty of sway with elected officials and continues to rake in profits.
|46. Carl Heastie|
Chair, Bronx Democratic Party
The Assemblyman is a power broker in the heavily Democratic borough of the Bronx, which is smaller than Queens and Brooklyn but still plays a critical role in the city’s politics.
|45. Errol Louis|
Host, NY1′s “Inside City Hall”
Louis’s “Inside City Hall” is a must-watch for the city’s politicos, and his interviews and questioning sets the tone for the city’s political dialogue.
|44. Edward Koch|
Former New York City Mayor and Partner, Bryan Cave LLC
For a former mayor, Ed Koch retains a remarkable amount of power. His surprise endorsement of Bob Turner helped the underdog Republican win a Democratic seat in Congress, and cemented Koch’s stamp of approval as one of the most valuable in the five boroughs. Though Koch’s campaign to reform Albany ended in disappointment, he nonetheless was able to elevate independent redistricting into part of the political dialogue. And if nothing else, the man has a bridge named after him.
|43. Jonathan Lippman|
Chief Judge of the State of New York and Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals
The state’s top judge, who was appointed by Gov. David Paterson, is a skilled administrator and a deft and persuasive jurist who has altered the balance of power in the state’s highest court.
42. Amanda Burden Chair, New York City Planning Commission and Director of the Department of City Planning
Burden’s tight grip on power in the planning commission has allowed her to transform the city’s landscape, from several waterfront development initiatives to gentrifying neighborhoods in Brooklyn to the ambitious Hudson Yards project.
|41. Rossana Rosado|
Publisher and Chief Executive Officer, El Diario/La Prensa
As the powerful head of the leading Spanish-language newspaper in New York City, Rosado has established herself as a force in the growing and disparate Hispanic community.
|40. Marty Markowitz|
Brooklyn Borough President
Since Markowitz became the borough’s cheerleader in 2002, Brooklyn’s downtown has been on the rebound, the Nets have moved to the borough, the Atlantic Yards project was launched, Coney Island has been revived and many other neighborhoods have been fixed up.
|39. Jefrey Pollock|
Founding Partner and President, Global Strategy Group
Pollock’s Global Strategy Group is the go-to polling firm for those with the means to hire it, and on the consulting end has represented governors, members of Congress—as well as Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand—and a long list of corporate and nonprofit clients.
|38. Mark Page|
Director, New York City Office of Management and Budget
Budgets show where a mayor’s priorities are, and Page’s expertise and encyclopedic knowledge of the city budget make him an invaluable member of the Bloomberg administration.
|37. Carolyn Ryan|
Metropolitan Editor, The New York Times
The Times has a broader scope than New York City, but it regularly leads the pack in breaking news and offering in-depth coverage of the intricacies of the city’s political world.
|36. Charles Rangel|
Rangel’s power has been diminished in recent years in the wake of scandals, which lost him the chairmanship of the powerful Ways and Means Committee, but he remains a leader in Harlem and the black community and demonstrated his continuing might by fending of a strong challenge this year.
|35. James Oddo|
New York City Council Minority Leader
As minority leader of the New York City Council, James Oddo leads a caucus of only a handful of Republicans, but that number alone belies his clout, which includes his ability to appoint multiple representatives to the city’s bipartisan redistricting and charter commissions. His straightforward style—some might call it blunt—has endeared him to his fellow Staten Islanders, who are likely to elect him as their next borough president. And with his passion for representing his constituents, there’s a good chance Staten Island will be able to take significant strides toward emerging from its reputation as the forgotten borough.
|34. Thomas DiNapoli|
DiNapoli’s office affords him significant power, though he has not been as aggressive or outspoken as his counterpart at the city level.
|33. Cyrus Vance Jr.|
Manhattan District Attorney
Vance has a famous name and a famous office, though he has served only since 2010 and has yet to match the out-sized presence of his predecessor.
|32. Jerrold Nadler|
Nadler, one of the city’s longest-serving elected officials in Washington, D.C., is one of Manhattan’s foremost power brokers, and now increasingly is playing an important role in Brooklyn.
31. Patrick Foye Executive Director, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
Foye’s Port Authority oversees a vast portfolio of the New York City region’s transportation infrastructure, from airports to bridges and tunnels to ports, not to mention the World Trade Center and its rebuilding after the attacks of 9/11.
|30. Joseph Percoco|
Executive Deputy Secretary to Gov. Andrew Cuomo
The governor’s longtime aide and enforcer isn’t as well known as some figures in the Cuomo administration, but Percoco is as close to Cuomo as anyone and a key figure in realizing the governor’s agenda in the five boroughs.
|29. Domenic Recchia|
Chair, New York City Council Finance Committee
Recchia recently passed on running for comptroller in 2013, but his Finance Committee is the most powerful in the City Council and will enable him to raise as much money as he needs to be competitive in another race, such as Brooklyn borough president.
|28. Bill de Blasio|
De Blasio, a leading candidate for mayor, was elected to the citywide office in 2009 and has continued to press liberal causes, such as funding for education and child care, albeit with the limited resources he has as public advocate.
|27. Seth Pinsky|
President, New York City Economic Development Corporation
The city’s economic development arm has launched an impressive array of initiatives since Pinsky took the reins in 2007, most notably the Cornell University campus planned for Roosevelt Island.
|26. Joseph Lhota|
Chairman and CEO, Metropolitan Transportation Authority
Lhota, a former deputy mayor during the Giuliani years, has established himself as an effective leader. He earned widespread praise for his work in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, and is now being hyped as a possible mayoral contender.
|25. William Rudin|
Vice Chairman and CEO, Rudin Management Company
In a city where real estate towers over the political landscape, Rudin runs one of the oldest construction companies, chairs the influential Association for a Better New York and is a vice chair of the Real Estate Board of New York.
24. Bradley Tusk Founder, Tusk Strategies
Tusk orchestrated Mayor Bloomberg’s path to a third term, and continues to serve as a key political adviser to the mayor, not to mention a host of top corporate clients like Walmart.
|23. Jennifer Cunningham|
Managing Director, SKDKnickerbocker
Cunningham has the connections and the chops. The ex-wife of Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and a close friend of Gov. Cuomo, she played a central role in the passage of same-sex marriage in New York and is often dubbed the most powerful woman in Albany.
22. Keith Wright Co-Chair, New York State Democratic Party, Chair, Manhattan Democratic Party, and Assemblyman
Wright was named co-chair of the state Democratic Party this year, augmenting his authority as chair of the Assembly labor committee and leader of Manhattan’s Democrats. Yet Wright, long seen as a possible successor to Rep. Charles Rangel, may still be moving up.
| 21. Merryl Tisch|
Chancellor, New York State Board of Regents
One of the state’s top education policymakers, Tisch has established herself as an independent, forceful voice on New York City’s schools. Tisch, who married into one of the city’s wealthiest families, has also flirted with a run for mayor.
|20. Dean Skelos|
Senate Majority Leader
He doesn’t live in New York City, but the leader of the Republican majority in the Senate has plenty of control over the policies and funding decisions that Albany dictates to New York City. And thanks to Jeff Klein, he just might keep that power.
|19. Kathryn Wylde|
President and Chief Executive Officer, Partnership for New York City
Wylde is a leading voice for business interests in New York City, and countless officeholders seek her advice on weighty policy matters. In addition to running the nonprofit Partnership, she is on the board of the New York Fed.
|18. Joseph Crowley|
U.S. Representative and Chair, Queens County Democratic Party
Crowley was recently named vice chair of the House Republicans, the caucus’ fifth ranking position. He has also consolidated power at home as the party boss in Queens, where he often handpicks his candidates, like Rep.-elect Grace Meng.
|17. Dan Cantor|
Executive Director, Working Families Party
With its ballot line and much heralded get-out-the-vote operation, the support of Cantor’s Working Families Party is often the difference between a candidate winning or losing in Democratically-dominated New York City.
|16. Preet Bharara|
U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York
Bharara’s remarkable track record in combating insider trading and financial fraud—not to mention political corruption—has prompted publications like Time, Vanity Fair and Bloomberg Markets to put him on their own lists of influential figures.
15. Mortimer Zuckerman Publisher, New York Daily News, and Chairman of the Board, Boston Properties
Zuckerman’s New York Daily News rivals Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post in shaping New Yorkers’ opinions on the issues of the day. He also is editor of U.S. News and World Report and co-founder of Boston Properties, a multi-billion dollar real estate company.
14. Kirsten Gillibrand U.S. Senator
When Gillibrand was appointed to replace U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton, she was blasted as too inexperienced and conservative for the job. A few years later, she has a solid legislative record, strong poll numbers and a record-breaking re-election victory under her belt. In New York City, her efforts to secure federal funding for 9/11 first responders won her the affection of voters across the political spectrum, while her advocacy for repealing the U.S. military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy made her a darling among progressives. Her national status as a champion for electing women and her ability to raise money have made her endorsement one of the most sought-after by Democrats.
|13. Michael Mulgrew|
President, United Federation of Teachers
Mulgrew leads New York City’s teachers in high-profile battles over school closings, teacher tenure and charter schools. The city’s most powerful labor leader, Mulgrew could see his power expand if a more union-friendly mayor is elected to succeed Mayor Bloomberg next year.
|12. Eric Schneiderman|
State Attorney General
As the “sheriff of Wall Street,” Schneiderman has taken on JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and even the Obama administration in aggressively holding big banks accountable for their role in the financial crisis. A leading progressive, Schneiderman also occupies an office that has recently been used as a springboard to the governorship.
|11. Rupert Murdoch|
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, News Corporation
With The Wall Street Journal and the New York Post—not to mention Fox News—in his arsenal, Rupert Murdoch wields the most clout of any media mogul in the city, except perhaps the mayor. Murdoch, who micromanages his empire, unreservedly uses his influence to drive public policy and support or pillory candidates and elected officials. Murdoch’s blessing of a third term for Bloomberg was essential to the mayor getting his wish. And just ask politicians like John Liu and Rep. Greg Meeks what it’s like to get on the bad side of his empire. Hell hath no fury like his scorn.
|10. John Liu|
Liu, the first Asian American elected to citywide office, has consistently been the biggest thorn in Mayor Bloomberg’s side and has used the power of the comptroller’s office to target overspending, resulting, most notably, in the exposure of the CityTime scandal. Once a leading contender for mayor, Liu has seen his star fall over the last year amid an ongoing investigation into his campaign fundraising, but his office still makes him a potent force in city government.
|9. Howard Wolfson|
Deputy Mayor for Government Affairs and Communications
When Wolfson replaced Kevin Sheekey in 2010, he instantly became one of the mayor’s most important advisers. He has handled everything from bike lanes to soda size restrictions, and acts as City Hall’s liaison to local, state and federal governments. A master of communications, Wolfson has carved out a dual role as attack dog and chief political strategist, while handling the mayor’s super PAC on the side. Even political heavyweights like Hillary Clinton, Chuck Schumer and Andrew Cuomo have sought out his counsel.
8. Raymond Kelly Police Commissioner
Kelly, the revered commissioner of the New York City Police Department, has the strong support of Mayor Michael Bloomberg and many of the city’s residents, thanks in large part to his success in shielding the city from terrorist attack in the more than a decade since September 11, 2001. The NYPD has taken flak in recent years for its commitment to its controversial stop-and-frisk policy, but even his critics take pains to praise him for keeping the streets safe. Council Speaker Christine Quinn, the front-runner for mayor, said keeping Kelly on the job is critical, and some even hope that Kelly will run for mayor himself.
|7. Cas Holloway|
Deputy Mayor for Operations
With his detailed knowledge of countless Bloomberg administration initiatives, the indefatigable Holloway is the go-to member of the mayor’s team to gets things done and keep the city running.
|6. Patricia Harris|
First Deputy Mayor
Mayor Bloomberg’s right-hand woman, Harris is the only member of his inner circle to stay by his side throughout his three terms in office. And as the overseer of his foundation, she is the crucial link between his money, his political life and his philanthropic pursuits.
|5. Sheldon Silver|
It remains to be seen if Silver is out of the woods over the Vito Lopez scandal, but the Assembly Speaker is plowing ahead as if he is, and has a larger, veto-proof majority this session to continue to back him up. With so much of the power over New York City’s affairs dependent upon Albany, Silver, as one of the “three men in the room” and the only one who lives in New York City, has as much of a say in the big policy and funding decisions affecting the city as anyone.
|4. Charles Schumer|
New York’s senior senator is a top politician both in New York City and in Washington, D.C. He’s the third-ranking Democrat in the Senate, a champion of New York City’s financial industry, and a proud and devoted Brooklynite. His vast network stretches from his wife, Iris Weinshall, who served as New York City’s transportation commissioner, to the generations of former Schumer staffers who populate the halls of power all across the city and the state.
|3. Christine Quinn|
Speaker Quinn is the city government’s most powerful woman, its most influential LGBT figure and the captain of its legislature. The front-runner to be the city’s next mayor—and all but certainly Mayor Bloomberg’s choice to succeed him—she wields power in the City Council as a gatekeeper, blocking or delaying legislation she opposes while pushing through measures she supports. She’s kept Walmart out of the city, watered down the living wage and held up paid sick leave. Whether she continues to balance the support of unions with pro-business interests could dictate whether she is in first place on this list next year.
|2. Andrew Cuomo|
The city has only so much power—and what’s not decided at home is decided in Albany, where Cuomo’s leadership has brought him far more power than his recent predecessors. Cuomo has clashed at times with Bloomberg, but the two have also cooperated. In a town with a superstar mayor, Cuomo is the only governor to have challenged Bloomberg’s title as the most powerful person in New York City politics.
|1. Michael Bloomberg|
New York City’s mayor is almost always the city’s most powerful politician, but Mayor Bloomberg has taken his office to new levels with his wealth, vision and independence. He runs the city much like a business and refashioned it to align with his ideals. He has seized control of the education system, launched a pioneering sustainability agenda, introduced novel health initiatives, tackled two major fiscal crises and literally changed the city’s landscape. His public safety policies have been called into question, but he’s largely kept the city safe. And like any leader, he has overreached: naming Cathie Black as schools chancellor; vacationing when a severe blizzard hit; forcing a vote to allow himself a third term. Yet a testament to his remarkable tenure as mayor is the sense that whoever succeeds him will fall short of his legacy and bring back politics as usual.
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