100 Most Powerless New Yorkers

A 'power list' for the rest of us

93. Iris Weinshall, wife of Senator Chuck Schumer

Yes, Weinshall wields some power as a former Department of Transportation commissioner and current vice chancellor of CUNY (not to mention going to bed every night with Chuck). But despite all of these connections, when the sometimes-modest supporter of bike lanes was struck with a virulent case of NIMBYism as a bike lane was built on Prospect Park West, she wasn't able to kill it. (And what good is being the wife of a senator and a former transportation politico if you don't have the power to kill one lousy bike lane in your front yard after imposing miles of them on other people?)

94. Ex-cons

15. Spider, East Village building super
Caleb Ferguson
15. Spider, East Village building super
18. Ruben Diaz Jr., Bronx borough president
Caleb Ferguson
18. Ruben Diaz Jr., Bronx borough president


Despite Mayor Bloomberg's "Young Men's Initiative," few men (and they're mostly men) who spend time on Rikers Island will ever get jobs, especially with such high unemployment. Three-quarters of all ex-cons will go back to jail.

95. Arab students at CUNY

Apparently just being Arab and a student at CUNY is enough for the NYPD to watch you. As veteran NYPD watcher Leonard Levitt revealed on his blog NYPD Confidential, the NYPD "has been spying on hundreds of Muslim mosques, schools, businesses, student groups, nongovernmental organizations, and individuals." The police department "has also been monitoring Muslim student associations at seven local colleges: City, Baruch, Hunter, Queens, LaGuardia, St. John's, and Brooklyn." Still, Levitt found that "documents do not specify whether the police have evidence or solid suspicions of criminality to justify their watching the Muslim groups."

96. The Black Hebrew Israelites

The self-proclaimed "original, true Jews" who scream in Times Square have had their thunder stolen twice recently. First, the inauguration of President Obama really took the black victimhood wind out of their black nationalist sails. Then, their gimmick of occupying spaces and yelling until they're heard has been completely usurped by the (largely white) Occupy Wall Street movement.

97. Glenn Beck and Keith Olbermann

Beck, not finding Fox News to be right-wing enough (nor willing to allow him to yell loud enough) and Olbermann, not finding MSNBC left-wing enough (nor willing to allow him to yell loud enough) departed mainstream cable for GBTV and Current TV, respectively. And just like Howard Stern, though they're now allowed to rant and rave like lunatics to fellow like-minded inmates (in an asylum where they even get to control the bouncer's list), they have all but disappeared from even from the partisan communities of political discussion.

98. Nannies

The (mostly foreign-born) women who care for the children of the extremely affluent do not make much money. (It's hard to determine how little they do make when the recent Park Slope Parents Nanny Compensation Survey revealed only 14 percent of parents pay their nannies on the books.)

99. Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf and Daisy Khan, the lead supporters of Cordoba House/Park51/"Ground Zero Mosque"

The power couple of New York's Muslim community set out to build an interfaith center that was the equivalent of a Jewish community center. But they were so powerless in building alliances or heading off anti-Muslim sentiment, public opinion slipped nearly out of reach by the time the project was at a crisis moment in the summer of 2010. A year later, it seems like the funding to make the project might not even come through.

100. Pamela Geller of Atlas Shrugs

Geller tried everything to kill the "Ground Zero Mosque" (and every other mosque in the city under construction), but couldn't do it through xenophobia, try as she might. (If the Park51 project doesn't happen now, it will probably be because of "the economy, stupid.")


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