She is a former curator and editor of Rhizome, the New Museum’s digital platform; a vocal writer, including for Artforum; a producer (she did Annie Hamilton’s one-woman show at the Jane); and a model (she walked this spring’s Eckhaus Latta presentation). All of this is a natural extension of Aria Dean’s primary occupation, as an extraordinary artist of minimalist, multi-media work that examines Black representation in America.
He is at the center of the city’s skateboarding scene (he works with the streetwear company Supreme) and is an outspoken critic of the gentrification of downtown. In 2019, Adam Zhu created a petition that helped save the asphalt in Tompkins Square Park, which the city planned to replace with synthetic turf; Chloë Sevigny helped publicize the issue. He will release his first photography book, Nice Daze, this winter.
She came seemingly out of nowhere (Calgary, Canada, via the Rhode Island School of Design) but has quickly become the talk of the art world. Her old-master-style paintings of moody young women, which she makes in her apartment that doubles as a studio, sell to top collectors for many multiples of their estimates. Weyant’s first solo show with Gagosian—whose owner, Larry Gagosian, Weyant is currently dating—is on now.
Very little about this designer, one-half of the clothing brand Eckhaus Latta, is conventional. With Zoe Latta, Mike Eckhaus casts models of all ages, genders, and sizes in the brand’s runway shows and campaigns, and makes clothes out of unexpected fabrics such as fishing lines and plastics. His frequent collaborators come from outside the fashion world, from friends like the musician Dev Hynes to the sculptors and furniture designers whose work is featured in his stores.
Working alongside their father, David Zwirner—the German art dealer and owner of galleries in New York, London, Hong Kong, and Paris—Lucas and Marlene Zwirner are, intentionally or not, making “Zwirner” synonymous with “downtown.” They throw art parties, are friends with the New York novelist Joshua Cohen, and recently became the lead funders of The Drift, the literary magazine Lucas occasionally writes for.
Live performances of Blood Orange, an R&B-and-electronic-music project, consist of Dev Hynes, a guitar, and a laptop. The English-born, New York–based singer is also a songwriter, record producer, and director who has collaborated with artists including Solange Knowles, FKA twigs, A$AP Rocky, Blondie, Philip Glass, and Mariah Carey. But it’s his soaring, symphonic scores—and his work ethic—that have set him apart.
Long before more than 1,000 guests swarmed the block party of the summer, at O’Flaherty’s, the Lower East Side gallery she co-owns, Jamian Juliano-Villani sold a painting at Sotheby’s for $400,000. Her work—mishmashes of sourced imagery—is in the collections of the Guggenheim and the Whitney. She is currently trying to convert Andy Kaufman’s old apartment—complete with original stage—into another gallery. But the landlord is being difficult.
Emily Adams Bode Aujla is the designer behind her eponymous clothing brand, and the first woman to show at Men’s Fashion Week in New York. With Benjamin Bloomstein, Aaron Aujla is responsible for Green River Project, which seems to have single-handedly inspired downtown’s recent wood-panel-obsessed aesthetic and can be found everywhere from the Bode store on Hester Street to restaurants such as the River and Cool World. Bode and Aujla got married this summer and live in Chinatown.
The Uruguayan-born chef’s Estela—a Bon Appétit darling when the magazine was readable, and neighbor to celebrity favorite Emilio’s Ballato, on Houston Street—found a vocal audience early on. Ignacio Mattos, who dates the chef and tableware designer Laila Gohar, has since opened Altro Paradiso, a SoHo favorite of Chloë Sevigny’s and Mary-Kate Olsen’s; Flora, the now closed Breuer-building restaurant; Rockefeller Center’s Lodi; and Corner Bar, in Chinatown’s Nine Orchard Hotel.
Best known for being Chloë Sevigny’s stylist—she collaborates with the actress, director, and 90s downtown It Girl on everything, including three custom looks for her wedding earlier this year—Haley Wollens’s gritty but glamorous touch can be found all over the globe, from Mugler campaigns to the model Bella Hadid’s closet.
Some say he’s the next Kenneth Lonergan. Others call him overrated. Opinions on Jeremy O. Harris, who was nominated for a record 12 Tony Awards for 2018’s Slave Play but didn’t take any home, are various and vigorous. Since his Broadway debut, Harris has written several other plays, including Daddy, and signed a deal with HBO, co-producing Season Two of Euphoria.
As a reporter on the New York Times Metro section, Jazmine Hughes recently spent a month staking out the mayor of New York “after dark.” Known for profiling subjects such as Whoopi Goldberg and Judge Judy, she might just herald the end of Taffy Akner’s reign as the pre-eminent New York Times profiler. Her writing career certainly feels like a throwback to when print was king.
It seems almost impossible that A24, the studio responsible for breakout hits like Moonlight and global phenomena like Euphoria, has retained its New York cool despite a $2.5 billion valuation. That’s thanks in large part to creative director Zoe Beyer, who has driven its transformation into a sort of drug-addled Disney through merchandise, a discerning social-media presence, and other Zeitgeist-hitting initiatives.
If Banksy is any indication, if you start off anonymous, you’re better off remaining anonymous. But this summer, Curtis Everett Pawley and KJ Rothweiler, the podcasters who under the name the Ion Pack became known for pulling back the curtain on the independent-film world without taking their black Lycra face masks off, decided to reveal their identities. The better to launch an album (Pawley) and a directorial debut (Rothweiler) in the new year.
Gray Sorrenti, the daughter of Mario, the Italian fashion photographer who in 1993 shot his then girlfriend, Kate Moss, for Calvin Klein, has not only the talent to follow in her father’s footsteps but also the confidence. At just 22, Sorrenti has forged her own way in photography, shooting everything from commercial fashion campaigns to magazine covers.
At this point, Nicholas Braun is almost better known as a downtown fixture than “Cousin Greg” (the actor’s character on HBO’s Succession), thanks to his investments in Ray’s, a dive bar on Chrystie Street; friendships with the likes of Pete Davidson, Jon Neidich, and Justin Theroux; and lanky ubiquity on the town.
It’s hard to remember a time before Hari Nef, yet the actress and model only signed with I.M.G. in 2015, becoming the first openly transgender woman to do so. Since then she has catapulted into both Hollywood and the theater. This is shaping up to be Nef’s breakout year, with parts in two of the most hyped productions currently brewing: The Idol, on HBO, and Greta Gerwig’s Barbie movie.
Working out of a Financial District apartment that doubles as a gallery, the interior designer and furniture dealer sources pieces for a client roster that includes Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen and Mark Ronson. His approach—mixing the designs of his contemporaries with those of midcentury heavyweights—and elegant, timeless taste has made Michael Bargo’s name synonymous with downtown–New York design today.
As the New York half of Belletrist, a book club she co-founded with the actress Emma Roberts that is now a production company adapting books for the screen (see: Tell Me Lies, starring Grace Van Patten), Karah Preiss has her finger on the pulse of publishing. She’s cut from the right cloth—her mother is the veteran book publicist Sandi Mendelson.
Molly Young is taking over the book world. She is one of the jazzier book critics at The New York Times, reviewing big novels by big male authors (Julian Barnes, Jonathan Franzen, Ian McEwan). She also writes a newsletter for the paper, which often spotlights titles no one has ever heard of. Now she’s branching out into publishing books; her first one, a debut novel from a young, unknown author, releases next spring.
He first crept into the public consciousness when a 2012 Gawker story about his being banned from Instagram went viral. (He got the boot after posting a picture of topless women sunbathing at Fort Tilden Beach.) Today, Daniel Arnold is back on the social-media platform, where he shares a steady stream of photos, and has published a monograph—Pickpocket—but hasn’t changed much otherwise. He is the street photographer of the moment.
This design duo seeks to blur the lines between traditional craftsmanship and modern fabrication, raw materials and fine finishes, art and function. Antoine Dumas brings the furniture-making vision, Benji Gavron brings the woodworking artisanship, and together they turn out striking, one-of-a-kind commissions. Lately, the pair have become close collaborators of Gabriela Hearst’s.
He didn’t need an M.F.A. to find early literary success, and he has range—he can play show tunes on the piano, and helped Edward Snowden write his memoir. A great American novelist in the tradition of Bellow, DeLillo, and Roth, Josh Cohen won this year’s Pulitzer Prize for fiction. He lives in his aunt’s SoHo loft, where he is the super.
This sculptor has never lived downtown—last year he skipped over it entirely, moving from the Bronx to Williamsburg—yet his Surrealist work, mostly made out of wood, often blurring the lines between the natural and the human to make statements about opportunity and inequality, is the talk of the city below 14th Street. Hugh Hayden is represented by Lisson Gallery and has shown at fairs around the world.
Where Kaitlin Phillips is the culture publicist of downtown (she’s consulting for this issue; otherwise, she would have been on the list), the Taiwanese-born, New York–based Gia Kuan is her fashion counterpart. Since hanging out her eponymous shingle, in 2019, in Chinatown, this publicist seems to have achieved the impossible: being incredibly well liked in the industry, even during Fashion Week.
Like many players on the New York independent-film scene, he started off working at Kim’s Video and Music, on St. Mark’s Place, before taking up cinematography for everything from features (the Safdie brothers’ Good Time) to documentaries (on Chinese taxi drivers), to experimental movies (on Kathy Acker) and music videos (for A$AP Rocky and Nas). The old guard has given their approval—Sean Price Williams has collaborated with Albert Maysles and Martin Scorsese. He is now working on his feature-film directorial debut, The Sweet East, starring Jacob Elordi.
This year, The New York Times anointed this music producer as the Weeknd’s “consigliere”—he was the music director for Abel’s Super Bowl halftime performance—but Daniel Lopatin’s reputation in New York circles was cemented long ago as a musician’s musician, performing under the moniker Oneohtrix Point Never. A longtime collaborator of the Safdie brothers’, Lopatin won best original soundtrack at Cannes for Good Time. Lesser known is his work across the art world, with commissions at Greene Naftali, Sadie Coles HQ, and MoMA.
She left her job at The Paris Review (staying on as an advisory editor) to make the Viceland video series States of Undress, in which she travels to conflict zones to explore the roles of fashion and beauty there. Since then, Hailey Benton Gates has proven to be equally able in the worlds of acting (she has had parts in David Lynch’s Twin Peaks reboot and the Safdie brothers’ Uncut Gems), filmmaking, and illegal things, such as an ongoing fireworks show downtown, usually outside of Laila Gohar’s studio.
Art can be boring and hard to understand. In the hands of this critic, who is known for his monthly Spike Art Magazine column, it is neither. Skewering nostalgia and reviewing the year 2020 are examples of things Dean Kissick does in “The Downward Spiral.” This year, he also branched out, organizing the gallery show “The Painter’s New Tools,” which itself spawned a disproportionate amount of art criticism.
A key player in the downtown scene who has yet to be profiled by a major publication, the artist Tommy Malekoff works on the small scale but executes grand visions in his video works, simultaneously celebrating what he aims to subvert: the mundanity and insularity of the American landscape. He is currently dating the downtown fashion designer Prisca Franchetti, of PriscaVera.
Since shooting Beyoncé for the cover of Vogue’s September Issue at just 23, Tyler Mitchell has proven himself to be a sort of latter-day Ryan McGinley. He’s photographed everyone from Kamala Harris to Harry Styles (in a dress), to Miuccia Prada to Donald Glover—but he’s also leaned into the fine-art side of things, honing his colorful, energetic shots into a style that wouldn’t have looked out of place in, say, Diana Vreeland’s Vogue.
An artist known for her refined sense of humor—best encapsulated by her carnival-esque and outré alter ego, Fatebe (pronounced “Fat Ebe,” a play on her own nickname)—Ebecho Muslimova had her first institutional show at the Drawing Center, in New York, and a solo exhibition at David Zwirner in London last year. In January, she has a solo exhibition at Magenta Plains, in New York. She graduated from Cooper Union back in the days when tuition was free.
She scored the lone interview with Meghan Markle this year, and somehow spun eminently readable gold out of the duchess’s word-salad non-answers. Such is the skill of Allison P. Davis, who has profiled the likes of Lena Dunham and DJ Khaled’s baby for New York magazine and The Cut and single-handedly disseminated the culture-defining phrase “vibe shift.” The pre-eminent scholar of millennial horniness, she is currently developing a TV show and working on a book about sex.
He’s the interior designer behind some of downtown New York’s most popular spots, from Jaqueline Sullivan’s Gallery in Tribeca to Time, an omakase restaurant on Canal Street, and the Sky Ting yoga studios. Nick Poe is also the go-to designer for Manhattan fixtures like the Safdie brothers, Daniel Humm, and Nicholas Braun. He has exhibited work with the Galerie Michael Bargo and Karma Gallery, and designed the tables at the Paris Review offices.
The most important person in beauty you’ve never heard of, Alexis Page is the subtle force behind the brands that have reshaped the beauty industry, including Glossier, which she helped launch with C.E.O. Emily Weiss, and Pat McGrath Labs, where she worked for years. A long-standing downtown girl, Page is in just about every Misshapes photo from the aughts. She now runs her own beauty-consulting practice.
If you’ve read a story in New York magazine in the past year or two and thought to yourself, Who is this boomer whisperer who gets aging power-mongers to open up?, you were probably reading one of Shawn McCreesh’s dispatches, which cover everything from the Met Gala to modest book parties in “bad food” restaurants. Where did he cut his teeth, you ask? Well, as Pulitzer Prize winner Maureen Dowd’s “clerk” at The New York Times.
Dimes Square got its name from Dimes, and Dimes got its name from Sabrina De Sousa, who opened her restaurant on Chinatown’s Canal Street in 2013, long before the area’s heyday. These days, De Sousa and her business partner Sophie Helsby serve juices, coffee, and grain bowls to artists, writers, actors, and people pretending to be those things.
With Ashley Graham and a handful of others, she is one of the original and most successful plus-size models in the world of high fashion. But while Graham has let her runway career take second stage, Paloma Elsesser is still gracing the catwalk, not to mention the streets of downtown—she can be seen regularly at Lucien and on wheat-paste posters everywhere.
The woman behind Katie Holmes’s famous gray cashmere-bra-and-cardigan look, Cate Holstein named her women’s-wear label after long, flowing hair (“khaite” in Greek) but also herself. The clothes—cozy yet sexy knits, dresses with just the right amount of frill—reflect the designer’s own minimal, tasteful look, and have become a New York mainstay. Think of the brand like the Olsen twins’ The Row, but with (slightly) more affordable price points.
There are writers who won’t let you forget them, and then there are writers who don’t seem to care if you never hear their name again. Natasha Stagg falls into the latter category, and her ambivalence makes her all the more alluring. She is the author of a novel, Surveys, and the book Sleeveless, a perfect indictment of downtown’s nightlife and publishing worlds in the 2010s, and has for years been the invisible hand behind a number of fashion’s coolest brands.
At 25, Doreen St. Félix was one of the youngest staff hires in the history of The New Yorker. She then won the National Magazine Award for criticism. Allergic, perhaps, to being pigeonholed as a prodigy, she has doggedly demonstrated range, seamlessly taking over the role of the magazine’s TV critic from Emily Nussbaum only to casually abandon the fixed beat after two years to pursue other interests. That St. Félix is working on a novella and a screenplay comes as no surprise.
With raucous, motley openings and shows championing emerging artists on the brink of success, Alexander Shulan, the owner and curator of Tribeca’s Lomex (named after the Lower Manhattan Expressway, Robert Moses’s failed interstate highway that would have cut through New York’s downtown), has created an eco-system that offers a refreshing alternative to the commercial-gallery world he’s said to eschew.
It isn’t easy to make Bloomberg Businessweek look interesting, but this graphic designer did it (think: Warren Buffett in a crown of daisies), before serving as visual editor at the New York Times Styles desk, where she led the equally groundbreaking digital charge until 2021. Today, Tracy Ma works as the graphic-design lead at Homer, the singer Frank Ocean’s brand.
Try to get a reservation at Lucien, the French restaurant on the Lower East Side, and the person on the other end of the phone will likely hang up. Yet, since the late Lucien Bahaj opened the space, in 1998, people—the art-world crowd, movie stars, Julia Fox—have come to love the restaurant’s edge, in large part thanks to the charisma of Lucien’s son Zachary, who now runs the bistro.
When theater directors move to the big screen, their knack for pacing and dialogue tends to be a gift to the production. Lila Neugebauer—the standout New York stage director behind the Tony-nominated 2018 Broadway revival of Kenneth Lonergan’s The Waverly Gallery—is no exception. In her directorial debut for film, A24’s Causeway, starring Jennifer Lawrence and Brian Tyree Henry, she makes the switch without losing the plot.
Every regime has its gadfly, and Dimes Square has Mike Crumplar. “Crumps,” as he refers to himself, brings the same critical eye to studying the downtown scene in his Substack columns that he does to his day job: copyediting World Bank reports.
During her time at GQ, she started writing “Opulent Tips,” a newsletter about fashion delivered to a select few from her personal Gmail account. In the intervening years, Lorde and thousands of other people made it onto the subscription list, and “Opulent Tips” has survived Rachel Tashjian’s move to Harper’s Bazaar, where, as fashion-news director, she has resurrected the career of “fashion critic.”
It’s possible that no one loves New York more than this Styles reporter and city correspondent for The New York Times, whose stories are as much odes to the city as they are services to the reader. Alex Vadukul is 33, but his brand of nostalgia—shrewd, romantic, indelible—more closely resembles that of an older generation than the fleeting, Instagram-fueled one of his own.
She is so far known primarily as Car Crash Girl, after the handle of her Instagram and Twitter pages. A downtown muse who has found a mentor in the director Paul Schrader, Taylor Jeanne Penney was an associate producer on Schrader’s latest film, Master Gardener. She is working on her first feature.
At just 22, the D.J. and model (who goes by “Memphy,” was born in Harlem, and grew up downtown) has already become known as much for her daring style—her mother owns a vintage-clothing business—as for her rollicking D.J. sets, which goes to show that, in nightlife, flair is as important as the music that’s being spun.