What makes someone fascinating? Is it their looks? Their power, unpredictability, dynamism? Their accomplishments? A certain je ne sais quoi? A combination of some of the above?
For the third year in a row we’ve asked our readers, writers, contributors and friends who they consider to be among the most fascinating people in the borough. And for the third year in row, we’re excited to present to you our highly unscientific, definitely incomplete, mostly subjective and thoroughly compelling list: “Brooklyn’s 50 Most Fascinating People.”
Chances are you don’t live in Brooklyn because you find it boring. These are the people who make it unboring. They are the main characters of our communities. They are also the compelling extras, the scene stealers, the freaks, the geeks, the trolls, the agitators and the inspirational. You’ll find some names in these pages that you may already know. And there are others you didn’t know you needed to know.
And, as we’ve said in years past, if your own objects of fascination didn’t make the cut this year, there’s always next.
CEO, Brooklyn Community Foundation
Why we’re fascinated: Because the impact the Brooklyn Community Foundation has had in the borough is immeasurable. Well, almost immeasurable: Since its founding in 2009, the foundation has helped provide more than $90 million in grants to exclusively Brooklyn nonprofits. Which is important because Brooklyn is home to nearly 30 percent of the nonprofits in New York City, but its share of philanthropic giving is only 7.6 percent. Jocelynne Rainey, the president and CEO of the foundation since November 2021, is working to change that. “It’s Brooklyn and, unapologetically, it’s around racial justice,” she told us on “Brooklyn Magazine: The Podcast” earlier this year.
— Brian Braiker