Nearly One in Three Influential Americans Are New Yorkers!

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Proving that even highfalutin big-thinkers can indulge themselves in newsstand-boosting top-X rankings, the new issue of The Atlantic brings a list of, as its cover proclaims, “The 100 Most Influential Americans of All Time.” By our count, 31 of them are New Yorkers. (FDR, at No. 4, is the top-ranking New Yorker.) That includes those who were come from the city (say, Teddy Roosevelt, No. 15, born on the East 20th Street, just a few doors down from Danny Meyer’s not-yet-existent Gramercy Tavern, in 1858) and those born elsewhere who lived and made their mark here (say, Hartford-born Frederick Law Olmsted, No. 49, the designer of Central and Prospect Parks). Prominent death here — or, at least, a prominent tomb here — works, too. (Hello, No. 12 Ulysses Grant.) We didn’t cross state lines to include the suburbs (New Jersey governor Woodrow Wilson, No. 10, does not make our list), but we were willing to go upstate (we’ll include Betty Friedan, No. 77, who made the beds, shopped for groceries, matched slipcover material, ate peanut-butter sandwiches with her children, and chauffeured Cub Scouts and Brownies in Rockland County). Other states may lay claim on some (San Simeon might make one think of William Randolph Hearst, No. 80, as a Californian), but there’s good reason to call them New Yorkers, too (Hearst Corporation is headquartered in midtown, and the Chief ran for mayor and governor here). And lending your name to a school in Riverdale does not make you, by our standards, a New Yorker. (Sorry, Horace Mann, No. 56. School notwithstanding, you’re a Massachusetts guy.)

After the jump, our 31. Did we miss anyone? Include someone we shouldn’t have? Let us know.

4. Franklin D. Roosevelt
5. Alexander Hamilton
11. John D. Rockefeller
12. Ulysses Grant
15. Theodore Roosevelt
19. Thomas Paine
20. Andrew Carnegie
22. Walt Whitman
30. Elizabeth Cady Stanton
34. Jonas Salk
35. Jackie Robinson
37. J.P. Morgan
42. Eleanor Roosevelt
45. Samuel F.B. Morse
48. Robert Oppenheimer
49. Frederick Law Olmsted
51. Margaret Sanger
61. Samuel Gompers
62. Williams James
67. P.T. Barnum
68. James D. Watson
71. Noah Webster
75. Babe Ruth
77. Betty Friedan
79. Louis Armstrong
80. William Randolph Hearst
81. Margaret Mead
83. James Fenimore Cooper
84. Thurgood Marshall
97. Stephen Foster
100. Herman Melville

The Top 100 [The Atlantic]