Remember the line in Annie Hall where Woody says he hears people calling his hometown Jew York? Fact is, Jews have made a special contribution to New York City, to the point that New York’s very identity seems wrapped up with that of the Jews. So it’s unsurprising that of the 400 people whom the Museum of the City of New York recently listed as the folks “who have helped define New York City for the past 400 years,” many belong or belonged to the Tribe—96 members, or 24 percent, by our count (give or take a Jew).
The Times’s City Room blog asks who was left off the list. From the Jewish perspective, we think it conspicuous that none of those great mid-20th-century thinkers, who were so tied up with New York that they became known as the New York Intellectuals, appears. These men and women were brilliant and immensely influential in their day, particularly regarding how others see New York and howNew York sees itself; and the significant majority of them were Jewish. So, City Room, that’s our answer.