Young New Yorkers Who Are Better Than You 

Every year they come, young people from across the country and around the world, to make it big in New York City. Many will fail with merciful speed, others will toil for years until they see some small amount of accomplishment. A very few will find success pretty much right away: we envy these people, and they make us crazy, but they also remind us of what is possible, and why we came here in the first place...


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Brant Stuns & Andrew McKee
The Young Friends
18 years old

In April, under the guidance of The Drums, these two 18-year-olds released an EP called Hella, containing plenty of nods to the Beach Boys, the sun, and the preppy kids at school. Now that the duo has moved from Phoenix to Brooklyn, we can claim them as our youngest, most eager beach band yet.

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Luke Rathborne
Songwriter
23 years old

As fuzzed-out, often backwards-looking rock music dominates the borough, Rathborne is a breath of fresh air, with his commanding, crystal-clear voice and his delicate, expertly crafted folk songs. Be on the lookout for two new EPs, one of which he recorded with Antony's backing band, The Johnsons.

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Jenn Pelly
DJ, Writer, DIY Show Promoter
21 years old

This 21-year-old NYU senior does it all: She's a freelance writer for publications like Nylon, Altered Zones and The New York Times Online; she hosts WNYU's popular weekly "New Afternoon Show"; and she's booked and promoted shows at DIY venues all over the borough. No telling what she'll do post-grad, but whatever it is, we hope she hires us.

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Tommy Pico
Poet/Warholian Impresario
26 years old

Tommy Pico is the guiding energy behind Brooklyn arts collective Birdsong, a charmingly ragtag consortium of poets, writers, artists and musicians who put out zines, throw parties and seem to have a very good time doing it. Art and nothing but art. Sigh.

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Scott Lindenbaum
Savior of Literary Short Fiction
26 years old

Lindenbaum co-founded Electric Literature (along with fellow Brooklyn College MFA grad Andy Hunter) last year and has seen it fast become a short fiction superstar (seriously, 150,000 Twitter followers for a quarterly online lit journal?). The pair have just launched broadcastr.com, an audio counterpart to their burgeoning literary empire.

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Lena Dunham
Auteur
24 years old

In channeling all the self-aware, self-pitying wit and quarterlife angst of a really good Twitter feed into a screenplay for a Do-It-with-Friends-and-Family feature, the art-world scion earned a sympathetic New Yorker profile and an Apatow-produced HBO pilot, while making pretty much all of postcollegiate NYC feel like Armie Hammer in The Social Network. Sorry, guys, but if you were the writer of Tiny Furniture, you would have written Tiny Furniture.

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Noah Robbins
Actor
20 years old

After his Broadway debut in Brighton Beach Memoirs's short-lived 2009 revival, the D.C. native had long runs Off (Secrets of the Trade) and Off-Off Broadway (Milk) in 2010 and he's only just finished his first semester at Columbia. He'll back on Broadway alongside Billy Crudup in Arcadia this spring—just in time for finals!

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Stella Schnabel
Occasional Actress
26 years old

You Wont Miss Me, finally released theatrically earlier this month, is a semi-improvised showcase for star Schnabel, who quakes and crumples like the compass needle on a VU meter in her first feature film not directed by famous dad Julian. We eagerly, bitterly await her future excursions out of the demimonde.

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Alexandra Socha
Actor
21 years old

Another Brighton Beach Memoirs alum, Alexandra first stepped onto Broadway as an ensemble replacement in Spring Awakening, and eventually took over the female lead, Wendla, from Lea Michele in May 2008 (and we all know what happened to Michele, right?). Socha's since appeared on Showtime's The Big C, as she plots her next move on stage.

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Brendan Lynch
Art Star
26 years old

The Manhattan-based Angeleno has been in high-profile shows at Rental Gallery (with fellow Still House collective members) and Deitch Projects while earning his MFA at SVA. Next year he shows works in Philadelphia and L.A., and goes global at Russian art czarina Dasha Zhukova's Garage Center in Moscow (where they know how to party).

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Derek Stepan
Hockey Player
20 years old

You're 20 years old, you're from Minnesota, and you've come to NYC to make it big—you're probably sleeping seven to a railroad in East Bushwick, right? Not so for New York Rangers phenom Derek Stepan, who was a surprise making the team out of training camp and had a hat trick in his first NHL game. If we weren't editing The L, we'd want Stepan's job.

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Leilani Mitchell
Point Guard
23 years old

We don't always envy young sports stars in New York: the intense scrutiny and fast money has led to a lot of early flameouts, but maybe that's not exactly the case for young New York Liberty star point guard Mitchell, who won the WNBA's Most Improved Player award last year and, and, plays in France in the off-season. (This is a life we envy.)

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Lincoln Restler
Power Broker
26 years old

We love us some Lincoln Restler. The young Al Franken lookalike miraculously defeated Brooklyn Democratic machine boss Vito Lopez's candidate for the vague title of District Leader and is now your go-to young pol in Williamsburg, Greenpoint and Fort Greene. And he can barely rent a car.

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Wilson Chandler
Swing Man
23 years old

Ok, sure, we said above that it can be tough to be a young star in this town, but man, if the Knicks ever turn it around they will be WORSHIPPED. And, well, maybe they're starting to... Thanks to young Wilson Chandler, a third-year swing man who's finally come into his own and is third in scoring on a resurgent Knickerbockers basketball club. (Just don't let it get to you, Wilson.)

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