Power-ranking the 25 best fictional New Yorkers
NYC is home to enough legitimately awesome fictional characters that it's honestly hard to pick favorites. But not that hard, 'cause we totally did it.
Here are our 25 favorite fictional New Yorkers from TV and movies, all of which we ranked from 25 to one based entirely on how awesomely memorable and identifiable with the city they are.
25. Bernie Lomax
He’s the embodiment of corporate greed (see: his accounting scam and his ties to organized crime), but the NYC insurance mogul also had a great house in the Hamptons, definitely knew how to party, and even beyond the grave, has some pretty amazing dance moves.
24. The 'Ugly Naked Guy' from Friends
We should all hope to be as free as the Ugly Naked Guy.
Born and raised here and basically saving the city all the time, he’d be way higher if he 1) wasn’t currently so overexposed (someone get on rebooting the reboot's reboot!), and 2) wasn’t basically his own paparazzi.
22. Royal Tenenbaum
New Yorkers manage to make people like them, despite kinda being a-holes, and that’s exactly how we feel about Royal.
21. Patty Hewes
In a city with plenty of terrifying lawyers that've got big balls, Glenn Close’s character in Damages is the most terrifying... and has the biggest.
20. Carlito Brigante
Pacino had to make the list, obviously, and while both Serpico and Sonny Wortzik are both based off real, non-fictional characters, Carlito is based off of TWO non-fictional characters, which makes him... uh... fictional! He's a legend and a total badass who just can’t manage to fully escape his old ways, and we pretty much guarantee you can’t name someone who hasn’t thought about buying a nightclub and dating a stripper/ballet dancer, thanks to him.
19. Jay Sherman
The Critic was a short-lived animated show in the '90s, but this Jon Lovitz-voiced character is still great as a kind of-pathetic elitist who thinks everything “stinks”.
18. Jake Shuttlesworth
Could anybody else have convinced Jesus to go to “Big State” while also searching for redemption? Nope.
17. Samantha Jones
For better or worse, Sex and the City had a huge impact on NYC. And although Carrie was the star, her head-in-the-clouds fantasy felt less real than a badass lady doing what/who she wants, like Samantha.
16. Cookie Monster
There may not be anyone else on this list we personally identify with more.
15. Patrick Bateman
You’d probably kill to get a reservation at Dorsia, too.
14. George Jefferson
He’s the American success story, because all anyone here is trying to do is move on up.
13. Jack McCoy
The moral center of Law & Order, and therefore, the moral center of all of New York.
Come on! He’s a sex machine to all the chicks.
11. John McClane
Not breaking the top 10 only because the first movie takes place entirely in LA (and worse, they don’t even get to NYC until the third one), it’s still pretty undeniable that John McClane is a quotable badass that’s also got a ton of jaded charm.
10. Cosmo Kramer
The ultimate “character”, NY or not. The only reason he’s not No. 1 is because he’s kinda based off a real dude (only kinda, though!). In the end, we just couldn’t leave anyone off this list who covers himself in butter and sunbathes on the roof.
9. Josh Baskin
If you had the means, you’d put a trampoline in your apartment right now, too, wouldn’t you? Admit it.
Despite The Warriors grit (and even despite The Baseball Furies' awesome outfits), Cyrus is our favorite character from the cult classic, in no small part due to his oratorial skills that none of the other characters had.
7. Chuck Bass
Somehow, this utterly deposable character managed to become the heart of the show. There's also the whole “I’m Chuck Bass” thing, which was pretty cool.
6. Vito Corleone
The Don went from being the guy who works at a grocery store to the head of an empire, all while caring deeply for his family. He's No. 1 on a bunch of all-time-best-movie-characters-ever lists, so No. 6 feels about right for this list.
5. Roger Sterling
He’s an excellent dresser, and just about everything out of this guy's mouth is pure gold. Or gin.
4. Liz Lemon
There’s nobody better at showcasing the exasperation and hilarity that comes with living and holding a job in NYC, where you feel like everyone else around you is totally batsh*t.
3. Travis Bickle
And not just because of the dope mohawk, but because he's a reminder that NYC can be a seedy, dirty, dangerous place, even if it’s not the ‘70s anymore.
He’s a party dude who lives in a sewer with three roommates, and he loves pizza more than just about anything. So basically, every New Yorker in their 20s.
1. Peter Venkman
You freak out when a cockroach is in your bed, Venkman totally keeps his cool when he finds his girlfriend floating in one. He’s got essential qualities that we all aspire to have in NYC, including being totally unflappable, weird, brilliant, and a complete smart ass, and when it comes down to it, he believes NYC has enough goodwill in it to defeat ancient Carpathian ghost tyrants that want to bring about the end of the world.