Over the past two decades, Time Out New York has interviewed, profiled, photographed, critiqued, championed and generally gotten nutty with thousands of the creative minds that keep New York, well, creative. Now it’s 2015, and we’re just getting started. We’ve chosen 12 impressive city denizens who are rising through the ranks to put their stamp on our fair city—and who will make damn sure it’s even more amazing 20 years from now. From Taylor Swift’s Jersey-born songwriting buddy to a besequined pansexual performance artist from another world, these personalities embody the hunger, drive and limitless possibilities that are synonymous with New York. Get to know these New Yorkers now—and discover their favorite NYC haunts.