Skip to Content Skip to Navigation

Quemuel Arroyo, a member of our Board of Directors and an alum of James Baldwin, a NYC Outward Bound school, was named to Crain’s 40 Under 40 Class of 2023.

The following is excerpted from Crain’s 40 Under 40 announcement and Quemuel Arroyo’s profile.

New Yorkers really know how to get stuff done, and the young professionals on the following pages are no exception. They each have climbed the corporate ladder, at times charting a new path where one never existed. They are solving essential city issues such as getting rid of rats, prioritizing constituent needs in local government, and helping their clients strategize and make deals in the legal and real estate spaces. They are also leaving their stamp on the arts and Broadway, assisting their fellow New Yorkers in attaining affordable housing and advising other entrepreneurs in finding success.

Crain’s 2023 class of 40 Under 40 honorees includes some of the most talented young people in New York. Read on to be inspired by the professionals doing the hard work well.

Quemuel Arroyo, 34

Chief accessibility officer, Metropolitan Transportation Authority

Fundamentally, Quemuel Arroyo sees his job as rewriting for whom New York is designed and created. As the first chief accessibility officer for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Arroyo and his team are working to combat systemic underinvestment in accessibility in the subway and throughout the region’s mass transit.

“We’re creating a New York City where everybody gets to come out and play,” said Arroyo, “not just those who are fit and able.”

That means recognizing that accessibility goes far beyond elevators and ramps. For Arroyo, it’s helping people with low vision, emotional disabilities or language barriers; parents with strollers; riders with bikes or luggage; older New Yorkers; and others better navigate the system.

Before joining the MTA in 2021, Arroyo served as global head of community for Charge Enterprises and was the first chief accessibility specialist at the city’s Department of Transportation. In his current role, he helped the authority reach a 2022 landmark settlement that resolved two lawsuits filed by disability rights advocates. Under the terms, the MTA will add elevators and ramps by 2055 to at least 95% of the subway’s more than 350 stations that lack accessible infrastructure. The agreement requires that the MTA dedicate some 15% of each of its multibillion-dollar, five-year capital plans to station accessibility. That figure cannot drop below 8%.

Still, Arroyo is no stranger to difficult conversations with straphangers who may still have a years-long wait for projects to improve their quality of life at their local station.

“There’s always a healthy tension at my table,” said Arroyo. “We know that we have a long road ahead, and we know how difficult it’s going to be. But we have all the players that I need at the table to be successful.”

Back to top