The candidates for the Democratic nomination for New York City mayor may have faced off in a debate last night, but Gothamist already asked the politicians one important question: What’s your all-time favorite book about the Big Apple?
Six of the eight candidates submitted answers. Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams opted for Robert A. Caro’s The Power Broker, the legendary biography of New York public official Robert Moses.
Former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan picked Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man, while Kathryn Garcia, the city’s former sanitation commissioner, named Colum McCann’s Let the Great World Spin.
Nonprofit executive Dianne Morales offered Piri Thomas’ memoir Down These Mean Streets as her top pick, while activist and professor Maya Wiley chose James Baldwin’s classic Go Tell It on the Mountain.
1Businessman Andrew Yang’s choice, J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, raised some eyebrows on social media, with comedian Julia Claire tweeting, “Andrew Yang does have extreme hasn't-read-a-book-since-high-school energy so the Catcher in the Rye thing checks out.”
Journalist Ryan Teague Beckwith had another theory, writing, “Also 100% odds that Yang picked Catcher in the Rye because it was the trolliest answer most likely to lead to internet debate.”
Yang was somewhat vindicated by Gothamist readers, however—in a ranked-choice voting poll, they also selected Salinger’s novel as their favorite, with Patti Smith’s Just Kids taking second place.
Michael Schaub is a Texas-based journalist and regular contributor to NPR.