Photo-Illustration: Intelligencer
the city politic

New York City Mayoral Race 2021

Your last-minute guide to the primary candidates, ranked-choice voting, and all the drama from the campaign trail.

Photo-Illustration: Intelligencer

On Tuesday, New Yorkers will vote in the primary that will determine the next mayor, one who will immediately personify — and, to a large extent, shape — the city’s next era. For the first time, they will vote for not just one candidate but five, listed in order of preference. If you still haven’t decided how to cast your ballot, it’s not too late. Consider this your everything guide to 2021 mayoral primary, featuring candidate interviews with Nicolas Heller (@newyorknico), a.k.a. the city’s unofficial mayor; a photo portfolio by the great Bruce Gilden; an epic collection of what candidates can’t live without on the Strategist; and a look at how New Yorkers are thinking about their first foray into ranked-choice voting. And you can keep up with all the latest twists — from Andrew Yang’s setbacks to Maya Wiley’s surge — by following New York’s mayoral race coverage on Primary Day and beyond.


Rank Me: 15 Candidates for Mayor, Each Selling a Different Vision of the City

Photo-Illustration: by New York Magazine; Photos by Bruce Gilden

With 13 Democrats and two Republicans appearing on the primary ballots, ranked choice has introduced even more uncertainty into what was already a fluid race. Most of the campaigns can’t predict how it will shake out, and experts doubt that most voters will even bother filling out all the slots on their ballot. Here, meet all 15 candidates on the ballot, photographed by Bruce Gilden, interviewed by Nicolas Heller, and featuring political columnist David Freedlander on the state of the race. Read the candidate dossiers.


Fran Lebowitz, Chelsea Manning, and More Share Their Ranked-Choice-Voting Strategies

Illustration: New York Magazine

Ranked-choice voting was a longtime priority of good-government types who thought it would enable more candidates to enter the race, force them to campaign all over the city, and provide for a more congenial contest, since candidates would aim to be the second or third choice of their rivals’ supporters. Take a sneak peek at how New Yorkers have stacked the candidates — a decision that mixes absolute preference with a little bit of game theory, each of us feeling out how best to play a game we’ve never played before. Read the ballots.


Watch New York Nico Interview the Candidates

After countless Zoom forums and Instagram Q&As and endorsement take-backs, most New Yorkers still don’t know these candidates. So we teamed up with the city’s unofficial talent scout, New York Nico, to really get to know them. All of them. Why should we trust them? What is their stance on policing? How much weed do they smoke? And every other question New Yorkers might want to ask their next mayor before they head into the voting booth. Watch the video.


The Company Eric Adams Keeps

Photo: Bruce Gilden for New York Magazine

Heading into Memorial Day weekend, a poll had just shown Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams with his largest lead of the contest, and the mayoral candidates were spread out across the city, trying to catch up. Scott Stringer was down at One Police Plaza for a press conference on cutting bureaucratic bloat in the NYPD; Kathryn Garcia was in front of Moynihan Train Hall, rolling out a detailed plan for infrastructure projects in every borough. Maya Wiley was in Morningside Heights, pushing for the State Legislature to give victims of sexual abuse more time to sue, and Andrew Yang was in Tribeca, unveiling a proposal to help low-income seniors stay in their homes.

And Adams was in a park in Inwood, talking about dirt bikes. Continue reading the report.


Andrew Yang’s Insider Campaign

Photo: Mark Peterson

From the moment Andrew Yang sat down in the back corner of a dark restaurant in the Bronx — brow knitted, wearing an overcoat and scarf that would stay on for the whole lunch — he was not the same cheerful New York City mayoral candidate of our popular conception, the one who cheeses for photos and tweets things like “It’s Friday!” when it’s Friday or shouts “Yankee Stadium!” while standing in front of Yankee Stadium. Politicians are always a little different behind the scenes, their ambition harder to conceal in close quarters, but the man sitting across from me was particularly unfamiliar. Since entering the race in January, Yang has pitched himself as the happy warrior for the Everyman, an energetic presence promising to lead New York out of its grim recent past. While other candidates have emphasized the city’s need for an experienced and empathic crisis manager, Yang has acted like a constant human joy machine. Continue reading New York Magazine’s May 10 cover story.


Maya Wiley, the Crisis Candidate

Photo: Philip Montgomery for New York Magazine

Maya Wiley’s parents, both activists, raised her and her brother, Dan, to be resilient. In 1973, when Maya was 9 and her brother 10, their father, George Wiley, bought a small boat. On their first day out on Chesapeake Bay, he insisted that his children learn how to drive it and drop the anchor in case they ever encountered an emergency.

The next day, Maya and Dan went out with him again. As their father, a big and exuberant man, traversed a narrow wooden walkway on his new boat, the rusted screws holding the walkway in place gave way and he fell backward into the water. His life preserver ripped, and Wiley remembers seeing it float away. She and her brother tried to circle the boat around him to no avail, and they watched him drown. Continue reading the profile.


Eric Adams’s Pro-Police Bet

Photo: EPA-EFE/Shutterstock/Copyright (c) 2020 Shutterstock. No use without permission.

On a Sunday in April, Gregory Meeks, the head of the Queens County Democratic Party and the congressman from the largely Black, middle-class, home-owning precincts of southeastern Queens, endorsed the mayoral campaign of Ray McGuire, a former Citigroup executive whose candidacy has been buoyed by a biography that takes him from the other side of the tracks in Dayton, Ohio, to a position as one of the highest-ranking Black executives on Wall Street.

So one day later, Eric Adams, the Brooklyn borough president and a leading candidate in the mayor’s race, came to southeastern Queens himself to open a campaign office. Stepping up to the microphone at the ribbon-cutting on April 19, Adams made clear that his is no rags-to-riches, Dayton-to-downtown story.

“I am you. You all finally have a candidate that is you,” he said to the crowd. “I have always been here.” Continue reading the encounter.


Dianne Morales and the Implosion of the Left in NYC’s Mayoral Race

Photo-Illustration: Intelligencer. Photo: Andrew H Walker/Shutterstock

On Friday, campaign aides to Dianne Morales, an unabashedly left-wing former nonprofit executive running for mayor, rallied in Bryant Park to protest an organization they described as fostering racism, sexism, and a hostility to unions. It was something many, surely, had done before, many times. But what made them a center of attention on political Twitter all day was that the protest was against the very candidate for whom they worked. After gathering in the park, the aides marched on campaign headquarters.

Carrying signs that said “Dignity, Care, Solidarity” and “Union Busting Is Disgusting” and “WTF Dianne?!” the protesters-slash-employees called on Morales to recognize their efforts to unionize and to rehire terminated staffers and to “create a grievance process to create a neutral avenue for reporting workplace misconduct.” Continue reading about the collapse of Morales’s campaign.


What 10 New York City Mayoral Candidates Can’t Live Without

Illustration: Lyne Lucien/The Strategist/Getty/Courtesy

From the Super Mario–edition Monopoly Andrew Yang uses to engage the kids on family-game night, to the two razors Ray McGuire relies on for grooming (one for his head, the other his face), to the individually packaged wipes a NY1 makeup artist recommended to Scott Stringer for glasses-cleaning, we heard about lots of particularly useful stuff in speaking with the candidates. We also discovered some are more alike than they may seem. Kathryn Garcia, Dianne Morales, and Maya Wiley all say mascara is a key component of their no-makeup makeup routines. Fernando Mateo and Eric Adams start each day by making a smoothie in a NutriBullet. Shaun Donovan and Curtis Sliwa write everything down on unlined note cards. And, like most people, many of the candidates told us they can’t live without comfy shoes, though very different styles. Read the interviews.

Everything You Need to Know About the NYC Mayoral Race