The debate moderators wasted no time delving into the left-field issue that has dominated the mayoral race this week: Does Eric Adams, who has been one of the front-runners all spring, even live in the city he hopes to govern?
The candidates were happy to pile on to Mr. Adams, to varying degrees, though after they got their shots in, the debate settled down considerably.
Andrew Yang, who has faced criticism for having spent much of the pandemic at a second home north of the city, dove in like he’d been waiting to be asked the question all day.
“I want to reflect on the oddness and the bizarreness of where we are in this race right now, where Eric is literally trying to convince New Yorkers where he lives and that he lives in this basement,” Mr. Yang said. “He spent months attacking me for not being a New Yorker. Meanwhile, he was attacking me from New Jersey.”
The other candidates were more circumspect. Maya Wiley and Scott Stringer said that they were not overly concerned with where Mr. Adams lays his head as much as they were with his policies and whether he was being honest with New Yorkers.
“It is absolutely clear New Yorkers want a mayor that is fully forthcoming and honest,” Ms. Wiley said. Mr. Stringer, after wisecracking that “the only time I go to New Jersey is by accident,” turned the conversation back to his own experience in governing. “We need a mayor that will not rely on training wheels when they get to City Hall,” said Mr. Stringer, the city comptroller.
Kathryn Garcia, similarly, said what mattered to New Yorkers was a mayor who “will be able to deliver on their affordable housing promises.”
Mr. Adams himself tried to put the matter to rest, using the word “Brooklyn” six times in about 30 seconds. “I live in Brooklyn,” he said with a broad smile. “I am happy to be there.”