You may know Andrew Yang for this line: "The opposite of Donald Trump is an Asian man who likes math."
Or you may you know him as the presidential candidate who wants to give every adult a universal basic income of $1,000 a month. But did you know he’s a New Yorker?
As other, higher-profile New York Democrats dropped out, Yang has solidified support. The Manhattan tech entrepreneur not only remains in the race, he has qualified for every Democratic debate.
Friends say the state and city have shaped him.
"He’s struggled from the ground up to make it in New York and develop a successful career creating value in a number of ways," says Sophia Ruan Gushée, a college classmate of Yang's.
Born upstate in Schenectady to Taiwanese immigrant parents and raised in Westchester, Yang says he was the “skinny Asian kid … who was ignored or picked on.” He writes in his 2018 book that the experience made him value the underdog, whether it’s the loner at a party, a fledgling company – or the Mets.
Friends who remember him as Andy also remember his grace and grit.
"He was in a small town where he didn’t really look like everybody else, right?" says Courtney Ingraham, a childhood friend. "So there were other challenges that I never really thought about or realized at the time."
After graduating from Brown, Yang attended Columbia Law School. He made his fortune selling a test-prep company. He then founded a non-profit group that encourages entrepreneurship.
He, his wife, and their two young sons live in Midtown and keep a second home in New Paltz in the Hudson Valley.
New York is home to Yang’s campaign headquarters as well as one of the most devoted chapters of his Yang Gang.
"Being a New Yorker and being a supporter for Andrew Yang, who is a New Yorker, I think every minute of my fight is worthwhile," says supporter Ching Juhl.
"I definitely see the resilience," says supporter Nick Rivera. "He has a swagger about him because he knows the life here in the city."
Yang’s campaign declined to make him available for interview, citing a packed schedule.
He’s raised more than $600,000 from New Yorkers in the first three quarters of this year. Californians have contributed twice that.
Yang’s supporters say they believe in him, even if others count him out. They’re not unlike Mets fans in that way.