The best journalism can be like reading a detective novel, uncovering a mysterious character in a big hat, or revealing a plane hijacker-turned-mayoral candidate. Sometimes stories act like a great college professor, launching debate over who’s the worst New York City Council member or whether New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has a mandate. And some stories are a flashlight, shedding light on complex topics, like affordable housing, congestion pricing or the City Council speaker’s race. Whether they were a novel, a professor or some other stretched metaphor, here are our favorite City & State stories of the year.

RELATED: City & State's best op-eds of 2017

Revenge is Coming: How everything fell apart between Andrew Cuomo and Bill de Blasio

By Zack Fink, Jan. 16, 2017

Andrew Cuomo and Bill de Blasio
(Illustration by Guillaume Federighi)

This is the definitive story on the feud between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, written by a man with a front-row seat: NY1 political reporter Zack Fink. Peppered with first-person accounts – and Cuomo politely declining Fink’s offer to do a shot of Jameson – Fink dives into the history of high-profile bickering between two of the state’s most prominent elected officials. You may laugh out loud at lines like the city needing “mother-may-I permission from Albany,” but you’ll definitely come out with a better understanding of why the former friends just can’t get along.


Giving the Bird: What the covfefe happened to political discourse

By Jeff Coltin, June 4, 2017

Twitter birds
(Illustration by Guillaume Federighi)

Politics doesn’t just exist at City Hall anymore – it exists on Twitter. I pored through years of tweets, exposing the never-ending discourse flowing through our phones and showing that Twitter has become a premier platform for political debate – and nasty name-calling. As a Twitter addict, it’s a story I’d unknowingly researched for years. And I’m proud of my political hitchhiker's guide to the Twitter galaxy.


Why is it still so hard to come out of the closet in New York politics

By Aimée Simpierre, July 23, 2017

James Vacca
New York City Councilman Jimmy Vacca revealed he was gay in January 2016, when he was already term limited. (William Alatriste / New York City Council)

With a giant pride parade, an LGBT caucus in the New York City Council and the 6-year-old Marriage Equality Act, could New York politics be any more gay-friendly? It could, writes Aimée Simpierre, and she makes the case by talking with politicians at every level. The gay community’s priorities are still being fought for and coming out can be difficult – evidenced by elected officials who are still in the closet.

RELATED: Our favorite New York political stories – not by us – of 2017

The Rise and Fall of Steve Pigeon

By Justin Sondel, Sept. 4, 2017

Steve Pigeon
Steve Pigeon walks the hallway at the Capitol in Albany. (Mike Groll / AP Photo)

Former Erie County Democratic Party Chairman Steve Pigeon seemed to make a rapid descent from capital player to capital pariah after his name appeared in numerous indictments over the past couple years. But to many outside of Western New York, Pigeon was just a name on legal documents. Buffalo-based reporter Justin Sondel did his best to fix that, interviewing Pigeon – plus his friends and enemies – to give a full picture of the ambitious, political addict who cried “witch hunt.”


The President’s Son: How Eric became a Trump

By Frank G. Runyeon, Oct. 1, 2017

Eric Trump
(Photo by Celeste Sloman)

A story 18 years in the making, this profile of Eric Trump was written by his former high school classmate, City & State’s Frank G. Runyeon. In other media, President Donald Trump’s second-oldest son has become a caricature – a golden child celebrity or a bumbling idiot, depending on your source. But Runyeon treats him as a human, writing about a “deeply loyal” kid who stands by his father. Being Trump’s son “didn’t count for much” in high school, but it’s everything now.


100 years after women won the right to vote in New York, the fight for equality in politics continues

By Grace Segers, Oct. 22, 2017

Melissa DeRosa
When Melissa DeRosa was made secretary to the governor, The New York Times headline read, “Cuomo’s Chief of Staff, Daughter of a Powerful Lobbyist, Is Promoted to Secretary.” She wasn't amused. (Photo by Celeste Sloman)

Largely written before The New Yorker’s piece exposing Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein’s history of sexual assault and intimidation, Segers’ story dove deeply into what seemed to be one of the year’s major themes: sexism. Through interviews with what seemed like every single one of the most powerful women in New York government and politics, she reveals a simple truth: Women usually have to work harder.