Holden Caufield's NY - Spots in NYC that feature in The Catcher in the Rye. New York City, specifically Manhattan, plays a significant role in J.D. Salinger's "The Catcher in the Rye." In his novel, the main character Holden Caulfield returns to his home city after being expelled from Pencey Prep; however, he cannot go home until the actual end of the semester. The novel follows Holden's journey around Manhattan and tells the story of teenage angst.