In Two Weeks, a New Governor of New York
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Weather: Partly sunny, but watch for stray showers. High in the low 90s, although it will feel like it’s 100 or more, and heat cautions are in place for today and tomorrow.
Alternate-side parking: In effect until Sunday (Feast of the Assumption).
Credit…Jeenah Moon/Getty Images
He was on a path to a fourth term as governor, and positioned to perhaps reach higher office. But as he became enveloped in a sexual harassment scandal and other controversies, the bright outlook dimmed.
Then, on Tuesday, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced his resignation.
“Given the circumstances, the best way I can help now is if I step aside and let government get back to governing,” Mr. Cuomo said. “And therefore that’s what I’ll do.”
[Read more about Mr. Cuomo’s resignation and listen to The Daily’s episode on the news.]
Here’s what to know:
Mr. Cuomo’s fall stunned Albany.
Mr. Cuomo’s resignation will take effect in 13 days. In his speech on Tuesday, Mr. Cuomo said he took “full responsibility for his actions” but denied ever touching anyone inappropriately.
His downfall was an astonishing reversal of fortune, after governing with an outsize presence for more than a decade.
Mr. Cuomo had become one of the nation’s best-known leaders in the earliest months of the pandemic, a foil for then-President Donald J. Trump. But the state attorney general’s report last week, which found he had sexually harassed 11 women, left him increasingly isolated.
Asked if Mr. Cuomo could run again, State Senator Todd Kaminsky, a Nassau County Democrat, replied, “I absolutely do not think so.”
A woman will lead New York for the first time.
Kathy Hochul, the lieutenant governor, will be sworn in to replace Mr. Cuomo. She will become the first woman to lead New York State.
Since joining the governor’s team in 2014, Ms. Hochul, 62, has largely operated in obscurity. But she has established deep reservoirs of political good will, making a point of visiting each of New York’s 62 counties every year.
[Learn more about Ms. Hochul and her path in politics.]
She now has to rapidly assemble a cabinet, develop an agenda and grapple with the remaining two weeks of Mr. Cuomo’s tenure.
The reactions around New York were mixed.
The response from most politicians was generally a sigh of relief. Few thanked Mr. Cuomo for his years of service. Some could barely contain their glee.
Several elected officials who would have had to vote to impeach Mr. Cuomo and to convict him were surprised by his decision to resign — and some still wanted to move forward on impeachment.
If Mr. Cuomo were convicted, he could be barred from holding state office again.
Here are a few other stories from my colleagues on Mr. Cuomo’s resignation and what it means:
Railing at Enemies and Pleading for Time: Inside Cuomo’s Final Days
In Resignation Speech, Cuomo Makes a Last Play to Preserve His Legacy
‘A Publisher’s Worst Nightmare’: How Cuomo’s Book Became a Cautionary Tale
What to Do With All Those ‘Cuomosexual’ Tees?
From The Times
What Is the Heat Index, and Why Does It Matter?
Former Long Island Prosecutors Sentenced in Plot to Protect Police Chief
‘Hallelujah Moment’: How This City Overcame Its Lead Crisis
Biden Nominates Damian Williams as U.S. Attorney in Manhattan
Want more news? Check out our full coverage.
The Mini Crossword: Here is today’s puzzle.
What we’re reading
How Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s resignation could shake up the board of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. [The City]
Ten people have been arrested in connection with a suspected interstate dogfighting ring, and 89 dogs were rescued. [NBC 4 New York]
As New York City public schools get new murals, creating the artwork is offering opportunities for students to reconnect. [Chalkbeat New York]
And finally: A puppet festival returns
The Times’s Laurel Graeber writes:
After more than a year of pandemic-related crises, Manuel Antonio Morán wanted to give a gift to New York. He envisioned something lighthearted and uplifting, but also thought-provoking and as varied as the city itself. The answer? Puppets.
But there’s nothing here to prompt sneers or eye rolling. The International Puppet Fringe Festival NYC, which starts today and features over 50 shows and events, more than a dozen short films and five accompanying exhibitions, including “Puppets of New York” at the Museum of the City of New York, is far from a kiddie celebration.
The Path to Governor Cuomo’s Resignation
Plans to resign. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York said Tuesday that he would resign from office amid a sexual harassment scandal. Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul will be sworn in to replace him.
Multiple claims of sexual harassment. Eleven women, including current and former members of his administration, have accused Mr. Cuomo of sexual harassment or inappropriate behavior. An independent inquiry, overseen by the New York State attorney general, corroborated their accounts. The report also found that he and aides retaliated against at least one woman who made her complaints public.
Nursing home Covid-19 controversy. The Cuomo administration is also under fire for undercounting the number of nursing-home deaths caused by Covid-19 in the first half of 2020, a scandal that deepened after a Times investigation found that aides rewrote a health department report to hide the real number.
Efforts to obscure the death toll. Interviews and unearthed documents revealed in April that aides repeatedly overruled state health officials in releasing the true nursing home death toll for months. Several senior health officials have resigned in response to the governor’s overall handling of the pandemic, including the vaccine rollout.
Will Cuomo still be impeached? The State Assembly opened an impeachment investigation in March. But after Mr. Cuomo announced his resignation, it was unclear whether the Assembly would move forward with its impeachment process. If Mr. Cuomo were impeached and convicted, he could be barred from holding state office again.
Looking to the future. Mr. Cuomo said on Tuesday that his resignation would take effect in 14 days, and that Ms. Hochul, a Democrat, would be sworn in to replace him. She will be the first woman in New York history to occupy the state’s top office.
“The wrong perception in the United States is that puppetry is just for children or to be used for education,” Morán, the festival’s artistic director, said in an interview at the Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural and Educational Center, the programming’s Lower East Side hub. “That’s something I’m fighting every single day.”
This festival, which is offering 60 percent of its performances free (tickets to the rest are $15 each), may help convince the doubters. Although Morán founded Puppet Fringe NYC as a biennial in 2018 — Covid-19 prevented its 2020 edition — this version is almost twice the size of the original and essentially a rebirth. Beginning on Wednesday with the first Puppet Week NYC, which comprises five days of live events, the festival continues through Aug. 31, mostly in virtual form, with shows from countries including India, Israel, Argentina, Spain, South Korea and the Ivory Coast.
It “represents the whole immigrant ethos of the Lower East Side, channeled through the lens of these other citizens that are puppets,” said Libertad O. Guerra, the executive director of the Clemente.
This year’s festival will also have workshops in puppet construction, four of them for adults.
It’s Wednesday — let out your inner child.
Metropolitan Diary: Pepsi-Cola sign
It was a rainy night, and I was on the way home from a date in Brooklyn. I contemplated the journey back to Manhattan and treated myself to a shared ride.
The car picked up one other rider. As he got in, I reached for my headphones and prepared to spend the journey in companionable silence.
Then he started talking.
“What brings you out to Brooklyn?” he said.
“A date,” I said with a wink, pleased with myself.
He asked how we had met. With a sigh, I mentioned a dating app.
We began to lament the dating scene. It’s all on apps these days, and no one’s confident enough to strike up a conversation. No more classic New York meet-cutes.
We spent the next 40 minutes talking about our jobs, our lives in New York, our plans for the weekend. He made me smile, and I made him laugh.
It grew quiet, and we watched the rain hit the window. I had the river view, and my eyes passed over the Pepsi-Cola sign.
“It’s so funny, isn’t it?” I said.
He asked what was so funny.
I realized I didn’t know, so I said, “New York.” He agreed.
We pulled up to his stop.
“Well, I don’t think it’s going to work out with Brooklyn boy,” he said with a smile. “You’ll never be able to keep up this commute.”
— Virginia Girard
Illustrated by Agnes Lee. Read more Metropolitan Diary here.
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